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Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it. -Colin Powell

All managers were away at an off site meeting. Meaning they were playing golf. If this were any average day then that would be fine. This did not turn out to be an average day. With no management on site and no senior analyst willing to make the bid decisions, I stepped up. Wrong or right, I did what I thought was best for the company and the data we steward.

On this day we had a power outage. We had multiple power feeds to the facility and we had battery backups to carry us over until the secondary feed kicked in. Today we had multiple failures. Our primary feed was interrupted. At first we did not think anything of it. We waited to switch to the secondary feed. After a bit, about five minutes I estimate, Carl checked on the data of the switch over. I do not know what drove him to do so. I am glad he did. I followed Carl to the front entrance of the data center. Carl went into the battery room. "Well, what does it look like?" I asked. We never switched over the secondary feed and Carl was unsuccessful at getting it to switch manually. We officially had a double failure.

Standing there in front of the data center, we discussed our options. Carl informed that the battery backup was rated at thirty-minutes. Great, now we have a starting point. The power feed was out about five minutes to this point. I remember turning to Chris, technically he was more senior that I, and asked what we should do. Chris took chart of trying to contact our management. I devised a backup plan as I suspected that management would not answer the phone on the golf course. I was right. On the assumption that we had thirty total minutes of battery time and that we used about five of those already, I decided that we would start to shutdown the data center in about fifteen minutes unless power was restored. Our clock ran out. Fifteen minutes was up. I instructed Chris to have the other start shutting down computers in the data center to preserve the data. He refused. I, however, executed my plan on those systems for which I was responsible. I was able to shutdown all but two of the file servers. Twenty-three of 25 ain't bad. I ran out of time. Without knowing it, we over loaded the capacity of the batteries to maintain the data center for a full thirty minutes and I ran out of power.

City power was eventually restored and the data center was returned to production. In the shutdown, I only lost two disk drives. With the RAID systems in place that means there was no data loss. I replaced the disks from stock and called our supplier for an RMA number. Management returned sometime after lunch. I was in my office working on the RMA and writing up my notes to present to Gale, my department manager. I was not among those who swarmed management in a flurry to tell them what happened. About three o'clock that afternoon Gale called me into his office. I asked for a second as I pressed the enter key to send him my report on the event as I saw it. "I am on my way."

When I got to Gale's office, I told him I sent him a report on the incident in an email. He took a moment to read and asked me a few questions. Who told me the batter was rated for thirty minutes? Who made the decision to finally shutdown the data center? When did we know that secondary feed did not switch over? What did I pick fifteen minutes? That last one I had to answer sheepishly. I felt that I needed ten minutes to shutdown all the file servers cleanly and I took a SWAG (some wild ass guess). Gale's response was that I did the right thing for the right reasons. He thanked me for taking charge. He asked why I did not wait to hear back from the management team. I simply informed him that I knew they were on the golf course. I play golf. I know that it is bad form to leave your ringer on when out on the course. That I felt the likelihood of contacting management in time for a meaningful response was near zero. Was I wrong? Feeling put on the spot, Gale simply answered, "no."

Those of use with ADHD are uniquely qualified to handle crisis situations. We are wired for it. There are studies that show we are able to take in a lot of information from many sources and quickly digest it. Our creative mind kicks in to hypothesize solutions, and once decisions are made, our ability to hyperfocus on the task well past the point where mere mortals started to fade. We sometimes are afraid to act. We fear rejection. We often suffer from uncontrollable anxiety. I was able to control those negative emotions, make a decision, and execute despite objections from my peers. I did what I thought was right. I think that I was able to do this because I was grounded in my own belief system. I could stand on that and say, this is why, right or wrong. My ego is not tied to my beliefs so if I was wrong, I am able to change in light of new facts.

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Email: Glen Geen