I have to thank the SolarWinds crew for reminding me that we, as system administrators, have a holiday coming up. And in particular, bosses, managers, and other herders of nerds should be aware that July 29th is System Administrator Appreciation Day.
Yes, sysadmins. You know, those folks that tirelessly respond to pages at midnight. Those folks that come running when your CEO’s laptop has a virus on it. Those folks that virtualized all your servers and saved you lots of money. The folks that run your servers, and networks, and keep things in your data center calm and cool have a thankless job 364.25 days out of the year. Next Friday is a good excuse to thank them.
Every sysadmin is different, but if you’re looking for thoughts for a gift or a thank you here’s some small but meaningful things I like, that might give you an idea for your staff:
- Buy ‘em lunch. Take your sysadmins somewhere nice, or somewhere cool. Not fast food, someplace that has forks on the tables (or chopsticks!). This is easy to set up and works nicely for a group. Don’t order in or have lunch catered, take your admins somewhere that ISN’T work for lunch. Costs the same and sends a better message.
- Buy ‘em beer. Like a six pack of good beer. Or a bottle of something else they like, wine, bourbon, etc. Not everybody drinks, though, so you need to be sensitive to that.
- Buy ‘em a gift. But not just some crappy squeeze ball or t-shirt. For me, personally, I love when people give me new polo shirts I can wear to work, especially the nice golf ones for hot summer days. Something from Thinkgeek is cool for about 10 minutes, but something I can wear for a long time, in public, says thank you much more effectively. Even a small gift card, like $25, to a local department store is cool. Or perhaps NewEgg, for someone who likes gadgets and might take the gift of a shirt the wrong way. :)
- Buy ‘em some time. Give them Friday afternoon off, as a paid break, not out of their vacation. Consider it a small trade for all the times your sysadmins answered their phone in the middle of the night, stayed late, came in early, and worked from home on the weekend. You could even take them to lunch first! If you can’t give everybody the day off split it up and give some another afternoon of their choosing.
If you’re going to do the lunch or time off ideas you might want to warn them a few days in advance. Spoils the surprise, but also doesn’t waste a lunch they’d pack, and let’s ‘em make plans for the afternoon if they want to.
So, sysadmins and friends, here’s to hoping that your bosses and managers appreciate you every day of the year, but realize what a great opportunity they have this one day next week to say thank you.