Today is the 8th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. I know this sounds kind of funny, but I really appreciate all the system administrators out there. I meet a lot of system administrators. I visit a lot of sites. I hear stories about heroics, and I hear stories of people who persist even though they are working with terrible management, unappreciative users, and CEOs that treat IT as a "cost center" instead of an investment in future corporate growth.
Last week the 2nd edition of The Practice of System and Network Administration started shipping. The new edition includes a lot of new anecdotes, many from the fan mail we've received over the years. Some of the fan mail is fun, like when we were told that something we suggested helped recover from an outage a few hours faster, which saved his company $100,000. Often we are pleased to receive email from someone who's received a promotion and wanted to thank us for writing a book that was instrumental to their career. But most of all I want to say that I am humbled by the messages we've received from the lonely system administrators: The under-appreciated person struggling to fix a big mess they inherited, with all the responsibility when it fails but none of the authority to fix the larger problems. We received email from one person who, when reading the book, burst into sobs after realizing she wasn't "the only one".
This will be the second year that I'm volunteering to judge SysAdmin Of The Year. Nominations are open, so email the URL (http://www.sysadminoftheyear.com/) to all your friends. The first 2500 nominated sysadmins get a free tshirt, which is pretty cool in itself.
P.S. If you are in the Philly/NJ/DE/NY area (or aren't, but like last-minute travel), don't forget that I'l be doing my time-management training classes during the tutorial part of LOPSA's SysadminDays local conference, August 6-7, 2007, in Cherry Hill, NJ (just outside Philadelphia).