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# 208280 4-Feb-2017 13:48
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For several years I have been doing Linux SysAdmin work for a small company. They have long been a bit slack but over the past few months it has gotten far worse.

 

I don't understand what is going on except -

 

1. The owner has made a habit of ignoring my calls and texts

 

2. There is no evidence he has gotten someone else to do the work, and indeed this would be quite difficult for him due to the extensive knowledge I hold of how things fit together.

 

3. He doesn't have the skills to do the work himself and there is no evidence any work is being done beyond what I have done.

 

4. When I have been able to reach the owner, I have offered him the opportunity to pay by credit card which he has declined.

 

5. I know (roughly) how many customers they have and I can't work out why there isn't enough money to pay me

 

6. I have consistently and promptly kept the owner up to date (via email) about software updates and and other maintenance work advice, to seek the go ahead to do, but it increasingly is going into a black hole. This is making me rather worried that I am falling into the trap of being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff - and while I don't mind putting out a few fires now and then - it is incredibly demoralising for this to become a way of working for reasons beyond my control.

 

In the past I have offered them they could pay me monthly to fit in with when their customers (supposedly) paid, but all that happened was it delayed the inevitable run around.

 

I have become so demoralised by this I have simply lost interest in doing any work for them. My position has always been I will stand behind a company and their customers even if the phone call (to fix something) comes late at night. But I expect to be paid because paying my bills on time should not be one of my concerns.

 

It got to the point a few weeks ago when I told the company owner by text he should find someone else. His response was alternately to claim he would sell the business and to get upset at me for the predicament.

 

I am going overseas in a few days and will be back next month. I have resolved to start looking for a new gig as soon as I get back. At this point I just don't know how to approach this. All my previous gigs (including this one) have pretty much fallen in my lap, but right now I don't see anything on the horizon.

 

Can someone offer me advice please?





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xpd

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  # 1715396 4-Feb-2017 14:07
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If hes not willing to talk to you like a normal human, then def time to move on.

 

Just let him know, any IT queries that come your way afterwards relating to his business will come with an invoice for $500 consultancy fee for min. one hour.

 

Get your CV together and get onto Seek/TradeMe.

 

My employer is after Linux sys admins atm, Auckland based. 





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  # 1715397 4-Feb-2017 14:14
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xpd:

 

Get your CV together and get onto Seek/TradeMe.

 

My employer is after Linux sys admins atm, Auckland based. 

 

 

Thanks for that.

 

I had a read of the job requirements and it's an example of why I haven't already moved on, namely, companies these days often ask for a bunch of stuff which I do not have experience with. I could tick about 50-60% of your list (see below). For this reason, I am leaning towards a start up which would give me the opportunity to develop in the new applications.

 

The other thing I am trying to get my head around is the number of jobs based in Auckland. I live in the provinces and Auckland is now so expensive I don't have a clue how I could move back there.

 

I am worried about being in a position of earning more and then simply paying it out in rent.

 

Here, a really nice house can be bought for $150k. Even if I moved to one of the closest cities (Hastings, Napier or Palmerston North) it would still be way cheaper then Auckland.

 

Taking into account the below - is there a path to move into a role like you have linked to and what salary would be applicable please?

 

Analysis:

 

 

 

Our stand out candidate will have a minimum of 3+ years relevant technical experience, including experience with Large Corporate / Enterprises . You will demonstrate:  

 

3+ years - YES

 

Large corporate - NO

 

  •  

    An expert level of Linux systems administration experience (Ubuntu, Centos, Debian, LAMP)

     

    YES
  •  

    An advanced level of Windows Server system administration experience (Server 2008, 2012)

     

    NO
  •  

    Experience in / knowledge of:

     

    o   Web and web hosting - YES

     

  •  

     

     

    o   VMware and virtualised environments - VERY LIMITED

     

    o   Mail server and email administration - YES

     

    o   Network / firewall configuration and administration - YES

     

    o   Systems backup management - SOME

     

    o   Load balancing - SOME

     

    o   OS Scripting - MAYBE - I use PHP for CLI scripts

     

  •  

    Strong technical problem-solving and analytical skills

     

  •  

    Self-motivation, initiative and drive

     

  •  

    Resilience and adaptability to operate in high pressure, deadline-driven environment

     

  •  

    Strong work ethic and high degree of professional integrity

     

Candidates with the following will be preferred:

 

     

  1. Database experience (MySQL, PostgreSQL, MS SQL) - MySQL AND MARIA (A MySQL clone)
  2. Exposure to some or all of the following technologies and applications: 

 

  • Apache, nginX, IIS, Smartermail - APACHE AND NGINX
  • Sophos, Commvault, VEEAM - NO
  • SaltStack, Spacewalk, WSUS, SCCM - NO
  • CheckMK, Nagios, Zenoss - Have played with Nagios and didn't much like it
  • Control Panels (Plesk, cPanel) - NO

 





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  # 1715400 4-Feb-2017 14:38
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I'd apply anyway, they have just put their ideal/person that is being replaced skills. 


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  # 1715407 4-Feb-2017 15:13
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They may be in some sort of financial trouble (due to mismanagement or due to something unexpected) or the owner could have significant personal issues (e.g. divorce is on the horizon).  Kiwis are very good at putting their heads in the sand when things start to turn to custard.

 

If they owe you more than $500, seriously consider lodging a Disputes Tribunal claim https://disputestribunal.govt.nz/ before you go, advising in the submission of your return date and asking the session be scheduled.  Include ALL records of communication that you can including screen shots of text messages.  You are not burning bridges, they are.  If the bridge is burnt, you might as well have your money than leave it with them.  Be prepared for the mediator to pick an arbitrary figure in the middle, so do not be conservative with the figure you are claiming for.

 

What percentage of your income was from this company?





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  # 1715409 4-Feb-2017 15:20
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Dynamic:

 

They may be in some sort of financial trouble (due to mismanagement or due to something unexpected) or the owner could have significant personal issues (e.g. divorce is on the horizon).  Kiwis are very good at putting their heads in the sand when things start to turn to custard.

 

I don't know what it is.

 

Dynamic:

 

If they owe you more than $500, seriously consider lodging a Disputes Tribunal claim https://disputestribunal.govt.nz/ before you go, advising in the submission of your return date and asking the session be scheduled.  Include ALL records of communication that you can including screen shots of text messages.  You are not burning bridges, they are.  If the bridge is burnt, you might as well have your money than leave it with them.  Be prepared for the mediator to pick an arbitrary figure in the middle, so do not be conservative with the figure you are claiming for.

 

 

Thanks for the suggestion but I won't be doing this. I will get the money eventually but the main point is I am so tired of waiting and chasing up. My main concern is about what to do moving forward, not about payment from them.

 

Put another way, I have the upper hand anyway (due to my extensive institutional technical knowledge) so I will get paid eventually. I would much prefer to get paid because they need something from me then because of upping the ante.

 

Whether fair or not, going to court (incl disputes tribunal) is burning bridges so it's something I reserve for only the most deserving of cases. I have only done it once before - for a business matter - and I won 2/3's of my claim - which was about what I expected. In that particular case, the other party chose to up the ante and forced me to get legal closure. To that extent, the small amount they won (which I thought they would) was good value to draw a line in the sand and I promptly paid it.

 

Dynamic:

 

What percentage of your income was from this company?

 

 

Too much. I have other income but to expand on that I'd also likely have to move back to Auckland. Rock and hard place.





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  # 1715413 4-Feb-2017 15:52
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Quote from the link posted by xpd.

 

MichaelNZ:

 

  •  

    Resilience and adaptability to operate in high pressure, deadline-driven environment

     

 

Is this still a common ask in IT jobs?

 

All my best technical solutions have come about through working at a measured pace - sometimes even putting stuff on the shelf and thinking about it.

 

Working under pressure late at night is when the screwups happen.





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  # 1715418 4-Feb-2017 16:10
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Without knowing any specifics I would agree with Dynamic. It sounds very much like the company has little or no work or income and the owner is just going through the motions in the hope of a miracle. You can do whatever you feel is necessary to try to get paid, but don't count on ever getting anything. It is time to move on.

 

 





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 




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  # 1715420 4-Feb-2017 16:14
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Rikkitic:

 

It sounds very much like the company has little or no work or income and the owner is just going through the motions in the hope of a miracle.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback, though the "work" side of it does not seem to be lacking. I just don't get it. I keep wondering where the money is going.

 

My main thoughts at present are around what to do next and how to bridge the gap on some of the more recent skills asked for.





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  # 1715460 4-Feb-2017 17:34
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Most likely it is trying to get the same work at a lower price or reduce the maintenance requirements. At this point it's probably a strategy to avoid your final bill.



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  # 1715462 4-Feb-2017 17:39
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gzt: Most likely it is trying to get the same work at a lower price or reduce the maintenance requirements. At this point it's probably a strategy to avoid your final bill.

 

(emphasis added)

 

I strongly suspect the 2nd part, which is what happens naturally because I simply don't do what needs doing because I draw the line at working for free. To try and help, I offered a fixed price per month agreement (which would have to be paid in advance) and that also went into the black hole. I just simply can't work on this basis. Based on the network size and number of customers there is a minimum amount which has to be done.

 

It doesn't do the end clients any good though.





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  # 1715465 4-Feb-2017 17:42
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As a previous poster suggested, create a profile on LinkedIn in and link your colleagues and previous contracts. Same with Seek. You will likely get calls etc before too long.

 


xpd

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  # 1715483 4-Feb-2017 18:29
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Yup apply anyway if it appeals, theyre a good company to work for, really relaxed atmosphere.





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  # 1715577 4-Feb-2017 22:32
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As others have already said it's likely time to walk away.

 

When it gets to that point they have already made up their mind even if they are making the wrong decision and everyone but them knows it.

 

It's not worth your time nor the mental strain. Don't let their personal/business issues become your issues if the business does fold because of it at least you know that your concerns were valid and really the onus is on the person who decided that you were not worth it.





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  # 1715583 4-Feb-2017 23:13
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I don't get that you are not concerned about getting paid,i.e. getting it is not the issue, its the hassle. There is only one reason that bills don't get paid. 




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  # 1715584 4-Feb-2017 23:17
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tdgeek:

 

I don't get that you are not concerned about getting paid,i.e. getting it is not the issue, its the hassle. There is only one reason that bills don't get paid. 

 

 

To clarify - while I do want to get paid, I am so over the whole thing my #1 concern is what to do next. It's been awhile since I last looked for a job. I have been working for this company for coming on 18 years.

 

I had a brief stint with another company in 2007, but left because I could see part of their plan was commercially and technically flawed and we were being distracted by that dead end. Unfortunately, they thought they knew better (note: Years prior I had worked for one of the 1st companies in NZ to try that one and they had also demised) They lasted another 18 months and demised too - for exactly the reasons I predicted and cautioned the Directors about.

 

Despite that experience, I'd be quite open to working at a startup again with the proviso their plan is technically sound (I want to know exactly what it is upfront in case I have seen it tried before) and has a good chance of being commercially viable and making a profit.

 

I'm briefly going overseas in a couple of weeks to pursue a charitable project myself and a friend have been trialing. I think it has potential. Only issue economically is I am not sure how to make it a job. It's also a startup.





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