5 things to take care of before leaving for vacation by kimnju

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									Five things support pros should take care of before leaving on vacation
By Becky Roberts

Version 1.0 August 10, 2005

So you’re leaving for a two-week camel-packing vacation in Outer Mongolia beyond the reach of even the most determined user. Although leaving your cell phone behind may ensure a vacation uninterrupted by reports of jammed printers, forgotten passwords, and mysterious substances oozing from monitors, what about those thoughts nagging in the depths of your subconscious? Did you remember to ask Joe to fix Ed’s printer? What about the password you just changed—did you remember to write it on the list in the safe? And heck, what about the upgrade you absolutely promised to perform before the end of the week? To help you rest easy, confident in the knowledge that your users will be well taken care of in your absence, here is a sample checklist of things you should think about before dashing out 30 minutes early to beat the rush to the airport.

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Passwords: What passwords do only you know? All critical passwords should be written down and stored in a secure location, such as a department safe. Include your own passwords, even if they aren't that critical. A good vacation could erase such work-related trivia from your brain. Changed any passwords lately and not told anyone? Make sure recently changed passwords are relayed to the appropriate parties. Outstanding work orders: Do you have any open work orders or other commitments you haven't fulfilled? Make sure you tie up all loose ends by completing the work order, delegating it to a reliable party, or appealing to the user’s good nature to exercise patience and await your return. Routine tasks: Identify any routine tasks you’re responsible for. Do you change the backup tapes or kick off any nightly tasks? Document and then either automate or delegate all such tasks. If you have to delegate a routine task, consider setting up an automatic reminder for a few minutes before the task is due. Office plants/pets: This may seem trivial, but I once returned from vacation to discover that my skink had not only expired in my absence but had turned fetid, swelled up, and rather messily exploded inside her tank. So rather than assume that your co-workers will remember to drop the occasional mouse in with your boa, make a list and delegate. Expected deliveries: Ordered anything recently? If you are expecting a delivery, particularly if it's an item eagerly awaited by a user, make sure someone knows what to expect and when, and what to do with it when it arrives. Ask the person receiving the order to verify it for accuracy. It's disappointing to return from vacation eagerly expecting to play with your new programmable mouse only to discover that they sent you three dozen pink mouse pads by mistake.

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Becky Roberts has worked as a database developer for the British aerospace industry, a mainframe programmer for a ceramics manufacturer, an applications developer for an employment agency, and an IT-do-everything person for international management consultants. She’s currently playing with the networks in a chemical plant in Texas. Becky is an avid mountain biker and rock climber; she lives in inner-city Houston with too many pets, including four cats, three ferrets, and two teenagers.

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Five things support pros should take care of before leaving on vacation

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Version: 1.0 Published: August 10, 2005

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