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The Luck of the Tech Pro

Community Manager

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, so dust off your “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt and celebrate! Before heading out to show off your Irish stepdancing skills, tell us about your luckiest moments as a tech pro—because leprechauns aren’t the only ones who can find a pot of gold on the other side of the rainbow.

We want to know when you’ve felt luckiest in your career—the situations that made you raise a glass to yourself, or to the “luck of the tech pro!” When did you feel like things could have gone terribly wrong but didn’t? Did something break? Get lost or deleted? You know that feeling—all hope seemed lost, but like magic, everything worked out. (At least we hope you know that feeling).

Share your luckiest stories about finding the tech pro pot o’ gold by March 12, 2019, and we’ll give you 250 THWACK points in return!


A chance to toot our own horns for THWACK points?!

This last year at Cisco Live I decided to attempt to renew my CCNA. I didn't study. Not even one bit. I bought the new book and everything... never opened it. To my surprise I passed. I walked out of that testing center feeling like a million bucks. That's that sorted for another three years

I had the chance to have my former boss get fired for stealing from the company and it was my opportunity to get the promotion to Director.  upon his departure i was in a different state, and i said do not let him back in to his office, and of course they did.   Needless to say, it wasn't but a short time afterwards i was in the server room for 48 straight hours.  BUT after countless hours on the phone with Microsoft and Veritas, I stumbled upon the issue.   He renamed the RPC service on me.   He did it on the key machines for AD, backups, and SQL.  Once the services executables were renamed, presto everything came online.  I was the hero of the day, and it was sheer luck I found it.   Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.   Here some 20 years later, ok 18, It was a lesson I have still never forgotten.  When it seems impossible, keep it simple.....  

Level 9

I would say when I landed my 2nd job after college. It really helped me stretch and grow in my IT learning. Previous IT hadn't left any documentation, and most of the technology that was in use was far beyond my own years. I was able to get things documented and bring them into the current century of IT! I learned a lot about working with the CEO/CFO and creating plans, budgets and projections.

Level 14

That sure is a tough question.  I would have to say that late 2017 was my luckiest moment, when a big change up was in the works at my company and rumors of layoffs were happening all around.  New management was finally on board with pulling me out of my current dept and onto another (My current boss had been trying for about a year to no avail).  Eventually I moved departments and then the following year the layoffs came and my old dept ceased to exist.  That's probably what I would have to say is my luckiest moment.  This was a huge boost for my own work ethic and apathy.  For years I thought it was hopeless but continued to work hard.  It showed me that sometimes it does indeed pay off.

Level 13

I worked for a State Lottery and the convicted felon, Eddie Tipton, who was the security director for the Multi-State Lottery Association, would come an audit me on my network security.  He would ask for my firewall and network equipment configs.  But I never turned them over to him.  Just didn't feel right.  In hide sight, we were lucky as we found out he was caught red handed.  Some times you just have to say NO.

Level 9

Back in 2003 when I was an architect at a small financial start-up, was testing load on our UPS with my boss and another staffer under the "guidance" of a local UPS tech trying to understand our actual vs. assumed run time. The firm itself had just begun business a few months prior and the gear was all new and shiny (As I was the guy who set it up, was hoping it was also done properly. After I pulled the main breaker, was listening (with everyone else) the tone on the battery (display was not to be trusted (re: UPS tech) . So as we listen to the constant beeping getting faster, I inquired if the battery was getting drained? Again though, was promised all good until the beeps got closer together and then we should reset the breaker. Between the UPS tech completing his sentence and my response the beeps went from "sort of fast" to the lights going out.... So while I silently swore revenge, I pulled the DR doc I created for this type of issue (re: loss of power and sequence of restart) and turned the power back on. Routers, sqitches, telecom, SAN's and servers oh my... but in the end we recovered without issues, validated the DR process, and bought a new UPS from a new vendor...

Level 8

Many years ago, me and a buddy decided to get the MCSA (Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator), we already passed the MCSE and only needed one test to get the MCSA so decided to challenge ourselves, we booked the test on a Friday for the next Monday, bought the book and studied all weekend and passed!  I had never felt so not ready for a test before so it was lucky I passed, he did as well.

Level 11

I would say it would be back in 2010 for myself, I received a layoff notice from my company, as they were out sourcing everything and 2 hours later I received a call from the contract company wanting to hire me.  I walked out that day with the rest of the week off, from Wednesday on, a buy out package from my previous employer, and an new job from the contract resource.

Level 13

Many years ago I worked for a Cable network.  I was the rookie on the team and there was one sysadmin that was the bosses favorite - got all the training, etc.  We'd acquired a spiffy new high dollar Novell server (Netframe) that was installed by some high dollar consultants and this sysadmin and no one else knew anything about it.  Had all our financials on it.

One day this thing went belly up, and the sysadmin that ran it was out of town and the high dollar consultants couldn't get there for 2 days.  The sysadmin had a sky pager but was in the boonies and couldn't be reached.  The CFO was in the server room asking my boss what was he going to do and my boss had no answers.  I had been sneaking the manuals home and reading them at night (the sysadmin kept them locked up - it was his idea of job security).

I saw my opportunity and said I thought I could fix it.  The CFO looked at me and said "do it".  Honestly he had nothing to lose except the money we were already losing because we were down.  No idea how much it was but it had to be thousands of dollars an hour.

I got on the phone with Netframe at about 10am and didn't get off until I'd gone through one shift and been passed to another tech.  It was around 11pm before we got it back online (luckily  we were east coast and they were on the west coast).   The high dollar consultants flew in a couple of days later and all they did was shake my hand and say great job. Turning point in my career.

  Here's a few that quickly come to mind:

  • When a WAN site went down (just yesterday!) and the WAN provider (who has been unreliable) said it wasn't their equipment causing the outage, I was lucky to have NTA and to remember to use it to troubleshoot a WAN issue, despite being accustomed to that particular site's WAN being historically unreliable.  On the odd chance that the WAN provider might actually be telling the truth, I turned to NTA which quickly revealed the site wasn't actually down, but that someone using the Guest Wireless at that site had pegged its 50 Mb WAN at 51 Mb/s for over an hour.  Users were all affected, business stopped, VoIP stopped, we couldn't remote into the site's router--AND the WAN provider was right.  Thank goodness I remembered to turn to NTA and NPM instead of just thinking the WAN provider was again the cause!   Solarwinds saved me from chasing my tail for that hour.


  • When Cisco changed the layout of their L2 stackable switches at the same time we changed to a different style of patch cable.  The new cable has a locking tab which unfortunately lined up exactly with the System Button on the Cisco switch and pushed it in when a patch cable was inserted into port 1.  If that button is depressed and held during a power event the switch becomes unusable when it boots.  That might have taken days and a TAC case to discover the cause and correct it and restore services, but a sharp eye and common sense discovered the incompatibilities.  Users were up as soon as I could pull the patch cable out and copy the switch's config down from NCM and paste it in.  Those patch cables went in the trash.  Nowadays new Cisco switches do NOT have that System button located over port 1.

Field Notice: FN - 63697 - Protective Boot on Certain Network Cables Might Push the Mode Button and ...


  • When PerfStack enabled me to identify and display a problem with seven SolarWinds pollers, all having growing CPU utilization and associated reboots.  PerfStack made the trends and resets obvious and easy to see across all servers simultaneously.  A quick note to a favorite SW resource and I discovered my environment was FIVE hotfixes behind.  My Orion Deployment made that upgrade easy; now everything's running at the current recommended version.  PerfStack indicates those seven pollers are running without growing CPU utilization (so far). 


  • Although this isn't related to SolarWinds or networking, I was helping set up my band at a local bar a few weeks ago.  Separate power cords for powered monitors, powered speakers, and the amp/mixer were resulting in huge audio hum through the speakers at a low frequency--very distracting and didn't help our sound at all.  The band leader usually troubleshoots & correct this particular issue, which isn't an unusual one for this particular band to experience (I'm in four bands!).  After he tried all his tricks with swapping cables and trying different mixers/amps, he was stumped and sweating & quietly turning the air blue.  I pointed out the bar's power outlets were of multiple generations--all the ones in the wall were old-style, probably hooked up to shared circuits with the site's dimmer lights.  Nearby were dedicated and isolated externally-mounted quad power outlets, each quad with their own breaker at an adjacent panel.  I pulled out some spare extension cords and ran ALL the power cables into the isolated surface-mounted quads, and the hum was eliminated.  I'd run into that cause multiple times at work on the network where a large building had differing ground potentials in each network room due to them being grounded differently.  Forcing all network rooms to share a common ground buss resulted in eliminating the electrical interference that was actually generated by the difference in ground potentials between each network room, and data flow was made clean again.  Lucky I remembered that lesson in grounding and could apply it to a bar's stage electricity.


Level 8

Getting anything to work with Win 10 and all their provisioned apps/crapware that they make painful to remove from update to update always feels lucky to me


For years we had used the Logon to... part of users account in AD Users and Computers to restrict what machines a user could log in to.  There was a script out there called AD Cleanup which we thought would clean up old machines no longer on the network from clogging up the logon to field in AD for a users account.  Well I ran the script and it removed all of the logon to lists from ALL of the AD accounts.

We tried to cut our losses since we still did have hard copy records of what machines users were allowed to log into... so with a team of about 5 or 6 people we started reconfiguring all of the users logon to fields in AD manually again.  At the same time I spent all day/night/day on the phone with MicroSoft... and even without a true AD backup of the DC I was able to get the entire database recovered and all the data restored to the AD database.  It was ugly but it saved many hours of tedious data entry.

I'm reminded of the 1990's when I kept track of retiring old Novell servers and print "binderies" from our network on a daily basis.  One day over a dozen new / previously undiscovered binderies showed up in my Novell window and it was time to start digging.

Long story short, my WAN provider had overlapped my VPLS network with another customer's network, and I was suddenly RIPping into everything on their network.

A day of telephone calls & security alerts given by me to the other customer's IT staff--who couldn't be bothered and who were annoyed with me for "causing" this "non-issue" on equipment they didn't manage.  When I learned their WAN provider did all their routing / hardware security management, I changed tracks and got the WAN provider updated.  Soon the other binderies were no longer viewable; nor were the other customers' routers & switches (which were all set up without any security at all, using default username/passwords).

Uff da!  Thank goodness for keeping an eye on the network regular.  This was back in the days when MRTG was just a dream starting to happen, and no NMS was available from anyone.  Dark times, my friends.  Life is so much better now with SolarWinds keeping an eye on things, and with TACACS and AAA and keyed / encrypted / secured routing protocols preventing such VPLS errors from becoming security problems.  Humans still make errors, but at least we're less vulnerable to them today.

Level 9

The last job at Dell. I dint even need to ask for a better salary. They blasted off all expectations and I could be luckier to pass away all those hard conversations

Level 9

The numerous times that bouncing a Windows box fixed the issue.

Level 13

Great example of what can happen with isolated grounds rschroeder​.  Seen so many things like that bite us over the years.  Hadn't heard of it with regard to audio but it totally makes sense.

Level 10

I have a proximity sensor luck box that is really good at fixing things just by having me look at something, hear about it, be near it, etc. Things just magically start working again when I am nearby. I'm sure most of the users on this forum have a similar effect. My luck box is engaged regularly, for example: Both yesterday and today, one of the tech support guys was setting up a new iPad. Now, we have a special AP that we turn on and plug in specifically for setting up our iPads, so he asked me to plug in this AP. Both times I said, "I'm pretty sure we already have it plugged in at the moment" and after I said it he looked back at the list of available WiFi networks and there it was, even though I had done literally nothing! He was pretty exasperated at me when it happened a second time today, because he said he stared at it for 3 minutes before resorting to calling me.

Back when I did PC Support in the early 1990's I was called to the same school classroom every six or eight weeks with a complaint of no network connectivity.  The MAC there repeatedly lost network connectivity every six-to-eight-weeks, and I'd tried everything I could think of each time I visited.  I'd eventually get it going again after replacing or reseating the data cable, without understanding why that was the fix.  Network cables shouldn't need reseating OR replacing every couple of months.

One day during a visit to that problem Apple computer I thought about how this one classroom was different than every other classroom in the building.  It was carpeted.  And the carpet always seemed a bit damp.

Following a hunch I unplugged the data cable from the Apple's NIC and peeked into the RJ-45 on the NIC.  I pulled out a flashlight and looked in deeper.  Something wasn't right.

All eight of the gold-colored NIC wires were white.

I disconnected the computer from power and pulled out a jeweler's screwdriver and pushed it back and forth over those eight wires inside the NIC's RJ-45 port.  And watched as white powder flaked off them, revealing more and more clean gold/copper wire with each scrape of the screwdriver.

Something was evaporating into the air from the wet carpet and depositing on the wires inside the NIC's jack, coating them a molecule at a time until the network cable could no longer make contact with the NIC.  At which time they'd call me in for help.  I'd replace/reseat the network cable a few times--inadvertently scraping enough powder off to make contact again--and scratch my head when it would start passing data again.

I recommended replacing the NIC, getting rid of the carpet, and clearing up the water leaking issue.  They did, and I never had to visit that particular classroom's computer again.

Level 8

Ah, the dreadful colo site.. how they always seemed to be made from yesteryear's technology and rarely functioned fully (and oh so noisy).  At least, that’s my experiences from the past.  Things are much different now obviously with cost effective cloud technologies. But back in the day…..

We had a power failure at our colo in NJ.  I needed to jump the bridge from Philly to go power everything back up. When I got there, I began to power everything backup, but could not get one of our web servers to work.  It would power up but never fully boot… I thought for sure this thing got fried.. BUT then I had an epiphany … this thing still has a PS2 keyboard port… could it be?  Does this thing seriously need to see a keyboard before it fully powers up (old bios)?  I dug around in the cabinet and sure enough, there was an old PS2 keyboard jammed deep in the pile of extra cables and plastic bags.  Plugged this in – everything came up fine… I made sure to leave that keyboard plugged in at all times after that.

Level 16

About three years ago I decided I just wanted a change of scenery after being in the same job for many years. Found a new spot at a new employer and life went on. About six months after I left my previous employer outsourced almost their entire IT department. 

Level 9

Luckiest moment for me was an early one... Long, long ago, when computers were monochrome and usually textual, I'd been going down to the public library to use a Commodore PET for free.  I convinced my mother we should get a computer at home, and when I was 13, we did (I had to put up half the money and she put up the other half).  Two and a half years later, a buddy of mine from the local PET User Group said, "hey, did you see the Classified Ad looking for a 'Commodore Programmer'?" (remember when people used to get jobs by reading the paper?)  I hadn't, so I grabbed our newspaper and replied to the ad, my first-ever application for a job.  They called back and set me up with an interview.

I go in, as prepared as any teenager can be for a job interview (i.e., barely), and the company owner walked me around, introduced me to the 3-4 people working there and put me in a room with a Commodore 64.  This was five months before units were available for sale.  They had been sent one as part of a developer early-access program.  He sat me down in front of it and asked me if I could do anything on it.  I thumbed through the inch of xeroxed beta documentation and fired up the machine.  I spent an hour or so composing BASIC programs on it while the boss watched.

Afterwards, he took me back to his office for a short conversation.  The company was writing a word processor for PC-DOS, due out "soon".  They wanted a product demo written for the *new* Commodore 64 trumpeting the "home version", to be shown their booth at COMDEX.  He wrapped up his spiel, walked me to the door and said, "give me a call tomorrow if you want to work here."  As I left it dawned on me that he just offered me the job.

I wrote this for them: COMDEX 82 WordVision Demo - YouTube

Because I was lucky enough to have that buddy spot that ad and mention it to me.

Level 10

I spent 10 years working in healthcare science trying to follow a path I hadn't thought about very well from the start, which was secondary/high school. I eventually gave it up for a lost cause as I made no progress. I ummed and ahhed for a year or two, and ultimately decided on going into IT, something I'd done in a corner shop a decade previously and otherwise all knowledge was from my homelab and funsies.

In my previous career progression, I'd previously applied to perhaps 250+ jobs over 8 years, interviewed ~40 times and had 2 jobs out of it.

In the new one, over the course of 3 weeks I applied to 2 jobs and was offered the better one - one I thought I had no chance at, and was banded higher than I'd ever worked at in my science career. A monitoring job, hence how I'm on here.

A year later, my Significant User decided to retrain, applied to 3 local universities and a throwaway one in distant London (different country at that point). Naturally she got rejected from the close ones, so we moved to London. Based on my previous experience of getting jobs, I was terrified.

What happened was, I made my CV and submitted it through some job recruitment sites. Someone actually found it and got me to apply for a different job. I got the job, paying almost enough that only having 1 salary isn't a huge deal, and I did it in 4 days. There is no way I could have done that in my previous career, aside from working in a very narrow industry, it would have taken months just to hear back.

It's been 6 months and I still can't believe how well it worked out.

I started my career with Rs. 5000 PM (INR) in year 2010, it was my first Job. I given three years to that company with complete dedication. But they cheated me when i resigned because client offered me their payroll with good perks. They cut 2 month salary from FNF and when i went office and asked for justification they behaved very rude. It was a sad moment for me and family.

After that incident i joined the new office where my manager given me explore the monitoring tool and given me the chance to work on solarwinds. I am thankful to that person who trust me . After working on Solarwinds , now my career is inclined , hope the same will be carry forward in future as well.

I believe in "Nothing is impossible".

Level 11

Every time I do a network change on a live network and I don't take the network down I consider to be a lucky day

Level 8

Believe it or not... getting laid off in 2005!

I was the sole system admin for a company of 150 that used Solaris, Windows, and Macintosh OS. Most of the work moved offshore and I was let go.

I landed at the state, with a slight pay cut, but 14 years later I have a position under a CTO overseeing the whole ball of wax for five state agencies.

Amazing how things work out!

Level 10

When I was awarded "Master Certified Novell Engineer of the Year 2002" at the Novell Brainshare Conference in Salt Lake City, UT. I was nominated by my colleagues and elected by fellow Novell engineers from around the world. A very proud moment in my career.

Level 12

I went into my review recently wishing for a much higher salary and I really didn't have to ask for it. I walked out with 10% for this year and the promise of 12% for next year. Of course I got it in writing and made sure HR has it on file also.

Level 8

I was doing a job I absolutely hated and had been searching for a new role, I'd secured it and was going to hand in my resignation when I was called into the bosses office and told I was being made redundant and was getting a few months redundancy pay to go without causing a fuss so couple of K and a new job very nice thank you very much.

Level 11

Each day is a blessing for me!  How lucky we all are to live in this time / space.

Level 9

My luckiest moment was finally getting the approval to buy Solarwinds after a decade of requesting it!  My second would be when a customer accidentally disconnected the SAN from the compute stack in their VMWare environment.  This is the equivalent of pulling all the hard drives out of your server while it is running. It took us 24 hours to get everything running again but miraculously there wasn't a single corrupted system.

Level 13

My first job out of school - 1997 - software tech support and trainer for a software company. it was a late thursday night and I was fixing some database corruption (dos platform, .dbf files) on a customer's server. Our customers are not ones to mess around with - 5 star and 5 diamond resorts - the kind where you could bump into any number of hollywood bigshots, and I did so frequently - Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Demi More, Kelsey Grammar, Helen Hunt and Clint Eastwood are a few of the people I met at some of these don't mess around.

Anyway, I'm finishing up and getting ready to turn everything back over to the hotel, but I had to clean up my temporary files I typed in del *.* and hit enter...

yeah, I panicked, freaked out, sweated, swore, and after only losing 15 database files, was able to <CTRL> +<C> out and stopped it...

I then went to my boss and sheepishly explained what happened...this guy was brilliant, so I figured he'd have a solution. Well, his face flushed, then went to a very pale white...I started panicking more...he called the hotel and said that the corruption was too severe, and asked when their last back up was...well, backups were an afterthought back then, and their backup was a few days old, and I heard them say they had to load it into their other Novell Server.

a wave of relief washed over me, and I told my boss not to do anything else - I can recover the files as Novell never really deletes anything. I went to the deleted.sav directory on the customer's server and lo and behold all my files were there...I restored them and BOOM! off they went back to work...

of course, a few new support policies and procedures went into place after that, but I definitely had a 4 leaf clover in my pocket that day...

Level 12

Like rschroeder posted, we had a few sites that were deployed with managed switches. After a few weeks, we noticed some sites no longer functioning. You see the switches were doing dhcp, nac and other critical services. We would have the local staff replace the device but couldn't figure out what was happening. Finally had time to check one of the returned devices and saw the config was no longer there and the device was in a default state.

One of my co-workers decided to modify the mode button on the second switch we sent out. Bingo.

Some staff member or employee wanted a longer break, lol. We then applied a policy to all switches, of that model, in the enterprise using ncm.

Don't underestimate the personnel. Locking down the device is a good lesson learned.

Level 11

A couple of years ago, I decided that working on a particular contract was getting a little difficult with the desire of the administration to move people as data center to a central location. That would have left the site I was working on in a position where if the network went down, they would have no connection to their data and work. It also meant that I would have to work in an environment that I didn't want to return to after leaving 4 years earlier. So I shopped around for a new position within the company and landed on a contract that was only 5 miles from home and with a customer that really wanted the skills that I had to help them and keeping my same pay. In the meantime, the contract was awarded to a different company won the contract and immediately cut everyone's pay by 50%. It was truly a blessing that I was able to move to this contract and site.

Fortune favors the bold.  There are no lucky people--only prepared people.

You did well--congratulations.

Level 14

Many years ago I worked for a service provider that did the galley work for two local Bell Telcos. When they broke up Ma Bell, the contract that was 80% of our work was given to another firm. All throughout the company we kept hearing of new busines was coming but nothing before the day of the contract termination. I had three young kids at home 5,3 and 8 months..... I started looking and got a job in two weeks. Three weeks after I left, a massive layoff.. 80% of the staff was let go.

Although I got calls from former co-workers asking if I knew... I told them I was just paying attention...... And oh YES WAS I LUCKY!!!!

Level 12

I felt really lucky several years ago (2000), back when I was in college and working an internship with Washington state. I received an email from the governor with the subject "ILOVEYOU"
It felt wonderful to know the governor loves me!

The other time I felt really lucky was when another malware worm was going around, I took immediate action to cut off users who would open every attachment they got. I felt lucky because I didn't get fired for blocking them and because I stopped the worm from entering our network until AV software was updated.

Level 14

Wow... you get two thumbs up from me on the luck spectrum.

Level 12

I worked for Lehman Brothers. 17 years, up until the day the company went under in 2008.

Lucky point #1 - I knew enough to be kept on for a little while, though it turned out just long enough to pick my brain, which also happened to be long enough for me to read through documentation on a major upgrade to the software that was my primary role - CA's AutoSys, version R11.

Lucky point #2 - the "rescue" firm honored my contract with Lehman, so I was given 3 weeks severance for each year I worked, very nearly the maximum allowed of 52 weeks.

I spent the next three months taking online training, cleaning the house, and watching too much YouTube. It was winter and my wife was still working, so I was basically stuck at home.

Lucky point #3 - after three months I found an opportunity. My present employer was purchasing a division and needed an AutoSys expert. I interviewed, learned they wanted the new version deployed, and I told the truth - I hadn't yet done that, but I that had read the documentation thoroughly PLUS as a long-time user and very active member of the global AutoSys admin community I knew almost no one else out there had tried deploying version R11 either. I got the job, albeit as a consultant, and was eventually hired full time, just as my wife's COBRA'd insurance ran out - her job had been outsourced just a few months after I started the new one.

How I went from supporting AutoSys to SolarWinds is a long tale for another day...

Joe Poutre

Level 9

Luckiest in IT was likely visiting a friend at work in 2013 while out job hunting.  During lunch, his boss popped over after seeing us, and started chit-chatting.  Without even mentioning that I was was looking for work, he asked if I was looking and I was hired on the spot. 

I went to college to be a police officer. Not to be a beat cop, but criminal investigations, specifically employee theft, embezzlement, fraud. This was early 90's. Police departments weren't really hiring, especially those with no experience like myself. So I got a job as a security guard in an office building working the 2nd shift, 4pm-midnight, M-F. I made friends with all those who worked late. Being a big baseball fan I always (and intentionally) had the latest issue of Baseball Weekly on the desk for all to see when they signed out for the night. This being before the internet, and being the Washington D.C. area (aka, very transient), a lot of the people would ask me how their favorite teams were doing and I would fill them in with the high's and low's. I made a lot of contacts this way. One person I struck up a good relationship with, Chuck, was starting off a small computer consulting gig for non-profits (there are zillions of those in the DC area). My dreams of becoming a police officer weren't panning out and I was starting to think of alternatives. I've been playing with computers since TRS-80's and the heydays of BBC's (look up Scepter of Goth). Chuck needed help but he couldn't afford to pay me. He could feed me and get me experience. So I would come in at 9am, work all day with him, change into my uniform and be at my desk at 4pm. My friends thought I was an idiot for giving away my time. My dad, who worked his entire life, understood completely. I got my experience and a PC support gig opened up in another office in the building. My reputation as a hard worker and someone who could get along with people had well preceded me. The job was mine immediately. My career was off and running and has yet to stop.

Recently I saw this quote from Richard Branson:


9 years ago I was hired by my current company and I was asked to manage a team of SAP administrators with absolutely 0 SAP experience. I made it abundantly clear I had none but I knew I could it. They offered me the amazing opportunity and it has paid off huge. I am still learning how to do SAP to this day.

My name is Peter Francis Monaghan. It's about as Irish as you can get. My dad was Scottish and his parents and their parents were Irish. Each year my wife, Sarah Elizabeth (nee O'Laughlin) host a big family St. Patrick's Day party with all the works. But we don't believe in luck. But sure, I'll play along... 🙂


Level 10

Not sure if this is lucky or just back luck that turned out ok.

We had a manager that took a VMWare class. Trying to be proactive, he was deleting snapshots in Snapshot manager. Unfortunately, he removed the base snapshot and wiped out a very important print/file share for the company. Our only resort, rely on tape backups that were never routinely tested. We were able to restore the files in the file system but had to rebuild all of the print shares manually. So, I guess the luck part would be the tape backups actually working. Very fortunate we had a tight knit team and we worked very well together to get everything back up and functional in a few hours.


When i switched my job and moved to a new organization (about 8 years ago) i was put on bench for a week or so, this organization hired me for HP Suite of products and by the time I joined the project was given to an internal resource, now what would they with me?

The only existing opportunity that i had back then was for a SolarWinds Orion Monitoring engineer and they didn't have a resource at that point of time to support it, lucky me, I said i would take that and since then I have never looked back.

I got into SolarWinds Orion suite by luck but that movement gave a boost to my IT carrier.

Level 8

remember that episode of the office where ryan started the fire?  i was almost that guy.  one night, working 3rd shift, i went to the break room to warm up something.  i was the only one at the datacenter and the mobile phone rang.  i quickly set the time on the microwave and answered the phone.  a few mins later i came back and smoke filled the break room.  it turns out 5 mins is waaaay too long to warm up some bread.  i *immed freaked out as smoke started billowing in to the office areas.  i imagined smoke alarms going off, water spraying everywhere so in a complete panic i pulled in the big floor fans we used when the air handlers would act up.  the smoke began to subside and no damage was done.  couldn't believe it but nothing bad happened.  if smoke even whiffed a little bit in to the datacenters it could have been a catastrophe. 

Level 7

Landing my current position. After being out of work for 10 months, finding your dream job is the best thing! Getting to work with Orion on a daily basis even made it that much better!!

Level 10

My lucky day started on a Friday in July of 1986. I was working as an engineering technician for a large defense contractor. My team lead was working with the computer engineering department to develop software needed to control a HP3852, a modular testing platform. He was having difficulty get the assigned engineer on the project to understand the requirements. I told him I was pretty good at working on computers and had done some basic programming in high school, he didn't really know if could help. So I went on with my other work until my supervisor approached and asked me to come back to his office. In the office with my team lead, we had as brief discussion about computers and test equipment. I told them there were a bunch of manuals about the HP3852 and the connected HP computer in work space where the equipment was set up. I said I could see the program created by the engineer on the hard drive. (HPIB connected 20 Meg)  Since I had used that computer before I stated that based on my observation of the work he had completed, he pretty much had only created a user interface framework for the function keys. I told them since I know what we are attempting to accomplish I might be able to complete the programming. My supervisor told me this could create problems with the other department since this was their domain. But he also understood we had a deadline that was approaching so he said he was going to contact the supervisor of the other department. He told me to go ahead and see what I could do as long I didn't delete anything. I quickly returned looking forward to the challenge, I powered on the computer and other equipment and started paging through manuals. About an hour later my supervisor returned to say the other department supervisor was on vacation and would not be returning for 2 weeks. He asked me if I could work on this over the weekend then on Monday we could touch base to see if what we are attempting was feasible. I spent about 20 hours that weekend playing around with the equipment and the computer programming. By Monday morning I had a demonstration program that controlled 4 of the 5 module types. I could display messages on the display. I could take the measurements required for the testing we had been planning. When I talked to my supervisor and the team lead they were impressed. My supervisor told me to proceed with learning the system. On Wednesday we had a meeting with the assigned computer engineer, he told us he really didn't know how we were going to use the HP3852. After showing him my demonstration he said he was glad I had taken the initiative to learn it since he hadn't had time to do so. After vote of confidence from my supervisor in a few months I was creating programming for other departments to automate data collection from other instruments. Once you learn one thing it was pretty easy to program almost anything from digital voltmeters, function generators, switches, digital oscilloscopes. For awhile I had myself a little empire of test instrumentation that was until my coworker gave a 3Com network card. (10Base2)  Maybe that was my lucky day. Within a week I was capturing data frames on a 50Mhz A2D. Networks are cool.

Level 7

I would say that my luckiest day was when the launch day of a new branch site location for us. I have been with my company for 12 years and most of what i know is by experience, trial by fire, and reviewing our production setup. When I came into my current role, I had never setup a new branch location and integrated it into our current network environment. This includes setting up routing services, distribution switches, wireless APs, etc...

Via careful review and experience in recovering from downtime in the past, I nailed the launch of the new network on day one of implementation. It helped me feel more confident about my skills and confirmed my understanding of what "I think I know". It was a G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S day.

Thanks for the opportunity, DanielleH

I recall an incident that happened at my previous job.  I had been promoted to NetMan and this was the early days of frame relay internet connections.  One day, about noon, our connection to the Internet just dropped and would not re-connect.  Suspecting a virus or something worse, I yanked the comms cable and went about troubleshooting.  I remember I had inherited an old sniffer program (can't recall the name) so I did what I could to packet capture and see if there was something offending...but there wasn't!  When I plugged the Internets back in, the circuit got flooded almost immediately.

Long story very short, just when I thought all hope was lost and I would have needed to tear down and start from scratch, I found the culprit (after several 18+-hour days): a faulty dumb hub in our Customer Service area was spewing garbage on the wire.  I replaced it, re-plugged the Gore-webs and all was right with the world!  My boss at the time even gave me a little bonus (I think it was a MacDonalds gift card) for my efforts.

Now, had I been aware of, and had purchased and installed, SolarWinds, it might have taken a lot less time to t-shoot (yeah, OK, shameless plug for Orion but even today, as back then, sniffers just aren't enough).

Level 7

I was working as a contractor at the HQ for a mid-sized manufacturing firm when I was hired on full time in September, 2006, and assigned IT responsibilities of a division I had not worked much on during my contracting time.  In the span of a month and a half, there was a major, non IT-related operational emergency in this division which required my presence in Iowa for about 5 weeks.  The only thing that broke me out of that place was a phone call that 2 hard drives blew on a production server in Mexico, and that I needed to come there right away to get their database and app up and running again.  Down I flew from Iowa to Arizona, this particular plant was a few minutes driving distance from the border.  I brought with me a ERD Commander CD to boot off of, and I was able to get a OS running.  Between myself and Dell support, we were able to get the volume mounted in a degraded state, but enough where I could pull data off.  I was feeling really good, until I realized that I had no way to get the data from the server in Mexico to a donor server in the US.  I can't bring the server through customs, I didn't have time to deal with the crossing, the duties, etc.  I can't bring the HDs themselves as the donor server had a different controller, and I was paranoid that moving them too much would degrade them further.  The server had no CD burner, and the DB was too large for the 256MB USB stick I had on me.  In the midst of my anguish I had a revelation:  my IPod.  I had set it for mass storage earlier, I still had the USB cable on me, it was small, portable, and no one would think twice about it.  I immediately blanked it out, plugged it in, and to my amazement transferred all the DB files to it.  I crossed back to the US without issue, went right up to the donor server and loaded the files.  Even though the database initially wouldn't mount, DriveSavers was able to recover 99% of the data off of it which places this squarely in the win column.

Level 12

London SWUG 2017…

I am so pleased that I was able to attend the First London SWUG in 2017 and meet the SolarWinds 'Head Geek' Team, and other THWACK SolarWinds Development Engineers.

Since then I believe that my confidence and abilities to help the Clients with their SolarWinds Monitoring Environments find the root cause of a problem and get it resolve.

The list could go on and on and on but I will stop here.

Danielle, thank you all of your support.

What an amazing difference exists between that Commodore technology and today's word processors!  In an day where a few milliseconds of latency can make the difference between an application working or not, watching your program fire up on Youtube really made me appreciate how little we appreciate "fast" apps and networks.

Back in the day, many people would have loved to operate your word processor.  Today, I suspect their reaction would be the opposite--both cases the simple result of having become accustomed to what was "normal" performance of an application at the time.