common time-management mistake: rack & stack

Jeff Wheeler jsw at
Fri Feb 17 08:58:55 UTC 2012

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:34 AM, Nathan Eisenberg
<nathan at> wrote:
> No, your CTO shouldn't  be racking and stacking routers all the time.  The fundamental concept of an organizational hierarchy dictates that.  But a CTO who has lost touch with the challenges inherent in racking and stacking a router can't effectively support his team.  See the TV series 'undercover boss' for a (possibly trite and clichéd) example of this.

I'm not suggesting it's a crime for the CTO to put his eyes and hands
on a POP local to his office once in a while, or pay a visit to his
gear in a city where he happens to be in to conduct business that
requires the presence of the CTO, not a CCNA.

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:17 AM, Brandon Butterworth
<brandon at> wrote:
> It's not a waste, it's therapeutic, breaks the monotony of a desk
> job, you get a bit of exercise. Doing something mindless can help
> clear your thoughts, engineering yoga.

This, however, is exactly the kind of thinking that produces bad
managers.  Yes, it can be boring sitting at a desk all day.  If that
is your job, don't ignore it so you can play site tech while to-do's
pile up in your absence.  If your are a senior decision-maker, don't
set a bad example for everyone else in your org by blowing off your
senior-level duties to fly around the globe doing something that you
have CCNAs for.

The "my desk-job is boring so I spent the day racking gear" message is
fine if you are not blowing off real work to push boxes through the
co-lo.  If that's your hobby, fine, but rack & stack is not part of
the CTO, network engineer, or whatever, job.  It's a hobby and you
shouldn't ignore your actual duties to go do it.  It's no better than
spending the workday at the movie theater or playing world of warcraft
at the office.

On Fri, Feb 17, 2012 at 3:14 AM, Justin Twiss
<Justin.Twiss at> wrote:
> Unfortuantely, some of us work for companies with limited numbers of staff so in effect, the CTO does whatever work is necessary to get the job done and keep the client happy, whether that be rack & stack, decommission, BGP peering or even disaster mitigation...

If you don't have any junior-level employees to do the junior-level
work, yes, this is certainly true.  But as soon as that "CTO," who is
also wearing a bunch of other hats, finds himself with a long to-do
list, the first thing he ought to do is delegate tasks like rack &
stack to inexpensive workers so he can use his most valuable

Obviously we are throwing around the term "CTO" at this point in
reference to pretty small businesses, but the basic concept here is,
don't let mundane tasks get in the way of work you are specially
qualified to do.  Definitely don't go out of your way to do mundane
tasks so you can play IBX tourist on your company's dime!

Jeff S Wheeler <jsw at>
Sr Network Operator  /  Innovative Network Concepts

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