When I was still a new engineer, a fellow customer support engineer (CSE) asked a favor of me. I’ll call him Andy.

“I’m going on PTO, could you cover a case for me? I’ve filed a bug and while I’m gone there will be a conference call. Just jump on it and tell them that the bug has been filed an engineering is working on it.” The case was with one of our largest service provider clients. I won’t say which, but they were a household name.

When you’re new and want to make a good impression, you jump on chances like this. It was a simple request and would prove I’m a team player. Of course I accepted the case and went about my business with the conference call on my calendar for the next week.

Before I got on the call I took a brief look at the case notes and the DDTS (what Cisco calls a bug.) Everything seemed to be in order. The bug was filed and in engineering’s hands. Nothing to do but hop on the call and report that the bug was filed and we were working on it.

I dialed the bridge and after I gave my name the automated conference bridge said “there are 20 other parties in the conference.” Uh oh. Why did they need so many?

After I joined, someone asked for introductions. As they went around the call, there were a few engineers, several VP’s, and multiple senior directors. Double uh oh.

“Jeff is calling from Cisco,” the leader of the call said. “He is here to report on the P1 outage we had last week affecting multiple customers. I’m happy to tell you that Cisco has been working diligently on the problem and is here to report their findings and their solution. Cisco, take it away.”

I felt my heart in my throat. I cleared my voice, and sheepishly said: “Uh, we’ve, uh, filed a bug for your problem and, uh, engineering is looking into it.”

It was dead silence, followed by a VP chiming in: “That’s it?”

I was then chewed out thoroughly for not doing enough and wasting everyone’s time.

When Andy got back he grabbed the case back from me. “How’d the call go?” he asked.

I told him how it went horribly, how they were expecting more than I delivered, and how I took a beating for him.

Andy just smiled. Welcome to TAC.