Sysadmin's £100,000 revenge after sudden sacking

Reader marched without an exit interview had no chance to explain the big savings around the corner


On-Call Here we are again on a bright British Friday morning, which means it's time for On-Call, in which readers recollect their ramblings into the real world to fix things up.

This week, reader "James" has shared a story “from my days as a Sysadmin, at the dawn of the broadband area, when I worked for a very well known company supplying fantasy wargaming products.”

Said company decided it needed an office in Europe, supplied by a warehouse in Nottingham.

“To connect the sites, the ERP system needed a link between the sites,” James recalls. But the company's preferred telco was a few weeks away from launching its broadband product. The European office couldn't wait, however, so James “used an aggregated on-demand international ISDN connection so the databases could sync as required.”

“This was massively expensive, but was only needed for two weeks before we could place the order for broadband. The system worked fine unattended, and everyone was happy as the ERP system worked flawlessly.”

Despite the outbreak of happiness, “a week later the IT Manager called me into a meeting with HR to inform me I had been made redundant, effectively immediately.”

James was escorted from the premises by security and prevented from speaking to his colleagues.

Before he placed an order for broadband.

“Two months later,” James wrote, “I received a call from the horrified IT Director (the IT Manager himself had been made redundant straight after me), to ask if I knew why they faced an ISDN bill for over £100,000.”

Remember that bit at the start of the story about this happening at the “dawn of the broadband age”? Back then, data connections weren't cheap. So by marching James without a handover, his former employer had missed the chance to learn about the expensive ISDN connection.

“I had great delight in telling them I knew exactly why the bill was so large and had they not made me redundant they would have not blown the whole year's IT investment budget in a single month,” James recalls. “Even better, they had gone over the cancellation period, locking them into a year's contract.”

Failing to properly debrief James therefore became a very, very expensive mistake.

Have you made or been the cause of a a more expensive mistake? If so, do let me know by writing me a pleasant email. ®

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