Pluralsight blog Where devs, IT admins & creative pros go for news, tips, videos and more.
Pluralsight + Digital-Tutors - 3,000 tech & creative courses - starting at $29/month Get it now →
March 11, 2008

Six Snarky Statements: Why System Admins Need Microsoft Word

By

Hey, Coach here with a really important post.

I have talked with and taught system administrators around the country, and I am aghast how few of them really know Microsoft Word.

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “I’m a network administrator, what do I need Word for?” and “That’s for those other people — you know, my lowly subjects in my IT kingdom,” I’d have at least $2.25, maybe even three bucks!

Well, it’s just about time to change that kind of attitude. Why?

I’ve got 6 snarky “Because” statements that will inform, persuade, and entertain you towards the conclusion as to why you as a systems administrator/network engineer/server jockey/self-proclaimed-minor-IT-deity — should get to know Word.

1. Because you don’t know what you don’t know

No, seriously, you don’t. If you knew what you don’t know, then you would know it, which is the opposite of not knowing.

When you sit down to learn Word, you’re going to find some stuff that I guarantee will make you say, “Holy crap, that’s in there?” Yeah, Bubba, it really is.

When you know what an application can really do, you can use it to your advantage to rip through common and not-so-common tasks on a daily basis.

2. Because you’re not so rich that you can waste time

You know it, I know it, we all know that IT people are crazy busy. But chances are, you’re doing tasks in Word that are taking you way more time than they need to.

Actually taking some up-front time to learn Word tricks will save you massive amounts of time later, and we all know time is money.

With Word 2007, there’s been some really significant changes, and you can either waste clock hours poking around on it in all your spare time, or you can get a tour guide that will help you get where you want faster and easier. Hey, it’s your choice.

3. Because you’re always looking for better ways to do something

Well, you are, right? If not, it’s time to start looking into a career in the fast-paced environment of underwater basket weaving.

Word training will teach you easier ways to get what you want done. That’s the kind of thinking that will get you a raise. Word 2007 has some better ways to get stuff done easier than what you’ve been doing in the past.

4. Because everyone else is using it

Yes, they are. I know how much you love OpenOffice and AbiWord, but the standard in the business world is Microsoft Word.

No matter how much the blogosphere lights up about how it’s this or that, it’s not going away. So give in to the peer pressure — we’re all waiting around for you to catch up.

5. Because Notepad will only take you so far

Oh yeah, try creating 500 individually addressed envelopes in Notepad. Sure, go ahead. We’ll wait. We’ll see you in about six hours.

Oh wait, I can do that with Word in like, what, 3 minutes? Yeah, three minutes. Wanna time me? Start….now! (and no, printing time doesn’t count.)

6. Because you’re the freakin’ system administrator!

Seriously, we all know that all the other non-administrators think you’re supposed to be the expert on everything. You exist merely to serve their every whim and desire.

If someone wants to know how to launch the freakin’ Space Shuttle into orbit with a Windows 3.1 machine and Mine Sweeper, you’ve got it.

But when the CEO asks you how to format a document into columns, and all you do is stare blankly into the abyss that is your Word knowledgebase … well, you better get your resume ready. And while you’re at it, better brush up on your Word skills for the next one.

So, hopefully through my heavily laid-upon sarcasm you’ve seen the wisdom of picking up some Word skills.

Some of you are already thinking, “Bah, I don’t need Word skills! I get by just fine with Emacs!”

Ok, well, I suppose, but if you’d like to get up with the rest of us in the 21st century, go get you some Word 2007 training now.

About the Author

(MCT, MCSA, MCDBA, CIW, A+, Net+, MOS) has taught thousands of people in the Chicagoland area, and brings ten years of training, web, print, and network consulting experience to the table. Serving a two year tour of duty as an inner city high school teacher, he motivated at-risk students to achieve excellence and learned how to teach high level concepts in a rubber-meets-the-road fashion. He is also the Technical Editor and webmaster of ReliefJournal.com, a quarterly literary journal, and the Editor-In-Chief for Coach’s Midnight Diner, an annual genre anthology.


Discussion