I mean, how difficult can it be?

You say, "We're taking the power down from noon till 1pm Sunday for essential maintenance."

We say, "No problem - we'll come in at 1130 to observe and to switch off one or two servers of our own and the telephone and voicemail systems."

Bastards took the power down at 1100, crashing my Server Lab before I had a chance to do controlled shutdowns. To suggest I was incandescent with rage would be an understatement.

"Yeah, traffic wasn't bad and we got here early, so we just got on with it."


They were finished and packing up to leave by the time my co-workers and I arrived between 1120 and 1125, with no sign of the facilities manager who had announced the exercise and who, in all reason, one would have expected to be on hand to ensure things were done properly.

I checked with the Patrols desk whether the Induhvidual (thank you, Scott Adams) in question had actually been there for the work.

"Were you expecting him?" was the reply.

The missing word in that question was 'seriously', and would have the same narrative effect no matter if placed at the start or in the middle, or even as a follow-up one-word question of it's own.

What happens is this: every year we're required to shut down all power to the main building so that the electricians can check fuses, breakers, what have you - it has to do with safety and insurance and such. The IT DataCentre is protected by UPS which gives us a few minutes' battery power in the event of mains failure, but there's a generator that's supposed to kick in when mains is cut off, so we don't have to rely on batteries.

Previous experiences with our so-called colleagues in building management have led us to doubt the reliability of the generator, hence our preference for having observers onsite in the event things don't go to plan. If the generator didn't come on, at least we'd have a chance to notify the people in the power room and have them switch mains back until they could sort the problem out. If that had happened yesterday, the main DataCentre would have crashed before my co-workers and I had even arrived, and that would not have been pretty.

Further, our in-house electrical maintenance is handled by contractors from an outside company, and the switchoff was undertaken by people from yet another third-party body, both apparently unsupervised by anyone from our organisation.

To be fair to our in-house electrical guys, they do a good job and make sure we have what we need to do ours. Sadly however, they'll be the ones most likely to be blamed when the excrement strikes the ventilator tomorrow.

But consider - part of managing a project is to be there on the day to manage it!

Not miles away in case it explodes or something. It's not bravery, it's not simply good manners, but sadly it's all we've come to expect from a facilities management whose answer to a request for air-conditioning for a comms enclosure was to suggest we open a window instead.

If I had my way, half a dozen Induhviduals (thank you again, Scott Adams) would be handed their marching papers tomorrow, and the department turned over to the only person of any integrity there who, for her sins, ends up doing all the work because people approach her directly, knowing they'll get results.

I'm sick and tired of my working environment being left in the hands of self-serving, blame-shifting, responsibility-ducking incompetents who consistently and obstinately refuse to accept that we, the staff, are their clients and deserve to be treated with simple and basic respect. I look forward to the day when they are exposed for what they truly are - a waste of valuable square-footage.