Observations on system administration — a checklist for the small network technician
1) Read Slashdot for buzzwords and quote general observations pertaining to your co-workers projects weather they apply or not. If challenged as to relevance tell a story involving an obscure error which you caught at a previous job.
2) Always respond to requests for explanations with two separate explanations — the first should be highly detailed and far to complex to follow easily. It may be tangentially related to the problem. Follow along for a while, assume a condescending smile, and then provide a ridiculously simplified explanation while nodding as if you were explaining sex to a five year old. NEVER simply respond at an appropriate level of abstraction for the question and the person involved.
3) Crash the network at least once a year due to something that may possibly be attributed to the office manager. Provide hand-waving explanations that transparently deflect blame from his/her executive decisions. Stay the night while working on repair at least one day. If your network manager is actually competent and hands on, you may have to spend most of the year preparing for this — but it is the money shot so make it good.
4) Introduce trendy and unnecessary hardware to the network. Research every detail and talk about it a lot. Since it provides unneeded services, it doesn’t really need to work. Since it is trendy and you talk about it a lot people will think you are sophisticated.
5) Sigh and roll your eyes whenever you are asked to do anything. When you move from place to place look angry, and always be carrying some papers. If anyone asks you what you are doing say ominously “You don’t want to know.”
6) Get catalogs that have lots of geeky toys with smooth surfaces. Spend a lot of time in executive offices thumbing through the catalogs with them and making general statements about technology. It doesn’t matter if it is a USB hula-dancing cu-pie doll — technology is a fetish — just handling the catalog will make people think you can make it rain by jumping around and howling.
7) Place configuration files in highly idiosyncratic places, use obscure scripts and programs to accomplish simple network tasks, and create complex chains of file linkages so that you need to be involved in any kind of routine maintenance done by any other staff. Spend a great deal of time explaining your customizations — people watching won’t know that your method isn’t standard and it will make you look smart. Never explain everything fully, and be ready to run to the rescue when your bad information results in a network failure.
/8) Keep a large store of second hand hardware. Regularly swap in and out equivalent parts.
9) If a temp or an intern has left the office for good, refer casually to how you deleted or hid their porn collection from management in the breakroom — it will make everyone think you are monitoring their Internet usage, and that you are “cool”.
10) Have a glancing familiarity with all of the latest Microsoft security holes — if anything you do doesn’t work — discuss them in a highly detailed manner. Most people will never understand SQL injection or buffer overflow errors — so feel free to explain them over and over again. Even if you don’t really understand them yourself.
11) If anyone ever indicates that they have caught on to you, punish them mercilessly. Everyone else is already afraid of you, and if they see you throwing rocks at someone they will gladly jump in just to be on your side. Power only feels like power when it is being abused.
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