Do you really think the system administrator can't tell when you lie?

For those of you who don’t pay attention to every aspect of my life as if I were a b-list hottie boinking another b-list hottie, I work as the accounting application manager at a fairly large government contractor. I also do some minor DBA and LAN work, but that’s neither here nor there. The point is that I have access to tons of information, and I know how to read it. So if someone tells me something that doesn’t jibe with what I know to be true, I know they’re lying to me.

I had a user email me the other day and say that his account was deactivated and he couldn’t run his monthly report and would I look into it. But of course, that’s my job. So I go to check to see if his account had been deactivated due to lack of use, and sure enough he was deactivated at the end of July. This puzzled me, but he confirmed that he had been running it monthly.

Why are you lying to me? That’s impossible. You have been completely incapable of running this report for months. Your account has not been active. Why then, when I ask you how often you use it you tell me every month? Just realize that I know you’re lying to me.

I had another lady ask me about a calculated column in a collection report I built for her two years ago. It seems the field that decodes the business unit just suddenly “stopped working”. When I look at it, I see that it’s still using the calculation for the reorg we were using two reorgs ago. No wonder it wasn’t working. I casually ask her how often she uses it. She tells me every week.

Why are you lying to me? That’s impossible. If you were running this every week like you claim, you would’ve noticed this some 20 months ago. I’m not going to get into a heated argument with you about it, because that would be a waste of my time, but I’d like you to know that I know you’re lying to me.

These are just two examples of the crap I have to deal with from my users all the time. Why do they lie? What do they have to gain from it?

Don’t you realize that I am the Gatekeeper of Financial and Employee Data and that I am all-knowing? I can tell when you log on in the morning and when you log on at night. So don’t walk by my office talking out loud to no one in particular about the “crazy hours” you’re putting in on this conversion project. I can tell you’re barely logged on for 6 hours a day, but more importantly I see that your projects are behind schedule on the project plan. Just so you know, I know that you’re lying.

Are you trying to impress me? Does my grasp of technology cause you to idolize me and want to make nice-nice with me? Do you think that my being your “work buddy” (read “friend I never see outside of work because I’m not really his friend, only nice enough to him so that he’ll help me when I need it”) will cause your issue to jump to the top of my work queue? It doesn’t work that way, junior. The only people I jump for are my boss, my VP, and that hot chick in AP with the nice ass and the belly button ring. Your stupid issue of not being able to make that cute digital picture of your dog into your wallpaper is just not that vital to the company and will wait until I have taken care of all the report requests, demands for data from auditors, and user setups have been done first.

I’ll help you when you need help. That’s why they pay me. Just don’t lie to me, because I know when you do. If you piss me off enough, maybe I’ll just “accidentally” lower your annual salary by 50%.*

Don’t fuck with the System Administrator.

*Just to be clear, I would never do this. In fact, there are controls in place that would track when I do this, so I would be fired if I ever did. But I’m allowed to fantasize, right?

I am the keymaster. Are you the gatekeeper?

The person with the deactivated account may have hit a snag and found a different user to run it for him or her, then had to come back and ask for help when the usual person went on vacation or quit.

The person who did not notice the re-org issue may only look at that column once a decade while using the overall (flawed) report weekly.

(Or, of course, they are simply lying. It happens.)

Not that I am disagreeing with your general observations. I was charged with the task of making sure that all the old reports produced by an order system continued to function correctly when they moved the system to another location (where the direct users could not care less whether any corporate reports were produced, much less correct). By some judiciuos negotiations with the primary coder on the new system, I got 99% of the stuff up and working, but one report consistently failed to show real numbers. An obscenely large amount of wasted money later, I finally discovered that a whole separate division had simply dropped a data element from their feeds over two years previously, rendering all the interdivisional information useless. Now in defense of the user, the switch had occurred in the middle of a serious shortfall in orders, so the fall-off in numbers was not immediately visible, but no one noticed that the numbers remained bad after business came back until I had to “prove” my new numbers.
(Then, when I produced several pounds of evidence demonstrating exactly when the change and shortfall had occurred, (extracted from ancient history files that I was the only person in the world who knew how to find and recover), the fool that managed my department, simply told the user that I could get “excitable” and that I would go look for a better answer.)

I really think the OP should study the BOFH web site. It might provide some ideas for resolving his problems. :smiley: :smiley:

I know of BOFH. He kicks ass. If I were gay, I’d probably want to do him.

Yeah, the computer knows all, doesn’t it?

In September I made an appointment for a physical in November. I chose first appointment in the morning because I’d have to fast for the bloodwork. In November, I show up bright and early and I’m told (1) my appointment is at 3:30 p.m., not 9:15 a.m., and (2) I called and made the appointment, not two months ago, but yesterday. The computer says so and I’m a liar.

Bullshit. Computer databases are full of errors.

I sympathize with your plight and all, milord, but I think we should focus on the important question: how exactly do you plan on hooking up with the hot chick?

Most database errors are due to some idiot entering information wrong.

When I worked at the zoo, zoo members would stand there and lie to me when I had their account in front of me in the zoo’s membership database. You’d be astonished the lengths people will go to cheat a nonprofit out of a few bucks. Microsoft employees, who have discount cards, were even bigger liars.

And working at a video store, a solid majority of people will outright lie to you to get out of a buck fifty late fee. Working with the public has demonstrated pretty clearly that most people are liars.

That’s as may be; it’s still a frog.

You’re boinking her, aren’t you?

Don’t blame the poor database: I’ll bet it was a case of garbage-in-garbage-out.

I have a long OP somewhere describing where I was getting billed by my Doctor’s office for services I never received. Just the thought of that supercilious office manager and her “Well, it’s in the computer!” makes me see tunnel vision.

There’s a pretty big difference between those kinds of errors - where some human has fucked up and/or lied to the system - and the kind of system tracked things the OP is talking about, though. At some point yesterday, someone moved your appointment, so the computer shows it as having been created yesterday for the wrong time. The likelihood is, if they have good software, someone like Lord Ashtar could figure out who and when, and possibly also why they did such a stupid thing - but he’d only look into it after whichever receptionist/nurse/manager made the mistake lied and said they hadn’t.

My personal favourite (which I think I ranted about on here at one point) was someone who came to me and told me she’d been doing something for over 2 years in exactly the same way and blah, blah, blah, blah, except she was using software that I built, and which had only been installed the year before.

Ah, I see sturmhauke beat me to it. Damned computers.

Word. I’m Lead SA for half a dozen critical core systems and backup to a couple dozen more, and it’s amazing how many people will lie for no reason at all. Some folks legitimately want to cover their embarrassing tracks, but there are a lot more who apparently make up shit for the hell of it and then stick to it out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

“Dude. I can see when you made this entry. Look. Right here.

“Nope. Nope.” And they’ll take that pointless lie to the grave.

Considering I’m also neck-deep in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance, that makes my job really, really interesting.

Ugh…fucking Sarb-Ox. Made my life living hell for over a year. Fortunately, I’m no longer in the business of managing user account authorizations. Somebody else has to do that, then my guys do the setup based on what they give us. So they have to deal with the auditors. :smiley:

Ah, BOFH. A hero from earlier days.

Maybe just “accidentally” increase her annual salary by 50%. :smiley:

I am Sancho. :smiley:

Tom is spot-on: There are very often multiple possible explanations before you jump to the “Lying SOB” conclusion.

The IT guy at my school has exactly that sort of attitude. Everything MUST be user error, the computer CANNOT be wrong, it is NOT POSSIBLE that there can be any explantion other than his, people who disagree with him are LYING … and then we find out that it isn’t so.

Did I mention that most people dislike said IT guy, and he’s probably on his way out?