Friday, December 9, 2016

Getting back on the horse

Kind of forgot I ever had this blog but I'm gonna try to make this a habit now. Since my last post I've completely re-learned what it means to be an operations engineer at least a couple of times which I count as a huge positive. You can never be too comfortable in what you do, someone's always doing things a little different which should never be taken as a slight to your own skills but a chance to expand what you know. Soak it up, integrate what works, iterate, improve. I'd like to thank everyone who's given me the opportunity to learn from them over the years, I am deeply grateful and couldn't have gotten here without you.

Recently, I've joined an entirely new team and have had to quickly adapt to doing things in a completely different way than I had previously. These inflection points in life are extremely exciting and can sometimes seem overwhelming but it's where our character as humans is really put on display. Our species possesses an innate ability to change to the situation and come out better from it. Always use that evolutionary trait to your advantage.

I am leaving behind the land of tangibles with racks and stacks and have moved on to the great data center in the sky. It has really made me appreciate that safety net I was used to having; no matter what happened if it really hit the fan I could walk up to a server and open a console. It also seemed all the more permanent, those servers weren't going anywhere, they were ours to maintain and we became familiar with them, probably a little too much so (cattle vs pets yada yada). Most importantly, the actual cost of things were basically a non-factor as an engineer, the hardware had been purchased and I had a job to do so I set off to go forth and tinker. Budget? That's for the managers and accounting department to worry about.

Now those costs are front and center. In order to test my new crazy workflow I can't just spin up a swarm of VMs with reckless abandon. The CEO actually sees these billing reports with my name next to my chunk of the pie. I have to answer why I thought it was a great idea to run up an $800 tab overnight with the company's money and it had better not be a story of accidentally leaving a database cluster up overnight sitting idle. I really have to sit down and plan things out before I make my first move. Okay, I probably should have been doing that all along but it's never too late to learn that lesson.

So far this has been an incredibly rewarding and refreshing transition. It's one I think a lot of people in my role are going to be making in the near future. I've never considered myself to be the "best" at any one part of what we consider IT operations -or anything in life for that matter- but I don't think that's the point. Nobody has ever gotten good at something by training in a vacuum...except astronauts I guess, they're awesome. We're the aggregate of our experiences along the journey. Don't think of them as bad or good, just take them for what they are and put it in your stack to reference over time.

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