This incident dates back to 1998 when I was an employee of a very large IT company on the North Side of Dublin. My position there was as a junior member of the IT support team: a team supporting 650 users.
One day one of the other guys on the team asked me to head down to one of the server rooms and shut down a particular server. It was a noncritical server, so there was no issue with doing this, at least I didn't think there was.
A brief amble later I arrived at my final destination, and entered the server room. It seemed more like a scene from a NASA film with huge fans and blinking lights everywhere. The Server I was to shut down was called "Dub06." It was connected along with 5 other servers to a single keyboard, mouse and monitor via a switch box. I selected the corresponding button on the switch box to give me control over Dub06. All fine there. I then told the computer to shut down, and after about two minutes I got the message saying "It is now safe to switch of your computer."
Grand, I thought. I reached over to the left to the front panel of Dub06 and hit the power button. As I pressed the power button, I had a moment of horror as I realized this machine was not Dub06; it was in fact "Dub01."
Dub01 was the server that housed all the files those 600 people were working on, and I was about to turn this off in the middle of what they were doing.
Those of you in the know will remember that in the late nineties the power switch on a computer did not turn it off until after you released your finger from the button (when it clicked back out after you pressed it in).
Luckily, I realized before I let go of the button that if I continued to hold the button in, the machine would not turn off. At this point I breathed a little sigh of relief, albeit too soon, as I thought, "All I need to do now is call the IT department and tell them to get everyone to close what they are working on, thus allowing me to restart this machine safely."
I looked to my right, to where I expected to find a phone. All I found instead was a phone minus a handset, and no speakerphone option. "Great," I thought, "I’ll just use my cell phone." Wrong again. I took out my cell and because the server room was located in the basement, I got no signal whatsoever.
I now started to panic. I was standing in a server room, unable to move with my finger and arm starting to ache while holding this button down. There was no one else with me, and unlikely to be anyone else coming and if I let my finger off the button, I'd lose my job.
In my desperation I looked around for options. I spotted a phone sitting on a tall stool behind me, about 10 feet away from me. Out of reach.