CCIE Pursuit Blog

August 28, 2007

Verify Each Task Before You Proceed…Even In The Real World

Filed under: Cisco,Cisco Certification,OT: Humor,Personal — cciepursuit @ 3:15 pm

Today I started the task of replacing all of the electrical outlets in our house.  We bought a bunch of brass fixtures to replace the plastic ones.  I made the – now regrettable – suggestion that since we were dumping a bunch of money into fancy face-plates, we should also replace the old, yellowing electrical outlets.  My wife agreed and then quickly delegated the task to me because I have a Y chromosome which somehow gives me an instinctual ability to do home wiring.  I started my task and after I replaced the first light-switch, I flipped the power breaker back on and tested the light to make sure that it worked.  Success!  I then followed the same procedure after I replaced the first couple of electrical outlets.  Then, buoyed by my initial success, I decided to knock out the next five outlet replacements without the added delay of turning the power back on to verify each outlet.  As you can guess, this was a big mistake.  After replacing the last outlet and throwing the breaker, I found out that most (but not all) of my outlets did not work any longer and neither did my light-switch which was working before.

I had skipped the inconvenience of verifying each task (in this case each replaced electrical outlet) in order to complete the job quicker.  I made a mistake somewhere along the way – which I would have isolated had I stayed true to my troubleshooting methodology – and now was in the unenviable situation of having to go back and check the wiring on each outlet.  Eventually, I found the problem.  One of the wires was loose.  It was a wire that was run from the light-switch to a few of the outlets, obviously some DIY wiring project by the former owners.  A job that would have taken me two hours at most, became a 4 hour ordeal in which I was seriously considering calling an electrician to get to the house before my wife got home.  Damn the cost!  I just did not want to explain how I had “broken the electricity”.

Anyhoo…hopefully this hammers home the need to verify each task as you complete it when you undertake large projects like completing a practice lab.  The time that you might save will pale in comparison to the time it takes you to backtrack and discover your mistake.

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