High Tech Monkey

Being in Silicon Valley, in the networking industry, it is a pretty high brow industry. To get in here, you need very low level network details. For example, you need to know how to read a sniffer trace, or packet analyzer. Sure, anyone can record it, but not many know how to interpret the data. So you know the 7 layers of the OSI, but what does each of them do? Anyhow, this gives you an idea of the level of technical aptitude required to work at this level.

Ok, so now we have established how very technical this is.  When a customer’s network is down, you have to move quickly.  P1, network down situation, meaning lots of dollars are at stake.  With 10 years in the industry, I feel I know a bit about what type of information to grab.  Sniffer traces, snoop, debugs … I know how to analyze them … but sometimes, even the best engineers, won’t be able to determine the problem.  So here is where I become a monkey … can’t solve it, so escalate to engineering.  At this point, all I do is pass information back and forth between the customer and Engineering.

Sometimes, it gets to a point, where all I am is relaying data … Engineering would like to see … or … Engineer believes that … enough … so we get into a live troubleshooting session, where Engineering sees exactly everything that is on the customer box.  However, we never let Engineering directly interact with the customer.  That’s where me, the overglorified technical operator comes in to play, where I use my typing skills, and type in very technical commands.  Granted, a simple data entry operator wouldn’t know what to type in, but still, I felt like a data entry person, a high tech monkey.

Now it turned out the problem was not with our device, but it was an issue on the customer’s network.  But still, it took two days, 4 developers, 2 tech support engineers, 2 QA engineers, and 2 customer engineers to determine it is not our fault.  And here I was, in the middle … and does the sales manager thank anyone that was intimately involved in this?  Of course not … the weasel thanks my boss’s boss.  Just typical … sales …

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again … tech support is on the lowest level of species.  Sales are at the top, and tech support is below the level of the amoeba.  At this point, I can completely relate to Rodney Dangerfield.  I get no respect at all!

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