March 31, 2016

RIP Tickets

By Daniel

The goal today was to knock down my tickets by half. I thought I remembered having 13 to tackle, so seven done today was the goal. It turns out I only started with 11, but three more were added today. End result is the same, seven was the number to hit. I did not get seven.

I got ten. Of the remaining four, two are wrapping up testing before going to change management, one is waiting on customer confirmation, and one was on hold as the customer was out until tomorrow.

I will say, it makes the day fly by. This is the second day in a row I seriously considered staying late to finish up just one more thing, but it’s harder to justify when there’s no overtime pay. But I needed this, needed the pressure and the expectations. It feels good to remember there’s that extra gear of productivity available, that I can do solid work on short notice. It feels good to be fully engaged, to bring my mind to bear on a problem and tear the problem down. It makes me feel in rare form. Is it sustainable? I have no idea. It’s usually not needed for long periods of time. If I had to guess, it might just be sustainable. I don’t feel burned out, I feel invigorated. But that’s not really the point of a lot of sysadmin jobs. There doesn’t need to be 110% effort and focus around the clock, there are times when that mental recharge period is necessary.

In any case, I feel like I’m earning my pay. Part of the reason I was selected for this job was the generalist background; since the position needs to know Linux, Windows, and networking, and also be able to communicate and collaborate with the application developers and the database admins and the helpdesk technicians at their level or something very near. This week, more than any other time in my job so far, has been my opportunity to show that I can do exactly that, and I don’t think it’s going unnoticed, particularly from those other sections.

What’s probably my biggest source of anxiety right now is the fact that I’m on a probationary period until late November. I can be fired at any time for any reason up to that point. It doesn’t seem likely to happen, of course, but when I can string together some “wins” it’s good reassurance, and good insulation against the times I fall flat. Like, I’ve had to admit that I don’t know shit about Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services. And in fairness, my Windows Server guy doesn’t know anything about it either. I know it used to be on the Microsoft Certified Master exam, and that it’s still called ADAM in most of the binaries, and that it looks like an incredible pain in the ass. There are going to be times where I don’t have the answer they’re hoping for. I just want to minimize those times.

I hadn’t thought about it until just now, but I think the single biggest determining factor in whether I am kept or let go will be these two gigantor projects, the Nutanix implementation and migration, and the new file server. If I nail those, I’m in. If they go badly, it’s likely entirely on my shoulders. Oh, and Nutanix starts Tuesday after next. Good. The sooner I get that win, the sooner I can relax a little. The file server piece starts as soon as Nutanix migrations are done. We’ve got something resembling a hard deadline of June 30th to get the existing file server P2V’d, and that will be a big win to achieve, it’ll knock tens of thousands of dollars off the budget for next year. After that, we get to reinvent everything about how the end-users work with the file servers. We’ve got enterprise-grade ideas involving DFS Namespaces and Replication, Access-Based Enumeration, a lot of lofty goals. We’re in the lab with it right now, trying to figure out when those lofty goals break down when met with reality. It’s been the most useful test-lab in my professional career.

If it goes badly, it’s certainly not going to be for want of planning or effort.