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on incompetent management

So the bad news today is that Sean, our excellent network security guy, is leaving. He gave two weeks' notice today.

This is a huge blow, because in under a year he managed to undo a lot of the bad reputation my department got with students. He had a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is attitude towards the various things dorm kids would do that were in violation of university policy or federal or state laws. He would even counsel kids who "couldn't stop" the file sharing habit, suggesting they talk to an addiction specialist at the Counseling Center. (I'm sure Kate would love that, having written a book chapter dealing with, in part, the possible myth of "Internet Addiction".)

But in the end, I blame our upper management, who didn't give him sufficient latitude to do the job in the way he saw fit (and that was working well) and who basically differed strongly with him on the right attitude to take when dealing with students. "These children need to be instructed and educated in the evil ways of trading copyrighted material!" he would be told. "No they don't, they need to be told to knock this shit off because it's hard on the network and generates cease-and-desist letters. Leave the fucking moral argument out of it, the kids aren't trying to hear that."

Bah. I suppose now we'll go back to our old ways of bringing kids who run Gnutella up here to sit on someone's knee and listen to a patronly lecture on how to be a good little boy or girl. I predict the firebomb threats will resume.

Comments

( 6 comments — Comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 26th, 2002 10:41 am (UTC)
Tamboli
I wouldn't even call it a "patronly lecture." A couple of years ago, I was copying MP3's from one computer to another in my room. MP3's I had ripped from my own CD's. Well, because of the hub-not-switch issue I went over the limit. Called, started explainging. As soon as I said "MP3," the guy interrupted me with "$10,000 each." I tried to explain that I owned the CD's, but he didn't care. It's been much nicer dealing with Sean: as you said, he recognizes our point of view and tried to educate rather than punish. He will be missed.
szasz
Apr. 26th, 2002 01:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Tamboli

While I'm thinking of Sean stories:

I guess he turned off some dorm port for sharing out music that we got some legal threat from Sony Music on, and when the kid called him, had a big attitude and at some point told Sean "Yeah, I'm interested in resolving this. Maybe I better come up there and fuck you up, how does that sound?"

I guess you have to have met Sean, but he's about 6'7, big, strong, and mean-looking. He built his own house. Real calm-like he tells the kid "okay, here's my office location, you come on up, I look forward to meeting you."

I never heard if the kid actually did, or what happened. We were all terribly amused though.

starstraf
Apr. 26th, 2002 02:27 pm (UTC)
Maybe you can hire one of the recently laid off Nova Net folks
szasz
Apr. 26th, 2002 02:28 pm (UTC)

University-wide hiring freeze. No surprise I'm sure.

caesararum
Apr. 26th, 2002 08:04 pm (UTC)
Dang, and here I was thinking maybe I could take the spot.


pjp, "Underqualified but underemployed"
(Anonymous)
Apr. 30th, 2002 12:48 pm (UTC)
Don't be too tough on upper management
I thank Szazz for his comments, but have a few of my own to add.

I appreciate how everyone here has accepted me and helped me out through the technical details of my job. I was especially anxious when I started out as the security guy since I was definitely not an expert and there are people around here who do kernel hacking for lite entertainment. I only really have one opinion on computer security and that is: "if you don't own your machine, it is junk; I don't care how much neat stuff it will do". It is suprising how many people (many of which who should know better) think 'oh, if I patch over the top of the trojans and viruses, they (security)will get off of my case'. Or, my personal favorite, "that account belongs to a person who quit 6 months ago, what do you mean it is a security hole?" YES but SOMEONE is using that account, duh!

Back on topic-
The services that we provide and the complexity of the things that we are trying to do make management very hard, so I am cutting them some slack - there are exceptions. Szazz'es original post did not take into account everything that has happened in my personal life over the past 7 months, and the fact that I did land a job that will have a lot less stress and is probably even better than this one.

Thanks Szazz

BTW the student never did come to my office to 'fuck me up'.

Spooven
( 6 comments — Comment )

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