I am a network ninja.
I appear meek and uninteresting. My stealth and guile are my weapons. I have succeeded in my task if you never knew I fixed the network. My khakis and polo shirt allow me to blend into the crowd of salespeople and marketing drones, yet hide my knowledge of BGP and MPLS. I care not for the ritual troubleshooting combat of TAC engineers. I use whatever methods I can to achieve victory over that which might harm my network.
My tools appear deceptive at first. A laptop. A console cable. Simple business cards. Yet, when in my hands, they become the weapons of legend. Repeating Youtube videos to distract the masses while I work my network ninja magic. A console cable to garrote those who question my skill with OSPF. Business cards to use as shurikens to force back the account managers who dare to be technical and disrupt my troubleshooting chi.
My SNMP spies report every movement of the enemy to me. I know what the battlefield will look like before the battle is even commenced. With a flash of light from my LED iPhone camera flash, I mysteriously appear at your side, asking you why you are downloading a torrent on my network. Before you can speak your lies, my honed reflexes have rate-limited your switchport. I give you the choice of no choice. Continue downloading at your peril, for your fate is in your own hands. Before you can put up a fight explaining why you need a copy of Harry Potter before it’s released in theaters, I disappear with a puff of smoke, off to sow havoc in the server room.
I train my students without training. I give them difficult configuration tasks and force them to gather information about switches by hand. I make them learn from experience and recognize danger before they can perceive it. I create spanning tree loops and redistribution quagmires so my students will never fear the hell of a network gone wrong. When they realize that my difficult tasks and exacting manner have in fact taught them the way of network ninjitsu, I send them into the world, knowing they will carry on my legacy and teach other network ninjas as they have been taught.
My deception is my strength. When the C-level shoguns ask why the network is slow, I appear to give them many answers, yet I reveal none. The questions for me become questions. I ask him for his opinion of what might be wrong. I feign ignorance in his presence, knowing how to use his ego and strength as a weapon of my own. As he explains how the network needs his experience, I wait for the opening. When confusion reigns and all appears cloudy, I strike. I turn off the shogun’s Internet radio and appear demure, claiming all should be well thanks to his enlightenment. As I retreat to my network dojo, the shogun feels content, knowing he fixed the problems and showed his network serf a thing or two about the way things work. My greatest work is fixing the network without fixing the network.
When others speak of the mysterious forces that weave magic and make the network bend in ways they never dreamed of, I shall laugh and tell them they must be dreaming. There is no such thing as a network ninja.
Yet, I AM a network ninja…