Chapter 14. Experiential Learning

My apologies for foisting such a buzzword-compliant chapter title on you. I didn’t want your boss to see you reading something called “SysAdmins Just Want to Have Fun,” which probably would have been a better title for this chapter. If you are the boss (and you didn’t come up through the sysadmin ranks), I have a secret to share—just don’t tell upper management (and if you are upper management, feel free to tell anyone you’d like, because no one will believe you).

This secret revolves around something I wrote in the foreword of Thomas Limoncelli’s book Time Management for System Administrators (O’Reilly):

By and large, sysadmins find what they do to be fun. All of this tinkering, integrating, installing, building, reinstalling, puttering, etc., is fun. So fun, in fact, that they work all day and then go home and do it some more.

I once shared a bus ride with a professional chef who told me she hated to cook on her days off. “Postmen don’t like to take long walks when they come home from work” is how she put it. Most of the sysadmins I know have never heard of this idea. You’ll find them (and me, as my spouse would be quick to point out) curled up at home in front of a laptop “mucking about” virtually all the time. The notion of “play” and “work” are best described as a quantum superposition blur for a sysadmin....

The vast majority of the people I respect who are doing system administration in some guise or another (and enjoy it) seem to get tremendous ...

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