I got me a book! I got me a book!

“Note to self: 

Dear Self, (because what else are you going to say?) 

Remember to upgrade the LDAP server.  Remember to patch the security hole in zlib and every other package that links to it.  (On second thought, are there packages that don’t link to it?)  Remember to plan for another 10x upgrade in storage capacity.  Remember to debug the boss’s Outlook problems or, at the very least, have the necessary goat entrails on hand to begin the process.  Remember to redo the Oracle installation.  See if there are any Wikis that would work better than the one we are using.  Rewrite the user account system, and this time make sure it deals with the cases they swore would never occur in the physical world.  Be sure that it is Sarbanes-Oxley compliant, ISO9000 certified, and Kosher l’Pesach.  Check that your staff’s projects are all humming along nicely.  Read the LISA conference proceedings from the last two years to make sure you aren’t missing anything useful for your infrastructure.  Then, if you have time left over, start planning what you are going to do next week. 

No, the fact that “plan a vacation” didn’t hit the list again for the 73rd consecutive week shouldn’t bother you.  Nor should the incident where your spouse literally tipped over laughing after hearing you were going to write a foreword for a time management book.  Or should it?

Perhaps you should just take heart in the henry Kissinger quote, “There cannot be a crisis next week.  My schedule is already full.”

Well, anyway.  Got to get back to work.

 Yours in Service,

                           – David N. Blank-Edelman

That’s the first page of the forward to the book that has reached into my blackened soul and dragged out the very being I am at my core.

David goes on to explain some character traits of sysadmins.
    Tenacious problem solvers.  Check.
    Genuine desire to help people.  Check.
    Attraction to crisis response and saving the day.  Check.
    Find what they do to be fun.  So fun that they go home and do some more.

Check and mate!

 I’m not five pages into this book when I know that David and Tom have a really good grasp on what drives me and what flaws I have in my system.

Hell, I’m not five pages into the book and I run downstairs to blog about it.

Time Management for System Administrators from Tom Limoncelli is the book.  It’s already taught me some critically important lessons.  First, I’m at a very high risk for being a system administrator / database administrator and fitting in quite nicely in that role.  Make that an extremely high risk.  Second, this is explaining a lot about how I really need some better time management skills in my life.

There are a lot of jobs I can think of that pull a person in many directions at one time.  Nursing, kindergarten teacher..

Okay, I can come up with two.  Nursing and a kindergarten teacher.

They can’t be much worse than nursing Windows systems along while teaching users how to use their computers, can they?  Cheap shot, I know.

On the other hand, I’m sitting in the basement tonight looking up SQL script examples using table variables so I can do a better job scripting out a stored procedure I’m working on, whilst I’m planning in my head how I’m going to restore one computer’s image, set up three systems including proper desk areas and work stations, order new hardware tomorrow, figure out why I can’t punch a hole in the firewall to expose our FTP server (even though it has been set up 100% correctly according to the manual - did I look at the packet rules closely enough? Hmm..) and get the aforementioned script coded and tested against a test database from a backup taken a few days ago.

I should be able to get most of it done.  The script has been more difficult than it should be, but I didn’t get a good sample of the output format to work with.  Now I understand what I’m working with, I should be able to slap together a couple of cursor-like table variables to loop through my data and pull out what’s required.  The FTP site would really be handy, but if worst comes to worst I can throw up IIS in behind an exposed router and have something going in half an hour.  I really should have had that done weeks ago.  A bit more time and I can easily slap it together.

TIME!  Oh yeah.  I don’t have enough time to get everything done it seems.

Maybe I should get around to ordering that really cool sounding book on time management.  Thank ghod my Lady-love is so wonderful and slid it in with a book order she put in the other day.

Want it from Chapters?
Here it is on Amazon.

I feel a little goofy recommending a book when I’ve hardly opened the cover.  One of the top hits I found was this entry in Ben Rockwood’s blog.  Oh, do I empathize with him.  And if he found something useful in the first three chapters, I’m certain that the wreck that is my life will be right along with it.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’ve got reading to do.