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What is the stupidest thing you ever nearly did?

June 18, 2012

Up to a few years ago I smoked.  Now I am not going to get all preachy on this but I am glad I gave up; it took me many, many attempts to quit and a lot of nicotine gum, mints and patches.  If you have never smoked my advice is don’t start, if you are trying to quit I wish you all the luck in the world.

So that brings me to the stupidest thing I almost did in my career.  If you are trying to quit you might want to skip this post, it probably isn’t the best thing for you to read.

In my twenties I worked (briefly) for one of the top five law firms in the city. They had two server rooms, one with the new equipment in and one with the old “Wang” mainframe which also housed the on-site printer engineers who were sub contracted in from another company.

Every now and then I would have to pop and see the printer engineers usually to arrange a swap out of a printer with a faulty HP Jet Direct card. I quite enjoyed this as it gave me the opportunity for a smoke, as the two printer guys both smoked in the room.

The server room was also used as a temporary store room for IT equipment.  One weekend I was in the office setting up some sort of technology related “show” the firm were putting on with different equipment from different companies.  When each company sent us its display equipment it was stored in the server room ready for me to install over the weekend.

On the weekend of install, off I went to set things up taking load after load of equipment to the demo area. Towards the end of the lifting and shifting I decided a cigarette break would be a good idea.  So on my return to the server room I took one out of my pack, put it in my mouth and and was about to light it with my silver Zippo lighter when I noticed the sign right in front of me..

“Caution! This room is protected by a Halon fire extinguisher system”

Better not, I thought. I went to to the alternative smoking area, a small broom cupboard under a stairwell.

The next Monday in the office I popped to see the the printer guys.  “This Halon system has been taken out, right?” I said.  “Oh no” the engineer replied, “we disable it every morning when we get in”.

C

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