Around the world and across the Internet, July 26 is known as SysAdmin Day. For 14 years, the last Friday in July has been set aside as a way for users to show a little appreciation for the SysAdmins that keep their systems running, their email free of spam, and their ability to Like comments intact. Consider that your own SysAdmins deserve a little show of appreciation.
To say “thank you”, here’s a list of 26 simple ways you can show your appreciation for those unsung heroes that toil away to keep the servers humming and the tubes unclogged. Some of these are low cost gestures; others might be something the boss should cover or the office should take up a collection, but all are guaranteed to put a smile on the face of that favourite SysAdmin of yours, on the one day a year where you know better than to drop a broken machine off or open a last minute helpdesk ticket.
1. A card
When you care enough to send the very best, but you don’t have a lot of money to invest, a nice card at least shows some thought. Just make sure it is a card themed around IT, general geekiness, or otherwise shows that you didn’t pull one out of a card drawer because you forgot about it.
2. Coffee shop gift cards
Whether your SysAdmin’s favourite brew comes from Starbucks or the local shop down the street, a gift card is the gift that keeps on giving, or at least for a couple of cups of really good Joe.
3. Mobile store gift cards
If coffee isn’t their thing, you can bet a gift card to the iTunes Store, Google Marketplace, or Windows Store will be appreciated. Find out what kind of phone they have and get the card to right shop and you can bet that by the end of the day they will have a couple of new apps to try out.
4. Amazon gift cards
While this may be the fallback of last resort, even people ten years in the grave can find something at Amazon that they want.
You’d be amazed at how far a nice lunch can go towards saying thank you, especially since that SysAdmin usually eats lunch at their desk because there is so much work to do. Whether it’s a one on one affair, or you make it a team event, just providing them the opportunity and excuse to see the sun at least for one day a year is a great gesture to make.
Better still, buy your SysAdmin dinner, by getting him or her a gift card at a nice restaurant so they can take their significant other out for a nice meal. Remember, every time you call your SysAdmin after hours to fix something, you are impacting their family too. Thank Yous should extend to them as well.
7. A red Swingline stapler
The icon of geek and snarkiness, the Red Swingline Stapler is something every SysAdmin will love.
8. TV Show or movie-themed swag
With a simple conversation, you can quickly find out what your SysAdmin’s favourite sci-fi TV show or movie is, and then a quick visit to ThinkGeek will provide you with tons of options for low cost, but very cool, thank you gifts. Very few adults will ever buy themselves a Sonic Screwdriver, but secretly, we all want one!
Use the same recon skills as above, but this time visit Amazon for cool movie posters or other theme art so your SysAdmin can pimp their cube in style.
10. A Pizza party
Here’s one the whole office can enjoy, and EVERYONE loves pizza. And since SysAdmin’s day is on a Friday, it’s a perfect fit for the day.
11. Light Dims LED Light Blocker
These cool little stickers dim otherwise overly bright lights, and can be applied to TVs, monitors, UPS systems, alarm clocks, or any other status light that needs to be seen, but is just a bit too blinding for most. Check them out at: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/eeb6/?srp=1
12. Hacking putty
Part silly putty, part play-dough, part caulk, and completely awesome – Hacking Putty can be used to fix or enhance almost anything.
13. Star Trek TOS Phaser Laser Pointer
Anyone who needs to demonstrate or point out anything needs a laser pointer, and every SysAdmin has pretended that they had a phaser when they were using one. Here’s a gift that says thank you with a nod to having fun: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/1124/?srp=2
14. Zombies are in
Did you know that Zombies are “in” right now? Anything from the Walking Dead to World War Z to remakes of George Romero movies are selling like mad right now, and thank you gifts that play into this will bring a smile and a chuckle to any SysAdmin’s face.
15. Powerstrip with USB
Every single person that sees one of these in action wants one. Get on your SysAdmin’s special list with this as a thank you: http://www.amazon.com/Outlets-To-Power-Strip-USB/dp/B0018MEBNG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1374538925&sr=8-4&keywords=power+strip+usb
Long hours mean a need for caffeine and sometimes coffee just won’t cut it. A case of Bawls is a delicious and refreshing way to hold of sleepiness during those late night changes.
17. Caffeinated mints
And these can not only fight off fatigue, but bad breath as well. It’s a multitasker, and any SysAdmin will appreciate that!
18. Herbal Tea collection
Of course, too much caffeine can be a bad thing. Many SysAdmins have discovered the benefits and the deliciousness of a good cuppa, and herbal teas can help you relax without hyping you up. Show your SysAdmin you care without feeding their addiction.
19. Emergency battery
Everyone needs more power, and when your cell phone is dying, nothing is more helpful than some emergency power. USB batteries come in a variety of sizes and capacities, and can save the day time and again.
20. A really cool coffee mug
Can you tell coffee is a big deal to SysAdmins. A cool coffee mug makes a statement, and can also handle those herbal teas. Look for one that plays to the TV or movie tie in for bonus points.
21. Anything by Neil Stephenson
A SysAdmin’s folk hero, anything that Neil Stephenson was involved in creating will be a greatly appreciated gesture, and you will go up at least five points in the recipient’s opinion.
22. Like/Dislike stamp set
Even SysAdmins who aren’t on Facebook will love these. I bet they will even use them on their TPS reports: http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e5f5/
23. Cable organizers set
Velcro is so over. The new hotness is cable organization using silicone polymers and oddly-shaped, brightly colored widgets to keep cables in place, bound together, or otherwise organized.
24. Paracord survival bracelet
Everyone wants one… but many people think they will look silly if they buy one for themselves. Help your SysAdmin get past that mental block. If disaster ever strikes, you know they will know how to McGyver something out of the bracelet to save you all – or at least, your email.
Free speech, free beer, it’s all good. Find out their favorite and get them a case. It’s the kind of gift that says…you work your #$(& off, thanks, now have a cold one!
26. Programmable LED light
The last on our list has no practical value, which is one reason no SysAdmin will ever buy it for themselves… but they are so cool! Replacing their desk lamp with this bulb will add new factors to coolness, and help them stay awake during those interminable conference calls: http://www.amazon.com/HitLights-BlueLux-Changing-Quality-Feature/dp/B005SHR2C4/ref=cm_cr_dp_asin_lnk
Twenty-six ways to say thank you to a SysAdmin that toils indefatigably for you 24/7/365. It’s one day a year that you get to really show your gratitude to them, so pick one from the list above, and remember your SysAdmin this Friday!
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