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What happens when your BOSS wants to know what YOU know?

Hey all,
I like this site a lot and am an avid reader. The articles and forums are interesting and there seems to be a lot of people like me here, so perhaps, one can shed light on what to do in this situation.

I run the whole IT show for Company X. Everything. My gut feeling tells me the company is down sizing (firing, budget cuts, departmental cuts, etc.). I have a feeling that I'm next. My only possible successor is my boss, who has knowledge -OF IT-, and when explained on paper can understand [some] things.

He requested that over the next few weeks, he'd like a documentation of what it is that I do on a daily basis. He wants to know addresses of servers, firewalls, and backup sites. He wants it detailed with an explanation. Now, I think I can teach a 6th grader with relatively basic computer skills how he can do everything I do when I'm on vacation or something like that. I mean, I automated EVERYTHING and dumbed down everything to the point where running certain batch scripts can a) start backups b) connect departmental drives c) start/stop databases, etc. etc. We run on Windows so unlike Unix they won't need to have knowledge of command lines or have much trouble understanding what (if anything) I write down on paper.

My question to you, fellow members/ IT people, what am I to do in this situation? If I tell him everything, I'm pretty much done here. There won't be a reason to justify my salary in the long run. Short term, they'll need me, just until someone figures everything out according to my documentation. I feel that by writing this documentation I am committing career suicide within Company X. It will be my downfall.

What do I do? Do I start stripping the network of my customized scripts and start uninstalling network related applications that make my job easier and automated?

Any advice would help. Sorry for the long read.

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If you want to be first in line for the chopping block

by JamesRL In reply to What happens when your BO ...

Then resist. And kiss a reference goodbye.

I think you should document it to the 9th degree. Especially show them the automatation you've done. Show them the value you contribute. Show them how much the work you have done contributes to the smooth running of the operation. Think he can take over the maintenance of the scripts.

If they are going to get rid of you, they will, be it now or shortly thereafter. Impress your boss with what you've done and maybe he will find a reason to keep you around a little while longer, if only to teach him.

And start working on your resume. If you can open your boss' eyes perhaps the reference will be good too.


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Try to add some "wow" factor

by jdclyde In reply to If you want to be first i ...

I would do as James suggested, but I would show every complex system in rapid fire and give them a little over load. Let him see that he is going to be way over his head if he tries this without you.

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Agree with james, with an addition...

by Locrian_Lyric In reply to What happens when your BO ...

Go into PAINSTAKING detail, and keep copies for yourself.

Update your resume, use your copies on interviews to demonstrate how meticulous you are.

Consider yourself as already gone, don't sink to their level.

Make everything PERFECT when you leave, BELIEVE ME, your reputation follows you.

Get your resume out there and start applying for new jobs NOW.

Be better than them.

Oh, and added bonus, if you do everything perfect and give it to them on a silver platter, when BOSS effs things up, he can't blame you. who knows, they may even call you back

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Right on, James

by sgt_shultz In reply to What happens when your BO ...

You should already have this stuff documented. If you think you can protect your job by hiding the information, 1) you are wrong and 2) you aren't the kind of net admin i'd personally be looking for.
Besides, maybe your boss is trying to justify you, not fire you. Probably she doesn't have a choice.
If you handle this right (by giving boss exactly what she wants) you will end the relationship on the kind of note that you, as a network admin, want to have a reputation for doing.
times are hard all over, suck it up. I just lost my job too. Because I put up fairly silently with all the stress related BS brought to me by my stress-out bosses, I am getting 6 weeks severance and a good reference. Which is, as James points out, priceless.
why don't you ask your boss straight out to tell you what is happening. add, 'and how can I help you? what else do you need?'
you might be surprised

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Document it.

by CharlieSpencer In reply to What happens when your BO ...

It's the professional thing to do, and if they're really considering letting you go, the absence of documentation isn't going to matter to the bean counters. If they do let you go, showing a professional approach may leave the door open for short term consultant gigs, contracting, etc. Not doing the work will show them you either don't care or are incompetent.

Put yourself on the other side of the situation. Imagine you've been hired by a company that went through a contraction and is now expanding. They begin hiring IT personnel again and you get the call. Then on your first day they tell you, "Oh, we had to let the last tech go a couple of years ago when he had financial problems. Unfortunately, he didn't document anything, so you're on your own." Oh, joy.

Make a habit of documenting things. Who knows, you may one day have the opportunity for a promotion, and everything will be in place to turn over to your new replacement / subordinate. Would you rather spend your time learning your new job or rehashing your old one?

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Got to agree with the others

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to What happens when your BO ...

Should already have been done.

Resistance will be 1 futile and 2 counter productive.

One option you could look at is going in to business for yourself and then doing the work on contract. Unless they are complete idiots, they'll want full documentation as part of the contract any way. Might as well do it on their dime, while you are setting up / jobhunting.

Start a good skeleton of documents and then hit the details key.

It's quite possible they are thinking they can lose you because you've got the system purring and it doesn't appear to be a challenge.

Happened to me that.

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Thanks for the advice...

by ILUVIT In reply to Got to agree with the oth ...

I've got to say, I'm a little surprised that all responses were in agreement as to what I should do. I was hoping for at least a little debate pro v. con argument, but you're IT Professionals and you seem to be saying the right things so I'll take the advice.


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by israck In reply to Thanks for the advice...

just to play devils advocate (and because you expected it), i'll say, no documentation, vague instructions to your boss, misleading instructions when ever possible, and add a backdoor before you leave for future mischief i am in no way responsible for any problems down the line, that's your bed, you made it, you sleep in it.

on a more real note, i won't rehash everything stated previously, just follow their advice, lots of wise and experienced people here who give excellent free advice. don't shoot yourself in the foot, do the right thing, more flies with honey, goes on your permanent record, (insert cliche here), yada yada yada..

good luck on the job hunt if it comes to that, sounds like you have the skills to get back into the game quickly, couple of deep breaths and you'll be fine.

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I think...

by EMJ65 In reply to Thanks for the advice...

while your feeling may be to leave the boss high and dry, what our logic (and what is IT known for if not logic?) depicts is the actuality of the situation should we defer to our emotions.

I have had opportunities in the past myself (even after having been laid off) to sink to the same level as the company, but I chose to be the the professional I had always been and it has not failed me yet.

I wish you the best!

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Rule one for any business with an indispensible employee

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Thanks for the advice...

Get rid of them.

I've seen people do it successfully for ages, there's one at my place now.
Get's paid much more than he should, can't breathe near the product without them.
Everybody else in the team looking for ways to get rid of him.

Worse still in all the efforts to resist the key change, (don't need you matey), the tech has been frozen, so when he finally gets marching orders, his value in the rest of the market will also be nil.

Even if they bin you, go to your interview say you left them running sweet as a nut and fully documented.

I'd value that if I was looking for someone.

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