looking for a sys admin

Ryan Simpkins plug at ryansimpkins.com
Mon Dec 7 13:31:17 MST 2009

On Sun, December 6, 2009 21:47, Brandon Stout wrote:
> On 12/06/2009 07:05 PM, Aaron Toponce wrote:
>> Mike Nelson wrote:
>>> - If I teach you something once, I don't want to ever teach it to you again
>> Don't get me wrong, but that really isn't something you want to put on a
>> job advert. And for only $35-$60K? Are there any benefits that will make
>> up for the pay?
> Thank you Aaron, for saying that.  Those were my thoughts exactly, as a
> job seeker.  I think I learn quickly, and I have a long 19 year history
> of good grades to prove it, expecting someone to remember everything the
> first time, perfectly?  That's ridiculous.  Einstein failed math once.
> Michael Jordan didn't make his high school basketball team the first
> time he tried.  That one line "If I teach you something once, I don't
> ever want to teach it to you again", was the reason I didn't apply for
> this job.  Other than that, I might have applied.  I'm even caring about
> the wages less.  I just want full time work and benefits so I can start
> moving forward again.
> A good mentor is one that has patience - one who can teach the same
> point different ways to custom fit every individual.  He has patience
> and a drive to make the person they are mentoring succeed.  Someone who
> *never* wants to teach the same point twice is no mentor.

Perhaps the issue here is not the concept, but the presentation. I understand
the desire for brevity, short is often better. Sometimes adding a little color
to a statement can go a long way.

If I teach you that executing rm -Rf /some/dir is a bad idea, because you may
accidentally put a space in front of 'some/dir' (thus wiping out the system),
I would expect any sys admin to always remember that. If I teach you about a
highly complex system containing tens of thousands of hosts and dozens of
products... I expect you will not remember specifics even after repeated

Another way to say this might be:
-The candidate should be capable of quickly committing regular system
configurations and common procedures to memory.

What people might be hearing is:
-I expect you to recall everything I tell you, forever.

It is impossible to know what meaning was really intended without additional
explanation. Perhaps it was a trick statement, designed to promote an
emotional response to weed out undesirable candidates.

Maybe it was simply a joke to see who had a sense of humor. And no, I don't
have one. I'm like the large sign I saw above the TSA checkpoint at the San
Diego airport: "Joking is Not Allowed." I laughed for 19.8 seconds, until it
was my turn to submit to strip search. They confiscated my humor. I now no
longer find tubes of toothpaste and shampoo being considered potentially
deadly weapons funny, in any way. Please join me in support of a ban of fruit
on all flights as well:



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