I set up a network in the HQ and the site branch in IPSEC and set up Windows Server 2012 and 2016. I finished my IT work. Now my employer has asked me to document what I did. Do I have to write the documentation?

  • Are you an employee or a contractor? Jan 15, 2019 at 18:31
  • I am an employee Jan 15, 2019 at 18:34
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    @TataBachoy Could you please explain, why you think documenting your work is something you shouldn't be required to do? Jan 15, 2019 at 18:36
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    Whether you give it or not, you are replaceable. Everyone is replaceable. Not giving them the documentation they ask for doesn't change this fact.
    – sf02
    Jan 15, 2019 at 18:58
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    @TataBachoy - I would immediately fire any IT worker whom refused to document their work - work without documentation is worthless, for the many reasons mentioned by others. As part of any IT project I've managed I've required documentation, and included documentation review as a project step, and take documentation quality as an important part of an employee's review. Jan 16, 2019 at 14:41

6 Answers 6


Regardless of your status in the company as employee or a contractor,

Any work should be documented for archive, knowledge transfer and control purposes

If you didn`t do it during, which would be easier, faster and more reliable (for any large projects smaller details always get forgotten after a short while), you have to do it now


You don't have to give them documentation, and they don't have to continue your employment. Any sensible company will want tasks such as those documented so that knowledge can be easily shared/transferred.

Just write the documentation and hand it in to them as you have been asked.

  • And they don't have to continue my employment? What you mean? Jan 15, 2019 at 18:28
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    I mean that your employment can be terminated for refusing to give them the documentation that they have requested.
    – sf02
    Jan 15, 2019 at 18:31
  • They just asking me to do the documentation not mentioned termination. Jan 15, 2019 at 18:34
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    They don't need to mention termination. Normally, if you don't do the work that they ask you to do there are consequences, the worst one being termination.
    – sf02
    Jan 15, 2019 at 18:36
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    They wouldn't mention termination because they assume you will be doing what you are told to do. If my boss tells me to do something, there are three possibilities: (a) I do it. (b) I give him a reason why it is a bad idea to do it, or why it is a bad idea to do it now. (c) My employment is in danger. My boss expects (a) or (b) from me; (c) would be totally unexpected to him, so it will not be mentioned.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 15, 2019 at 19:34

Writing documentation is an expected part of the work of an IT administrator and should be part of your work even if your employer doesn't explicitly ask for it. I would even go as far as saying that refusing to document your setup for your employer is unethical.

There is a couple of reasons one can expect a good documentation, both for you as well as for your employer.

  • Writing documentation is kind of a review of your own work, you might discover flaws or improvements during recapulating your own work to documenting.
  • Should you not touch a certain part of your setup for a while, a well written documentation should help you come back to track quickly
  • Documentation is helpful for your employer should you not be available for whatever reason, to help a coworker work with your setup. Some of those reasons are:
    • you are on a leave, for holiday or cause of being sick and an emergency occurs
    • you get hit by a bus
    • you leave the company
    • you are fired

Yes having a well written documentation is helpful in case they want to fire you, but they still have to find and train a qualified replacement as the work of an IT administrator is never ever completed.

However blackmailing your employer to keep you by refusing to write documentation will make sure they try even harder to replace you, burn any bridges you had there and leave a mark on your track should you ever need a reference from them.


They're not asking for a tutorial on how to do what you did.

They ask for you to describe the network infrastructure, the settings, what controls / influences / depends on what.

What cabeling goes where and why.

That sort of thing, so that when someone else needs to change or work with it, they don't have to backtrack every single thing.

Also, no offense, but how can you get a job to setup an entire network and not know this part ?

  • It is not about cabling setting up manageable switches and remember those reserved ip adresses and dhcp setup.. It is about setting up AD-DS (Active Directory Domain Services. In HQ and BRANCH from the scratch etc.. Jan 15, 2019 at 19:12
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    @Tata Bachoy same thing.they want you to document the settings,IP's , paths and folder structures,domains and names for HQ and Branch.Access/login/account descriptions,security settings,encryption, if applicable IT / admin access credentials etc.Remember, documentation (description), NOT tutorial / lecture in how to do your job. Jan 15, 2019 at 19:45

I'm going to answer the core question that you didn't quite ask: will you get fired if you give the company the steps you followed to set up the infrastructure?

The answer is: Almost certainly not.

Keep in mind, there are two types of employees:

  • Employees that are around because they hide arcane knowledge (and haven't yet been fired.)
  • Employees that are around because they can create solutions to problems.

It's up to you which type of employee you want to be. Sure, you could refuse to do the documentation, or do it shoddily, or any number of "I'm afraid they'll fire me, so I won't share my knowledge" type tactics. And, who knows: you might be kept on awhile because they company will be afraid of losing that knowledge of your setup. But companies hate employees like that and will actively look to fire them as soon as feasible (and since you don't really have a whole lot of knowledge, they'd probably just immediately fire you.) Keep in mind, from the company's perspective, an employee like that is ultimately a liability.

Or, instead, you could try to be an employee who's valuable because they can create solutions to problems. Your value isn't "I know how to do X", but "There was a problem, and I knew that X would be a solution to it - and look, I went ahead and did it; Problem solved!"


Your employer can ask you and you need to create the documentation if you are still employed by them (and if you want to remain employed). After all, if your employer discovers that this documentation is needed, who would better suited to do it than you?

On the other hand, if there is 80 hours work for you to do in the next two weeks, then you can tell your employer that if you spend 40 hours on creating the documentation, then half of your normal work will not be done by you, and they have to accept that.

If an ex-employer asks you, you can tell them that you are willing to do this for usual contractor rates; in the UK say £400 to £500 a day, assuming that your current employer allows you to do it. You can also tell them that you are willing to do it for £1,000 a day, or not willing at all. Entirely up to you. There is no reason why you would have to do it for free or cheaply.

  • gnasher729, OP nether mentioned that it would be for free or on his own time
    – Strader
    Jan 15, 2019 at 19:53

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