Thursday, April 12, 2007

The perils of being proactive

After I picked up a job from the network printer, the secretary screamed at me in the quiet office: "I printed a minute ago and it worked okay. Then you went over and did something to the printer, and now it doesn't work!"

The printer had run out of paper.

One day, to my horror, I found out that the server had run continually for seven years and had never once been backed up. I pleaded with the owner to buy a tape backup unit. Though he owned the $12 million company and wore a heavy gold chain around his neck, he refused to buy a $100 tape backup unit. A few weeks later, the server disk died, taking with it all the company records: personnel, finance, correspondence ... everything except the warehouse system.

I was very depressed. Could I have found someone else to tell him he needed to back up the server data, I wondered? What else could I have done to prevent this?

But they assumed I broke it to prove my point about backup, and I was fired.

I was reading this and thinking a little about how this relates to offering one's work to God. In the 'Opus Dei' sense, not in the getting ordained sense, though of course those are not incompatible. To do the 'right thing' and speak up may place your job at risk. Keeping quiet may actually make you a better employee, even though management may never know it. But maybe it's like martyrdom - you gotta stand by your principals even if you get killed.

I don't have a particularly good answer to propose, but hopefully I can come up with something before I have to deal with it.

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