Which type of sysadmin are you?

If you’re a sysadmin, chances are that you have admin rights for most systems, your firewalls, the mail and messaging services, even the computers of your users. How do you deal with such responsibility? And how do your users cope with the fact that you are basically able to observe everything they do?

Some admins tend to believe that they’re godlike and their users must fear them. Most of the times those admins don’t talk much, they go the users desks, fix the problem and then crawl back to their caves, where they personally inspect every IP packet in their network for illicit material.

I don’t think that fear is a good motivator for most productive work environments. I also believe that educating a user to fix problems themselves is more rewarding in the long run. Your colleagues shouldn’t be afraid of you, they should be able to trust you with their data. After all, in almost every company in the tech business the internet connection is also used for personal, noncorporate matters.

With great power comes great responsibility, that much is known. As an admin, you need to be a person with solid ethics. You cannot be the type of guy that snoops around in other people’s private stuff.

My team colleagues at mytaxi have similar views, and so we drafted a Code of Conduct that will henceforth be our moral guideline. We signed it and nailed it onto our office door for everyone to see. First responses from our coworkers have been overwhelmingly positive.

What do you think? Leave a comment or write me on twitter: @carstenwolfram

Oh, and if you want to work with me, take a look at the open positions at mytaxi, maybe there’s something in it for you.

The sysadmin code of conduct

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