Biggest payday of my life for 2 minutes of work.
Another tech story: I’m a contractor at a big bank in New York City. No benefits but I’m paid by the hour. I like the people I work for and while I realize I get paid well, I try to make sure they get their money’s worth.
On the Friday before last (start to the three-day weekend), I was told by one of the managers (mine is out on vacation) that one of “my”applications was malfunctioning in production and that it absolutely needed to be fixed pronto. This application was tested to a crazy degree, so the first thing I did was call up the server admin and ask what was different between our test and production systems. After some prodding, I figure out that the production system consists of two clustered servers whereas the test server is all on its own. On the theory that the data isn’t transferring between the paired servers fast enough for the next web page to be rendered (it’s a survey application where the answer to one question determines the next question to be asked), I suggest checking the “sticky bit” (which would ensure that when a person uses the application, they will “stick” to one server, to eliminate the data transfer problem.)
The admin (who’s a friend of mine) tells me she can’t make that change without her department’s manager’s approval, a kind of know-it-all guy.
Fine. I tell my substitute manager what I think the problem is (thinking he’ll go to bat for me) and instead, he tells me to “stay as long as it takes, including giving up my weekend to ensure it’s working” and he tells me I’ll have to work it out with the department manager for the server group.
Long story only slightly shorter, that guy proceeds to make my and his two employees’ lives miserable all weekend. I keep suggesting the sticky bit, he keeps telling me “there’s no way that’s it” and suggests dumb strategy after dumb strategy. I keep telling my substitute manager what’s happening, he keeps telling me to work it out…and stay as long as I need to.
Finally, late on Columbus Day, my admin friend says “I’m just going to try your idea without telling him.”
Fixes the problem…less than two minutes effort.
When my manager got back from vacation last week, he called me over to his desk. He had just gotten the bill from the contracting firm. He seemed pissed. I had billed for three extra 8 hour days.
Him: “I just have one question: where did you sleep?”
“On the couch in the waiting room.”
Him: “OK. Thanks.”
Earlier today, my manager came over with an envelope and when he handed it to me he said “I’d tell you to thank [substitute manager] and [server group manager] for this but since it came out of their budgets, maybe best not to. Don’t spend it all in one place.”
Check was for my regular pay plus, um, almost $18,000. My manager socked their budgets for time and a half from the end of business of Friday to open of business on Tuesday.
When I told him later that I felt bad, he said: “You shouldn’t, you taught them a very valuable lesson in server technology and business management that they obviously missed.”
Did I mention my boss used to be a programmer himself?