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Tips for getting the best out of your Sysadmin

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There are a few jobs out there which go unnoticed more than that of the Office IT Sysadmin, if we don’t look busy we obviously need more work to do, and if we look busy it’s usually because we are… We do it because we love it, despite the downsides..

If you want to help us, there are some simple suggestions you might wish to follow…

1. We don’t know every password on the system

While we can weave our magic, and pull rabbits out of hats on most occasions, the one thing which will stop us fixing your PC is the password. While we keep locked in dungeons guarded by dragons the sysadmin passwords, we don’t have yours written down. So when you ask us to look at your PC and then disappear off for a smoke or a coffee, and lock the screen, don’t be surprised if the problem still persists when you get back. While we could hack your system, or wave that fairy dust over the keyboard, traditional methods of troubleshooting work best…

2. We just love typing over you while you sit down..

While I will happily come over to your desk, i don’t practice yoga or wish for an HR complaint, yes thats right, if i’m going to fix the problem I need to be the one at the keyboard. I’m happy for you to drive from the back seat, telling me how to use the OS, how the applications I support work, that’s fine, because I know you love it when people tell you how to suck eggs too.. Just do it while i’m sat down..

3. When we leave it till the last minute, it fails, so why don’t you think it will for you?

So, i knew something like a backup needed doing, but i thought having a coffee, or another pointless meeting was more important, so i waited till just before you deleted your files to do the backup, i’m going to get a reprimand.. So when you know you are out of the office, on holiday or for whatever reason can’t do your job, don’t wait until 2 minutes beofre that time, in a rush, and a dribbling panic to come over and have me stop what i’m doing (probably said backup) because you can’t organise your time. If getting onto a VPN, emailing from your crackberry or setting the out of office on your email is that urgent, create a calendar entry for it. Should the whole system not get backed up, because you cant GTD or whatever it tells you in those books on your desk?

4. Yes, thats right, turn it off and on again..

You laugh, you take the micky, but yes, thats why I get paid the big bucks.. Because I know that IT just doesn’t work properly, and the best way to fix a problem is to turn it off and on again. Its an in perfect system, based on other people like me called Dev’s who are also under pressure from Sales to get products out which don’t work, and then we fleece them with upgrades.. Until we enter Nirvana.. REBOOT solves all..

5. We didn’t write Windows, we don’t know why it doesn’t work, and we didn’t choose to use it..

Telling your Sysadmin that Windows is useless, and why do we use it, is like telling your dentist that Mars Bars rot your teeth and why do we eat it.. You are pointing out the obvious. Given a choice that happy colourful Windows flag probably won’t be quite so prominent in your office. The fact is however befre the iPad and Android tablet, taking Outlook and IE away from you was like taking milk from a crying baby.. You users see it as IT Crack, you can’t survive without Outlook and IE, or Windows.. So we put up with it because it keeps the kids quiet… It’s not like we need to use it..

6. We don’t want to stay late any more than you do.

A really quick observation, yes we stay behind late, yes we look like we have no life, we are not staying behind so you can ask us questions about your home PC, or suggestions of the best smartphone, we stay behind late because we spend all day dealing with less important stuff and need to so that stuff which means you can do your job during the evening.. So while we might seem like we might want to chat, we don’t, we want to start the AD rollout, invoke the backup/restore of the spreadsheet without which the world’s empires would crumble.. Not chat about your Dog’s typing skills..

7. We live and die by Management KPI’s, so use the ticket system.

Every IT helpdesk has a ticket system, it serves two purposes initially, the first is to make sure we know what we need to do, the second is to keep a record of what we did so that when you miss a target, or don’t do your job, and inevitably blame it on an IT problem, we have a record of the facts, not the fluffy bunnies you have conjured up out of thin air to cover your arse.. Over time however we start to be measured on that ticket system, so when you wander over to us, asking us what to type on your phone because the password won’t work, even though the phone says “Type Blackberry to continue” thats one less KPI we hit because you can’t send an email to the ticket system. Which is ironic, because we know how much email you DO send, and most of that is pretty irrelevant..

8. There was an Error Message, it’s written in English, for you, read it..

As a percentage, about 35% of software costs are spent on making human readable interfaces, documentation, and error messages, thats 30% i wish we got as a discount. Yes, i’m again, not too busy to walk over to your PC and read the message on the screen. I know the English language is hard, but telling us “there’s an error message on the screen, what do i do?” and then replying “I don’t know..” to the question “What does the error message say” puts your intelligence lower than a dog licking its nuts in a puddle.. More so when the error message is telling you what you need to do.. Any Devs who read this.. can you make the error messages more like “Please slam your hand in a draw” or “Click OK, if you are an idiot” i bet they get read then…

9. You did something, don’t tell me you didn’t

It just happened did it? just like that, the PC stopped working, and nothing you did caused it? So the huge crack on the side of the device had nothing to do with you dropping it? The cable on the powersupply being ripped out wasn’t you tripping over it? You can tell me nothing you did caused this, but i’m not going to belive you, then i’m going to out you.. occasionally public humiliation, usually by general distaine. Again, i’m understaffed and busy, i’m a cost centre, i don’t directly generate profit, i cost the company, so there are few of us, and I don’t need to be spending hours diagnosing a problem because you can’t tell me you installed a hooky copy of Lego Batman for the kids the bloke from the Pub gave you on a USB stick on the work PC..

10. ITS CALLED BLOODY GOOGLE!!!!

There is this invention called Google, its designed to answer questions, don’t look my way and ask “how do i get to..”, “Whaen is the next train to…” or any other question until you have Googled it first.. By doing this you are telling me you actually don’t need internet access…

Bonus:  So you’re PSU wasn’t important this morning when you left home, but it is now?

Your morning routine probably goes a little something like this

Milk + Cereal

Soap + Shower

Crap + Toilet Roll

Ticket + Train

Keys + Car

Socks + Shoes

So why does it not go Laptop + Power supply? It’s heavy is utter crap, your laptop has never been lighter, a lead weight is heavy, that PSU weighs less than the sandwich you got from Pret or the coffee from Starbucks you walked in with..

When you order a PC, you get one PSU, not two, so please, why do you expect IT to have spares? are we making that much cash we can jut the bottom line for a spare PSU for every one because they didn’t think you put it in the laptop bag..

Thank you

It’s all a bit tongue in cheek.. We all have fustrating jobs, are all understaffed.. but hey..

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2013 by in ilike and tagged , , , , , , , .
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