The anti-admin stance and the Childs case

In my reading of a few blogs and articles regarding the Childs case, I keep coming across statements that seem to be extremely anti-administrator.

In my reading of a few blogs and articles regarding the Childs case, I keep coming across statements that seem to be extremely anti-administrator. For instance, Anton Chuvakin seems to think that all admins should be kept underneath management's boot at all times.

[ Follow the Terry Childs saga with InfoWorld special report: Terry Childs: Admin gone rogue. ]

He references this blog, and specifically a statement I quoted from Richard Childers:

... search Craigslist's 'Jobs' section for the keyword "ownership". I see 674 references to the word, the majority of them in the IT-related industries.

Sure, it's a buzzword, but it's also a way of life for many IT professionals. We are paid to TAKE OWNERSHIP. We get bonuses for seeing problems and fixing them -- also known as BEING PROACTIVE."

His take on this is that admins "0WN YOUR BUSINESS". Well, yeah. They were specifically asked to do so in the job posting. He also equates Terry Childs with "a Romanian script kiddie".

The nature of network and system administrators is generally one of high intelligence, and a highly elevated sense of autonomy. At least, that's the good admins. It's a necessary trait, and should most certainly not be squashed. Every single instance I've ever encountered where management decided to deconstruct their own admins' actions and watch them like felons resulted in the quick departure of all the competent admins, and their positions backfilled with people who could toe management's line, but couldn't admin for beans. This generally led to systemic failures of the infrastructure, and that's when I would be called, to come in and clean up the mess.

Perhaps it's human nature to fear what you don't know or understand -- and that's why management can develop a fear of their own employees. Managers can't and don't understand what we do, and thus eventually come to the conclusion that we can't be trusted with our own knowledge. On the face of it, Terry Childs' case would appear to be an example of this, but it's blindingly obvious that this case is an anomaly, and that there's much more going on here than we currently know.

So go right ahead and (as Chuvakin puts it) "start logging and monitoring (and then controlling) their actions". Just keep the phone numbers of those extremely expensive consultants handy. You'll need them.

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