If someone was invisibly sitting in the corner of my office observing what I do all day, they might come to think it is “nothin’ much but sit, stare at screen, type, click, drink, eat, depending on the day occasionally talk”. Oh, and obviously “grump about things every now and then”.
“Not that big a deal” is one of the descriptions people chose (that’s past tense) to call what I do and new things they told me to do or learn. Slowly, really slowly, I’m sure they’ll see that this was a wrong assumption.
Of course, to some point, an admin’s job is to wait for something to fail and then fix it. But – and that’s where most people are wrong – it’s not that you can pick your nose while “waiting” … While things are working fine (which is what they call “waiting”), you read about new technology, test new versions of software you are using, discover and report bugs while testing, in short, you acquire knowledge.
Because what would happen if something failed and you didn’t know squat about the thing? Well … whoever was using it before (read: customers, other employees, a computer program) could not use it any more since noone would be able to fix it.
A couple of weeks ago I had another one of these “not that big a deal”-topics on my desk that used to be done by others before. What this thing does is _HUGE_ for the companies business and yet, the first thing I hear about having to do that now is an “ah, it’s not that big a deal you know, most of the time you don’t have to do anything about it”. Well, obviously, we’ve been there. But what the FUCK about when it goes down?
I’m not the kind of guy who just uses stuff in a productional environment that he does not understand and I hated being thrown into this situation. After some discussion with myself (took me about three weeks), this was basically the main reason I quit my job.
Just the other day I was following a discussion on the linux-ha IRC channel on freenode and someone stated “but then again, nothing is production ready if you don’t understand technology” and I couldn’t agree more.
So as of today, it’s only 2 weeks until I’ll have the last day there. Since the day I gave notice, I’ve been as busy as never before in this job. I’m handing over systems I maintained for over 5 years, updating documentation and trying to give people as much information about these things as possible. Seems like they’re slowly realizing what I did around there, besides “quietly sitting in my room, staring at the screen, typing on the keyboard, answering the phone and grumping the livelong day” …