On the other side of the IT fence

by Cornel  

I thought I got it. I really did. Back when I used to work as a systems analyst/systems administrator (at a university) I sometimes cringed when people would ask me all those silly questions - Why doesn't this work? Why can't I find the tool I used regularly a couple of years ago? How do I configure this software? At times my first thought was "well, RTFM!" I knew all too well that the answer to most of those questions was just a few Google searches away; ok, in some cases things were a bit more complicated, but for the most part I would just get frustrated by the fact that people refused to spend time learning the tools they needed for their jobs... I thought I understood their position though. In retrospect, however, I think I was just fooling myself into thinking that I did.

I'm on the other side of the fence now, and my perspective has, shall we say, widened. I haven't touched Fedora in quite a few years, and a lot of things have changed; I also haven't done any serious work with Linux recently. Today I needed to configure something seemingly trivial on my brand spanking new Fedora 19 virtual machine, but it turned out to be more complicated than I expected. I knew what I wanted done, I knew the theory behind it, I knew the general steps needed to implement the desired configuration, but over the last three years things have moved on in the Linux world and not everything behaves the way it used to... so what should have taken me a couple of minutes became a time sink, and one thing I don't have now is time. My priorities have changed, and Linux is now simply a tool, not an end in itself; the time I spent "figuring things out" could have been spent doing much more productive work, or hey, you know, spending time with my wife, doing house chores, etc. So, I think I really get it now. I always tried to be as polite, helpful, and friendly as possible, but I still feel the need to apologize for all those "RTFM!" moments.

No feedback yet