Strings of Exception

He was up against a deadline and didn’t have the SMA credentials to check for himself, so he took the question to his senior, the lead architect.

“Hey, which node should we run the new monitor agents on?”

“On OrderMgmt? Let’s go with the JMS node.”

“Got it.”

With that he went to the team resources page and pulled the node id, entered it into the parameter setting, and… that was that. Done.

“Alright, next up. How about… S41-265? ‘Back-end agents to clean up GMT timestamps issue.'”

“They didn’t run.”

“What do you mean? A.M. or P.M.?”


“Fucking agents, every time. Alright… why? Is it the timezones again? Didn’t you test this?”

His manager shot him an accusatory look.

“Well,” he said, trying not to react. By now he had learned that much.

Of course it was tested. By him, by the QA team. In multiple environments. That jab didn’t merit a response. But he knew his reply wouldn’t go over well, regardless.

“I don’t know why. Not yet.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? How can you not know?”

He paused for a moment to wonder if that tone was really necessary, Do we have to do this in front of the whole team? Again?

Then he delivered his prepared munitions, carefully assembled in advance.

“I don’t know because I don’t have SMA credentials. I need a login to check the JMS node’s agent settings. Either it’s an issue with the settings, or an error in the code. But there’s nothing in the logs, so it’s impossible to say which without looking at the SMA.”

His manager hesitated, “S… M.A.?”

There was his opening.

“System management application. It’s basically the window into all the Apache node’s conf—actually this is going nowhere. Let’s take this offline.”

Satisfied that the message was received — it’s complicated, you fucking idiot — he turned to his laptop and started typing loudly before realizing there was one specific key phrase he needed to add before his manager would let him move on.

“I’ll handle it,” he said.

He was getting those credentials.

With a shiny new ID and password in hand, he first logged into the main portal with his old personal credentials, then logged into the SMA “applet” with the new credentials, the ones he had just extracted by means of pure visible frustration.

The lead architect did not appreciate his demeanor or insistence, but it worked. For now at least, since he was paranoid that the terse interaction would somehow cost him down the line.

And then there was the security question, too. While there wasn’t a strict policy prohibiting him from having those credentials, it wasn’t exactly an approved release, either.

But no matter, he got what he needed. He was in.

He pulled up the JMS node, clicked on Agent Management in the navigation, and—there it was.


The only thing he could think was, Honestly that syntax and casing are kinda unnecessary here.

— yoav golan

Just an example of how things can play out in some of the more terrible ecosystems I’ve been in over the years. It’s a depiction of what you might call a “high cortisol environment.”

Red flags all over.

Sometimes the cues are singular, sometimes not so much. Either way, be mindful.

At my new place, if anyone even makes an issue out of something like that, it’s more like, “Cool. Ugh… fix it, I guess?”

And then you just fix it.

I know, it’s crazy 😂

I guess you don’t need to weaponize information if you’re not constantly under attack.

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