I think I've shown in my past rants and comments that I'm pretty experienced. Looking back though, I was really fucking stupid. Since I haven't posted a rant yet on the weekly topics, I figure I would share this humbling little gem.

Way back in the ancient era known as 2009, I was working my first desk job as a "web designer". Apparently the owner of this company didn't know the difference between "designer", which I'm not, and "developer", which I am, nor the responsibilities of each role.

It was a shitty job paying $12/hour. It was such a nightmare to work at. I guess the silver lining is that this company now no longer exists as it was because of my mistake, but it was definitely a learning experience I hold in high regard even today. Okay, enough filler...

I was told to wipe the Dev server in order to start fresh and set up an entirely new distro of Linux. I was to swap out the drives with whatever was available from the non-production machines, set up the RAID 5 array and route it through the router and firewall, as we needed to bring this Dev server online to allow clients to monitor the work. I had no idea what any of this meant, but I was expected to learn it that day because the next day I would be commencing with the task.

Astonishingly, I managed to set up the server and everything worked great! I got a pat on the back and the boss offered me a 4 day weekend with pay to get some R&R. I decided to take the time to go camping. I let him know I would be out of town and possibly unreachable because of cell service, to which he said no problem.

Tuesday afternoon I walked into work and noticed two of the field techs messing with the Dev server I built. One was holding a drive while the other was holding a clipboard. I was immediately called into the boss's office.

He told me the drives on the production server failed during the weekend, resulting in the loss of the data. He then asked me where I got the drives from for the Dev server upgrade. I told him that they came from one of the inactive systems on the shelf. What he told me next through the deafening screams rendered me speechless.

I had gutted the drives from our backup server that was just set up the week prior. Every Friday at midnight, it would turn on through a remote power switch on a schedule, then the system would boot and proceed to copy over the production server's files into an archive for that night and shutdown when it completed. Well, that last Friday night/Saturday morning, the machine kicked on, but guess what didn't happen? The files weren't copied. Not only were they not copied, but the existing files that got backed up previously we're gone. Why? Because I wiped those drives when I put them into the Dev server.

I would up quitting because the conversation was very hostile and I couldn't deal with it. The next week, I was served with a suit for damages to this company. Long story short, the employer was found in the wrong from emails I saved of him giving me the task and not once stating that machine was excluded in the inactive machines I could salvage drives from. The company sued me because they were being sued by a client, whose entire company presence was hosted by us and we lost the data. In total just shy of 1TB of data was lost, all because of my mistake. The company filed for bankruptcy as a result of the lawsuit against them and someone bought the company name and location, putting my boss and its employees out of a job.

If there's one lesson I have learned that I take with the utmost respect to even this day, it's this: Know your infrastructure front to back before you change it, especially when it comes to data.

  • 14
    Wow what a story. I feel sorry for you since it was your first job and all.

    In which country that happened. Im curious cause of the law suit
  • 4
    @enclaver United States
  • 7
    what hell of a rant, you deserve that ++
  • 1
    You didn't mention what happened to the production servers. This was only a (new) backup system, right? What happened to the original data?
  • 2
    Reminds me of a few interesting SO posts. Sorry to hear your story, but think of all the experience you gained!
  • 2
    @reset--hard the production server loss its data while I was away. The original backup server was replaced with the new one that I removed and wiped the drives from for the new Dev server. There was no redundancy on the data past that.
  • 3
    I got shivers while reading this.. What a life lesson to learn mate😧
  • 0
    I actually feel sad for the company employees who were thrown jobless... and I also feel sad for u because u didn’t do it on purpose...
    I shall always keep at heart to take great care of every step I do 🙂
    Thank you very much for the lesson sir ☺️🤗
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