And we are enormously grateful. What started off as a tongue-and-cheek offshoot of Administrative Professionals Day has now become a special holiday that people around the world recognize and practice.
Dear reader, today is System Administrator Appreciation Day.
Let’s be honest, maintaining the security and integrity of a business network, ensuring that all computers connected to it are religiously patched, and that the printer is forever jam-free when you need it the most are no small feats. So, if you can, drop what you’re doing right now, head over to the IT wing, and treat your Sysadmins to coffee. Cake and ice cream aren’t bad either.
With the number of tasks Sysadmins usually have on their plate—all of them urgent more often than not—time is a precious commodity. So why not free them from sweating over the small stuff so they can have more time to relax and enjoy this day? Here are a number of ways you can do just that:
- Schedule password changes. Yes, it may be high time to start reminding yourself (and not let your Sysadmin constantly do this for you) to change your password regularly after you’ve been using the same one for several months now. Circle a fixed date on your wall or table calendar, or set yourself a reminder to do this on your phone.There is a genuine need for password changes on a regular basis, and this is to keep both the enterprise and your personal accounts safe. Your Sysadmin will thank you for your diligence.
- Use the ticketing system. We know the temptation to walk over to IT and ask for a solution is strong, but there’s a system in place for a reason. Ticketing systems are how IT and Sysadmins track how much work they are doing and how well they’re performing (and justify their staffing levels).Using them also guarantees your problems won’t slip through the cracks. Just remember to be as detailed as possible in describing your issues and be realistic on setting the urgency for them.
- Eat and drink at your station at your own risk. Finishing a presentation for a meeting in half an hour with an empty stomach is an all-too familiar scenario most of us can relate to. This is also why, at times, we work and eat at our computers. It’s practical, after all.However, coffee and juice spill, and they almost always do over your (desktop or laptop) keyboard. Crumbs and other bits of food may find themselves wedged between keys and along the sides, too. Think about that today. Despite popular opinion, it’s not your Sysadmin’s job to clean your keyboard for you.
- Start learning how to fix common technical issues by yourself. Does your computer seem slow? Maybe it’s not really your computer but your Internet connection. Say the program you’re using stopped responding and your screen appears frozen. Terminate the program via Task Manager or, if you like, do a hard reset. What if the printer won’t print? There are a number of ways you can address this, beginning with making sure your drivers are up-to-date and that the printer has paper and ink/toner.There will always be issues you wouldn’t be comfortable dealing with yourself. And once you reach that point, escalate to your Sysadmin accordingly.
- When offered, attend and pay attention to security trainings. Nowadays, more companies are beginning to incorporate this into the work culture after realizing that basic security is becoming less of an option and more of a need. Don’t feel as though a sanctioned phishing training is meant to victimize you, the user. Sysadmins are trying to patch the end user and ingrain security reflexes to make everyone safer.Remember that falling for a sanctioned phishing email isn’t the end of the world. In fact, this a lot better than being phished for real! Having mandatory security awareness training isn’t that bad. Recognizing phishing attempts is hard, especially if they’re well crafted. Techniques change, and periodic training refreshes security awareness.
System Administrator Appreciation Day doesn’t have to start and end today. If we commit to doing at least one of the above from here on, every day would be Sysadmin Appreciation Day!