Today marks the 21st annual Sysadmin day since it was first founded by Ted Kekatos on July 28th, 2000, and it may have been the hardest year yet to be a Sysadmin. From mass deployments to remote support of WFH execs, 2020 has been a year to remember.
But as we all know, being a Sysadmin can be a thankless job, IT pros like SysAdmins get far more complaints than compliments on a day-to-day basis. So go find time today to walk over to the IT department or drop a note to someone who’s been particularly helpful and say thanks. Want to do more? We've compiled a shortlist of all of the ways you can make your Sysadmin's life easier today and every day:
- Reboot your computer before approaching the help desk. It's become a meme, but it's true, often the first step in fixing an issue is to reboot the machine. So why not try that yourself before creating a ticket? Save yourself, and your Sysadmin a little time and effort. What’s not to appreciate about that?
- Don’t attempt to open a trouble ticket in-person. There are lots of things you can say when walking past one of your SysAdmins. "Hello" and "how are you?" are favorites of mine. But if your only in-person interaction with your Sysadmin is to complain about issues, you may find yourself being avoided. Not only do Sysadmins appreciate manners like the rest of us, but they also appreciate process. So next time, say hello, then open a ticket.
- Strike up a conversation. As a sysadmin, it can be easy to feel isolated from the rest of the business. Often they're cordoned away near the server room, only emerging when there's a problem to fix. A simple conversation can go a long way towards breaking that sense of isolation.
- Stick to the Security Policy. We get it, security can be a pain. Security policies slow everything down—why send that file through secure file transfer when you can put it on DropBox in half the time? Well, cumbersome as security policies can be, they exist for a reason, so the next time you want to find a workaround—don't. Save your sysadmin (and yourself) the trouble, and do it right.
- Spare your SysAdmin from a BYOD headache. Connecting to the network with a personal device? That shouldn't be a problem on most networks, but it's still best to let IT know what kind of personal devices you use on the company network.
- Don't bother them on their day off. Depending on their level of responsibility, your sysadmin may be "always on-call," but that doesn't mean you should bother them with minor requests on their day off, if you can help it. If your network is down, go ahead, but extracting pictures of your kids from a crashed laptop is not mission-critical.
- If something's wrong, let them know! On the flip side, you'd be surprised how many users simply let major issues slide, and live with it because they don't want to bother their IT team. If something is seriously wrong, and hampering your workflow, let IT know! Chances are it's a symptom of a larger problem, and they'll be happy to know it.
- Clean up after yourself. Purge your email - junk, sent, and deleted mail, large attachments, and extensive email threads can take up a lot of space.If you really want to blow away your SysAdmin, start cleaning house on your shared servers. Nothing says “thank you” better than freeing up space on the network.
- Buy the IT team lunch. Really want to show your appreciation today? Gather the team up for lunch, or ice cream this afternoon. They're gonna love you, I guarantee it. Nothing says "thank you" like a pizza.
- Just say thanks!
So here's to you, sysadmins, and all that you do. Thanks for all of the troubleshooting, the config fixes, and the reboots. May your networks always be connected, may your servers always be up and may DNS errors never find you.
And if you’re not a sysadmin, take heed: being a sysadmin is a hard, often thankless job, so next time you see your sysadmin, say thank you. And for the love of God, don’t ask them what they do.