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Ever wanted to just rip out all of the cables?

June 17, 2012

I have a pretty bad case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  Well actually I don’t think it’s so bad, but it drives “Mrs Chris’s Blog” round the bend. In fact I think it can be a benefit when you work in IT.

I like everything neat and tidy, everything “just so”.  I thought of writing this post the other week after watching “8 Out of 10 Cats” host Jon Richardson crack a joke about this.  In his wardrobe at home he said he has (something along the lines of) “Jackets to the left, shirts in the middle and trousers to the right”, which amused me and the Mrs as that is exactly how my wardrobe is .  And yes, the coat hangers MUST all be facing the same direction (written side to the right in case you are interested).

As I mentioned I think a little OCD is good for my IT career.  I like things neat and tidy and it is good to have this with your IT systems.  Sometimes though I have to fight the urge to make things too neat and tidy, and sometimes I loose the fight.

Once (in a contract that lasted several years) I was responsible for a 3,000 user Active Directory that had been very badly managed.  When I say 3,000 users it actually had 6,000 users but nobody could ever be bothered to delete users who had left.  Everything about this AD was a mess, but the thing that bothered me most was that a lot of the names didn’t have capitols at the start.  I spent a good couple of days fixing that, and I did it manually (it was a slow week).

Most of the time I manage to fight the silly urges (it helps to be very busy, then I don’t have time to think about things I shouldn’t be thinking about). Even now, every time I am given the tour of the data centre on starting a new job and I am shown the racks with messy patching I make a secret plan to one day pull out all of the cables and start again, making it tidy.  Of course I never do this, but I always make the plan.

What having OCD doesn’t explain is that when I am shown the big red buttons you aren’t supposed to press in the data centre I always want to press them.  Every time I walk past a big red button I am not supposed to press I get a huge urge to push it.  Power breakers, fire systems and even the button that turns off the SAN or the Tivoli tape backup system always catch my eye, every time I walk past them.

I guess the nice thing about doing my job is sometimes (but not often) you get to push the big red button as part of a planned maintenance window, and that always feels good!  I would guess all of this comes from childhood and growing up being told not to do things that you wanted to do?  Maybe it is part of some sort of authority issue I have.

Anyway, if you are some sort of trainee psychiatrist and would like to use me as a case study please feel free to get in touch 😉 And if you have a messy Active Directory structure I cannot recommend Manage Engine’s AD Manager Plus product which I will talk about in a future post.

If you have the same urges about ripping out cables and pushing big red buttons know that you are not alone.  Perhaps we could start our own self help group.  Let me know if you suffer as badly as me by making a comment below!


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