bad experience at work ! need advice please

Unanswered Question
Sep 30th, 2010

Right guys

So, last night I got called back in work at 12:00am, and didnt get home till 7am this morning, then my boss told me to come back in at 12 midday, I had 3 hours sleep. When I got work, I had to have a crisis meeting with my boss and had to explain to him for an hour about how and why the issue happened.

I work for a major food manufacturing company that is 24/7 and is a high output plant. I am the only network guy here, have about 150 or so switches, vpn asa firewalls, 100 or so access points and 400 or so voip phones. If any of this goes I am the only one to get it going again.

Last night was prob one of the worst nights I had. we had 2 x old Nortel 8610 passports that connect to all the nortel access switches, I implemented a new 6500 core x 4 last week and are rolling out 2960's to all offices over the next few months. we moved all the gateways to the new Cisco core last week, all was well. then last night the Nortel cpu card failed and failed back to master, this made the Nortel device revert to its old config with all ip settings etc, so we had duplicate gateways on the network, as well as spanning tree issues all over the place, blocking vlan 1 on the cisco switches that connnect to the Nortel core, saying spanning tree inconsistencies etc,due to the Nortel running 1 instance of spanning tree for all vlans. The sync between the cards had failed and so never saved the new config to the backup cpu.

I managed to get it all back working in the late hours. But trying to explain to my boss today was not nice, its almost like they dont believe what you say and its all your fault, almost like you sabotaged the network. I had lots of people standing behind me from the factory waiting for answers etc. Not a nice place to be considering my manager gets double my wage, yet just has to explain to others, where as I feel like me the network guy is the focal point of pressure!!

Sometimes I think is this all worth the stress. through no fault of my own all this happens, and then at the same time I feel like it makes me look like the bad guy.  I feel like I get no support and have no backup on site for me, so basically I always have to be available 24/7 to respond.  what if I was on hoilday?? and also having 3 hours sleep and having to go back to work, is this ethical guys??

I would like peoples thoughts on this, as Im sure alot of you are in my position.

What should I do ?

thanks guys

Please console


I have this problem too.
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glen.grant Thu, 09/30/2010 - 17:09

  Welcome to the wonderful world of networking .  All of us have been there done that .  There should be more than a single person on a bigger network though and explain to them just what you posted in here about vacations  etc...  If it continues and gets to be too much then look for another employer that is more reasonable.  The hours worked can get terrible in this business.

Mahesh Gohil Thu, 09/30/2010 - 21:04

Hi I agree with glen,

everyone is working like that except few . some people call them lucky but i don't. For the first five years of your job I advise people to work atleast

for 12 hours a day and then you feel your own responsibility and you will ever work for more than that.

Just enjoy your duty. Networking job starts when something goes down in a path and indeed people need your attention especially in enterprise.

so don't worry.

So don't worry.....Enjoy your life....go for SMIRNOFF  ....LIFE IS CALLING YOU......


Leo Laohoo Thu, 09/30/2010 - 21:06

Let me get this straight ... You worked from 12 midnight until 7 am and you were told to be back to work by 12 mid-day to attend a crisis meeting?    That means you have less than 5 hours of sleep. 

If this is how your boss treats you then don't hesitate to look for another job.

carl_townshend Fri, 10/01/2010 - 02:38

Yes thats correct, I actually had 3 hours of sleep. The old manager who is now my bosses boss used to say take the next day off. the new one does not do this. He has a responsability to come in as manager, and expects me to come in same time as him. he gets paid double my wage to do this.

When in this situation it is hard to talk to someone as your manager will always be in favour, and always right. I love my job, but its the management and people who my me question it.

I dont know where to take this!, people in my office just think its normal and dont say anything, yet get my wage, perhaps I should have become a programmer, no stress involved compared to network.

Things have become to reliant on the network nowadays, hence these situations.

stephen.stack Fri, 10/01/2010 - 03:40

Indeed, we have all been in a situation like that (those who have not - just wait!!)

It's not pleasent, and its not easy. Paticularly when everyone is standing around you

waiting for the fix.

I think a few points come to mind. The first is - it broke and you fixed it.

Big pat on the back for you. It is testement to your skills and ability. Anyone

who tells you otherwise is a poor people person IMHO - and does not understand

the situation for what it is.

Another point is, depending on where in the world you are, I'm pretty sure

there are legal working directives that prevent you from coming back into

work right after a night like that and a minimum period of rest is required.

Your employer may have a legal and ethical obligation to adhere to this.

If they do not participate in looking after your personal welfare, get a new job.

They will not do it any other time. The alternative is talk to your bosses boss, and spell

it out. Sounds like a reasonable fella.

In my own circumstances, I witness everyday, management taking the network

for granted. Its up so happy days!! When it's down - its on you and your neck is

on the block. I always try to make light of these situations, and only experience

will teach you that getting stressed about these type of outage situations does not

help you (the engineer trying to fix it) or the company. A more relaxed approach

can resolve the situation quicker. i.e. where i am, if a major incident occurs, it is docuemented

(after much discussion and on my recommendation) that Pizza is bought in after 45 mins

of the outage and it is percieved to be a number of hours before the fix. (Helps with

focus and regular rest breaks make resolution come much quicker)

Keep the faith


francisco_1 Fri, 10/01/2010 - 04:56


if I was in your position, I would suggest to him  they hire another network engineer to assist you.

You mentioned the company operate 24/7, perhaps they should have 2 shift to cover the workload.

You have a lots of devices to manage and if they don't, it could get worst my friend in the future!


Giuseppe Larosa Sat, 10/02/2010 - 09:43

Hello Carl,

>> I work for a major food manufacturing company that is 24/7 and is a high output plant. I am the only network guy here, have about 150 or so switches, vpn asa firewalls, 100 or so access points and 400 or so voip phones. If any of this goes I am the only one to get it going again.

As noted by others you need at least one person to work with you, so that after a night like that you can take the day off.

Going back to job after three hours sleeping should be something exstraordinary and not usual.

Going back to job just to be exposed to a public process is also not polite. You should have given time to restore and to prepare an incident report to be submitted to next meeting.

You have fixed the problem and made possible for people to work in their offices.

You should talk with your current manager about the need for another person. If after one mounth you do not see any action taken, try to talk with your former manager that may be a more collaborative and open mind.

Best Regards


vmiller Fri, 10/01/2010 - 07:35

As other writers have stated your situation is not an exception

Couple trueisims:

The network is alway the culprit in any scenario, guilty until proven innocent.

Heroics are sometimes necessary, I left a position simply because that was the daily working model

life is too short to spend it on call. try and get your environment as squared away as possible embrace simple

solutions to network requirements.

Develop a personal plan to get yourself in a position to depart. Don't thrreaten, just execute.

To the author that remarked about excessive working hours, that might be true in the EU, but its

the norm in the States

Leo Laohoo Wed, 10/06/2010 - 20:26

To the author that remarked about excessive working hours, that might be true in the EU, but its the norm in the States

That'll be me! 

We're very understanding here in Australia.  If Carl was here in Australia then the employer can get into trouble with the Union and the government.  Why?

1.  The guy has lack of sleep, tired, stressed and most likely cranky and you want him to face a "tribunal"?  How sure can members of the tribunal get a correct answer from someone like that (if he doesn't loose his temper)?  In Australia we've also use a technology called "conference call".

2.  Ok, so the guy has lack of sleep and tired.  Next he's roused from his bed and asked to DRIVE to work for a crisis meeting.  If he runs into trouble, the employer is liable for a very, very large compensation.

Don't worry Carl, I had an employer who treated me like cannon fodder (although they kept telling me that I'm an "integral part of the team" BS).  I left and they tried to get me back months later so I gave them a "finger". 


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