What do you do when you can't get the information you need to do your job?

9bits9bits Member Posts: 138 ■■□□□□□□□□
Anything from whether or not to use the red or the green cable to what software to put on a device to whether or not to install a system somewhere. I've quite often found myself in situations where I just couldn't get a reply as to what course of action my superiors wanted me to take. This always leaves me in a very awkward position: 1) Go work on something else and flat out ignore the problem until someone makes a decision, or 2) Make a decision and risk it being the wrong one.


  • networker050184networker050184 Mod Posts: 11,962 Mod
    Make the decision. Take initiative. Then start writing down standards. Create a wiki, knowledge base of some kind where these things can be referenced in the future.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • E Double UE Double U Member Posts: 2,229 ■■■■■■■■■■
    A wise man once said:

    "Screw you guys, I'm going home"
    Alphabet soup from (ISC)2, ISACA, GIAC, EC-Council, Microsoft, ITIL, Cisco, Scrum, CompTIA, AWS
  • GSXR750K2GSXR750K2 Member Posts: 323 ■■■■□□□□□□
    If they claim something you did was not what they were expecting, don't be afraid to throw it in their faces in a professional way. In the past I've had to explain that, at times, the lack of any decision would have been far worse than proceeding with a wrong decision, and if you can point to emails where you requested information but received no reply, it really takes away their footing for an argument. If you do break something, man up...you may be in the wrong, but at least they can't blame you for just sitting around being complacent.

    Like networker said, grab the problem by the throat and wrestle it to the ground. If your superiors penalize you for taking the initiative, which in turn helps cover them for not doing their jobs, then I'd consider finding a place that wants forward thinking people.


    An extreme story on "asking for forgiveness later"...

    In March 2015 I was doing some work at a little place that uses/used Panda's Global Protection software. Panda bothced up an antivirus signature file that caused the antivirus to start turning on Windows, and as the machines began downloading the signature file, Panda began to quarantine system files (true story, look it up and see the damage it caused). The calls were coming in so heavily and so many people were walking in the door that it was assumed that a rampant worm was the cause and Panda wasn't able to stop it. To try to limit/isolate the damage, we yanked the power cables from the switches. Was it per protocol? Hell no. Did we get commended for limiting the problem to only 38 out of 143 machines? Yes...once it was discovered what had happened. It took a 34 hour shift to clean up all of the damage that could have been A LOT worse.

    We were lucky...some people on the west coast lost almost everything due to Panda's screw up because of the time of day it happened. Point is, don't be afraid to take action if something absolutely needs to be done. Waiting for direction is sometimes the worst thing you can do.
  • PristonPriston Member Posts: 999 ■■■■□□□□□□
    ...I usually grab a cordless drill in my left hand pointing downward and a rubber mallet in my right hand resting on my shoulder. This shows I'm ready to get to work and that's when I ask the questions I need answers to...

    ...No I'm just kidding, but it can be like pulling teeth to get the answers I need sometimes. When you know your going to have to start working on 10+ different projects over the next few months and you can't get any details on any of them it can be very frustrating. Makes you start to wonder if those 10 projects over 3 months will suddenly become 10 projects over 3 weeks because no one bothered to plan ahead.

    Sometimes you have to pull the information out of management to stay on the same page as them. Sometimes you have to remind them of all the small important details of everything that's going on. If they drag their feet, make a plan of your own, document whatever steps or configuration you think will need to be done.

    If no one will tell you what the standard is, document the environment. You might just find the a standard while your documenting. If they have standards that aren't documented, document them. If they don't have standards, create standards and document them.

    Of course if all my co-workers had an I don't care attitude, put things off to the last minute, and ignored me I'd eventually start looking for a new job.
    A.A.S. in Networking Technologies
    A+, Network+, CCNA
  • UncleBUncleB Member Posts: 417
    If you have an idea of what you think the solution should be (ideally backed up from another source like the internet or a colleague) then when you write to ask for approval, include the line "I appreciate you are busy so if I don't hear back by 4pm them I'm going with option 1".

    This shows you have kept you management informed, given them a range of options (do or do not for example), have given them a reasonably time frame to consider the options, but more importantly, you let them know you are a "can do" kind of guy they can rely on to do all of this.

    You may hit a few bumps in the road but the management will prefer this approach as it takes the pressure off them having to make the decision, keeps them informed in case they get asked and gets the job done to make them look good.
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