Apr 30, 2024

The Forgotten CISCO Box: A Lack of Pride in Your Work

No long intro, instead a question.

If you look at the server rack below would you say the previous IT contractor took pride in their work?

A server rack uncleaned and dirty

100% you would say no. If in doubt, I will shortly show a clean version but first I want to show you something else.

Can you see it? Yeah, right there at the bottom, the CISCO box. The good old CISCO 870 Series. Let’s get a zoom on that:

A zoom in of an old CISCO box that the last IT contractor left behind

Ok now you see it. What’s its purpose? If it’s in the server rack it must be important, right? No is the answer I eventually discovered. Another IT contractor left this CISCO box powered on doing nothing for over 5 years. Yeah 5 years! Plugged in, doing nothing. It was part of an old VOIP system that another contractor replaced but they left behind the CISCO box.

When I discovered this I thought about it for a while. Who would leave a CISCO box for that long? Then it dawned on me, people that take less pride in their work.

I now want to show you another picture:

A front shot of a clean server rack after we replaced the old devices

Same same, but different. This is the image of how we left the server rack when we finished upgrading the devices inside for my client. Clean, easy on the eyes, and with clear separations between the devices. Even a person that knows nothing about the devices inside would look at it and say: “now that’s neat”.

Now the same experiment, but with the before and after of the server rack. I want you to tell me, which one looks like someone took pride in their work?

A comparison of, on the left, before we cleaned the server rack and after we cleaned the server rack, on the right

My point: people notice when you take pride in your work. It’s the reason they continue to call you or refer you to other potential clients.

It requires a small effort to clean up a server rack, in this case an extra half hour to an hour tops. However, when no one cleans the server rack it could take a whole day or longer to clean up the mess. A failure of many small efforts leads to the necessity for a big effort. Save a dollar today and leave your client to pay for someone else to clean it up in the future. Not good enough!

When I saw the server rack and the state that other IT contractors left it in I felt angry. Angry because I find it disrespectful that someone paid money for you to perform a service and you put in zero care. Even if another company installed the CISCO box for example, show common courtesy and remove the old technology.

When I perform work for others I remind myself of one simple thing: Would I be upset if someone did the same to me?

In other words, don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.

Now, to my dear reader, I ask you, do you take pride in your work?