Lead Image © Rajesh Rajendran Nair, 123RF.com

Lead Image © Rajesh Rajendran Nair, 123RF.com

Leveraging the Sys Admin Brain

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Article from ADMIN 59/2020
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System administrators are your front-line soldiers: the eyes, ears, and hands of the company.

System administrators are a creative lot, but that creativity is often overlooked. I personally love being creative and coming up with new solutions and new ways to do things. I'm especially happy when I can solve an expensive problem for free by using native tools and utilities, and I know other sys admins are just like me. It's funny how the brain of many organizations is in their feet rather than in their heads. I think this is the reason we go unnoticed and often unrewarded for the innovations we bring to the corporate table.

System administrators are too often thought of as necessary evils – overhead, introverted basement dwellers, and dungeon masters. The fact is, we're creative people who deserve a lot more than the occasional eye roll from someone in management. If you haven't experienced the scoffs and the sneers when you've suggested a solution, then you're very new to the job – or very lucky. In either case, prepare yourself.

I've been a member of the proletariat for so long, I've lost my enthusiasm for conquering the corporate beast. I've learned the hard way that many companies neither appreciate nor desire creativity and innovation. They just want you to respond as if you were a semi-sentient robot and do the job without question or consideration for alternative approaches. If one varies from that box, it's often suggested that you "move on." I feel this attitude wastes and suppresses a lot of talent and innovation.

For example, in a 16-year stint at a large IT services company, I was repeatedly told both "We can't purchase tools" and "We don't want home-grown solutions." That was the dilemma – you can't buy tools and you can't create your own. The only solution was to do everything manually, which admins also weren't supposed to do.

I think the assumption is that the lower you are in the corporate food chain the less you have to offer the ecosystem. It has been my experience that system

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