Lots of talk, few skills

The new network administrator decided to show off his technical expertise. But it became very clear that his staff knew more than he did.

At one point in my career, I was the junior member of the IT department at a regional hospital. We went through a change of leadership when the Network Administrator who had hired me left and his replacement came in looking to "clean things up."

We weren't sure what The New Admin intended to "clean up," because productivity was up, downtime was down, and life was good. But it soon became very clear that The New Admin was all talk, few skills, and obviously set to do all he could to make himself look good at the expense of the rest of us. Even when presented with basic facts, he'd publicly demean the employee and dismiss the information. Big ego? Insecurity? Who knows.

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One day we got word that the financial team persuaded the CEO and CFO to purchase a new decision support server. This was a powerful dual processor PIII server with lots of memory and an 8GB (huge for the time) hard drive to hold the OS (Windows NT). Among other things, I had been responsible for building out and deploying new desktop PCs to replace the aging and/or non-Y2K compliant systems then in place -- these systems had been built by hand, and were now being imaged. Prior to this position I had been designing and building out Windows servers for the clients of a small local VAR. And I was the junior member of the department; any one of our IT staff members was more than qualified to handle the project.

Well, The New Admin decided that because this was the Decision Support Server, which handled Important Information for some Very Important People in a Very Important Department, he would build the system. In the middle of our shared office space. With everyone available to look upon his work of art and technical expertise.

Well, he rebuilt the server. Everything looked good. He rebooted the system after the initial build and ... Inaccessible_Boot_Device (or whatever the BSOD code for WinNT 4.0 Servers was). He started over. Same thing. This went on for a week (give or take) with The New Admin getting more frustrated with each build and refusing the help of anyone else. For instance, after watching this for the fifth time or so, I mentioned to him quietly that the server could not be built upon an NTFS partition, as was being attempted, but needed to be built FAT16, and the resulting drive converted and expanded after the fact. His response, said very loudly and in the middle of the crowded common office area: "Shut up. You look more intelligent that way."

The New Admin finally ended up calling Microsoft and paying (then about $250.00) to be informed that he needed to build the server on a (max) 2.1GB FAT16 partition, convert the drive to NTFS, and then expand the partition to encompass the entire drive.

After enough incidents such as this, I gave my notice and moved on to another job. The Network Admin lasted another year. Last I heard of him he was servicing X-ray systems.

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