General discussion

  • Creator
  • #2189061

    How much spare time do you have?


    by garret` ·

    I work in a fairly small place – 50+ users, 3 sites, 5 servers. There are two of us in the IT dept. My job is basically to manage all the IT gear while my colleague handles more of a manager’s role.

    He has been away on holidays recently and I’ve had the place to myself. I find I have a lot of spare time. The network takes care of itself, basicly…and I have to make work for myself to keep myself occupied.

    When my colleague is back I wont be able to bum around on the net so much and will get onto some more serious stuff, but while he’s been away I find things relaxing…almost too relaxing.

    Does anyone else find this also? And what do you do to keep yourself occupied…there’s only so much you can learn from wikipedia in one day 😉

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3072527

      It happens if you are doing your job right

      by jmgarvin ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      You should have downtime if you are doing your job right. However, those 20 hour days when something goes wrong will MORE than make up for the time you spend slacking. 😉

      Seriously, sometimes in smaller shops you have down time. This is the time to write SOPs, get cabling cleaned up, and run around with the lysol 🙂

    • #3072470

      “what do you do to keep yourself occupied?”

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      That’s an easy one. Lose yourself in the pandemonium of Miscellaneous Discussions.

    • #3071080

      Keeping yourself occupied?

      by levannah44 ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      Work on more ways to have more leisure time to work on more ways to have it, I suppose!

      I’m still working on the 30-hour day in my spare time!


    • #3060606


      by unixdude ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      As Unix admin of several systems that are really stable I also tend to have spare time… sometimes days. I use it to learn things like…

      -Disaster recovery.. on a spare box. Veritas, Oracle, TSM, and other UNIX applications that are absolutely mission critical to the organization have now been tested from bare-bones recovery successfully.

      – Certifications.

      – Planning for OS upgrades, projects, etc.

    • #3060603

      Spare Time

      by jabamonte ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      I am the sole IT person. Like you my network is small 3 servers 50+ users one remote location and it pretty much runs itself. My boss is the VP of Ops and states that the company doesn’t pay my for 80% of my time, but for the 20% when things go awry. I take the slack time and study for my recertification in windows 2k3 mcsa/mcse. After that is done, I am going to learn every little thing about AD that I don’t already know.

    • #3060601

      New pet projects

      by toddz ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      As the sole IT guy in a shop of 50+ users with 5 servers, I use my spare time to learn more about web development, perl or other new areas. For example, During a recent downtime, I redesigned our Intranet to pull things like phonelists from a database using active server pages. It can be challenging to keep yourself occupied, but you can do (and learn) some really cool new things when you have that downtime.

      • #3044525

        time to lean, time to clean… or not

        by mindilator9 ·

        In reply to New pet projects

        keeping the appearance of being busy is sometimes more of a job, and much less fun, than working. instead of dusting your mobos, think of new things you can create for your company that will add value. come up with new services, apps, or workflows to benefit your users. things like a task manager displayed on an active desktop, or drop-box system for files too large to email. use your imagination but keep your focus on the benefit of your organization, not just how cool a new service would be.

    • #3060592


      by nbrought ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      I agree with those that say if you do it right, that can happen. But, if you want a real challenge…get a public service job! No time, no money, no security, too many hats, not enough time to learn any one skill properly. I think I am approaching burnout!

    • #3060585

      Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

      by wdeckert ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      I am also the sole IT person in a small bank with 125 users and 20 servers. When things are running well, I continue to monitor everything from updates on all 125 workstations to anti-virus definitions, and intrusion detection. Almost all networks need regular updating, nothing stays “status quo” anymore. Keeping up to date with Windows and Novell patches is a contining job.

      • #3044534

        I agree, Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

        by sloowwhand ·

        In reply to Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

        If you have so much free time on your hands, you’re not doing your job. Almost all networks need regular updating, nothing stays “status quo” anymore. Keeping up to date with Windows and Novell patches is a contining job.

    • #3044749

      Well as a Consultant I never have enough

      by hal 9000 ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      Spare time but what little I do have is spent reading up on Tech manuals and emerging technology.

      What is state of the Art today is outdated within 6 months so I constantly need to make time to read up on the new things coming and I attend every conference that I can get away to get to.

      Lately I’ve had slow days for weeks and then when I have something to attend I get an emergency call out so I can not attend the meetings which is a real pain but I always seem to get at least half a day for the really important ones.

      I spend what little spare time I have learning what I’m going to be supplying or facing tomorrow so I have a half way decent chance of getting it right the first time and not wasting more time than the job really requires.


      • #3046711

        do test restores of backup tapes

        by gvillegym ·

        In reply to Well as a Consultant I never have enough

        when was the last tine you did a test restore of a backup?

        play disaster senario, you come to work one day & 2 servers were stolen last night, plan of action should be in place.

        research & upgrade firmwares

        test & evaulate the status & usefulness of spare parts and stored retired equipment

        • #3046666

          Well actually yesterday was my last test restore

          by hal 9000 ·

          In reply to do test restores of backup tapes

          But one of the best ones that I’ve had recently was a server with hot swappable SCSI’s. To keep these things up and running I always have a spare boot drive stored in the place so if anything goes drastically wrong it’s just a matter of powering down grabbing the other HDD & Caddy and bunging it in and starting up again a few Windows Patches being applied and then Ghost the new Drive over to the original drive and I’ve got the working spare again. It works wonderfully with a total down time measured in minutes well until I came to one company where I’ve since found that the owners son likes to bring in all his fiends at night and use the network to play games on. He attempted to load a game onto a file server and took out the Boot Drive so he just grabbed the replacement boot drive and bunged it in shoved the corrupt one away and said nothing. Two days latter he came in tried to install the same game and trashed the other Boot drive so there was no file server the next day so I got called out found a total mess and went for the spare boot drive to repair the installation and found a even bigger mess. 🙁

          I got Windows back onto the boot drive and established the RAID ARRAY and when I attempted to install any software the entire thing fell over. Anyway eventually 5 days latter I discovered two extra HDD added to the unit that I knew nothing about and no one else was owning up to knowing about them either once they where removed from the unit everything worked perfectly and since they both where full of games I have a fair idea of where they came from. 😉

          If only people would tell you what they have done to the systems life would be so much easier but when I realised that they was something seriously wrong I pushed a E-Mail server into joint use as a file server/E-Mail server and they only lost 1.5 days worth of data which wasn’t much as it was all of a Saturday’s work and part of the Sundays work where they don’t really work on the week ends so they really only lost about 30 minutes reentering any data. 🙂

          Next time I go there I’m going to be counting the drives before I even start doing any work but as they say Live and Learn. :^O

          Col ]:)

    • #3044744

      things to do in spare time at the office

      by jck ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      The one thing you have to do:


      For some reason, seeming busy is more important than actually being productive. I actually had a manager tell me at my last job that perception was more important than reality.

      It didn’t matter if I was beating deadlines and making things work ahead of schedule. If I was seen outside too much on my cell phone, I was considered unproductive and unprofessional because I wasn’t at my desk at all times.

      Just look busy no matter what. Read a book on something in your field, read a tech magazine in your field, read articles on websites that won’t get you fired, etc.

      Just stay at the desk and look busy and keep things up to snuff.

      BTW, I read wikipedia too. Never get tired of it.

    • #3044707

      Reply To: How much spare time do you have?

      by nbpqsecofr ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      You can never go wrong reading up on the latest and greatest in Security. Get your self an RSS reader and subscribe to the Antivirus and Security RSS feeds for companies like Securina, CA, FrSIRT, F-Secure, Kapersky. Since we are encouraging our users to start using Firefox, I’m trying to maintain a presence at, including a couple of their RSS Feeds so I can keep myself fresh on Firefox incase our users have questions.

      As others have mentioned, Certifications and Planning are a couple of other things I build into my workday.

    • #3044674

      I didn’t think spare time and IT could be used in the same sentence…

      by zaferus ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      In the last few weeks there hasn’t been a night I haven’t been in the office, including the weekends. I thought most IT was the same – understaffed and 30 projects behind. I dream of having a day where I could have even two hours to read an IT magazine or load something up on our dust covered “test” server.

      Consider yourself lucky!!!

    • #3044658

      Spare Time

      by zenfitsch ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      I work for a small architectural millwork company with 3 servers and 30+ employees. Most of the time my system runs fine. The company has given me extra tasks that have nothing to do with computers or networks. I have learnt how to read shop drawings, assist with purchasing sheet goods and hardware for the manufacturing process, take care of job costing, etc.. This was because I was getting bored and couldn’t stand pretending that I was working all the time. The only problem is when the system goes funky they still expect me to be able to fix it and do all of these other things. Oh well, at least if I decide to leave I will at least have some other skills to offer employers.

    • #3044509

      spare time??

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      Don’t be too apparent about the slack time, keep
      out of sight and don’t let the manager know.
      Always keep by the phone, as the users will
      want to know where you are if you’re not near the phone. A couple of missed calls from an
      upset user could sink the boat. I read alot,
      usually a book a week, but will jump and run
      when trouble arises. Looking busy can actually
      be harder than actually working.

      • #3046690

        Spare time for what?

        by rpalin ·

        In reply to spare time??

        I work in a busy production enviornment (450+ workstations) where there are not enough hours in a day. I am lucky to use the bathroom when I need to, none the less read a book a week. I average 6 miles a night, walking from one side of our plant to the other. Enjoy my friend because there are those of us on the other side of the fence.

    • #3044435

      I understand completely…

      by willow12827 ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      This is something I am constantly fighting when I work on the weekends. I work 12 hour shifts in the call center. There are times when the phone is quiet, the systems are running well and everything is done. I know I have created projects for myself that help the department. I spend a lot of time researching for documentation. How to topics and fix it’s.

      • #3046610

        sometimes you don’t have time to ****

        by mjd420nova ·

        In reply to I understand completely…

        I’ve worked jobs that were spead over ten
        buildings and 700+ to keep flowing. Don’t know what a lunch break is and work 15 minutes overtime because you wer up to the rear
        with alligators.

    • #3046551

      i thought that was a fairy tale….

      by shellbot ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      spare time that is..
      wow..and here i am trying to do out a work plan to take me up till xmas (which by the way is taking me hours, which is only taking me away from work i need to be doing)…i have a free hour on Nov 6th, 3-4 pm. I think i just might grab a coffee and arrange my sticky notes according to color. If i have time i may organise the email from august that i still haven’t got to.
      Yikes..i think i made a post this summer about how great my job was and how laid back it was..when the h3ll did that change???
      Its been a sh1t week, and i am sitting here wondering why i quit smoking..its over a year now and wow…i can almost imagine having one..but i will resist..only because i;ve no time to go have one!!!!

      *3 hours till quittin time*
      then my most important choice is beer, wine or spirits? OR, should i make a cocktail of all 3 and just drink myself unconsious>???

    • #3046537

      Spare Time?????

      by stargazerr ·

      In reply to How much spare time do you have?

      Whatever is spare time?? It doesnt exist in my dictionary..I work in a media monitoring company and am the only techie between 15 sales people….

      they dont let me breathe….I am usually doing 593 things at once !!!

Viewing 16 reply threads