Editor's Desk

Grab the Throttle!

Taking control of your environment in 2004

I’m a newly minted private pilot. As is the case with most student pilots, my most nerve-wracking moment came when my flight instructor exited the cockpit one morning with the phrase, “She’s your plane to fly.” I was ready to take my first solo: Takeoff, four right turns, landing. All without my instructor to whisper in my ear, to take the controls should anything horrible happen. I was alone, and it was time for me to take control.

As you’ve probably guessed, because I’m alive to write this, I did OK on my solo and subsequent training. But that first time taking control—and being solely responsible for my well-being in a machine that could easily kill me—was scary.

Think of this newly minted issue as your IT solo. For the year 2004, we’re emphasizing a theme in the magazine: The Year You Take Control.

In the cockpit, as in the server room, taking control means multitasking. On final approach to the runway, you have to have your airspeed nailed; flaps fully lowered; nose-down attitude—but not too nose-down; and a host of other activities. In the datacenter, it means making sure traffic jams don’t strangle your bandwidth; your perimeter is safe from attack; your users are aware that Microsoft doesn’t e-mail hotfixes and patches to customers; and a host of other activities.

Beginning with this first issue of the year, we’re going to be your partner in this effort to take control. In IT, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the constant demands of the job. You feel as if all your time is spent moving from one mini-crisis to the next. The only time the mini-crises don’t bother you is when there’s a maxi-crisis that must be handled in the interim. I hear from readers all the time who tell me that they have no time to be proactive; that they can’t get ahead of the curve enough to be anything but reactive.

If this cycle continues, it’ll keep spinning you downward, like a plane in a graveyard spiral. Even new pilots know that unless you take immediate action to break the spin—close the throttle, neutralize the ailerons, full rudder deflection opposite the direction of the spin—your chances of breaking the spin’s momentum decrease as the spin develops more momentum. Similarly, your network, your job—and eventually your career—will rocket to the ground, only stopped when you touch terrain. But with the proper training, you can break the spin and make a complete recovery.

Throughout this issue, and this year, we’ll provide tips and advice on how to stop being controlled by your circumstances and environment and start controlling them instead. Think of us as your flight instructor—we’ll be there with you every step of the way.

Let me know what steps you’re taking to take control.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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Reader Comments:

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Fri, Jan 23, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine provides real-world, peer-to-peer technical and product information for experienced information technology professionals who hold Microsoft certification

Fri, Jan 23, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

This is a dumb article and a waste of time

Wed, Jan 21, 2004 Jon Ueland Tacoma, WA

Great analogy! As an Airline Transport Pilot myself, I could really relate to the points that you made! Good description of a spin! Makes me want to go back up and practice one just for old times sake!

Wed, Jan 21, 2004 M Wise Nevada

Excellent commentary about a serious topic all senior managers should consider passing down to their rising stars . . . encouraging and relevant references.

Wed, Jan 21, 2004 Sam Lyman Ohio

Very good article! I can certainly relate being a private pilot myself and having certifications for MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, etc. Takes talent to relate and write an article that includes flying and IT together. Look forward to more articles from you. Keep up the good writing or should I say fly high and no crashes!

Wed, Jan 21, 2004 Gill S'Pore

I have a PPL too here in South-East-Asia and i did that in 1991. Nothing is more better than buzzing the "padi fields" and coconut three. Sorry no barns here. My initial PPL was on a Cessna 172 and i loved every minute of it. Anyway, I think this new "technic" in MCP mag is really to help one to improve, be more responsible, more alert, look at all available options and always choose the best choice. Everybody want to move up, so here is Mr. Ward showing us how. We all start as tech support, help desk and want to move to admin, engineer, architect/consultant. So this new concept and articles might help to some extent. Of course there are lot of other stuff one need to snoop into before taking the big leap(eg. specialization in a specific field like security). Cheers

Wed, Jan 21, 2004 Lisa LA, CA

I love the analysis! I can identify with everything he said, and can't wait for more.

Tue, Jan 13, 2004 Jeff Tucson

Welcome Mr. Ward and yes, Anonymous, some portion of MCP Mag content will likely cover certs and careers. Make sure you know what you sign up for, before you sign up.

Wed, Jan 7, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

What is this? Oprah Winfrey PC Magazine now has better tech articles then mcp magazine. this crap is not what we signed up for

Mon, Jan 5, 2004 Anonymous Anonymous

What does this have to do with anything related to Windows?

Wed, Dec 24, 2003 Jeff Wallen arizona

Take control! Well I must say that hits home with me. I was always told that if you want something you have to go get it because no one is going to give you anything! You must do what ever it takes to get what you want. Here is an example: Working as a heavy equipment operator for over 20 years I wanted to do something different and provide a better living for my family. I started taking night classes to get a MCSE in NT4. Then I saw that many of the other students were working at the company as support techs for Microsoft. They were heads and shoulders better than I at this stuff. So I decided that if I wanted to get better at this computer stuff I too needed to be doing it 8 hours a day and not just 8 hours a week. I took nearly a $5 per hour cut in pay and started working as a support tech in a pro Q for Windows 2000. After a year they saw my commitment and I was offered a training position and a chance to launch Windows XP.
I am currently an MCSE & MCSA in 2000 after completing those night classes and made a full career change. Now I am working a help desk and have dreams of still being a network administrator making better money. It has been 3 years since I retired from construction and still have not met my goals. Grab the Throttle....yep that is what needs done! If you are not qualified, how do I get qualified! You have to be ready and willing to Grab the Throttle!

Jeff wallen

Mon, Dec 22, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

you go guy!

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