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What Is Your Why?

Level 13

Browsing the discussions and resources here in the Thwack community, I can see that you are an incredible bunch of people - passionate and knowledgeable about your own areas of expertise & eager to guide & advise others.

But, for a moment, let’s look up from what we are doing. Let’s talk about your Why.

I'm sure you all know what you do. That would be easy to tell someone, right? And you'd could probably also go into great detail about how you do it. But do you have a real vision for why you do what you do? Do you have a vision that extends beyond "because it's my job?" or "because the servers would fall over if I didn't?"

This isn't a deeply technical topic, but it can become your secret weapon. Your Why can lift you during a frustrating day. It can get you through a 1am call out (as well as all the caffeine). And it will be music to the ears of management or the business when you come to them with a problem or a recommendation. If you can frame your conversations with them to address their Why, I can guarantee you better success.

“I'm a sys admin. I monitor and maintain our servers. I do this to keep the business running. The end users can then serve their customers.” Easy so far, right?

So what does your company do for its customers, who are ultimately your customers? Is the product or service vision of your company as deeply ingrained in your mind as it is in the marketing department?

Does your company give peace of mind to people and help them in the toughest times … i.e. are you an insurance company?

So really, you give people peace of mind & help them in the toughest times by ensuring that your staff have fast access to their computer systems when they need them.

Tell me what your Why is? How do you think your Why can influence how you work & what decisions you make?

Simon Sinek explains Apple’s Why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sioZd3AxmnE

P.S. If you are in this for the thrill of working with technology, I get that too.

26 Comments
novasamurai
Level 12

One of my "whys" is that I enjoy solving tough problems, and constantly learning new technology. If someone needs a puzzle come see my desk. Ultimately I believe most Sys Admins want to help others. In the financial business we are focused in providing services that make it easy for our members to manage their finances, get loans. As a credit union we also try and give back to the communities we serve.

I agree that just like an organization needs a why to be successful, we too as Sys Admins also need a why. Even better if our whys align with the organization it becomes more than just a job.

Jfrazier
Level 18

I got into this aspect of IT back when automated operations was the new buzz word.  "Lights Out" data centers were the dream and a topic widely discussed in the trade rags and the mainframe still ruled. It was a new world and we were blazing new trails. 

In the end, I work to make sure the people in the trenches have the resources they need to do their job so that the company can money.

jkump
Level 15

To create synergy between people and technology to solve problems.

shuth
Level 14

I simply enjoy helping others get their systems up and running, especially when it comes to showing off some of the cool stuff you can do with SolarWinds (as soppy as that sounds haha).

ScottRich
Level 12

I would say my why is that I just really like going to my job. Like novasamurai‌, I enjoy solving puzzles and like Jfrazier‌, that it lines up to allow the company to be profitable is a bonus. But the real reason is I enjoy the people I work with. They are upbeat, hard working and smart. They are also quick to share knowledge as well as willing to learn. I have worked at places where everyone complained about how hard they worked and how under-appreciated they were, it makes for long days. This influences many aspects of my work. When we go to management with an idea, and they see our excitement, they are much more likely to be receptive and get excited about the idea themselves. When they see apathy, they tend to respond with apathy.

cahunt
Level 17

The ultimate "WHY" is so the phone does not ring. But the real WHY's include learning new stuff and fixing things and the overall need for knowledge and control.

The logical answer of "WHY" is Keeping those in a support role and dealing with customers and patients UP - or in a working order - All Tools being working and accessible.

scuff
Level 13

Absolutely. I think a lot of sys admins are driven by making progress and solving puzzles, but it's great to see you appreciate your organisation has it's own why which drives its decisions.

scuff
Level 13

Nice! Short and clear.

scuff
Level 13

I can see how the technology has shifted throughout your career but your Why probably hasn't. It's great to see technology advancements that can help enhance your Why and improve/automate the delivery of those resources to the company's staff.

scuff
Level 13

We all love cool stuff   I think the best sys admins are ultimately driven by a desire to help others.

scuff
Level 13

It's incredible the difference a great team can make, for sure. Looks like you've found a great one!

scuff
Level 13

Can I stretch you a little further and ask Why is it important that the systems are up? What do those systems enable people to do/achieve?

pollokoff
Level 8

Why do I do what I do?  I love the challenge of meeting my ultimate goal:  work days with 0 SQL Server issues to address.  But with 40 plus servers and over 800 databases, the challenge is never ending.  I do realize that achieving that Utopian ideal will ultimately benefit my company and our customers, I am more driven my a sense of personal pride when I have those days when everything is running at peak performance.

pzjones
Level 9

I have tried more careers than the average person. Unfortunately, most led to pure boredom after a couple of years. IT is the only thing that has kept my interest and continues to challenge me. There is always something new to learn, something new to figure out, someone else to help.

I work for an airline company. I want to ensure our networks are always available so our employees can successful complete their jobs allowing flights to leave and arrive at their destinations as efficiently as possible helping our customers to welcome a new grandchild, visit an exotic destination or  say good-bye to a loved one...

scuff
Level 13

That sense of satisfaction is really important, agreed!

scuff
Level 13

I love this! Yes, the impact of you not doing your job really has an impact on people's lives. I love that you understand why people travel.

novasamurai
Level 12

By the way the linked video was very good, I think sometimes we need to sit back and think about our "why" for all areas of our life..

nenea
Level 9

Same here. you get a wonderful feeling of been helpful to others. you feel fulfilled that you have achieved another milestone.

prowessa
Level 12

Why? Hmmn. its fun working as a Sys Admin becos i like helping people and impacting my It knowledge as much as i can. I really like been secure especially when it comes to data loss and my company ensures most of our customers have this as a service. Our customers get more than data security and new technologies. I ensure I explain most of what  I am doing to their understanding.

alexslv
Level 15

Well, first of all - Thank You for this topic... and Thank You for the YT link. I didn't watch it yet and I will... straight after I finish this reply...

I have discovered SolarWinds by accident few years ago and I felt in love with this product since. I realised that monitoring CAN be fun, CAN be enjoyable and it CAN actually work both for Techies and for Business Heads

So, since that time I have set on a mission:

"Our mission is to help as many organisations as we can to benefit from scalable, robust, elegant, easy to use and fun to interact monitoring and alerting framework that we have been fortunate to develop based on SolarWinds monitoring platform"

So far I have fully deployed and mostly automated monitoring processes in 3 organisations, two of them are global. This has been an awesome journey so far and I am looking forward helping even more organisations on even more larger scales... Who knows... one day we may end up building NASA's NOC

Alex

www.pixace.com

novasamurai
Level 12

Sounds like a lot of fun, I like how you have found something you enjoy "Deploying and Supporting Solarwinds Products" doing and just focused purely on that going forward. By the way great website. I found that when you are more aligned with your why and you enjoy and feel passion for what you are doing, you not only have fun but are very successful. It does not always happen over night, but if you stick with it, everyone else around you know that you not only know your stuff but that it is more than a job for you.

jm_sysadmin
Level 13

I have worked for Nationwide Children's Hospital for over a decade in various forms of IT. Here nothing is about the technology, its all about what the technology means. It has to run all day, every day, at over 100 locations we support.

Anyone can imagine, but parents of sick children know that a visit to a hospital or even a doctor's clinic is hard, even when all goes well. Every delay, every bump in the road is tough under the stress the family is in. And over the last decade, everything has been built on the foundation our IT department builds. The is literally no change we make where we do not think about what this means down stream. This means that when we do scheduled maintenance, we talk with the emergency room to ensure the volume isn't too high (paper charts take longer, and don't have as many built in safety checks), or there isn't an inbound trauma patient that will need our radiology services immediately. It means that when we are asked to find a way to get even the craziest things done, there is usually the best interest of a child at the other end of the request.

dhanson
Level 11

Say (god forbid) you have cancer. Your Oncologist tries the first two logically suggested treatment options for your type of cancer, but they have no effect. It continues to spread. You're rightfully scared, and fearful that the next treatment might be just as ineffective. Your doctor calls Caris (the company I work for) and sends them a biopsy from your cancer. After genetic and molecular tests are performed, within about 10 days (or less) of receiving your biopsy, we send to your doctor a list of treatment options they can select from that have had observed results for your specific type of cancer, compiled from the results of tens of thousands of clinical tests. For instance, you might have a biomarker that's particularly susceptible to a specific type of drug. Suddenly, your doctor has more optimistic options...which means you do, too.

That's my why.

P.S. I, like many IT guys, enjoy solving puzzles, playing with new equipment, and designing for the future. The harder the problem you face, the greater the satisfaction when you achieve your victory.

scuff
Level 13

Sounds like we have another problem solver in our midst! Well done with your success so far and all the best for a continuing bright future!

scuff
Level 13

Oh fantastic! That's a great Why!

scuff
Level 13

Another person in the health field! It's great to know that skilled medical professionals are backed by skilled IT admins like yourself.