How can sysadmins devalue themselves?

The new edition of ACM Queue Magazine is out. My column (called "Everything Sysadmin") answers 1-2 questions per issue. This issue's questions are:

Q: Dear Tom, How can I devalue my work? Lately I've felt like everyone appreciates me, and, in fact, I'm overpaid and underutilized. Could you help me devalue myself at work?


Q: Dear Tom, We have a very simple on-call schedule, but all the substitutions needed during December make it quite complex. How should we organize it better? For example, our team has a week-long on-call schedule [Monday to Monday]. During November and December, however, there is a flurry of e-mail with people requesting to trade days to accommodate various family and holiday responsibilities. How can we manage all these trades without a zillion e-mails?

(These two questions are unrelated.)

To read my answers visit acmqueue is free for ACM professional members, and reasonably priced for everyone else. It can be read online, on iOS and Android.


Update: Someone asked what this is all about. The ACM is the Association for Computing Machines, the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. I have been an ACM member since 1988. For the last 4-5 years I've been volunteering with ACM Queue by writing articles and being on the advisory board. My new column appears three times a year. The ACM has a reputation for being rather academic, but my volunteer efforts have all been with projects that bend the ACM to be more relevant to software developers and system administrators.

Posted by Tom Limoncelli in ACM Queue Column


The margin among a beast and also a human being is actually of Superior Papers education. Education is the sole essence which has taught the person an important fact we now have more important tasks to try rather than survival alone.

You're a little early for April 1st posts... Here's an article about the effects of sysadmins being devalued and underpaid:

  • LISA16