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First Thing IT Managers Do In the Morning? 584

Posted by kdawson
from the beeline-for-coffee dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When I was a wee-little IT Manager, I interviewed for a position at an online CRM provider in San Francisco, a job I certainly was qualified for, at least on paper. One of the interviewer's questions was 'What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?' I thought saying 'Read Slashdot' wouldn't be what he was looking for — so I made up something, I'm sure, equally lame. I didn't get the job. But the question has stuck with me over the years. What do real IT and MIS managers do when they walk in to the office in the morning? What Web sites or tools do they look at or use the first thing? Remember, this is for posterity, so please be honest."
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First Thing IT Managers Do In the Morning?

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  • by Evil Al (7496) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @04:59PM (#19792811) Homepage
    Coffee machine, foo!
    • yup. first thing is coffee.
      after that, check the whiteboard on the door to my office to see where the problems are; when you have 6000+ systems and a cluster in each state and a few overseas, their is always a problem somewhere.
      If anything is on fire, head to level 2 and check with the nightshift to see what the heck is going on before they escape.
      If the fire is local, walk down to the NOC and see whats up, put out fire if appropriate. if it's in Dallas or Seattle or Guam, see the status of the local admin on the ticket queue, get on the phone if I see something they don't; start a team re-tasking operations at the site if it looks like it's going to take a while; downtime is not an option.
      if it is Biz as usual, walk in, fire up the computer, and check the infrastructure; check the queue on SMS to see if anything major is being pushed today, basically just look around to see if there is anything that is going to require me to earn my salary.
      if everything is smooth, or being handled, check e-mail; then, slashdot until the 10AM meeting.

      sometimes I wonder why I retired. then, I remember. Paperwork sucks.
      • by yahooadam (1068736) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @08:13PM (#19794377)
        Surely the first thing you do when you get to work is walk in the door ?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Please, stop calling me Shirley.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rickb928 (945187)
          First thing I do is put my glasses on. Check the BlackBerry. Flush. Shower/shave/breakfast. Check real e-mail. Drive 40 minutes.

          It is now about 0705. I'm still 25 minutes from my first stop. I'm a field technician by title, but I'm the 'IT Manager' for 12-25 clients. And every single one is the most important client I have. Just ask my boss.

          It's either the backup that didn't run again, the Exchange server that once again needs to be rebooted form an overnight &*#$up, the routers need to be relo
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 09, 2007 @12:58AM (#19796477)

        If I had a coffee pot at work, that would be the first thing to tend to. Otherwise, my morning ritual is similar to parent post:

        1. Attach my personal USB drive and boot computer
        2. Check voice mail messages while computer is booting, look for fires
        3. Check company email, look for fires
        4. Check incoming faxes. No fires there, but sometimes directives from On High
        5. Check physical mail box at Front Desk.
        6. At same time, check company grapevine through the Front Desk girls. Find out if they need any favors that I can do (cuz the grapevine works on favor exchanges, and they are key people in the grapevine)
        7. Check Internet news headlines. I use a custom portal with Yahoo and another with Google. I check world news, US news, metro news, Reuters technical news, and slashdot. I'm scanning these fast, looking for things that might be relevant to my job, to the company, or to my cow-orkers.

        This ritual takes 10 to 15 minutes, and more than pays for itself by decreasing the number of surprises I run into during the rest of the day. On the average, the part that takes the longest is checking the grapevine, because these kinds of informal networks need to be nurtured.

        By 20 minutes into the day, I know what is important for that day and can discuss my priorities with my boss. Sometimes that discussion has included bargaining for a couple of hours to research something that turned up on Slashdot that might be important to our work.

    • by scotch (102596) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @07:30PM (#19794065) Homepage
      Probably a big dump. Why can't people shit at home? They were just there half an hour ago.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by NickFitz (5849)

        I don't necessarily want a dump before I set off; it's the nutters one encounters on the Tube [fortunecity.com] that scare me shitless by the time I get to work.

      • by DutchSter (150891) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @08:00PM (#19794291)
        Probably a big dump. Why can't people shit at home? They were just there half an hour ago.

        Expense reduction. The company's doing it, so why shouldn't I? They expect more productivity out of me and instant availability at no extra cost to them. Since it's costing me more to work there, I need to cut my expenses as well. Until I got married, it was possible for me to go an entire month on a single roll of toilet paper because I "timed" everything to always have to take that "7:30 conference call" in room 4-RM (4th floor Men's Restroom).

        Of course my boss still got the last laugh. He gave me a Blackberry. Now I take a dump while my computer boots up, but I use the extra time to get a jump start on my emails using the Blackberry. Drat, foiled again...

        Plus I'd rather be in the building at 7:30 and seen for a short while than show up at work at 7:45 because I opted to take care of business at home first. Yes my current job is like something out of Office Space.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Iron Condor (964856)

      Coffee machine, foo!

      Lots'a people agreeing with this, but it ain't really funny: the coffee machine is where everybody heads firts thing and thus its where I will meet all the people who have something interesting/important workrelated to tell me. "Hey, did you see the email from...". If the gatering space for the ad-hoc morning meet isn't the coffee maker in your company, then head for the water cooler or the fridge or wherever people gather. In five minutes of friendly hellos I know what's up today without actually looking

    • by curusetae (1067168) on Monday July 09, 2007 @03:32AM (#19797445)
      I do psychological job interviewing for client companies here in an European nanny state, but I'd like to believe we look for similar things in job applicants.

      We ask questions just like this regularly and actually "coffee" would very likely be the single best way to start your answer.

      If you are in an interviewing situation, it is already known that you are competent from a technical viewpoint so we don't need to hear about any cool monitoring software you'd like to install. Personality type and efficiency in work are the traits the interviewers are after, more so for manager level positions. An honest and (to some point) witty beginning for a question like this is a good way to start. Don't say you will read ./ or any other news, because that would imply you will waste time at work doing something you really should be doing at home. That would be too honest. A cup of coffee is a simple pleasure and doesn't interfere with your job.

      Personally I would give full points to an answer like:
      Coffee - Check for any pressing emergencies - Socialize a little with coworkers for any work related things you need to know

      An honest, thought-out and self-confident answers are the way to go. Questions are designed to throw you out of balance and see if you have these traits even in a surprising situation. A bit of humour one or two times in an interview is also good, it shows you are in control of the social situation. It is not so much *what* you say but *how* you say it.

      If the interviewer is a random executive and it is clear he/she doesn't do interviews very often, it is good to be a little less honest and to show your technical expertise every now and then.

    • by hey! (33014) on Monday July 09, 2007 @06:03AM (#19798205) Homepage Journal
      Coffee, then informal chat with each person who reports to me directly about what's up. In that order (important).

      Job of a manager is to lead; you can't lead unless you (a) know what's on the mind of the people you are leading and (b) remind them the direction everybody's supposed to be heading in. I always say that a manager has two functions: setting direction and removing obstacles. You should spend less than 5% of your time setting direction and more than 95% of your time removing obstacles. Simple reason will show that that's how you ensure your department is spending the most time being productive.

      So, you spend most of your time as a manager doing various kinds of communication. Informal communication is the best, because the most information is offered and retained; formal communications are for when you absolutely must have something on the agenda. You need both, but formal communication (meetings, memos/emails) should be infrequent and informal communication (shooting the shit) should be frequent.

      I'm a solitary consultant these days, but I really miss working on a team.
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Sunday July 08, 2007 @04:59PM (#19792815) Homepage
    Otherwise I get a headache real fast!
  • Shower (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aliencow (653119) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:00PM (#19792817) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure that would've been the right answer.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hsdpa (1049926) *
      Real IT Managers doesn't shower. That's overrated!
      Or was it geeks who doesn't shower? I'm confused...
  • Check the sev 1s (Score:5, Informative)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:00PM (#19792821) Homepage
    The first thing you do every morning is check the sev 1 problems that have occurred when you are out. Next off you look at the 24 hour report to see what is out of whack. Anything odd you follow up on. If everything is fine then you have a cup of strong coffee and wait for the first dumb question of the day.

    Deal with the disasters first, after that everything in the day is a lightweight bonus.
    • The first thing you do every morning is check the sev 1 problems that have occurred when you are out. Next off you look at the 24 hour report to see what is out of whack. Anything odd you follow up on. If everything is fine then you have a cup of strong coffee and wait for the first dumb question of the day.

      Seriously. If our IT manager makes it from the door to his desk before being accosted, it's a damn good day for him. Poor bastard.

    • by Em Ellel (523581) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:20PM (#19793049)

      The first thing you do every morning is check the sev 1 problems that have occurred when you are out. Next off you look at the 24 hour report to see what is out of whack. Anything odd you follow up on. If everything is fine then you have a cup of strong coffee and wait for the first dumb question of the day.

      Deal with the disasters first, after that everything in the day is a lightweight bonus.
      Generally speaking if you have to check on them, they are not sev 1. If they are sev 1 you should have been contacted by now via automated(monitoring software) or manual(minions) means.

      Of course what is missed in this discussion is that the job is that of an IT manager and NOT SA and as such it is NOT your job to deal with the actual monitoring and fixing of anything (except, as mentioned above, maybe things of highest priority), it is SA's job. Your job to is to support SA's and make sure the emergencies ARE dealt with while also making sure all (including non-emergency) services are taken care of.

      This is why sometimes a good SA does not make a good IT manager.

      -Em

      • by edittard (805475) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:40PM (#19793217)

        Generally speaking if you have to check on them, they are not sev 1. If they are sev 1 you should have been contacted by now via automated(monitoring software)
        Perhaps they're a C shop - so they count from zero.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Colin Smith (2679)
        Indeed. The first thing you do is chat with the night shift to make sure everything ran smoothly. Then you make sure the day shift are all in.

         
      • IAAM (Score:4, Informative)

        by Travoltus (110240) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @09:23PM (#19794905) Journal
        (I am a manager)
        The network Admins deal with the Sev1's, unless it costs serious dinero, like a cluster going BOOM, and then I get paged. We've had that happen only in practice drills.

        I check for escalations to management, which I haven't seen in months, but still, they can come at the most inconvenient times. At my level, it means it's a systemic problem about to land us in trouble with the state DOI, federal SEC, etc., so I'd better get involved. (I feel sorry for you publicly traded entities in that regard - the Government really SOX it to ya, lol!) Management knows up front that while I'm not micro managing them, I'm keeping an eye on things to make sure issues don't get out of control. Again, haven't seen that happen since tax time. Stuff always goes to hell when we get nailed by a cost basis rush. That's usually solved by hiring more outsourced Okies (midwest reps, usually from Oklahoma).

        Then, before I hit Slashdot, I walk the floor to make sure people aren't dicking around. Especially team leads and floor managers. Once in a while I'll sit down for 2 hours and take calls. I do it for the PR points - when they see the man on top putting up with the crap assed customers we deal with, it's a morale boost. I know what they're dealing with. And they have no excuse for slacking off. And I VNC right to my office to make sure that I can respond the instant something big requires my attention. I could sit on the phones all day if nothing is going on, because it's so easy for me to be where I need to be at the drop of a hat. Actually, given how much it inspires my workers, I like hitting the phones.

        Then there's the proprietary stuff I can't talk about - the meetings with human resources and marketing staff, occasional briefings from our legal department, and coordination of community activities. Plus the odd call from the company's owner from his friggin yacht.
        • by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Monday July 09, 2007 @01:47AM (#19796803) Homepage

          I feel sorry for you publicly traded entities in that regard - the Government really SOX it to ya, lol

          Dude, I actually like SOX. It means that, as a database developer, I am not allowed to touch the production databases.

          This in turn means that I am not allowed to do production support.

          This again means that I'm not liklely to receive phone calls at 3am, which I like just fine.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > The first thing you do every morning is check the sev 1 problems that have occurred when you are out.

      Not bad.

      In a non-IT context, I'm about the same:

      1) Skim Republican website to see what got blown up last night. They're a pretty panicky bunch, and usually first to report major fires, earthquakes, etc by 15-20 minutes. When a nuke finally goes off in anger somewhere, I'll be selling airlines and buying defense contractors in the few minutes between the flash and the probable temporary closure

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:00PM (#19792827) Journal
    If it's early in the iteration (we have two week cycles for our agile development plan) then I'll log on to XPlanner [xplanner.org] which is a Free Open Source project management tool that allows me to control the user stories and tasks for our project. Early on I look for people that have more hours than others and I try to mitigate that by visiting them and just talking over what they have to do on a high level with them. Since I'm still young and know all the technologies we use, I give them drawings and any sort of information they need to get the job done.

    If it's near the end of an iteration or someone is empty, I shuffle tasks and then make a note to talk to both the people one on one when they get in. I also take the time in the morning to talk to people about what they need to work on so they don't spend all day on the wrong task. In the event of something pending that isn't going to get done, I schedule a meeting with my manager and maybe the customer. Haven't had to do that yet though.

    Now, keep in mind this is only for a 10 person development team so it might not work on your level. But the first thing I do is assess the day by going over what people checked in and completed the day before in my project management tool, XPlanner. If you haven't used it, I heavily suggest and endorse it--you just need a server to host it on and you're ready. Oh and I'm 25 with little or no management experience prior to this so that could also make this advice completely worthless and naive.

    In my opinion, the best thing a team lead can do is listen and, well before it happens, stop people from putting themselves in bad positions where they're in until 3 AM one night before a customer meeting. You take precautions at the beginning of every day and your team should be alright.
    • by sunwukong (412560) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:36PM (#19793183)

      Early on I look for people that have more hours than others and I try to mitigate that by visiting them and just talking over what they have to do on a high level with them.
      09:30-1:15 -- mgr walked in to discuss strategic planning and proper time management; gave me a dirty napkin & some URLs; called wife to let her know i'll be late tonight
  • by alexfeig (1030762) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:00PM (#19792829)
    1) Shmooze around the office cooler for gossip. 2) Make sure my job is still there, and not outsourced. 3) Read Slashdot. 4) Call vendors and complain about service... so I can get free service. 5) Cut my budget even more. 6) Come unglued on a random user. 7) Read Slashdot. 8) Go home.
  • I fart (Score:2, Funny)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    Seriously, the first thing I do in the morning is fart.

    Its a natural event and usually followed by my internal body check (quick overall run over major areas - helpful after waking up with a dislocated leg when I was younger...)

    I then open my eyes.
  • by yorkrj (658277) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:01PM (#19792839) Journal
    The first thing I do in the morning is boot up my computer. Then I grab a cup of coffee while it is booting up. If it's still booting, I check in with my coworkers to see what's in store for the day - I try to keep the conversations short. Once the bootup is complete I start up email and work on timesheet/paperwork while my brain is warming up for the day. In short, I first thing in the morning, I multitask and prepare for the day ahead.
    • by flyingfsck (986395) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:12PM (#19792969)
      Why do you need to boot your computer? Are you running Windows ME?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by crossmr (957846)
        Some people don't need to run their computer all night. Heaven forbid anyone save electricity...
    • by PCM2 (4486) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:13PM (#19792981) Homepage
      In other words, your boss could save the company about fifty bucks a day in lost productivity if he made sure you didn't turn off your computer when you went home at night.
      • by yorkrj (658277)
        I carry a laptop... and run an intense amount of software over a given day. So for me shutting down nightly just makes sense.
  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:02PM (#19792861) Journal
    Most probably first get coffee and then read email. A more "interview friendly" answer may be to "visit team members to greet them and see how they are doing both personally and prefessionally".
       
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by mgabrys_sf (951552)
      I find the second response to be more on message but in offices where a more direct response is required: "stick my tongue up middle management's ass and give it a few twirls" also works.

      Another friendly tip from your happy labor force - productivity equals happiness. Putting the pro in profits, and the suck in success!
  • read email (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OldAndSlow (528779) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:03PM (#19792867)
    and listen to voice mail.

    That's how you find out that while your staff was reading slashdot, a customer reported a major outage that nobody has handled.

  • ... for the old school.

    Or Jolt (Red Bull, Diet Coke, Mountain Due, etc.) and an energy bar, Email

    Then of course ... check out /.

  • You can always say: "I test our Internet access by browsing a few selected Web sites and verifying that their content is correct."
  • The first thing I do is crack my diet soda, and take a long pull.
    The second thing I do is check the backup tapes.

    After that, I see if the phone system is functional.

    Finally, I check the emergency log.

    Then, slashdot, groklaw.
  • Check the logs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Southpaw018 (793465) *
    Anything on my network that sends emails - any kind, alert/notification/log, including stuff from SNMP - goes to one address. First thing, I check that address, make sure nothing needs immediate handling, and then grab some coffee.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:07PM (#19792925)
    Masturbate. It's important you let them know you do this before you get to work. Sticky keys are nobody's friend.
  • Simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:09PM (#19792939) Journal
    You answer it like so:

    "Every evening before going home, I write down my objectives for the following day. This helps me to stay focused the following day on what needs done. Sure, sometimes there are fires to put out, and not everything gets done. But by having a written down list, I find I am more productive. What I do first in the morning depends on what needs to get done that day"/
  • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:09PM (#19792943) Journal
    After I put the kettle on is scan the news sites. It takes me all of two minutes to identify any news item that might somehow impact me and my little slice of the IT world.

    I do this not so much for security or first-alert type response but for a more simple reason... I start conversations using the info I gleaned from the news. The people I work with each have different areas of technical interest, specialties, etc... managing a team means more than riding people about deadlines. I always start the day with a little chatter, and feel good when one of my team members gets to share some of their 'personal interest' knowledge because of a conversation I started.

    Starting conversations in this manner provides all sorts of little 'contact points' that provide info about your employee's mood, attitude, satisfaction, etc... and way too many managers I have known fail horribly at replicating these contact points through more formal methods.

    Anyhow, after that it is review e-mail, prioritize the day, and only begin coordinating with others once they have had time to do the same.

    Regards.

  • by Houdini91 (588691) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:10PM (#19792955)
    Ah, you gotta love those obscure The Princess Bride quotes. =)
  • The serious answer:

    Check my phone messages, e-mail, and run logs, for any problems from the previous night's processing.

  • by digitalamish (449285) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:14PM (#19792989)
    The first thing I do is come up with an action plan to provide a best of breed solution that will benefit both our customers and our stockholders. After I take a wag at my daily task list, I begin working on new strategies to augment and improve the current paradigm. Once I have liaised with my support staff to determine the readiness of our infrastructure, I take off my jacket and put my briefcase away. Sir.
  • My network monitoring system gives me a status board. The first thing I do is glance at the board to see if anything is red.

    The second thing I do is ask the early guy if there is anything going on that I need to know about. I also ask about anything I noticed back when I checked my email before breakfast.

    The third thing I do is plug in and boot my laptop.
  • The obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mike1024 (184871) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:16PM (#19792999)
    1. Park my bike, shower etc.
    2. Turn on computer.
    3. While it starts, get a coffee.
    4. Log in, drink coffee, check e-mail/calendar.
    5. Get to work.

    I've got to say, that sounds like the sort of interview question that would get some pretty boring responses. Like mine, above. So I usually jazz it up a bit in interview:

    1. Park my unicycle, change out of my superhero unitard.
    2. Get a new guitar from the IT guys because I smashed mine at the end of my last performance.
    3. Check in with each of the 10,000 people who work under my command, all of whom I know by name.
    4. Have my executive assistant relay my e-mails to me, one character at a time, by throwing lettered frisbees back and forth between my company's two tower blocks.
    5. Take my second breath of the day.

    So far I haven't had any job offers, but I figure the market is pretty competitive at the moment - it's only a matter of time!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by arielCo (995647)
      1. Park my unicycle, change out of my superhero unitard.
      2. Get a new guitar from the IT guys because I smashed mine at the end of my last performance.
      3. Check in with each of the 10,000 people who work under my command, all of whom I know by name.
      4. Have my executive assistant relay my e-mails to me, one character at a time, by throwing lettered frisbees back and forth between my company's two tower blocks.
      5. Take my second breath of the day.

      So, you applied at Google and can't wait for that first interview

  • I typically check my mail, touch base with the support guys, etc. Nagios would be lighting up my phone if it was something big, but it's good to be seen tackling the issue before everyone starts noticing.
  • TPS Reports (Score:4, Funny)

    by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:21PM (#19793053)
    while reading the e-mail and memos from my 7 bosses
  • by blhack (921171) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:21PM (#19793055)
    When i come in, i immediately remove the backup tapes from last night and replace them with the ones for the night to follow. After that i sit down at my workstation and check the server logs to make sure that the backup completed successfully. Next comes email. There are a few automated emails that get sent to me when cron jobs are completed detailing what was done and how efficiently. If there aren't any problems that need to be dealt with, I start scheduling out my day in my notebook. After that i usually make my rounds around the office checking back in with users who had problems that required attention yesterday, to make sure that the solution worked for them and that everything is running smoothly. Once that is done, i log into the servers to check their state, make sure there aren't any runaway tasks, and basically ensure that everything is running smoothly. If there still haven't been any users with problems that need attention at this point, i will usually start looking through the firewall logs from last night to make sure nothing fishy was going on while i was away.

    At this point, printers usually start exploding.
  • by technos (73414) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:23PM (#19793067) Homepage Journal
    The first thing you do is walk into the john and empty the first four cups of coffee from your bladder in preparation for the next three you'll imbibe while trying to look thoughtful and ignoring your email..

    At least that's what I did.
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:30PM (#19793119) Journal
    Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.
    Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
    Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.

    He got promoted to manager off this.
  • by scenestar (828656) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:31PM (#19793127) Homepage Journal
    But the first thing I need is to get my first hit of the day

    Some Coffee, a cigarette followed by a few tabs of dexedrine and Effexor.

    Honest to god, i couldn't give a fuck less about anything untill I have satisfied my cravings.

    So what If i'm addicted.
  • by spirit_fingers (777604) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:33PM (#19793145)
    So the first thing I do in the morning is play Unreal Tournament deathmatch online with the Maytag Repairmen. They suck. Naturally, I pwn their asses. After that, it's time for my mid-morning nap. Then it's off to lunch! Two hours later, I'm back, and it's siesta time, followed by a bathroom break where I peruse the the NY Times. Then, back at my desk, I jiggle the hula doll on top of my Mac Pro and check my email. Yawn. Nothing happening there. Then around 3:00 pm, my supervisor usually calls and asks me to show him for the 300th time how to import his Van Morrison CDs into iTunes. By then it's happy hour in the employee lounge. A couple of brewskies, followed by a fevered round of pinball, and it quittin' time! Yay! I've earned my pay for the day.
  • by ritchim (1097289) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:39PM (#19793215)
    Walk in the door, counter sarky comment from reception with "Yo mama" jibe. Walk past HR bitch, try not to catch eyes in case she steals my soul whilst i'm not looking. Pass 2-3 people having a conversation about shit not working, try to ignore it, if that proves impossible say "It's probably normal" or "Fucking goldmine/microsoft/Vendor-X" and walk off looking like your about to go fix something. Walk past engineers, stop to have a look at the latest batch of pornography they are trying to pass off as work related e-mail. Make it to the desk, throw down keys locate cup and head for a cup of tea. Return to desk and kill time until eyes finish opening and last nights hangover subsides. Each week is a relentless collage of grey interspersed with trips to the lav.
  • by QuasiEvil (74356) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:40PM (#19793225)
    I'm not a personnel manager, but a technical lead, and as such do have a bunch of technical types that I manage. So if you want to include me...

    Seriously, bring up a browser, start the usual stuff loading (/., Ars, CNN, etc.) and then pop over to email while it all loads up. Generally go through my email, delete the crap, answer the easy stuff, read the hard stuff. Go get coffee while pondering the harder emails, come back, answer the ones I've thought about, read morning websites, answer the rest.

    Generally then I get sucked down into the seventh level of he.. er, rather, an meeting about something I don't give a sh^H^H^H care deeply about.
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @05:51PM (#19793317) Homepage Journal
    Though I would have already contacted him via communicator while on the way to the bridge.

    There, No.1 would join me after performing his rounds.

    After that, anything could happen. I might be kidnapped by a gaseous being trying to escape a time warp, fall in love with a woman who dies tragically, get in a fist fight with someone I trained with but was always unhinged and I knew he'd turn out no good, though when I have the chance to kill him I will relent because people are basically good inside and need another chance if they make a mistake.
  • Don't lie. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @06:02PM (#19793411) Journal
    What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?' I thought saying 'Read Slashdot' wouldn't be what he was looking for -- so I made up something, I'm sure, equally lame

    Perhaps he just wanted to see if you'd lie to tell him what he wanted to hear.

    That question has only one "right" answer - You get coffee, check Slashdot and read your email (possibly not in that exact order), then you glaze over until you hit the bottom of at least your first cup of coffee. Any interruptions before then, you respond to with "Mmmmmpph? Grrrrrrumph. Mrphythuber kurbendurby! Mrffff". Anyone failing to understand that response clearly doesn't work in IT, or worse, likes mornings (grounds for immediate dismissal, IMO).


    And anyone that mods this "funny" either lies or doesn't work in IT.
  • by rjbrown99 (144423) <rjb@r[ ]rtjbrown.com ['obe' in gap]> on Sunday July 08, 2007 @06:25PM (#19793581) Homepage
    There may be more than one answer, but this one would definitely go a long way in an interview.

    The first thing I would do after arriving at the office is greet any members of the team who were already in the office. It goes a long way when a boss spends the time to interact with the team and employees always appreciate little things like that. It's not a flashy answer, but it demonstrates that you want to emphasize communication and teamwork.
  • coffee and slashdot (Score:3, Informative)

    by Deadplant (212273) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @06:44PM (#19793741)
    Honesty is the most important quality for a senior admin.
  • by pem (1013437) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @06:51PM (#19793775)
    Try to take over the world!
  • My morning routine (Score:4, Informative)

    by Murrdox (601048) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @07:05PM (#19793895)
    I'm an IT Manager.

    1) First on the list is to go over any emails or voicemails that came in that need my attention. Hopefully there are no emergencies for me to take care of.

    2) Go make myself some coffee. Just say "no" to bad office coffee people. We have our own coffee maker in our IT area. I drink most of it.

    3) Swing by and say "Hello" to all my people, say good morning, see how everyone is doing, see if anything major is going on that I haven't been emailed about.

    4) Get my coffee and relax for a few minutes reading slashdot or wired.com before delving into the day's projects.

    5) Meetings!

  • ok seriously (Score:5, Informative)

    by cecil_turtle (820519) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @07:10PM (#19793923)
    I've read most of the posts above, and below is my answer. I don't drink coffee and if I eat breakfast that day I do it before work. I don't read Slashdot / etc. while at work, I do that on my own time after I get home. Also the full question was "What is the first thing you do when you get to work in the morning?" (emphasis mine) - so there goes the answers like "shower". We'll also assume that this is a normal work day and an automated monitoring system hasn't paged me with a problem causing me to drive in early and fix it. We'll also assume I didn't just get back from a vacation.

    OK, now with all the qualifiers out of the way, here's what I do first thing:
    • Check voice mail. I will only normally have 1 or 2 at the most unless I've had days off, and I also get voice mails via email so it's likely I already heard it.
    • Skim emails. Again I keep tabs on email even when not working so there's not normally a ton of new stuff, but I like to look over all of the emails, delete spam, and read important things first or things I've been waiting to hear back on. This is not when I deal with less important emails or write lengthy emails to people.
    • Check monitors / logs. For me this means disk space monitors, MRTG bandwidth reports, backup statuses, etc.
    • Check my short-term to-do list, normally created the day or two before that gets updated a couple times per week. Start on a project or delegate a project to a co-worker.
    • If I'm in a waiting stage on all of my short term projects (waiting for parts to ship or waiting on a vendor or waiting to hear back from upper management) then I will make an effort to follow up on those items to help move it along (check tracking numbers, send "reminder" emails, etc.).
    • If all of the above is taken care of, move on to the long-term project list.
    My last comment is that some people have very specific ideas of what an "IT Manager" does or should do. Keep in mind that's a very broad term that will vary from organization to organization, mostly depending on the size. Somebody above made a distinction between an IT Manager and a System Administrator, but when your whole team is two people (like mine) those things don't make much difference. Maybe in some organizations IT managers don't get paged, or don't deal with backups, or whatever, but in smaller organizations the manager is also a staff member.
  • by slickwillie (34689) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @07:17PM (#19793997)
    to look for a better job.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @07:50PM (#19794221)
    The number one thing I do: Say good morning to the receptionist.

    A good relationship with her (it could be a him, it's simply a her where I work) is essential:

    Just about everyone bitches to her. Whether an issue's with email, with network reliability, a printer not working, phones playing up, the cold tap running hot, she's aware of all of it.

    She's also the one point everyone has to pass at least once and, being close to both restrooms and breakroom, she tends to see most people much more too. Better than anyone, she can serve as a barometer of people's moods. If someone is obviously in a foul mood that morning, if someone's running around stressed about something, she knows faster than just about anyone.

    She's also the person everyone has to let know if a client's coming in as she'll be the person to meet them. She also tends to handle much of the mess that is meeting room booking so she gets even more insight in to who's coming.

    Build a good relationship with her and she looks out for me. If everything's cool, I get a "Hi" back and get on with greeting my team, checking email, checking in with project leads and PMs, reading slashdot, etc. If there's something up, she'll give me a summary that, with her understanding my needs from our previous talks, pretty much prioritizes as I need to know. I can then get on any problems far faster than checking each of the traditional reporting methods or I can go about my normal routine prepped so I don't say send an email that might trigger the guy who's in a bad mood that day.

    And that's just the first fifteen seconds of my day.

    She's also the first person to interview any candidates for me: If someone's an asshole to the people they think "don't matter," they're going to disrupt my team in a million other ways.

    As already mentioned, she handles the mess of meeting rooms - an often precious resource. Do you want that person favoring you or someone else?

    Being the first person everyone bitches to, she can come back with, "Wow, Nick [or Nick's team] is really being a jerk. Let's see what we can do." or she can respond, "Wow, that doesn't sound like Nick [or Nick's team]. He'd never knowingly let that happen. Let's let him know and I'm sure he'll get it addressed right away." Her response, being many people's first reaction when something goes wrong, can totally color the rest of their reaction and how easily I can deal with the issue.

    She also knows where everything is, how everything functions, or who would do. "Hey, I can't find the contractor NDA forms." can get you a sympathetic acknowledgment from a rushed person and hold up your rush filling of a position by a day or two while you track them down or it can get "Hmm, I'll track them down and IM you in about five once I've got them." from someone who likes you.

    The same holds true for all interpersonnel relationships, it's just especially important with a front desk person given everything that crosses their world - plus the question was what do you do "first" and they are pretty much always the first person you'll see.

    Most nerds give great answers about slashdot, about email, about remote logging and paging systems. They're great nerd answers that show why you'd be great for a nerd position. What they demonstrate a lack of is an appreciation of what good interpersonnel relationships give you and adding that on top of the nerd qualifications is what demonstrates you'll be a good manager. Management is no longer a role about who can do the coolest nerd thing, it's about how do you handle all of the relationships around a diverse bunch of people. If your answer is about the systems, not the people, you're most comfortable interacting with - you're probably giving a major red flag for your abilities to work with people who should work with systems for you.

    There were quite a few joke comments about "schmoozing." While I know they were intended as fun, that it's seen as something silly that managers that n
    • Brilliant. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BigBlockMopar (191202)

      Say good morning to the receptionist.

      This is one of the most brilliant things I've ever read on Slashdot.

      Of course, I've always done it - chatted with her, heard the gossip, heard the upcoming meetings, etc. - I was being friendly because she was someone I work with; I liked her and valued her. But never even given a second thought to her power. And you're absolutely right.

      Every time I needed the boardroom, I got it. Every time I was swamped, she'd have just "happened by" the old LaserJet III in accou

      • Re:Brilliant. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by nick_davison (217681) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @11:31PM (#19795903)

        Of course, I've always done it...I liked her and valued her. But never even given a second thought to her power. And you're absolutely right.
        It's the one useful thing I learned at university...

        No lecturer actually collected their assignments at the 5pm cut off. Very few would even see it as a priority before noon the next day. They simply relied upon the department receptionist to tell them who handed it in on time and who gets the instant 20% knocked off for being late.

        Befriend the receptionist and you got an extra night on every assignment. For the really big stuff, if she liked you enough, you'd tell her your woes and find she'd offer to tell the lecturer, "I'm SO sorry, Nick handed this to me before the deadline last week but I guess I put it down on the wrong pile." You then got to listen to the lecturer talk about what he had been looking for, after he assumed no one else could submit work, and leave everyone else wondering how you so effortlessly got straight As.

        Sure, technically, each lecturer held more power. But every one of them always had students sucking up to them, trying to gradegrub, and was pretty much immune. And you had ten or twenty different lecturers you had to try it with.

        Alternatively, one receptionist extended every deadline for you and knew the lecturers well enough to tell you great tidbits like, "Lecturer X admits in the staff breakroom that he likes a glass or two of whisky while he grades. He starts off grading pretty strict but jokes about how his criteria's much more 'relaxed' by the end of the night. I'll slip your assignment in where it'll get the most generous grader. Lecturer Y hates grading and gets more angry as the night goes on, so I'll put your assignment at the top of her stack."

        Amazing how much power the people who allegedly don't have any power really wield.

        Mind you, social engineering is also the reason why some hackers will spend days trying to crack security vulnerabilities in software while another guy will achieve just as much in a single phonecall.
  • by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @08:17PM (#19794421) Homepage
    Probably get out of bed, walk to the bathroom, and take a piss.

    Although the first two steps are optional based on the age of the sysadmin...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 08, 2007 @08:40PM (#19794535)
    I'm a programmer, not IT, but this might be interesting, so here goes. . .

    1) sit down at computer and login (i never shut it off, so i don't have to wait for it to boot the next morning)

    2) start programming (usually at this point i either successfully get a few hours of coding in, or i get bugged by a manager and all productivity is lost)

    3) prepare a cup of tea, go back to programming

    4) get sucked into a useless two or three hour meeting where everyone discusses implementing feature V what i've already finished writing, though they don't know it yet

    5) point out i already have solution V done, and i've implemented solution W even though they aren't aware they need it yet

    6) listen to the boss tell me not to waste company time on W and that he wants a timetable for V

    7) point out again that V is already done, and try to explain why W wasn't a waste of time, notice i'm being ignored, leave meeting frustrated claiming i have to get take an asprin/go to the bathroom/get a drink as an excuse to get out and never come back

    8) few hours later, boss comes up and asks me how long it would take me to implement feature X, which is actually just a rephrasing of feature W (already done)

    9) explain that i already have feature X completed, and look at the astonished boss as he says, "are you sure? no seriously, how much time do you need really?"

    10) show him a demonstration of feature X (see W) and then hear the boss say, "okay then, start working on feature Y"

    11) *sigh* feature Y isn't necessary because of feature X, futilely try to explain this, boss insists i waste time on feature Y even though i'm in the middle of feature Z which is usually some revolutionary feature addition that is going to a) make the company a lot of money, b) get the boss a raise or c) save lives

    12) end up wasting time on feature Y, boss independently discovers that feature X makes feature Y redundant... get the great honor of listening him explain that i shouldn't be wasting time on feature Y, and why didn't i let him know that feature X resolved feature Y

    13) point out that i did let him know

    14) rinse and repeat every day until i want to slit my wrists

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