The excellent Tricks Of The Trade has some timely advice for IT professionals.

>If you work in a big infrastructure with tons of routers, servers and the rest, you can usually tell how the whole operation is running right from your own desk, since your computer will have the proper tools for monitoring. But management doesn’t always understand this — if there’s a problem, they may perceive you as just sitting around idly, even while you are saving the day.

>So, at the first sign of trouble, abandon your perfectly functioning computer, go down to the computer room / engine room / nuclear reactor, and continue your work down there. Most of the time the issue will solve itself, but people will assume that, by moving, you were actively engaging the problem and have a second set of mystical tools at your disposal in the event of an emergency.

I’ve actually found that scurrying around looking concerned does wonders to calm the users’ fears during an outage.

Back in the old days when we had a complicated, finicky IV Phase system, my assistant hung this sign on the door when we had a major problem

> Yes the system is down
> Yes we’re working on it
> No we don’t know what’s wrong
> No we don’t know who broke it
> Yes we will let you know when it’s fixed

Did wonders to cut down on the traffic and the stupid questions.