I was skimming /r/sysadmin last week and the top thread was posted by a chap who was close to reaching his limit at work (a few days later he resigned). Unfortunately this is surprisingly common. Throughout the two posts I found a lot of really good advice from people who had been through similar issues. No situation is perfect, but whether you decide to stay or move on, improving your lot is always a good idea. I started putting together some of my own thoughts, and this post is the result.
Have a quick look around the IT press, and you will notice a number of articles discussing BYOD and the Cloud as being disruptive to the industry. This isn’t exactly a new trend either – it happened with the original PC, Inkjet Printers, PDAs, Laptops and many other new products. They were all revolutionary at the time, and allowed people to work in new ways.
Many people in IT get defensive and even angry about new tech. Someone outside IT will buy a shiny new toy, then try to use it at work. It might work and no one in IT is the wiser, but it often leads to confrontation between the user, their manager, and IT. Do this a few times and you quickly become known as the Department of “NO!”.
It could have killed you
As a SysAdmin I am used to being around potentially dangerous situations like people working with high Voltage/current power feeds, fire suppression systems, heights and dealing with heavy equipment. The cost of a mistake can be serious, and possibly fatal. However, these are all jobs where you need to hire a trained professional to do it.
There are plenty of other hazards to deal with. I have had several computers burst into flames, dodgy wiring (230V has a bite..), and there was the time a Doberman try to attack me on a site visit. There are also the less exciting/entertaining little cuts and bruises, tripping hazards and the ever present stress.
Backups suck (but we need them)
Backups are hard to do, boring, thankless tasks, and often one of the things that gets pushed to the back of the pile. And yet protecting data is probably the most important responsibility for most SysAdmins.
The computer systems we install, maintain, and our users rely upon daily continue to store more and more data. Disasters and accidents will happen, and will lead to you losing some or all of that important data.
Like most Sysadmin’s you have a lot of projects to work on, issues to resolve, and still somehow try to stay sane(ish). You have a big long to-do list, but the odd things are getting missed, your team can’t easily delegate requests to each other, you don’t work as a team, some projects aren’t getting worked on, and you have to deal with the consequences.