The Spiceworks Review: Shouldn’t every day be SysAdmin day?

Our monthly roundup of the best discussions on the online community, from eliminating the ‘us versus them’ mentality at work to celebrating the small victories of being a network admin

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July 31 was SysAdmin Day — and for the weeks leading up to the big day Spiceworks members shared what they love about their jobs and even about users.

Spicehead Roy Atkinson explained why it’s important to remember that support extends beyond fixing computers.

“We tend to think of incidents and faults with the computer or the application or the system,” he says. “These really are interruptions, barriers, and hurdles that end users need to get over or through. We IT support pros enable users to get on with their work, meet their deadlines, and have better outcomes.”

Sure, but why does that matter? Because, he says, when we’re supporting people and not machines, “we think and act differently and deliver better service naturally.” It’s not about fixing that printer, but about helping someone do their job better — even if they don’t always express their gratitude for it.

Tech consultant Anthony Sutcliffe says a key problem in IT is that so many IT pros end up with a silo mentality. “This can cause them to develop an ‘us and them’ attitude towards their end users and it can become a major issue when … interacting with those people.”

And, while it’s amusing to swap user horror stories as a way to relieve tension at work, he says “it shouldn’t then cause us to look disparagingly on those people.” Instead, it’s about focusing on the more positive aspects of providing support and what extra value that brings to the business.

Network/sys admin David Geiger, aka wowitsdave, shared six weird things that IT people celebrate, such as getting a ticket in a remote building where there’s cake. Or when a user reboots their PC without prompting, which Geiger describes as the “holy grail” of user support.

Colin Kennedy, aka Pass the Tylenol, adds his two cents: “A user passing on a phishing e-mail, knowing already that it doesn’t look right, and wanting the IT department to warn other users. Gold star!”

And CatatonicBug, an IT manager in finance, says: “I really celebrate when I have a project that I invented to either increase security or automate some mundane task, and it has taken all week to figure out the details, then finally, at 4pm on Friday, it finally just works!”

While building relationships with users has been a popular theme of late, Spicehead Jason Greifen wondered how to handle distracted employees spending too much time on social media and which websites should be blocked at work.

Spicehead Michael Chamberland feels it makes sense to block everything and then unblock on a per-user or per-site basis. But Spicehead Chris Hone says users should sign an Internet usage policy that explains what they can and can’t do. If they break the rules, it becomes an HR matter.

And in a humorous take on problems that all sys admins will understand, Spiceworks IT content guy Peter Tsai has pieced together a chuckle-worthy list of issues you’ve likely come across at some point — from the agony of listening to non-techies talk about technology to scaring away your non-geek friends with tech jargon.

If you didn’t celebrate SysAdmin Day last month, be sure to revel in your small victories so far this year — and find yourself a free slice of cake in a remote office.

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