Forgot your password? Got a computer virus? Can’t figure out why your report won’t print?
If so, then you’re probably like the thousands of other people who are confronted with such problems and do the one thing guaranteed to solve such issues: Call the system administrator.
System administrators don’t wear superhero capes (although they may wear the T-shirts), but they do save the bacon of nearly everyone who comes into contact with a computer. Whether they’re called system administrators, sysadmins, IT guys, IT girls, or techies, these people often are the unsung heroes when it comes to keeping an organization running.
“Having you around means I get to stay stupid and uninformed,” sings Wes Borg in a song he composed to honor system administrators.
In his song, Borg advocates giving system administrators a hug or even a cake, and many have taken that to heart as they celebrate System Administrator’s Day this Friday, July 26.
Started in 2000, the annual appreciation day was hatched by system administrator Ted Kekatos. He was inspired by a Hewlett-Packard ad that showed a sysadmin being showered with flowers and gift baskets from grateful colleagues after new printers were installed.
“The crazy thing is how Sysadmin Day has taken off in Russia,” Kekatos says. “They celebrate the whole weekend with events occurring in numerous cities. They set up big parties out in the wilderness similar to Burning Man or Woodstock.”
So, for all the sysadmins who recover your lost files, fix the laptop that you accidentally spit beer on while laughing and answer the same dumb questions over and over, here are ways to say “thank you” on July 26:
- Provide cake, ice cream, home-baked goodies, energy drinks, and other food.
- Give tickets to basketball, football, or hockey games, or even entry to a professional gamers tournament.
- Offer gift certificates to a spa or tickets to the movies or music concerts. Or give gift cards to Amazon, Cafepress, or ThinkGeek. (Just don’t be surprised if your sysadmin purchases a T-shirt with “NO” printed boldly on the front.)
At the same time, never underestimate the power of simply remembering to say, “Thank you.”
Consider this appreciative “Happy SysAdmin Day” missive from Google several years ago: “Thank you for being the ones behind the scenes who make sure things ‘just work.’ For coming in on holidays and in the middle of the night to do an upgrade or fix a server issue. For answering all of our questions, no matter how challenging or strange. For hours spent fixing the simplest email support issue to monitoring servers during a hurricane.”
For those who have called the IT person on a weekend, late at night, or while he or she was on vacation … isn’t it time to show some real appreciation?