And sometimes you are just wrong.

Making mistakes as a sysadmin happens. It happens more often then we like. The difference between a good sysadmin and a bad one is that the good sysadmin will own up to their mistakes, point out how it happened, and come up with methods in which to avoid those same mistakes down the road and share what they learned with their team; where as a bad sysadmin will hide their mistake and hope no one calls them out on it.

My Drill Sergeant in basic training taught me that if I’m going to fuck up, that I need to fuck up so damn good that it makes those around me wonder if they were the ones wrong. If they call right face and you turn left you keep facing left until corrected. (Private Snuffy and Private Snuffy only. about. face.)

Given: there are times when that sort of thinking is entirely not compatible with reality, or that’s what the Highway Patrolmen told me when I was the only one going the right way on a one way street. Fuck those other 400 drivers.

It’s best when you can learn from others mistakes, it means you don’t have to personally make the same mistakes as another member of your team, which in turn makes the team work better. That takes trust though. Trust, that while you might get picked on for making the mistake, that the team will pull together and try and fix the problem instead of shunning you for your honesty. I’ve worked in both kinds of shops. My very first IT related job I thought my name was “What the fuck Chuck”. Looking back the “Seniors” were what I would call entry level now, and made fun of folks to elevate their own perceived standing in the company. But I still learned from them somewhat even if sometimes what I learned was 100% how not to do something.

If you are in an environment where this happens and you are in some form of leadership the easiest way to resolve that sort of toxic environment is to fess up to your own mistakes to your team. If not, move on, life is to short to spend in a toxic environment.


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