Corporate Life

I just returned from Minneapolis where I was sent to set up the network and computers for a small satellite campus of the university I work for. As per usual, things were pretty much a disaster. I'm not in charge of setting up these installs, I'm only a lackey sent along to provide the technical know-how. I was reminded of this when I was starting to make calls to verify everything was ready before making a seven hour drive to the site. My boss told me that it wasn't my job to coordinate everything and I should let the people that were responsible for it take care of it. Great advice. I arrived to find that the proper electrical wiring wasn't available to the network rack, a UPS for the system hadn't been ordered, one printer was lost somewhere in shipping, another had never been ordered, and no one had made arrangements with Sprint to connect the T1 line for our WAN and internet. Doesn't matter to me who was responsible for arranging things, I'm the one sitting at the customer site trying to explain why absolutely nothing is going to be up and running for them on time. When we finally got the guy from Sprint out to hook his stuff up, it turns out that the contractors hadn't wired things from the telco room to the switch correctly. Amazingly, the Sprint guy fixed it, even though it wasn't Sprint's fault. This is rare in the technical world, and exceedingly rare for Sprint (Thanks Rick). Once the connections were all made I discovered that our own firewall people had never configured the firewall to let us get to the internet. Of course the firewall is off limits to me, they don't give us access, everything has to be handled from corporate. About one o'clock in the afternoon they told me it would be up in an hour. By four when it wasn't working and I hadn't heard anything I started making calls only to discover that pretty much everyone had left for the day. Great, I'm out there working 14 hour days trying to correct everyone's screw ups and everybody in the corporate office responsible for supporting me takes off early and leaves me hanging.

I could go into more detail, but I know I've already whined enough. I'm just amazed at how incompetent a corporate entity can be. I also remember vividly why I left field service work in the first place. Everywhere I've worked has had the habit of allowing people that don't have to do the actual work and will never actually meet the customer or see the site coordinate everything. They have no firsthand knowledge of the situation, and no real investment in making sure things go smoothly. From my experience they also rarely bother to put in any extra time. They poor bastard on site is suppose to put in as many hours as it takes to finish the job, but the people that screwed everything up in the first place can take off early and go have some fun. As an added bonus they usually get paid a lot more too.

Oh well, good to be home, I shouldn't have to participate in another one of these circuses for a few months.