Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Loooooooooooooong day...

The odd thing about wholesale circuits is that the person with whom I have the most amount of contact with, the end user, is not, in fact, our customer. MCI or AT+T or whomever sells the circuit to the customer, and when they contact us to install it, they are our customer. Most of the time this isn't much of a conflict; I mean, my job is to either install or repair said circuit, so everybody's interests coincide.

There are occasions, however, where this is not as smooth sailing as it might otherwise have been. Yesterday was such a case. The floor the customer was on was under construction, and there was a cable that the building assured him was not in use. It was cut, and because it was the tie cable to the server room, all of the their circuits went down. I had a T-1 repair there, and there was another floating around that I ended up with; the end user didn't want us to run another cable. They wanted us to demarc in the house closet and they would extend the circuits themselves to the server room.

Now, this is important. The point of demarcation is where we hand the circuit off to the customer. We are responsible for everything up to that point. Afterwards, all the equipment either belongs to the customer or their vendor. The easiest way to demonstrate that is to compare it to your home phone line: if the phone company fixes it before it enters your home, then you don't pay for the repair because it was the phone company's responsibility to get it to you. If the problem is found in your house, you'll be billed because that is your property, not ours.

Now, the customer put a 110 block (a type of punch-down we never use) on the end of the severed cable, which means they appropriated it. It no longer belongs to us.

Well, I put up a four pack smartjack in the closet, and because the customer wanted to extend it via punchdowns instead of via a T-1 cable, I had to wire the jack up differently from how we normally do it. Usually the customer just plugs in their cable to the RJ48c plug on the back, but in this case I had to wire the jack to a 66 block. I then went and got the circuits up and running. One of them came up right away, the other one (which was actually dead in the server room to begin with) took a bit more work. The point is, I got them both working again. I was hoping that the IT guys could hook their equipment up to it and give me the go-ahead to close the jobs, but... well, I hate to cast aspersions about other people and their competence, but...

You see, the severed cable was no good. I don't know if the problem was created when they put it on the 110 blocks or what, but that was lousy copper, and they couldn't get a good signal out of it.

I ended up calling the respective exchange carriers and testing with them. We were good to our last point, which meant that we were done. The end user, however, tried to keep us there as long as possible, even after MCI gave us the go ahead to close. He even chased us down when we were leaving. The big question I had to ask him was what, exactly, do you expect us to do, since I had done everything that I possibly could, and was successful, given that the circuits were both running clean to and through the smartjacks. One of my co-workers finally pinned him down, saying "You want us for moral support." Once it was boiled down to that essential, the customer got embarrassed and let us go.

Now, what made this such a bizarre moment was because the end user had been such an asshole. He was understandably angry about what had happened, but he wasn't handling it very well, vehemently lashing out at everybody around him. He was confrontational yesterday morning with another tech, who ended up dropping the job (one of the advantages of a Union job is that we don't have to take abuse), and he was openly hostile, no matter how conciliatory we were to his requests. He got our second liner on the phone and was shouting at him as well.

Dealing with end users who are irate, angry, depressed or desperate is a part of this job. I find it understandable; businesses are now entirely at the mercy of their communication systems, and when they go down the mess of companies that have sprung up since deregulation has led to a very labyrinthine relationship between what a circuit needs to be doing and who needs to get it to do that. Most of the time I'm pretty good at handling it. As I said earlier, all of us have the same interest, which is getting the circuit to work. If I can accomplish this goal, then great. If I can't, then at least I'll know where the problem is and how to go about getting it fixed. The end user just needs to be assured that at least I'm doing everything I can do to help them out. This isn't too difficult to do because it's true. And candor never hurts either. They may hate the company (hell, I hate the company) but they won't hate me.

This was different, however. Our first reaction was to run a replacement cable back the way that it was supposed to go in the first place, but he refused to let us do that. So now Verizon has the absolute minimal entry to his floor, that's fine. But we can not be held responsible for things that we are not responsible for.

The problem, you see, is that this was all his own damn fault and he knew it. He allowed the building people to tell him what the phone facilities were about, which means that he didn't bother finding out from somebody who knows about telephony. He allowed the cable to be cut, and so he is the one responsible for the blackout that his company is currently experiencing. And instead of working with people to get things working, his reaction was to bully everybody around him. This is, of course, one of the worst management methods imaginable, and the truth of the fact was that he was not getting results. He only ended up micromananging and stepping on everybody's toes. This was exacerbated by the fact that he knew nothing whatsoever about telephony.

I so wanted to dress him down at that moment when we cornered his motives. What manner of moral support does somebody like him deserve, after all? Especially from people that he was leaning on who were only trying to help him out? I held my tongue, however. Discretion the better part of valor and all that.

However, since I had driven in, I gave both of the colleagues I had worked with rides to their respective homes. We stayed a bit at Dave's home in Freeport, which I must admit was rather nice. Dave threw on a couple of dogs and I had a sip of some rather delicious Haitian Rum. It was a very nice end to what had been a stressful few hours.

Working the twelve hour shift is hard. It's not something I'm eager to make a habit of, but it probably won't end up becoming so because they are really stingy with overtime nowadays. I remember when I used to get at least five hours a week, but those days are long over.
Tags: work
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