It's not so common to have an uncomfortable conversation with someone in the IT department.
Sure, depending on your company you may have frustrating conversations. Unintelligible conversations, circular conversations, patronizing conversations or all manner of computer-related gobbledygooky conversations.
But those aren't "uncomfortable", so much. You don't feel awkward afterward. You just go back to your desk and put out the fire that's burning through your keyboard or whatever, and assume that someone will get to your problem in a couple of months. No problem.
(Oh, I kid the IT guys. I kid because I love.
And also because my 'U' key is now a melted hunk of useless plastic. I'm just saying.)
The IT staff at my current company is actually very good. The large majority of conversations I've had with them have been productive, congenial and tremendously helpful. And also, not at all uncomfortable.
Today my group's new storage drive went live on the network. We shuffle a lot of data around in my department.
(Seriously, this one guy apparently has every freaking MP3 Matchbox 20 ever put out -- and he just keeps loading the damned things back on our party tunes server, no matter how often we chuck them in the recycle bin. Or move them to a folder named "Larry's Big Tween Crush Hunk Band." Or set his keyboard on fire.)
Anyway, when the budgets rolled over in January, we decided to order this big honking new storage system. Or at least, we decided we wanted one. And I got tabbed to work with IT on the particulars.
So I did. Which basically involved them asking me how much space I needed, me stretching my arms thiiiiiiis wide, and them going off to diagram and spec out and, I don't know, play a Call of Duty deathmatch to see who had to make the order. Who knows how these people get things done, exactly? The inside of the server room might as well be Narnia, for crissakes.
A couple of weeks ago, we were told the hardware had come in. We didn't see the hardware, of course -- IT staff only through the back of the wardrobe, please -- but they were apparently quite pleased with the savvy computing choices that they'd earlier instructed me to make.
"Hot-swappable, RAID-ready, rack-mounted and all sorts of other fancy things that sound like you're talking about a nineteen-year-old coed with an appletini problem who doesn't wear a bra."
I readied the people on my side to unleash an enormous firehose of data at the thing, as soon as it came online. We stuffed temp folders and thumb drives and other peoples' network shares full of our bytes -- I'm sure Human Resources wondered what the shit all the Matchbox 20 files were doing in the Payroll bin last week -- and waited to unleash the digital kraken.
The storage server I was told to decide on was a real beast. Hot-swappable, RAID-ready, rack-mounted and all sorts of other fancy things that sound like you're talking about a nineteen-year-old coed with an appletini problem who doesn't wear a bra. Needless to say, we were eagerly awaiting our first data transfers. We were ready to upload. All. Night. Long.
So the server came online today, and we threw a bunch of files at it. But I noticed it was filling up, rather more quickly than I'd expected. I did a quick check, and found the space to be only about sixty percent of the total capacity. The IT gang had said they'd have to shave some off the top for backups and swap space and the one guy's My Little Pony archive. Totally reasonable. I get that. And the Brony dude is strictly 4th generation, so it's not weird or anything.
But I didn't expect all that to sap away nearly half our space. So I was feeling a bit let down and disappointed -- deflated, if you will -- when one of the IT crew came bouncing into the office this afternoon. And that's when things got... uncomfortable.
IT Guy: Hey-hey! So, whaddaya think? It's pretty big, right?
Me: Yeah, it's... big, I guess.
IT Guy: You guess? What do you mean?
Me: It's just... I kinda thought it'd be... bigger.
IT Guy: Bigger?
Me: Well, I'd heard... you know, from the other guys...
IT Guy: That it would be big?
Me: Yeah. Massive.
IT Guy: And now it's not big enough for you? Is that it?
Me: Hey, look, man -- I didn't say that. It's just-
IT Guy: It didn't live up to the hype. I get it.
Me: No, no. Dude. Look. I know you guys can be sensitive about the size of your... hardware.
IT Guy: I'm not sensitive! My hardware is huge!
Me: Okay, okay, let's-
IT Guy: I think you're being unrealistic about hardware sizes! Have you been reading those smutty magazines about Deep Blue and the Crays?
Me: Well, I-
IT Guy: Because those are unrealistic standards! Nobody's that big! Nobody!
Me: All right. Look, I'm sorry. You're -- I mean, your hardware -- is plenty big enough.
IT Guy: You really think so?
Me: Of course. I am fully satisfied. With your hardware.
IT Guy: You're not just saying that?
Me: No. It's... really, really big. Huge. Frankly, I'm not sure we can handle all that hardware.
IT Guy: Well. Okay, then. I'm glad you're enjoying it.
IT Guy: Great. So, you want to go grab lunch?
Me: Uh, no. I'm gonna need a couple of days before I can look you in the eye again. Just keep walking, hardware guy.
So basically, our group has data now that's going to have to find some other home, we may have to buy another server sooner rather than later, and the IT guy is going to feel cheap if I don't call him tomorrow. Super.
Meanwhile, I'm coping by telling everyone I know that his hardware isn't as huge as he thinks it is.
Hey, call me catty if you like. I've got data to move. Mre-yow!