Tech

On this most auspicious of days, we ask: How many sysadmins does it take to change a lightbulb?

Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day so enjoy this Reg reader’s story of just what these brave individuals have to put up with.

Our tale goes back to the dizzying heights of the dotcom boom, when “Ben” was running IT for a financial services business. “While most of the people there were super,” he told us, “there were a few who thought that IT staff were their minions for all sorts of menial repairs and issues.”

“Needless to say, conflict ensued.”

Ben was attempting to explain to the higher-ups why IT was important to the business (something the biz had yet to grasp despite being a stockbroker and having to deal with electronic share trading) when he was summoned by the assistant of the managing director of one of the company’s smaller divisions.

What could be so important that he had to drop whatever he was doing to help? It transpired that the rest of the IT staff had made themselves scarce, and this assistant had decided that their problem MUST TAKE PRECEDENCE.

Ben asked what the problem was. Malware? Internet outage? Database corruption?

“My desk lamp is not working.”

His jaw hit the floor. Surely this wasn’t an IT issue?

“It’s your problem!” the assistant shrieked. “It has a cord attached so it’s YOUR problem.”

Amid loud threats to have him fired, Ben excused himself from the presentation and made his way to the assistant’s desk, via the IT workshop (for essential supplies).

Sure enough, the lamp was indeed dead. What to do?

“I asked the assistant to pass me the lamp, which they did,” said Ben.

“I then used the VERY LARGE set of cutters that I had collected en route to cut the cable off as close to the base of the lamp as I could.”

“I then handed the assistant back the lamp, and the cable separately.”

“It does not seem to have a cable attached anymore so it is no longer my problem,” he told her as he headed back into his “Why IT Is Important” presentation.

Consequences? There were two: “I was NEVER asked to repair another lamp, and the individual responsible never spoke to me again.”

“What a win on all fronts!”

Happy System Administrator Appreciation Day. ®


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