You broke the network. Do you confess?

021915blog messed up

Today we’re taking a deep look into mindset of the network professional – his or her soul -- when it comes to breaking something and owning up to the mistake … or not.

Posted to Reddit’s section that is devoted to networking: “Have you ever accidentally broken something then fixed it immediately to find your colleagues praising your skills even though it (was) your lack of skills? How do you react?

The inquisitor answers his own question:

“Generally speaking I've always let the peasants (end users) think I'm a wizard while I tell my boss what actually happened. What have you guys done in similar situations?”

Hopefully not refer to colleagues as peasants, but that’s a topic for another day.

Among the viewpoints represented is “it depends:”

“Never admit fault if the issue is resolved. Never. If you f**k up and don't fix it though, then yea, admit fault.”

There’s the “think of the long term” view:

“You modify a port, your colo goes down. Alerts roll in. No matter how fast you turn it back up someone is going to notice something, or read the alerts. You fix it real fast. Unfortunately, electricity is a lot faster than you are. It's been down for 4,000 electricity years or roughly, 10 human seconds. How do you want people to find out, even though it is now fixed?

“I can tell you, having them log into the switch/router and see in the logging ... last configured via console by My_username_of_choice 13:11:41 … Is not the way you wanna play this game.”

A jester weighs in, or at least someone we are assuming is not serious:

“Just start deleting everything. Logs, emails, jobs.”

There’s support for the original questioner’s position, minus the peasant talk:

“I agree with you there, but I think it's important to make the distinction between not telling fellow IT workers and not telling the end users. End users don't check device logs. They couldn't send email, now they can. No need to erode their confidence by owning up to what actually happened. Within the IT department is another story. Everyone makes mistakes and each one is a potential learning experience, not just for the person who made it, but everyone. It's good for morale to know that even seasoned vets screw up sometimes. It promotes a culture of ownership and accountability instead of finger pointing and blame shifting.”

And, finally, a believer that honesty is always the best policy:

“I tell folks and expect the same. I want to work with folks I trust and who know when they make a mistake and learn from it. If you get found out you just look like a fool. Also I wouldn't want to work in an environment that is so poisonous I have to hide my mistakes. If I make a mistake that's large enough to lose my job that's on me.”

Feel free to unburden yourself.

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