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Why You Can't Find Your UNIX System Administrator

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System administration is an art form. Not everyone has the necessary skills, technique, attitude and chutzpa to be a sysadmin. Most sysadmins don't actually like their jobs, except in extremis or when new kit arrives. More often than not sysadmins try to be as sedentary as possible, listening to music through some expensive Sennheiser headphones and hacking something together which will enable them to remain seated even more, and more importantly come in late and go home early.

In many cases sysadmins can be taken for shy spotlight-shunning creatures. So long as stuff works you shouldn't need to see them. If something does go wrong, and it's your fault, expect them to be in your face so much you'd rather you never saw them again. If it's something serious, like getting Tipex on the fuser of the laser printer you might just get your wish, but not in the way you might imagine.

Why can't you find your system administrator? Probably this is because they don't want to be found, especially by you. There are too many reasons why your system administrator isn't around. Be sure that they will find you should the need arise.

If it's before midday, a Monday, after 16:00, Friday afternoon, meeting day or anything else it's likely that the sysadmin is either sleeping (here or at home) or 'busy'. It's probably a good idea to check certain other essentials when you can't find your sysadmin. Check the server room; are all the servers still there? Is their desk covered in papers, bits of kit and empty coffee cups? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you no longer have a sysadmin. Please try to remain calm. Don't attempt to fix anything, or try for root access. That can only end in tears. Do not buy a book with some pithy name claiming to be able to help you through this kind of transitory period, it is lying. Only wait, another system administrator will fill the breach, raised from the fires of Hell.

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