I Was This Kind…

I remember a time in my past existence where there would be frustrating issues presented that no one seemed to be able to remedy. No one but me, that is. I relished in those extreme and nearly impossible to fix problems because I am a natural problem-solver. One of those problems is demonstrated in the video below.

In it (and, apologies for the distracting wind) I was on a case where several techs had been out over the course of several years — many of whom with more seniority (and therefore, more experience) over myself; applying all sorts of fixes along the way. Immediately upon arrival, I go and identify what I believe is the issue. Lo and behold… Upon doing so, I would then go on to definitively resolve this customer’s issue. Just one of the hundreds (if not a thousand or two) of residences where I came, I saw, and I conquered.

If it please the audience, allow me to offer a little bit of history as to how I came upon this solution of mine: This particular service of ours was susceptible to what was known as “foreign voltage” that would back-feed into the network and therefore cause all kinds of havoc. There were (sort of) processes in place to mitigate it from outside the residence, but what about if it originated from within? Since there was nothing on the books, many techs never had the wherewithal to even try and identify it as a source of the resulting issues. Which led to more or less “band aid” remedies.

However… way back when I was still green, there was this manager under whom for a time I was a subordinate. In one of our morning meetings — right at the peak of when customers were reporting issues that in some way could associated with this very thing — he offered an offhand and unorthodox suggestion of checking a certain wiring system for the presence of this rogue electricity with a tool in our possession that was otherwise used for something else. I tried it on the next opportunity. And, lo and behold, it was there.

I won’t go into how I remedied the problem since that’s a whole other story filled with technical jargon that would otherwise put many of you to sleep, but suffice to say that over the course of the following years, I had confirmed the consistency of the issue and applied workable solutions. I had noticed, though, that I was the only one who seemed to heed the words of this wise manager; evident by the blank stares and challenging rebuttals I faced whenever I tried explaining my methods to my fellow brethren. I even tried presenting my methods to managers, but short of a stock reply assuring me that my fix would be investigated in the “labs,” I was ignored and probably considered a kook by them as well. I wish I had the mind to ask my (by now, since he’d moved on) former manager to confirm my theory, but sadly he passed away.

William “Bill” Ramey… From about any and everyone who knew him, he was a highly-respected man; and one who’d become an unintentional mentor to me because of the (my entire) lifetime of experience he so freely and easily gave to us in those cherished meetings. And, while obviously many of my peers were simply getting through the day by mindlessly nodding and agreeing and otherwise following the documented processes to the letter, I considered and applied those plausible (and what should’ve been, in my opinion, sanctioned) deviations for the litany of issues that many of us were not — could not have been — prepped for.

“No matter if anyone will listen,” I eventually resolved with myself after some time of pretty much “screaming in the dark.” So long as I was applying this fix of mine and getting back the substantiating data, I needed nothing but the numbers to justify me. There are, however, my documented attempts at conveying this “gospel” to my peers; the video being one of them.

Mind you, this wasn’t in any of the processes on record, but it worked. It worked because someone with way more experience and respect than I who thought outside the box, lent to me an out-of-the-box way of approaching an ongoing and otherwise unknown (to a great many) issue that was plaguing our services. Thanks in large part to (and in honor of) Mr. Ramey, slowly I was growing to become the kind of tech/employee who would hopefully be as seasoned and respected as he. Unfortunately (and ironically in small part as a result of my unorthodox ways), I would wind up being terminated.




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