People don’t simply forget. 5, 10, 15, 20 years cannot easily erase things that stay in someone’s head. They may forget something temporarily, yet, some event, smell, visual or words can trigger the recall – as if with a snap of the fingers.
The story is about a man, who was once working in the same office with me. People used to describe him as a shy person with very few words. When colleagues described you that way, obviously you never really have spoken much in meetings. As opposed to boardroom whores (including the male species) who would continue on arguing and debating even if the issues are closed. Well, sometimes we call this type of colleagues - the boardroom pigs. Hehehe.
So, this ex-colleague was also a Database Administrator in the company. The difference between him and me was I specialized in installation, operation and support while he was more involved with software design and development.
Our job titles were similar, yet our scopes of works were so different. However, there were times when I had to assist him whenever it came to product installation and configuration on UNIX servers. I also remember having to support him over the phone to do some troubleshooting.
He left the company in the year 2000 for greener pastures. Another DBA took over his place in a high profile project. That was when the skeleton came out of the closet. Once he saw the database structure he just inherited, the new DBA realized that he just jumped into a terrible mess. It took a few years of Oracle knowledge for you to understand the state of the database, so I’ll not describe it here. Let’s just call it a total mess. Not adhering to standards and best practices, badly designed and can make any junior DBA scream hysterically if he’s asked to manage it.
Obviously, the new DBA had to unwillingly clean all those shits the guy left behind. To make things worse, the documentations were useless. It’s sad to learn that someone you trusted with some job, did it shabbily and made other people’s life became miserable.
During that time I was not directly involved with that high profile project. I heard about the whole thing during our gossip sessions at the pantry and mamak joint. Since I didn’t know the guy so well, I didn’t comment much whenever they discussed him.
We have always belonged to different teams, that I couldn’t really remember his name when Alien mentioned it over the phone this afternoon.
Alien had his application form and resume in her hands when she called me. She read to me his technical skills when suddenly it struck me that I knew that guy.
‘Oh, yes. I think I remember him. He was doing Informix before.’ I told Alien.
‘It said here he has Oracle as well,’ Alien was still scanning through the long resume.
‘Maybe he picked up Oracle along the way. Hey, he decided to re-join Xcebix? I wonder why,’ I just couldn’t hide my surprise. But, these days some of my ex-colleagues decided to work at Xcebix back. Maybe because they’re doing a few mega IT projects or maybe the greener pastures turned out to be grey after a few years.
‘Do you remember what he was like?’ Alien asked.
‘Well, I remember he was like Badli,’ I heard Alien gasped at the end of the line.
‘Oh, don’t tell me he’d just do his own work but nobody else is to question or argue with him,’ Alien described Badli precisely. I couldn’t help but laughed and took the nearest object on my desk and pretended to hit my own head.
‘Yeah, he was like that. He kept so much to himself. But, I think he did something before he resigned. I just couldn’t remember what,’ suddenly something deep inside me was telling that there’s a dark side of that guy. My instinct is sometimes that strong.
‘What? What? What did he do?’ Alien was sensing that a long forgotten juicy story was about to be revealed by me.
‘I can’t remember what it was, but I think he made some mess. Quite bad.’ Until then I still couldn’t remember exactly of what happened 7 years earlier. Then suddenly Alien shrieked,
‘Eh, I remember this guy! He was the DBA at J*E project. I was there when I did my Practical Training,‘ when Alien mentioned the project name, suddenly all the gossip details came flowing to me, like water from a broken dam.
‘Ok, now I remember what he did.’
‘Argh, there’s no way I’m going to consider this guy,‘ Alien was full of anger. I was quiet for a while.
‘I wonder how he has the guts to apply there, after what he has done.’ that was all I could say. Sometimes, words just can't express it.
After planning for our next gossip session, Alien hung up. I sat pondering at my desk for a long time. Thank god I always close my projects cleanly. No back door solutions. No dirty tricks. No ‘if-things-are-not-broken-then-don’t-fix-it’s.
I just couldn’t help but thinking, the bad DBA will be chewing his own shoes when he realized that his application was scanned by ‘the once-a-practical-trainee-now-a-department-manager’ Alien.
Moral of the story is, treat every project team members professionally (as you might be begging food from them someday) and do your job properly (because these days, those skeletons you keep in the closet know how to walk out and perform a puppet show.) Hehe.