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What should I do??

By ObiWayneKenobi ·
I've run into a slight dilema at work the other day.. and I have no clue what I should do. I'm basically a support tech, but as its a small company I do some of the networking things and I also help Marketing with graphics. Now, on Tuesday the network went down for some reason. I was troubleshooting someone's computer (they could not access any resources on the server) and I tested 4 different Cat-5 cables in the wall patch. Nothing worked, so I said I think it might be the panel itself. After that some other PCs started messing up so we had to reboot all the servers.

Anyways, I've now become a scapegoat of sorts. The owner of the company (not my immediate boss, but the big boss) has blamed the network failure on ME (his exact words in an email to my boss was something along the lines of I "crashed the network because he was not doing what he was supposed to be doing." So apparantly I'm incompetant.

To make things worse, the VP said he tried the panel and it worked fine, so I must have not plugged the cable in all the way (right.. its a Cat-5 cable, I'm not completely stupid). My own boss didn't believe me when I said I tried 4 cables, and he says its because I help Marketing when "We hired you to be our networking guy". So I'm basically in the doghouse and getting the blame for something that was not at all my fault. What should I do?? Jobs are scarce here, especially since I only have like two and a half years IT experience (and over a year of that was volunteering at the college where I got my degree), although I do have my A+ and MCP. I just am completely ticked off at the fact I'm being blamed AND called incompetant, but it looks like I dont have any choice in the matter.

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Sounds to me...

by LiamE In reply to What should I do??

Sounds to me that the problem you found was in fact a symptom of the problem that caused everything else to crash.

Your only mistake was calling the panel as a likely source of the issue after 4 cables. What you should have done was try 1 known good lead and had the conviction at that point to look and see if the problem was somewhere else. You may well have found that even before the servers crashed the problem was not local to that PC. With a bit more time I'm sure you would have been looking in the servers direction anyway.

Sounds like they know jack about networks if they think that you not plugging a cable fully in is going to bring all the servers down.

The clincher for me is that the company obviously has a blame culture and that those apportioning the blame do not undestand what the **** they are talking about. Don't think I'd be looking to work there long term.

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Blame is a problem

by jdmercha In reply to Sounds to me...

"The clincher for me is that the company obviously has a blame culture and that those apportioning the blame do not undestand what the **** they are talking about. Don't think I'd be looking to work there long term."

I've never found any benifit in placing blame with anyone.

What you need to do is find out exactly what the problem was, what caused it and how to avoid it happening again. Then evalute what you did to decide if it contributed to the failure, or if you should have taken a different approach.

Even if you are not at fault, accept the blame not because you caused the problem but because you were not able to prevent the problem in the first place. Then show your evaluation of the problem to your boss. If your report is not well received, than start looking for a new job before you become a scapegoat again.

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Hmm.. thanks..

by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to Blame is a problem

This is just one of a few problems. I do basically four jobs in one (Helpdesk, networking, database admin, web designer) and they keep getting mad at me because they want some detailed stuff done online in ASP.NET and I told them I didn't really know it (no programming exp.); it took me nearly three months to develop a website for them using only a little bit of ASP.NET because I didnt understand it. My boss (who is a programmer) said to ask him if I have any questions, but how can I ask when I dont know what to do in the first place?

I try to spend my free time learning VB.NET so I can help my boss and do the ASP.NET stuff (he wants me to go to school for it, but the company won't pay for it), and I get in trouble for that because they "didn't hire [me] to be a programmer, [they] hired [me] to be the network guy." Plus we have the dilema that people outside of IT (other managers/execs) do network administration things on their own.

I really am in a big dilema here. If I quit then I can find a better job, but the job market is really rough here for a recent grad. But if I stay, they'll probably fire me because I can't do what they ask me to (for the record, I told them when they hired me I had only dabbled with real web development).

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screwed-up management

by silvioandpauly In reply to Hmm.. thanks..

I think your story sums up the sorry state that management is in today. Hire 1 or 2 people to run the enterprise, and expect them to be experts in everything. Then they blame you for problems - rather than finding and eliminating the cause.

"Let he who has never sinned, cast the first stone"

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**Sorry, double posted** (NT)

by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to Blame is a problem

No text to see here, folks.

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There's no easy answer

by DC_GUY In reply to What should I do??

Sometimes there is no answer at all. Life can be really unfair. There are a lot of incompetent managers out there and you've obviously found a den of them. Try to make friends with people outside your chain of command so your managers will hear from independent sources that you're pretty talented.

Meanwhile, take as many classes as you can, even if you have to pay for them. There is indeed no surplus of IT jobs right now so you should try to hang onto this one until the employment market perks up, whenever that will be.

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Start looking for a new job.

by mrafrohead In reply to What should I do??

I wouldn't tollerate that if I was you...

I understand you circumstances and your sitation, but you are now dealing with your integrity and honor.

You know you didn't do it. I would tell them that, if they choose to push the issue, walk. Let them sort it out, and when they can't who will really be screwed then???

You should be able to find a job working somewhere (maybe not IT immediately) relatively quick. Just work it out from there.

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Well the chances

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to What should I do??

of you having caused the problem by swapping a patch cable are about as high as invisible alien pranksters playing a joke on you.

There would have to be something seriously wrong with the wiring.

However while I commend your enthusiasm and initiative, you should concentrate on investigating some troubleshooting strategies before you (if ever for these jerks) try solving this sort of problem again.

One cable swap if it was visibly damaged or if you had a known issue with them would have been called for.

When troubleshooting you should do as much as possible to isolate the fault before you change anything.

I'd certainly have checked the cable was plugged in at both ends and not in two pieces(seen that happen).
Then I'd have pinged local host on the target PC
Then I'd have verified the other pcs in the same area were working, if not in another.
If so
Then I'd have rebooted.
Then I'd have swapped the cable, confident that it most probably is that or the socket in the panel to wherever that might go.

Other possibilities would depend on how you're wired up.
For instance could you have pinged a pc on the same section of the LAN, could they ping the problem PC.

Is there a local hub or switch in the mix, was the server working at all.

What is working is just as important as what isn't. Find out as much as you can, before you make a change.

I ain't knocking you, I found out the hard way myself, with good old RS232 in the early 80s.

A little anecdote.

I spent two days trying to find a fault with the asumption method. Eventually I found that some thickheaded electrician had wired both pairs to a two terminal connector block behind a panel. About the last place you'd look for the fault and the last place I did.

The most annoying thing was all the information I needed to isolate the fault was in plain view , but by the time I'd found it I'd swapped every thing but the door handle to the new office.

You've been taught a harsh lesson, not so much by making a mistake as by not being able to prove that you hadn't.

My strategy would be to find out as much as you can about the set up, draw it out if there isn't one. Then think up what if scenarios, and come up with passive ways to discover where what and if are.

From the sound of it you're going to get plenty of opportunities to hone your skills while looking for another job.

Don't get too down hearted, I've learnt from much more catastrophic 'mistakes' than this in my career.

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by ObiWayneKenobi In reply to Well the chances

The funny thing is that I *DID* do all those tests first:

- I pinged the local address (i.e. to make sure the NIC card was working properly.
- I checked other PCs nearby to see if they had the same problem to determine if it was a network problem or just on that particular workstation.
- I checked the cable for defects, and swapped it out for a known good one to determine if the problem was with the cable
- I tested two different PCs on that same panel to see if it was a problem with the initial PC (none of the PCs could connect).
- I therefore came to the conclusion that it must have been something with the panel (see below, however)

The only thing I didn't check was the switches/hubs, and that's because nobody there ever thought to tell me how they were wired (to be honest I doubt they even have documentation saying what's hooked up where). It's apparantly not part of my job despite being the "network guy".

I still appreciate the advice, however. I understand that, as much as I want to be a big shot, I have to crawl before I walk :) I still don't know if I should quit or not; as someone else said it's my honor at stake, and now I look like a fool who can't do something simple like plug in an RJ45 jack to a patch panel. However, it took me over a year of searching and applying to even get this job.

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by CuteElf In reply to Thanks...

Since you've started the troubleshooting, you could go up to the boss, and ask, "Do you know of any documentation on the setups for the switches etc...I'd like to try and see if I can find out what the problem is."

Or you could list what you've done, and sit down and ask them to SPECIFCALLY outline your job so you know exaclty what you're responsible for.

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