back to article RIIIGHT. Sysadmins: Have you ever even MET an overly suave IT guy?

System administrators don't figure a lot in the public imagination, other than as exceptionally dull weirdos or Jurassic Park's villainous Dennis Nedry and his “you didn't say the magic word” mantra. More thoughtful depictions, like sysadmin-as-hero Randy Waterhouse in Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, tend not to reach the …


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  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Suave sysadmins don't stay sysadmins for long. They get a job that pays real money and doesn't come with life-altering stress, lack of appreciation and Microsoft's licensing department.

    1. jpou

      Yup... They move to consulting (think SAP, Oracle) and make a lot of moneys selling ideas that expensive BI system will automagically increase sales and make huge profit$...

      1. monkeyfish

        make huge profit$...

        ... (whisper) for me, make huge profit$ for me...

  2. MrDamage Silver badge


    A real sysadmin wouldnt use a LOIC when a nice, over-amped cattleprod is available.

  3. Denarius Silver badge

    too tired to care

    would be funny if sysadmins were not too weary from enduring PHB babble while being told to not to use geek speak when merely trying to point out that there laws of physics, dammit ! Also shows the inability of most interwebs users to be funny without using inuendo.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: too tired to care

      Inuendo are funny.

  4. OzBob

    Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

    the less formally you are allowed to dress, the more status you have.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

      Seriously ? Is that true ?

      Hint. If you only care what others of your tribe think it's no wonder you lot can't get girls.

      Mine's the one with a roll of real 'status' in the pocket.

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

      "the less formally you are allowed to dress, the more status you have."

      The opposite was beaten into us by management.

      We didn't listen.

      The few who did, moved on to higher positions with more pay.

      It was our job to fix their screwups.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

        Scott Adams made the same observation in a Dilbert four-panel cartoon, showing the dress of four office inhabitants. (I couldn't find a link to it, sorry).

        The poorly dressed guy: "I am a worthless peon, treat me like earwax"

        The smartly dressed guy with slicked hair: "Be nice to me, I'll be your boss one day."

        The bearded guy wearing sandals, shorts and a tie-dye t-shirt: "I am the only one who knows how the IT system works; treat me like God"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

          "I am the only one who knows how the IT system works; treat me like God"

          The problem with this approach is that in order to protect their domain, this particular breed liked to develop esoteric code to perform some kind of essential business function. No-one would get rid of them because no-one else could understand the code and fix it when it went tits up (built in fail-safes I would imagine).

          Unfortunately this isn't a long game.

          I took a different path and made my knowledge freely available to anyone who showed that they would be inclined to pass it on likewise. My wife hates this approach and thinks I get shafted a lot - but on the other hand I have a 6 figure salary and other techies respect me enough to help me out when I'm being thick (I help them out when they're being thick or overworked) so all in all I think it's a better approach for the long-term. Senior management see you as a team-player, and even though I deflect any position of responsibility over others I usually get to have my say and have it taken seriously because of my varied experience and track record.

          However, you do get the odd scumbag who just takes the piss. They don't seem to understand that the security world in this country is *very* small and your reputation is everything.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

            I'd go with that - I've managed myself out of several jobs, always onto something better with the same company. Its much better to be thought of as the guy who fixes problems - there is always a new problem that needs fixing.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

      According to you, I'm god.

    4. Stoneshop

      Re: Scruffy = status in sysadmin world;

      Former manager: "What do you think a customer prefers, a FS tech with or without a tie?"

      Me: "One who fixes his systems."

      And that was the end of that discussion over me not wearing a tie.

  5. Moving Pictures

    What has been seen... Cannot be unseen...

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      funniest thing I've seen in weeks. Inspired :D

  6. xyz Silver badge

    Don't mess with the only constant in IT

    SysAdmins always go bald (and a bit portly) and developers always go grey.. They're like team colours so you know that if you see a grey haired bloke touching a server or a bald bloke writing a "web site" there is going to be trouble. Demarcation mate!

    1. PeteA

      Re: Don't mess with the only constant in IT

      As a balding developer, I strongly object to this stereotype (although I admit to being more of a jack-of-all-trade, sorry, 'Devops practitioner' - maybe that's why I've still got some hair left and the rest's going grey)

    2. tony2heads
      Big Brother

      Re: Don't mess with the only constant in IT

      What is the official position on neckbeards? Or moustaches in Movember?

      Icon: you know you can trust somebody with a moustache

      1. Irony Deficient

        the official position on neckbeards

        tony2heads, the official position on neckbeards is illustrated here.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: you know you can trust somebody

        I wouldn't trust you my moustache!

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: you know you can trust somebody with a moustache

        Uncle Sid, of the Piranha Club fame, even ran a huge advert saying "Trust me!".

        So it is completely OK then. Nothing to worry about.

  7. Anonymous Cowherder

    Yay for the trading cards

    I'm a level 4 which ever "hat" I'm wearing!

  8. Frankee Llonnygog

    Suaveness Quotients

    Excessively low - you're a developer, a support person, etc. What's wrong with wearing a death metal t-shirt and cropped cargo pants to work?

    Excessively high - you're in sales. Your cologne sets off the halon gas in the data centre

    Middle - you're a manager. You'll live to a ripe old age, having spent your entire adult life wrapped in polyester

    Note - this is all about suaveness -as distinct from genuine style and charm

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: Suaveness Quotients

      I worked with a Romanian net-sec guy last year who dressed like an 80's yuppie stockbroker, whippet-like physique, bald, yet had all the airs of a highly efficient machine. Sat ram-rod straight in his chair, was 100% organised and I never heard him at a loss for an answer except when being asked something 'soft*'.

      I can't explain how weird it was.

      After hours however, he had a great sense of humour and irony - they grow strange people in Eastern Europe :)

      *soft - if he was in work mode it was like his emotion chip was switched off.

  9. deadlockvictim

    Work to Live

    I used to work with a very charming, funny and competent [1] sysadmin. He and his wife (she is a lawyer) had no children and they worked for 2 or so years at a stretch and when they had saved up enough money, they blew it all on 18-month-trips around Oz or other exotic places on a big 3-wheeler motorbikes. Needless to say, he worked contract.

    This seems to me to be the way to live.

    [1] Well, he came across as very competent.

  10. hi_robb

    Well done.

    Us IT people by the very nature of what we do for a living can be seen as boring, non sexy people. So I'm all for a bit of innuendo at work!

    In fact I try to slip it in whenever I can..

  11. WireBug

    Uplink Established

    Orbital ION Cannon ready... Please input target location....

  12. SirDigalot

    I fix problems

    by creating new ones!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beard, scruffy clothes, sandals...

    One day, the Director said to me, "This new accounts computerisation project, we'd like you to manage it."

    I asked, "Why me? I don't know anything about computers!"

    He answered, "Neither do the rest of us, so why not you?"

    He could just as well have said, "Because you look the part."

    But he didn't know that, and neither did I, then, as I started out by taking the first Unix manual off the shelf...

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