Being a Contegix Engineer

It’s always so hard to actually explain to people what my job really is. My wife jokes a lot that when people ask her what I do for a living, that she really has no idea what to tell them. We wear many hats, so pinning us down to one particular item is always so difficult. Hence, I’ve felt it’d be moderately interesting to try to define roughly what it is that I am, what I do, and what it means to me to be a Contegix engineer.

I take a lot of pride in what I do and what I am as a result, yet it’s still always so problematic to define my existence at work. Any given day I can be a company’s database administrator, a code monkey, a script kiddie, a system administrator, a desktop repair specialist, a hardware junkie, a firewall’s assistant, a salesman, a voodoo doctor, a (metaphorically) doctor, and on the rare occasion a gambler. I guess that’s what makes it so hard to define my job, since from ticket to ticket I’m constantly changing my uniform, and my style to fit the needs of ever changing situations as they arise in my inbox. Honestly, it’s what I tend to enjoy about Contegix, since I don’t typically have a mundane day at work. I can pretty much guarantee that each day I’ll stumble upon something new, something different, or something exciting. Then there’s other days where it seems like the whole world is crashing down, and you know what, those days are sometimes the best days.

The pressure’s genuinely exciting most of the time when tickets are coming from allover, and it seems like it just won’t stop. Typically, that’s when we band together best as a team and show our best colors. That’s when everyone’s on the battlefield fighting for the same cause, working together like a well oiled machine. It’s ironic, because we’re generally such a rowdy, loud, fun loving bunch, but when it’s time to get serious our NOC gets almost creepy silent. Everyone buckles down, digs deep, and pours their heart into each and every ticket. Personally, I think that’s what makes the job so tough some times though. I can genuinely say that as a whole team, we care almost too a fault at times.

We take our work home with us, we stay up at night thinking of ways to improve, and spend our weekends on working on methods to better serve our customers. In fairness, it’s very altruistic of us, since we tend to generally love what we do. I started our documentation bot because I was having fun writing some Python code, and playing with XMLRPC. I spend a considerable amount of time getting comfortable with that to the point that our documentation bot was plausible. You can bet right now a Contegix engineer is toiling away with some form of virtualization, LDAP replication, or clustering technology right now. We eat, sleep, and breathe geeky junk because we love it. We love what we do for our customers just as much, and being able to help them put out a great product on the web. I’m proud to host the customers we host, and get all giddy when I see them on the front page of TechCrunch. I’m excited to know that at least in some small way, I was a part of it.

At the same time, when we pour so much in, it’s what makes the downsides hurt so much more. We’ve seen a few customers not make the economic cut, and we hate to see that. We suffer a bit with them, and not just the obvious financial suffering because as an engineer I’m gladly detached from that. Instead we look at it, and think of what we could have done better to help them more. Then there’s the rare occasions where an engineer just plain makes a mistake. We’ve all done it on occasion, and it sucks. You try to dot every I, and cross every T, but sometimes you slip up. It’s not like other jobs where the damage is localized. Instead you’re hurting a company, and their employees. You’re also hurting your fellow engineers by creating more work for them in an effort to clean up any subsequent messes. It’s a terrible feeling, and thankfully it’s an incredibly rare feeling.

So in the end, how do I define a Contegix Engineer? I don’t really, because I think the only way you can sum it up is by saying “I am a Contegix Engineer”. Right now that might not hold a lot of weight on the global scale, but I’d like to think someday it will. Hopefully when it reaches that point, people will just look at that and say “Oh yeah, those are the guys at that amazing host, that just make damn sure your site is always in tip-top shape!”. Anyways, `nuff rambling.