TLDR: There’s truth in the motto “fake it till you make it”

Once upon a time in January 2018 I began work as a part time sysadmin intern for a small financial firm in the rural US. This company is family owned, and the family doesn’t understand or invest in the technology their business is built on. I’m hired on because of my minor background in Cisco networking and Mac repair/administration.

I was the only staff member with vendor certifications and any background in networking / systems administration / computer hardware. There is an overtaxed web developer doing sysadmin/desktop support work and hating it.

I quickly take that part of his job and become the “if it has electricity it’s his job to fix it” guy. I troubleshoot Exchange server and Active Directory problems, configure cloudhosted web servers and DNS records, change lightbulbs and reboot printers in the office.

After realizing that I’m not an intern but actually just a cheap sysadmin I began looking for work that pays appropriately and is full time. I also change my email signature to say “Company Name: Network Administrator”

A few weeks later the “HR” department (we have 30 employees, it’s more like “The accountant who checks hiring paperwork”) sends out an email saying that certain ‘key’ departments have no coverage at inappropriate times. I don’t connect the dots.

Two days later I receive a testy email from one of the owners telling me that she is unhappy with my lack of time spent in the office. That as the Network Administrator I have responsibilities, and I need to be available for her and others 8-5 when problems need troubleshooting. Her son is my “boss” who is rarely in the office and has almost no technical acumen. He neglected to inform her that I’m a part time employee.

I arrange a meeting in which I propose that I be hired on full time as the Network Administrator to alleviate their problems. They agree but wildly underpay me. I continue searching for work but now my resume says Network Administrator.

Two weeks ago I accepted a job offer for double my current salary at a local software development firm as a junior automation engineer. They said they hired me on with so little experience specifically because of my networking background, which their ops dept is weak in. I highlighted my 6 months experience as Network Administrator during my interviews.

My take away: Perception matters more than reality. If you start acting like something, people will treat you like that.

  • 4
    Totally support your opinion.
  • 3
    Good job! Agree.
  • 0
    Hey thanks! My rant feels like an ego trip on second read so thanks for commenting.

    I should clarify I definitely mean ‘fake it’ in your sense of ‘take on more responsibility and improve your skill set’ and not ‘trick other people and lie about skills’. Working with someone like that would drive me crazy.
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