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Feeling overwhelmed...

By thamilton ·
This is my first sysadmin job and for the last 6 months (my first 6 months) I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed. I am the only IT person here and I am responsible for everything! Im fortunate to have landed such a great job but it is very difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time. Im getting my BA in Information Systems Security but at the same time I actually enjoy working with people and helping them.

As a budding sysadmin, how can I make my days more productive as an admin but still be available as the sole support role?

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Yeah...

by Ibanezoo In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

Thats about how it goes nowdays. I have only 3 other people to work with and we support 800 - 900 people in a cut-throat business. Running %110 almost 24/7. But oh well, pays the bills... and you get to learn alot, usually.

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don't take any advice

by Bluron In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

from any management people. when it comes to IT they are clueless. better to do what you are doing now, asking help from fellow IT. this ones for you Tony

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We all have at some time!

by Justin Fielding In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

I think we have all felt overwhelmed at times--the role of a SysAdmin is a difficult one. I have been reading the book 'Time Management for system administrators' and it has some good advice which may help you out.

http://www.valuepacked.co.uk/index.php?c=Books&n=1025612&i=0596007833&x=Time_Management_for_System_Administrators

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Been there, done that....

by dhubbard1500 In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

Thamilton.... it is quite common, though not right for a single IT prof to be the "chief-cook-and-bottle-washer". I can't tell, but I suspect I have you by several decades! Six months is an almost acceptable breaking period.Some of the best advice I ever received was "if it don't look like a duck, and don't walk like a duck, and don't quack like a duck... it's probably not a duck!".

Be your own judge. Early burn-out is common, and unfortunate. You probably have the feeling that you've been asked to do so much, with so little, you're now expected to do everything with nothing!

To address the last question, trying to be the sole support person for ANY job is generally futile. Use your admin skills and influence to draw others into the day-to-day support. You'd be surprised what a little flattery will get you. Most others are more than willing to assist... to help... to be the teacher. An old term is to "train-the-trainer". Think about it...

****

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lots of options

by jtoppi In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

It depends on what kind of system you are administrating. There are some things which work for some systems, but not others. If you find yourself working repititive tasks, write scripts to minimize the work. If you have users repeatidly asking you the same questions create a site on the network with useful help documents, and bookmark it on all the machines web browsers. Use more automated tools to perform software rollouts. If your environment is very heterogenous and automated rollouts will not work, try to use resources as intelligently as possible to make rollouts easier, or better yet where ever possible set up systems as web-applications to make rollouts as simple as writing a memo (with the URL of the system).

There are always simple real world(as opposed to IT only solutions) solutions. If you work for an hourly wage and/or wish to impress the boss, work extra hours (lots i mean like 65+, most bosses actually take note of this). If the amount of work is truly too much, ask for additional hired hands.

:)

You could also send users/client my way if you are overwhelmed with their requests: http://www.freetechsupport.us

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Organize Kid...its good for the sole..and your career..

by Trader Boy In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

If you have Server 2003, you also have Share Point Services free..... Use this puppy to Organize your Admin life..Look into it..now...1st to set up portals to organize your admin work groupings...then use it to set up an internal Intranet for your users....let them use this vehicle to put information here to communicate to each other...reduces email big time...set up links for everything...for each one of your service areas...go to google...search on share point services..not portal (that one is not free)..the share point services is free...use it..get your stuff organized and your users organized...this will provide a vehicle for server storage of important data and get it backed up daily...you are only a very few days away from an environment which will make your life better mananaged and you will only be bound by the extent of your creativeness...it will not hurt your career path a bit...Enjoy this I.T. Profession...you will soon be living in the neighborhood with Doctors and Lawyers...go for it!!

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Tough but rewarding

by jj_itguy In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

I have been an IT lone-ranger for most of my career. I now have a couple of full time staff that had to be earned with lots of "noticed" overtime and demonstrated need (as well as an increased budget to be able to afford them, of course).

I have found being the lone-ranger, while challenging at times, to be very rewarding with diverse work loads that never let you get bored. While I love developing code for some application, I could not do that solely year after year. One day my focus may be on network issues and the next could be database, telecom, user support, training, whatever.

It is of course is dependant on the management and what expectations they have of you, but if the expectations are realistic and mgmt understands your limitations (your only one person) and they see you are giving 100%+ it is a great situation.

And best of all, you have TechRepublic and many other high quality tech sites to lend a hand!!

editted: sorry forgot to answer the question:

There are some very high quality comments to this post and one good addition I can make that has worked for me is:

Spend some of your time at work when most people aren't there. Come in early or work late, work through "normal" lunch and take yours at an alternate time.
If that is not possible, soft schedule emergency interruption only time. Let people know you are going to set aside 2 hours of your day for focussing on projects where interruption whould be limited to emergencies. They can still email and you can scan incoming emails for urgency. I say soft schedule, because if someone still stops by during this time you just go ahead and talk to them and not be rude. I have seen people do this and be very rude to anyone who stops by during that time with a non-emergency. That is not good.
Also let people know the benefits of your scheduled project time. (something they are waiting for will be completed quicker).
Do not shut your door where the people can't see what you are doing. I learned this starts unwarranted speculation. If you don't have a window where people can see you, leave your door open but put up a nice sign as a reminder of the scheduled time for working on projects.
Most people will repsect this and even feel good that you are taking this step.

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Learn to say No

by Zynyxx In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

I haven't read all the other reply's to your posting, but the biggest thing I have learned over the last few years is to say NO. Or at least be realistic about when I can get to helping someone.

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overwhelmed

by qrazydutch In reply to Feeling overwhelmed...

before you burn out...get your boss to OK at least 1 hour uninterrupted time (this will let you catch up on whatever). SCHEDULE YOUR SERVER TIME. Set a fixed time for server maintenance. At least 2 hours a week. Usually Saturdays or Sundays (we work weekends, name of the game). Stick to this, take the server down, whether it needs it or not. Ensure you run your checkdisk or disk reorg or your backup and restore or your COOP test (if you dont, you better start). Divide your day in "logical chunks". Learn to say, thanks for your concern, please email me with all the details, and KEEP WALKING. Also you cannot please everyone, so if you try, you will please no one. Brief your boss daily (another way to get some R & R), either stand up QUICK FIVE MINUTES or per EMAIL. Report all bad news immediately, you are not the savior of the organization. backup BACKUP BACKUP..........teach your users to back their important files. Ensure you have a LINUX KNOPPIX rescue disk for data recovery. DONT TELL THE USER. Let them sweat for a day or so, let the word get out about data loss. Then play the hero. Teaches the organization to BACKUP..Enough?

Also, be kind to yourself, schedule a walk, 1/2 hour a day. If users insist to talk, invite them along, call it your free consultation walk...

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