I just received an e-mail from a recruiter at Google. I’m not interested, but now I can die happy.
Since joining Qualcomm, I now look forward to waking up and going to work every day. This snippet of a Jabber converstaion may shed some light on why I feel this way:
(14:35:22) My Boss: You’re awfully quiet over there.
(14:36:12) Me: that means i’m either working really hard, or trying not to get caught doing something i shouldn’t be.
(14:36:42) My Boss: either one works for me
I haven’t received a response to the e-mail I sent to my former supervisor last night. I suppose that’s a good thing. Perhaps he finally took the hint and gave up pleading with me to fix their mess. The funny thing is, before he sent that second message, I had intended to contact him after work yesterday. His loss, I guess.
I kept my response civil and professional—no small feat after his message. I simply put forth my position and, in no uncertain terms, stated that their problems are no longer my responsibility.
I believe I know why it was implied that this is somehow my doing. In an attempt to bring the web server back up, their consultant has been looking at the wrong configuration file, one I thought I had removed months ago. Of course the system will look broken if the wrong configuration file is used. I imagine this led the consultant to assume I had deleted key files required to run the server. My former supervisor probably gambled that this was indeed the case and attempted to scare me into swooping in to fix everything. For his sake, I hope he doesn’t spend much time in Vegas.
I can’t help but think that the consultants themselves created most of the problems they’re experiencing. I designed the web servers to use the standard Red Hat Linux 9 initialization process to automatically mount the NFS shares and to start up the Apache daemons on boot. The mere fact that the web servers are no longer serving files leads me to believe that the actions of the consultants have broken something, possibly irreparably.
I’m not desperate enough for money that I would contract myself to do any more work for my former company. After all, I had plenty of reasons for leaving. All of this just reinforces those reasons.
Today I received two voice mails and one e-mail from my old supervisor at Global Health Trax. I’m not sure if the second voice mail counts, as it was a verbatim reading of the e-mail. I’m sure the second voice mail and the e-mail count the same either way. In any case, he was asking for my help with their problem.
The first message was reasonable enough. He asked that I contact him to assist bringing the web site back on line. The second message was when things got interesting.
The second message went from a reasoned plea for help, to an insinuation that I somehow deliberately caused these problems, to an attempt at invoking guilt, to a threat against my reputation, and finally to an offer to pay consulting fees.
Okay, I can understand the plea for help. After all, I maintained the web site for a number of years. In fact, prior to his contacting me, I had already offered to respond to any queries they sent via e-mail. I’m insulted (but not surprised) that they would accuse me of masterminding all of this. It probably makes them feel better to have a scapegoat. They’ve done it to everyone who has left the IT department (Kristen, Todd, Evan, Larry, me); I was just unlucky enough to be the last to go (though it’s probably telling when a company slowly loses an entire department). I don’t feel sorry for the people who constantly made my life miserable, from absurd programming requests to yelling at me until I got them done. Uh oh, should I be worried about my reputation in the (sleazy MLM) industry? Just to be sure my reputation wasn’t tarnished, I ran this by my current supervisor (who’s an awesome boss, by the way). He found it hilarious and related a story of a similar experience in his past. Whew, I was worried there for a second. Now, consulting fees…
I really haven’t wanted to do any consulting work for my old company—and I told them as much when I left. The job was psychologically draining (it’s amazing how much things have turned around for me in my new job); I didn’t like my coworkers; I was disgusted by the business; I despised the software I was writing; and, perhaps most importantly, for the last year I was in a position to observe how they treat their consultants. Not to mention their former employees.
Shortly after Evan left the company, part of the software system broke. It seems like a pattern, I know, but something was always breaking; the only thing keeping the system afloat was constant babysitting by Evan and myself. Hard to believe we’d give that up, huh? Actually, in this case something didn’t break so much as a business rule was suddenly changed and I didn’t know how to modify the system to support it. Well, our old supervisor began demanding (through me) that Evan tell me how to accomplish the task. He was incredulous that Evan wouldn’t drop everything he was doing (work for his new job, presumably) to help. I think I’m getting it worse than Evan because now no one is left who knows the systems. Perhaps if we had been treated better…
Ugh, I should have changed my cell phone number.
When I left Global Health Trax on the twenty-second day of February I knew that eventually, without me, they would have catastrophic failures. There were too many single points of failure in the company. Evan was the only person who knew about the Windows-based systems. I was the only person who knew about the Linux-based systems.
After a few weeks I began to forget GHT, both the experience of working there (thankfully) and the potential issues following my departure. Life was bliss, at least for me.
I received a call this morning from Mike, who had been taking up some of the slack I left. One other single point of failure had failed. The database and file server used by the web site had died. Ouch. They are pretty much up a creek without a paddle at this point. They never did take my advice to purchase another server to provide redundancy. At the time, they thought the server cost too much. They would much rather waste money on a useless marketing VP. I wonder how much money they have lost in sales with the web site down. That server probably doesn’t seem very expensive any more.
While having dinner with my wife tonight, I received another call from Mike. The poor guy was still in the office at 7:30 p.m. Triaging server problems isn’t Mike’s job and I felt sorry for him, so I took the call. He told me all three Linux servers had been brought from the data center in Ontario, CA to the office. Then he handed me over to Arden, a Linux consultant they had contracted to manage the servers in my absence. Apparently, Arden hadn’t managed the servers very well; three drives out of six in the RAID5 array had died.
After telling Arden there was no hope of rebuilding the array, he asked if I knew how the server was configured. I didn’t really know, since that was Dirk’s job. Unfortunately (for GHT), they had already called Dirk and he didn’t remember how the server was built at all.
So let me get this straight. A $200 per month retainer plus a $60 per hour rate doesn’t buy a consultant who keeps records of what he’s done for a client? I guess not.
As I write this, the web site is still down. I assume the server died sometime over the weekend. I have no idea how long it will take them to get things running again. The ironic part is, they were due to completely scrap the old systems and go to an all new system any day now.