Silent Heroes: 10 proud moments for IT pros

Marc Thaler

Recognition in the workplace doesn’t always come easily. People are busy and often insulated by the bubble that is their department. And if your co-workers can’t explain what you do, well, good luck getting that much-deserved “Atta boy!”

Perhaps no segment of a staff deals with this frustration more frequently than IT pros. They are vital to a company’s livelihood. But beyond addressing issues for tech-challenged colleagues, an IT admin’s regular responsibilities are often head-scratching to the rest of us.

This thread on Reddit sums it up nicely. A small business owner, admittedly unable to tell what value his IT employee is providing, sought insight from system administrators:

“He always looks to be busy, typing stuff in his black Linux box, reading code (I guess?), surfing on websites that appear to deal with IT stuff,” the business owner writes. “But is he really working or just slacking off?”

It’s no wonder system administrators are fond of saying: “Some of the best work we do is the work users will never know we’ve done.”

But your IT peers can appreciate it.

With that in mind, we asked IT pros to share their proudest on-the-job achievements in this Spiceworks forum. Here are 10 memorable responses:

10 – “Pretty much everything I do … the end users do not know about.”

9 – “All the work that went into our new map hosting project was unseen... I installed and configured 18 servers, multiple switches, firewalls, and UPSs, while the boss frantically coded our custom GIS application. All the users know is that when they click on a point on the map, it instantly provides the data they need. They don't realize the raw computing horsepower required, or the massive development resources behind it.... it just works. (Isn’t that the goal?)”

8 – “When we migrated to Office365 in the midst of a dying Exchange 2003 server. It literally wanted to be put down, but we got all mailboxes migrated and everyone up and running before it died. The users might not have known all the work and time that went into it, because as soon as we switched, the users were happy. How did we know? The calls stopped. :) ”

7 – “The CEO approached me one morning, asking me to let him know when we would be moving the mail server as he was dealing with some important contracts and didn't want to run the risk of any issues. I pointed out that we had moved the server 3 weeks before. To say that he was shocked was an understatement!”

6 – “Tracing all the backbones and server connections since it was left to us by the previous IT officers.”

5 – “After weeks of after-hours work, the ancient servers are now gone and replaced with a new VMware cluster. A few people knew I was doing ‘something with the servers’ and quickly forgot about it. It's my secret success story.”

4 – “Every, single DR plan. Always get blamed for the failures and never praised for the success. It’s like my childhood!”

3 – “I replaced and rewired my whole backend infrastructure with new CAT6 cables.”

2 – “I think the biggest thing as a department was getting our new building up and running. We DID get a lot of recognition from management and they brought it to staff attention, but I don't think any of them KNEW what we did.”

And the No. 1 answer – confirming IT pros speak their own language – is:

“I re-deployed an iPad 1 to 1 that was twisted up with Configurator, in exchange for using Profile Manager DEP and VPP. We can now provision iOS devices over Wi-Fi straight out of the wrapper, auto-configure, download the apps, et al.

“They have NO idea what that even means, none at all.”