I Love my Days Off

It’s interesting to note how I’ve changed my thinking regarding vacations since I started being able to take them. I’m on vacation from my day job right now, and its blissful. I used to take a vacation day and just basically work from home. Now I take a vacation day and do nothing. I sleep in, I make myself a nice lunch and/or dinner, watch a movie, clean the house, work on a personal coding project, do whatever I can but I never open my email. Never. As soon as I look at my email I get sucked in, in the same way that projects die. “Oh, this will be quick,” I think to myself. It never is quick, though. My email has an effect on my vacation like nothing other, not even people calling me. I don’t even really mind my team members calling me to ask a question, since they’re really good about making it ultra-relevant and short. It also generally highlights severe documentation problems, since the other guys are damn sharp.

I can’t just watch a movie or TV. I always have to have my laptop going. It’s actually the reason I love my ReplayTV, since I can just skip back to something if I wasn’t paying attention. While I’m sitting here watching “Garden State” I did some searching for “sysadmin vacations” to see if there was anything interesting I’d find:

  • The SysAdmin Price List, culled from alt.sysadmin.recovery. I love that newsgroup. My all-time favorite is “calling up with a problem which ‘everybody’ in the office is having and which is ‘stopping all work.’ I rush over to look at it, you aren’t there, and nobody else in the office knows anything about it. $1700.” Usually the next stop I make is to the person’s manager to find out, or more likely inform them of, what is going on.
  • A discussion about web-based configuration of vacation autoresponders. This in itself isn’t thrilling, as it’s basically just some people saying that they’ve done it with exim, MySQL, and some PHP. The response is what caught my eye, where the original person asking dismisses all of this outright with the comment “I’d rather not install mysqld on the email server.” Why? Security? Am I missing something here? Maybe I’m just spoiled because Red Hat ships all of that with their OS distribution so it’s easy to deal with. Rather than fighting the pesky LAMP fad (just kidding), or having 84 one-off MySQL installs we decided to standardize them, and with about 3 hours of work now have a script that installs the MySQL packages, sets the admin passwords, and configures nightly database dumps so the data is backed up. Plus, with our default-deny firewall rules the database is only accessible locally. I look at posts like these and am thankful that my team has valid reasons when they object to something.
  • An experienced admin is not necessarily a good admin… hot damn, this guy gets it. Especially when he says that systems need to be self-documenting. “The more ‘indispensable’ an admin seems to be the more likely they are a bad admin.”

Maybe that’s it. With all the effort we’ve put into documentation, specifically self-documenting systems, standardization, and automation I guess it isn’t surprising that I can enjoy my day off. 🙂

1 thought on “I Love my Days Off”

  1. Every creature needs to rest. Giraffes, little babies, elephants, dogs, cats, kids, koala bears, grandparents, moms, dads, and hippos in the jungle – they all sleep! Just like eating, sleep is necessary for survival. WBR LeoP

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