Episode 78: Power Outage in IT

We moved into a “new” building several months ago. It’s new to our company, but the building is not new. When you walk around the halls, it sounds like you’re walking in a mobile home. The floors are not quiet. We struggled for months with being too cold in our offices. We worked with our coats on, I plugged in my heating pad and put it in my lap, and Gordon plugged in the extra PCs to emit some more heat. The roof would leak and part of the ceiling fell in, but don’t worry it wasn’t my office. It was one of the VPs.

Sometimes, we have problems with the electrical as well. All of the offices (unless you’re an executive) are shared by multiple employees so that’s a lot of computers plugged in per room. We found out the hard way that several rooms are on the same breaker.

I came into the office at 9am and found Debbie and Gordon sitting and chatting with their monitors turned off. Odd. They usually chat here and there, but I don’t know two people who are more devoted to coding almost every second of the day. And they’d been chatting long enough that even their screensavers went dark?

I said hi and then plugged in my laptop only to realize, my monitors wouldn’t turn on.

“Oh,” I turned back around to them, “we have no power.”

So we sat there.

And stared at each other.

We didn’t know what to do.

How do you have a conversation with the people in the same room when you don’t have email or IM? We’re supposed to actually talk? We tried. Every so often, we’d turn around in our chairs to check for lights on the computers to indicate a return of power.

Then the boss came in. He helped us make it through the wait by sharing some stories of being the only man in a family with his wife and four daughters. No wonder he’s such a good boss.

After a couple of hours (don’t worry, the boss wasn’t telling stories the entire time), he went to track down facilities and get them to fix it already.

They finally came down, unlocked the room, threw the breaker, and we started sending emails again.

It’s a good thing facilities keeps us locked out of that room so we can’t throw the breaker ourselves. That could be disastrous.

What would you do at work if your power went out?

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