The IT Cult

Working in IT isn’t a job, it’s a bizarre religion….Imagine a well shaft filled halfway with ectoplasm and dozens of vaguely ball shaped objects.  The balls are every possible size, color and density all constantly moving, touching, connecting, then sliding away into a new orbit.

The heavy balls are are always circulating below the surface where you can’t see them.  Their constant movements known only by the acolytes devoted to them.  These globes have sanskrit etched into them with words that sound like ‘Firewall’ or ‘Network connection’ or ‘Router’.  To see these mysterious bodies, you only have to drink the holy Kool Aid that lets you see and breathe below the surface of the ectoplasm.  Once you’ve drunk, the ectoplasm engulfs you as part of itself, and you’ll never rise fully above the surface again.  Years after leaving IT, you’ll be at dinner with your family and a look they’ve all come to recognize will pass across your face. You’ll start saying words like ‘BigIP’ and ‘Secure connection’.  Don’t worry, your family will politely ignore you until the episode passes, then clean up the green goo you secreted onto the Thanksgiving table during your little ‘moment’.   This is the order of the Network

Some of orbs are lighter and float partially above the surface.  The larger of these read ‘web’, ‘sql’, ‘iis’ and glow with a sullen hypnotic light.  Their glow encourages the uninitiated to fondle and move them about in the flow of the well shaft.  Members in the orders that care for these orbs can scald those interlopers with only the tone of their voice.  Their rituals are filled with scorn for outsiders and require hours each week castigating members of all the other orders.  These are the twin orders of angry Database and sullen Servers.

The smaller orbs floating just at the surface have tiny precise markings of ‘C’, ‘C#’, ‘Perl’.  There were once many marked ‘Java’ but few now remain.  These balls are hard to see.  Their ability to absorb all light making them uncomfortable for most to look at.  Their devotees are constantly smoothing and reshaping the balls to reach an ideal size and perfect roundness unaffected by all the other objects orbiting in the well.  It’s an impossible task, but never tell them.  They won’t understand.  This is the order of Programmers

Floating fully above the surface of the ooze is a solid layer of brightly colored balls.  The layer is so thick, it makes the well look much like a childrens ball pit when viewed from above.  Each of these balls has a humans first name scribed on it in puffy paint.  The newest balls could be read by touch, the oldest look tattered with only a letter here and there remaining.  This is the order of the HelpDesk.

Last week, a disturbance was introduced into the well.  Somewhere between the realm of the Programmers and the realm of the Network, something was different.  The mighty users far beyond the Order of the HelpDesk could not login to their beloved and thrice-hated precious artifact.  Each order said their ritual words and retreated to their own levels to reassure each other, the fault was not theirs.

Being the first to notice and foolishly, the first to raise the alarm, I was tasked with finding the cause and convincing the responsible order to rectify the damage.

I spoke with the Order of the Network and was told that though my code could not have caused the problem, it must be changed before they would allow me an audience.  The changing of the code would take weeks to percolate through each system though… so I must wait those weeks for an audience and an answer.

I spoke with the Order of the Database and was told that they were in consultation with the Bovine Gods of second lunch and could not have caused or seen the disturbance.  They retreated to their temple and with a whiff of fried potatoes, locked the doors.

I spoke with the Order of the Server and they had such great certainty that the Order of the Network was the cause that the retreated gleefully to find proof in their obscure ever changing tomes.  Their gaze has been so intense since that time that they no longer respond to requests.  Not even the sacred box of the ‘za lords wisping with the odor of pepperonis has been able to draw forth their attention.

I did not speak to the order of the HelpDesk.  For truly, telling them would bring chaos and panic with no incantation to offer them which they could read to the Users to calm their inner demons.

Days passed…One of the Order of Programmers confessed quite sheepishly to reciting an incantation at the Altar of Servers a full month early and without invoking the will of the entire Order of Programmers.  There was the rolling of eyes and the gnashing of teeth, but even this was not the true cause of the disturbance in the depths of the well.

So here I sit, a full week later.  No answers.  No incantations of healing.  No soothing balm for the mighty end users.  Just a sacrificial presence to be excoriated when the users realize their precious is still being damaged somewhere in the bowels of the well.