- 1. The ghost of error message past
- 2. Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
- 3. Santa’s little helper
- 4. To face unafraid the plans that we've made
- 5. Naughty or nice
- 6. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
- 7. No man is a failure who has friends
- 8. Now, bring us some figgy pudding!
- 9. Making spirits bright
- 10. To me, you are perfect
- 11. A cup of cheer
- 12. Comfort and joy
It’s the holiday season — a time for joy and goodwill. Unfortunately, many sysadmins experience more horror stories than miracles in their careers. But this season calls for a dive into the softer side of system administration: the uplifting stories that keep folks in the field despite burnout, lack of administrative support, communication challenges, and, of course, users who seem to have somehow never touched a computer before.
If the Baileys in your coffee just isn't cutting it anymore, here are some heartwarming tales of IT miracles to brighten the season.
“Yes, users can be frustrating, but they're my idiots...” — JadeGreeneDE
1. The ghost of error message past
“I had a weird error message the other day and googled it. The very first result was a forum post about the same error message with detailed instructions on how to resolve it. I followed the instructions and at the end noticed who had posted the solution: me, several years ago. Thanks, me.” — neoplastic_pleonasm
2. Good tidings we bring to you and your kin
“One time, after spending 17 straight hours keeping flood water out of the server room with blankets, vacuums, towels, blood, sweat, and tears, a manager brought us a box of cookies.
"It wasn't our manager.
"That was nice.” — junkman21
3. Santa’s little helper
“Years ago, I was doing PC/Break fix and had a new director in another department come on board (Vice President now). I was tasked with getting her up and running on her PC. I made a joke about a Toblerone bar for some reason to someone in the office as we were setting her up.
"Two days later, large Toblerone bar appears on my desk. I am in Networking now, but that VP gets my full attention any time she needs something.” — SnooKiwis9257
4. To face unafraid the plans that we've made
“I got hired on as an entry level tech and was learning about CS through school. I saw some big improvements I could make to many of our scripts. So I built them out, showed leadership, and they loved it! Since then the company created a new job title for me and I've been doing similar stuff since! Felt good to have new ideas be heard out and in my case, implemented. At previous jobs, your job description was all they allowed you to do.” — Zalrog1
5. Naughty or nice
“We had a brand new CFO at a decent size org. I hadn't met the guy yet but he screwed something up pretty royally (that only affected him) and he knew it was his fault.
"He did some asking around, and when he came over to us he brought us a cured meat/cheese/crackers/beer gift basket, introduced himself, and confessed his sins.
"The issue was fairly easy for us to remedy, and I'll never forget his attitude. Good bloke.” — sryan2k1
6. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
“I was a tier one tech for a school district. Went out to a school to replace a WAP. As I was leaving a teacher called out to me from another room because her projector was acting up. I go in and its a room of second graders. One of them asks:
"Do you fix computers?
"Kid: THATS SO COOOOOL!
"I got the projector going and all the kids cheered.
"That really made my day” — _cacho6L
7. No man is a failure who has friends
“11 years. Same company. CITO comes from the IT world and knows what's up. He never denies me funding when we need upgrades or new tools. No one micromanages me. I will draft company-wide emails about downtime or large upgrades and CITO will send them so that everyone knows there is buy-in from the top...Users love the IT department because I made that one of the main goals. No one yells at me...Non-IT users that have left have stayed in contact with me, TO A PERSON they all say that the thing the miss most about their old job is our IT department.” — Rawtashk
8. Now, bring us some figgy pudding!
“Back in the day when I worked as the only IT person in a small boutique ad agency in NYC, I used to bake something and bring it into the office a couple of times a month. When I had to leave nyc for personal reasons, the whole office including ceo had lunch catered and they declared that every Friday from now on was my day and they would have pastries in office for everyone.” — Background-Look-63
9. Making spirits bright
"When I was starting out, keeping our hotel POS working was probably my most common task. It was...not a particularly good system, the model we had liked to randomly drop network connection. (We eventually upgraded to a much more stable POS) Consequently the whole FB team got used to seeing me pretty often.
"Came to the hotel for dinner once, FB director saw me there and comped everything, said it was because of IT that the systems were even able to be used...” — Addfwyn
10. To me, you are perfect
“Spent a few years working in a place where the top dog was worth a lot of millions. When I left he was sad in a way but happy for me, I thought he would acknowledge the loss but waste no more than 10 seconds thinking about it. Without me asking, he wrote me a recommendation letter saying something along the lines of ‘I can always trust him to convey technical subjects to non tech audiences using an excellent mix of patience and affirmation’ then proceeded to give a clear example of a situation where this stance came into play. I have gotten several praises over the years but this one made me very happy as it was so unexpected.” — syspac
Explaining technical issues to non-IT folks can be a thankless job — but it’s a skillset that will set you apart. Brush up on your communication skills to leave a strong impression. You never know who will notice.
11. A cup of cheer
“I've got a few, but specifically I used to work for an elderly day care type facility and was on site pretty frequently. Every time there was a party or anything and people knew I was coming or knew I was there they'd give me a plate of food and something to drink. Most of the time they'd actually let me get mine first if I was around and able.” — Shinai7047
12. Comfort and joy
“I worked in a court and had an attorney who was epileptic. She was given a workspace with no fluorescent lights and a CRT (this was 25 years ago) with a very high refresh rate based on me having read an article about ergonomics and accommodations in a magazine. She went from having constant migraines and daily petit mal seizures to basically no events in the space of 2 weeks at which time she walked into my office with a couple six packs of craft beer and thanked me for saving her job.” — HerfDog58
This holiday season, PDQ Deploy and Inventory will stuff your stockings with features that simplify your patch and inventory management to make life a little more magical. Our heavily bearded elves are also working overtime to make PDQ Connect the must-have sysadmin gift of 2023. Until then, stay up to date with the PDQ blog and YouTube channel for all the latest updates.
We hope that you’ve had your fair share of IT miracles. But if not, the new year brings a fresh start! May all your users be agreeable, may your managers respect you, and may your deployments go smoothly.
Part writer, part sysadmin fangirl, Meredith gets her kicks diving into the depths of IT lore. When she's not spending quality time behind a computer screen, she's probably curled up under a blanket, silently contemplating the efficacy of napping.