Tore S. had it made. He landed an enviable position that many of his fellow students had been gunning for – an evening/night shift as a Unix admin and general support for a large company that let him work from home. And you know what that means: equal time given to work and dancing around in your PJ's Risky Business-style. He could sleep and get paid for it, so long as he kept his cell phone on and would wake up and answer if/when it rang. Then he'd have to VPN into the network, do his thing, and then carefully weigh the decision to have another one-man dance party or go back to sleep. (Sleep usually won.)

One fine Saturday morning around 11:00, Tore was sound asleep, visions of sugarplums dancing in his head – only to have his wonderful dream violently interrupted by the screech of his cell phone. Tore squinted, rubbed his eyes, and read the caller ID. Damn, it was work. He quickly practiced saying "hello" without sounding tired, and then answered.


"THE LOTUS NOTES SERVER IS UNREACHABLE." Ivan, Tore's boss's boss's boss, was furious. Tore was used to his attitude and had learned not to take it personally.

"So you want me-"


Tore sighed, dragged himself to his computer, and looked up the standard operating procedure. The Lotus Notes server was outside of Tore's authority, so this was going to be easy. "Call internal support," the document read. Tore dialed the number, reported the problem, they assured him that they would contact the responsible admin, and Tore moved on to his next task: procuring a bowl of cereal and watching some TV.

Tore was impressed by how quickly he escaped Constable Cornpuff's maze, decrypted Mr. Marshmallow's word scrambles, and figured out all of the words in Baron von Blueberry's crossword puzzle. Mysteries on the back of the cereal box solved, Tore paid more attention to whatever forgettable show was on the TV. After a half hour or so, another call.

"Hey, Tore, this is Martin," he began. Martin was one of the system managers. "The Lotus Notes server is down; I need you to take care of it."

"Oh, yeah, I know. It's already been reported, and currently being worked on." Since Tore had no access to their internal ticket system, he was officially out of the loop. "I'll let you know as soon as I get an update."

Martin sighed. "OK, fine." *click*

Tore was a diligent guy, though, and figured he'd better call internal IT just to check up. "We've escalated it to the responsible admin," they reported. Uh oh, Tore thought, usually this is just a server reboot. This must be a serious issue if it's taking this long...

Right after getting off that call, another came in. "TORE." Ivan was clearly still upset, and was inadvertently giving Tore's cell phone speaker a stress test with his yelling. "THE LOTUS SERVER IS STILL OFFLINE."

"Right. I've reported it to internal IT, talked to Martin, and just got off the phone with internal IT again. They've escalated it to the appropriate person. I've done everything in my power."

Ivan demanded that he call internal IT. Though it had been less than two minutes since he'd talked to them, he wasn't going to agitate Ivan any further. Internal IT put Tore on hold while they called the tech for an estimate. As Tore listened to the Michael Bolton hold music, he noticed that Martin was calling on the other line. He quickly switched over.

"Hey Tore, do you have a status update on the Lotus Notes situation? What's the ETA?"

Tore responded, "No news just yet, but I'll let you know as soon as learn more." Satisfied, Martin hung up. Tore switched back over to internal IT. A minute later, the IT support guy said that someone was working on it, but that couldn't give a solid estimate. Tore called Ivan with the update, and got back to his TV show.

Again the phone rang. Again, it was Ivan. After another call to internal IT and a status report, and close to an hour of the server being down, Ivan was about ready to explode. "GIVE ME THE NUMBER FOR INTERNAL IT. I'LL SETTLE THIS MYSELF," he barked. Tore couldn't help but feel bad about the verbal beat-down that internal IT was about to receive.

Another five minutes passed, before Tore's next phone call. "Tore." It was Ivan, but he wasn't speaking in all caps, his rage having melted away. "The problem's fixed. What was the name of the system manager you talked to?"


"YEAH. THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT." Uh oh. His rage is back.

"Uh... is there a problem?"

Ivan went on to explain, with varying rage levels, that Martin had been the responsible admin for the Lotus Notes server all along. Martin had just decided to be lazy that morning, and that he was going to pass the buck to Tore.

The circle went thusly: Tore called internal IT, internal IT called Martin, Martin called Tore. And occasionally Ivan would jump in just to keep things interesting. Martin didn't realize that Tore didn't have any control of the server, despite the fact that Martin was the one who'd set up the security. All Martin had to do was a server reboot, but apparently that was too much to ask.

For over an hour, the four circled the solution and grew more and more frustrated with one another. And as a result of this mess, Ivan fired Martin for this and other similar incidents.

Tore's job was eventually replaced by an Indian service desk, where no doubt their poor staff are getting yelled at by Ivan, calling internal IT...

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