Tales from a SysAdmin: Episode 1. The call center.

Tales from a Sysadmin Episode 1

I’m going to try testing out a little format where I tell a story from my Sysadmin history.  Hopefully these are fairly interesting as some will be dreadful, positive, funny or whatever.  Not going to waste a bunch of time with the introduction to this new format so let’s just get right down to it shall we?

My very first “IT” job

I started school in Phoenix, AZ at ITT Technical Institute, before all of the issues they started having.  I was probably a few months in and I was working at a local hardware store at the time. I desperately wanted to get into the field so I was applying to countless jobs and not really getting many bites.  

Well I had a perfect opportunity arise when ITT was going to host job interviews for a local hospitality software company.  I printed several copies of my resume, put on the slacks, tie, everything. It was a panel interview with HR, a technical resource and a manager of sorts.  Long story short, I got the job. Along with a few of my colleagues from school.

Long story short, I got the job.Click To Tweet

The first day

The first day at this new job was nerve wracking.  I’m a person who believes highly in first impressions, so I was nervous as hell.  I was in a new industry and a new job.

The first few days was all classroom based training.  We learned lingo from the hospitality industry. We learned the basics of the software, what to do in certain situations, learned how to use the company’s proprietary monitoring software, etc. Pretty basic stuff.

The next few days involved being out on the floor.  The first day, I was paired up with a guy who had super long hair, a gnarly beard, a Metallica shirt and baggy jeans with a wallet chain.  The guy was really cool and it was very clear that he knew his shit. But I was to listen in on his calls, watch what he did, as he was “supposed” to explain.  All I could think about is how badly I was going to fuck all this up when it was my turn.

That first call

The second day of being on the floor began with a few calls where I listened in, then it was my turn.  All I could think about is how when I had to call support, I could always recognize a new guy or gal. And I just knew, that that’s exactly what I would sound like.  And how knew what kind of person I’d get on the other end of the line.

Thankfully, I didn’t mess up the intro phone call.  Answered the phone exactly how I was supposed to, helped the person out (with a little help) and the call was over. Ticket closed.

So with that, I had a little confidence built up straight from the beginning.  Which was helpful.

A couple of months in

After a couple of months of working in the call center, and learning the various clicks that people were in, the different types of customers I could be helping, I started to get pretty comfortable in my role.  Even if I couldn’t solve everything, I knew how to find answers that would allow me to still help someone.

But just because I was comfortable, doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it there.  I was actually offered a promotion to move to shift manager. But what the company did not know, is that I had already started interviewing at another place, and it had been going well.  Nonetheless, I still sat with the manager and we discussed the role, what I’d be doing, etc.

Essentially, I’d be doing the job of a shift supervisor with the pay of a Tier 1 tech. No thanks.Click To Tweet

Essentially, I’d be doing the job of a shift supervisor with the pay of a Tier 1 tech.  No thanks. I told him I’d think about it. In the back of my mind, I was really hoping for a call from the place I had been interviewing with.

The call I’d been waiting for

One day, I was on a call and my phone starts buzzing.  It’s the company I had been interviewing with.

Of course they’d call when I can’t answer…

I gave them a call back when I was off my call, and it was very good news.  I got offered a role as a Desktop Administrator with better pay, benefits, and it was salaried, not hourly.  I was excited. I didn’t wait long to put in my notice. Right after I got off the call, I walked up to my manager and gave my notice

Now, this is the only time I have ever done this, but I didn’t wait the full two weeks.  After three days, I quit. Every job since then, I have honored two weeks. The call center is just not for me at all.  Hats off to those that do it every day. However, working in the call center has given me a level of patience when I speak with new techs for other vendors.  I’m a little more patient with them now.

Don’t wait too long to leave a place or look for a better role. If you don’t like where you are, you’re not doing yourself or that company any justice.Click To Tweet

Pro tip:  Don’t wait too long to leave a place or look for a better role.  If you don’t like where you are, you’re not doing yourself or that company any justice.  Nobody can fault you for bettering yourself. If you hate it, start looking for another job.  If you ever need tips for interviewing, resume writing, or just need someone to bounce ideas off of, let me know.  I enjoy helping others.

About the Author: Travis Wade

Just a simple man living an ordinary life with an extraordinary family. I'm an information technologist and hobbyist astronomer. Anything to do with technology and science is of total interest to me.