Networking

I quit! 10 things that drove me out of IT

After six years of working as a remote support tech for a managed service provider, Jack Wallen threw in the towel. If you've ever been tempted to quit IT, his reasons may sound familiar.
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Image: iStockphoto.com/IvanBastien
 Some people assume that the world of PC support is a glamorous, Sheila E sort of life. After all, it's technology, geeking out all day long. What's not to love?

Famous last words.

For what seemed like an eternity, I served as a support tech for a managed service provider (MSP). Starting the job, I had no idea what I was getting into. As the saying goes, "If I knew then what I know now…." Would I have stepped foot into the world of remote support? It's hard to say. What is not so hard to say is why I eventually gave up being a support technician. In fact, I can give you 10 reasons why.

1: Stress

This is the number one reason why I left. If you've never experienced the levels of stress associated with managed service providers, you're in for a real treat. You have (possibly) hundreds of clients calling in all day to report their computers "aren't working." The queue lines up with people who can't get their work done because "you haven't fixed their problems." It's disaster management and triage all day and it never lets up.

2: Pay

The pay for an MSP engineer is not what you'd think it would be. I nearly exploded with laughter every time I heard a client say, "That's why you get paid the big bucks." I wanted to say, "You probably get paid more than I." But I refrained. Every time. The truth is, the pay just wasn't enough to offset the high levels of stress and frustration. It made more sense to move on.

3: Printers

Nearly half of what I did all day was fix printers. That's how I came to the conclusion that the very foundation of printing is broken. I never signed up to be a printer technician and would feel my blood boil every time I saw a support request come through that said, "My printers stopped printing!"

4: Ignorance

I hate to be one of "those people," even momentarily. Still, the levels of ignorance I dealt with on a daily basis were staggering. I was always professional, and I tried to be patient and kind. But fielding the same questions over and over — things as basic as, "What's a web browser?" — eventually wore me down.

5: Micromanaging

As a contract company, MSPs need their engineers working at 150 percent all day, every day, and each second must be accounted for and billed. So it's not surprising that they tend to micromanage the staff. Some people can handle this management technique. But it drove me mad to have someone breathing down my neck all day. There was also an avalanche of paperwork we had to do to ensure that we'd be covered in case of a disaster.

6: The pace

The world of PC support (especially of the remote flavor) can be boiled down to this: You have way too much to do, not enough time to do it, and not enough help to get it done. And as that workload piles up, you have angry clients who can't get their own work done. To accommodate this, you have to work at a pace you can't maintain for any length of time (which leads us back to #1: stress).

7: Windows

I've always been upfront about my opinion that Microsoft Windows is the reason tech support is so busy. I mentioned that half of my job was fixing printers. The other half seemed to be malware and viruses. Every day I fought the urge to blurt out, "If you used Linux or Mac, you wouldn't have these problems and you'd save a ton of money!" But I refrained. Every time. If you've experienced the stability and reliability of "the other platforms," you get this. You don't want to spend your day supporting Windows. You'd rather spend a portion of your day training users on another platform and watching them work happily ever after.

8: Multitasking madness

I am a multitasker. I often have two to three major tasks running at once. I'll be writing a tech piece, a work of fiction, and getting intense on social media. But the problem with working directly in IT is that you get your head buried in something you've been told is critical... only to be yanked from that task to do something like fix a printer for a CEO. You come back to the original task(s) and find your flow completely ruined and you're back to square one. This happens more often than not, and you lose a lot of work as a result.

9: The love of technology

It can be tricky when your work intersects with something you're passionate about. For me, technology is one such passion. But having to deal with tech issues (often caused by user-error or platform inadequacies) day in and day out was starting to ruin it. I even began to hate it. That caused serious problems for me, as I had to go home and toil away in front of a computer to create works of fiction, which is something that usually brings me great joy. It wasn't until I left the support industry that I regained my love for technology.

10: Burnout

There is no avoiding this. You will burn out. The pace and stress tend to remain neck and neck in the race to subvert your sanity. Working support will eventually take you down. And (at least for me), you'll find yourself carrying that stress home with you. You'll go through periods where that stress doesn't seem to want to wash down the drain and it turns you inside out. For me, that was too big a price to pay.

The last straw

Not every company and not every person is cut from the same cloth. There are those out there who will gladly tolerate what, in the end, sent me packing. I am also not pointing any fingers at any one company. Ultimately, the killing blow was my own lack of resilience and my inability to keep up with the choking pace of the managed service provider industry.

Also read…

Your take

Do IT departments need to rethink how they provide desktop support? Or is it just a matter of hiring people who can withstand the pressure and pace of a high-stress industry?  Share your thoughts with fellow TechRepublic members.

 

 

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

212 comments
jnkmail
jnkmail

Well, to each his own.  Support is more challenging that most people realize.  Empathy and clear communications and listening skills are high on the list as is patience and taking pride in helping people accomplish goals without necessarily receiving instant feedback from those who are being helped.

It takes a clear mind and a flexible mind. 


I find it interesting that a person would have chosen to work in the support industry who feels that a question such as "what is a web browser?" is too irritating to tolerate.


I started out with some ancient computers and my first modern computer was a KAYPRO II running CPM/86.  Wow what a tool!.

My next exposure was to a Mac Plus with 1MB RAM. Wow what a screamer.  You could load the entire OS in under 2 minutes and draw lines across the screen without coding for an hour.


I remember sitting at the desk and looking at the mouse and my hand quivering because my earlier computer experience required great care and thought or something really bad might happen.


I feared that touching that thing could destroy the company computer.  The mouse was a powerful addition not to be taken lightly.  Ha.


I remember what it was like to be a beginner so it is easy for me to feel empathetic to new users.  I also remember what it was like to be an expert in 2 different careers before moving on and having the same arrogant attitude this article seems to project.   You were not born with the knowledge you acquired and others have yet to acquire.  Remembering that is what support is all about. You expert, them beginners.  


I always wondered how my dentist could keep a kind a patient face while telling 15 people a day how to properly care for teeth.  Same line over and over and over again.  Luckily the money is good.


Some people are blessed with great width of potential while others are best left to a narrow area of endeavor.     


It is an art and a skill to be an extremely talented and quick learner while remembering that some people may stay at the beginning stage of understanding forever while it may have been just a day in the life for you.


Unless something really bad is happening in my life that subtracts 99% of my empathy and patience, I understand that those people exist and yet they have their own set of skills and I should not dislike them or their questions because they are not me.


I would say that support was not a good match for the author's personality.  Just something that was good experience and likely could have been as complete as needed in much less than the years dedicated to the task.  


Brilliant people who are also gifted with all of the other facets of being a human being are rare.  I have known some miraculously wide bandwidth people in my life and know I can never be them nor will I be the narrowest bandwidth like some of the people I have helped.  


You have to love helping people and be smart enough to manage time and know when it is time to push a bit or shift the focus in order to not go insane working the help desk.

Sometimes time management means knowing when to move on. 


Best of wishes in your new directions. 

murraye3
murraye3

After nearly 20 years in various shops around the area (I have worked for 16 years in four small shops and only one of the them is around anymore), but I still don't mind fixing people's problems.  Now being in Corporate environment, the protections for most users not being an admin makes my life so much easier and the printers support being under a different group/contracted is awesome.  I still help a few people on the side, but they keep me up with the newer OS, newer malware, and technologies due to the lag in the corporate pond.  My training in the Navy as  Electronic Technician was very helpful in troubleshooting and I love making technology doing stuff don't hurt either...

qhcomputingny
qhcomputingny

What bothers me about articles like this and elsewhere on the web is that you know damn well the author of the article reads just about every comment, and fails to respond, especially when they are pointed out as being wrong.  Tech bloggers should backup what they write, and interact with what people who read their articles write back with.  (not the bs, but the good comments)

Tech_GA
Tech_GA

As I read this article it makes me sad and honestly a bit upset to confirm what a lot of IT technicians/engineers/ professionals go through and feel like...


I've been directly involved in computers and related technology for several years now, and yes even if its very stressful at times, it can also be very rewarding, only if you are aware of the true meaning of IT Support...which is that you are HELPING people.


There is always 2 of my passions that keeps me driven and moving forward. To be working in the IT Support Industry you need to be passionate about 2 simple things: TECHNOLOGY & HELPING PEOPLE


If you get "bothered" or too stressed by people's IT problems and cannot be patient...then you certainly should not be providing tech support.

MBA_in_IT
MBA_in_IT

I want to add my two cents (and then some). I worked in IT for 19 years for four different companies, two are no longer in business, one almost went under after 9/11, and finally, the last one was bought by an even larger company although the merger changed nothing. 

I worked in IT sales, selling software face to face, over the telephone and over the internet. I worked in IT desktop support, fixed printer issues, punched down in the wiring closet, fixed breaks on the email/printer/database servers and network hardware, listened to gripes and pulled CAT 5. I supported the owner, his secretary, his developers, and his sales team. In other words, I supported the entire company from top to bottom while my boss sat on his a$$, researching hot tubs online and disciplining his son over the phone. I later worked in remote server support for a globally networked, publicly traded company. Lastly, I worked in management for that same globally networked company.


So, having seen a tremendous amount over that period, I would add to the author's list above 11 - Too much testosterone and not enough estrogen in the IT workplace, 12 - Lazy or immature peers and support teams, 13 - Unwillingness by teammates to share information or direct you toward an answer when you ask for help (in an industry that is built on information!), 14 - Being offered unsolicited opinions by peers on how you performed/approached your tasks, 15 - Superiors that will not support or trust you, 16 - The myth that Unix/Linux systems do not break (well they do and those engineers tend to be the most anti-social in the industry, sorry if the truth hurts), 17 - Managers from other teams that try to bully, impede or intimidate, 18 - Drugs (legal and illegal) and alcohol and the role they play in defeating productivity, 19 - Employees not taking time off when they obviously need to due to illness, stress or lack of sleep, and 20 - Passivity due to a fear of being blamed for mistakes (inaction not incompetency) that managers/executives refuse to acknowledge they foment, which leads to misunderstanding/mistrust among peers and loss of productivity.

Bonuses - A) Dilbert is very accurate, B) CYA (cover your a$$) is detrimental to a conducive work environment, and C) Those employees with programming/coding/database/security skills will tend to be rewarded with greater employment opportunity and job satisfaction, ie. those currently in IT support should learn and grow if they wish to limit their dissatisfaction and remain in the industry.

krisoccer
krisoccer

Printing problems are enough to send anybody over the top. Network printing never works twice in a row (what was the network address for that printer again?) and wireless printing (which I set up at home) is so flaky, it's not worth the time or effort. Might be time to revisit the benefits of "the paperless office"!

rwnorton
rwnorton

I, like Jack, am a 2 career person, but it was my second career that was IT.  Had I been smarter in college, I'd have realized that IT was my passion, instead of the Experimental Psychology BS Degree I ended up with.  (That was actually good for developing problem solving and analytical skills, however.) 


To be brief, my first career was in wholesale pharmaceutical distribution - Sales, Sales Management, Special Projects (where I got my first real life taste of IT), Purchasing Management.  When I left that family owned company, and started looking for a new job (after a couple years of trying to go it on my own), I eventually realized that what I'd enjoyed most in my first 12 years of work life was my involvement with IT.  So I took an entry level job that paid slightly more than half of what I'd been earning in my first career, as the Novel Network support person for a small chain of Home Improvement retailers - including point-of-sale systems.


I was probably fortunate, because after about 6 months at that, the IT Manager I had worked with at the Pharmaceutical Distributor hired me at the chemical manufacturer he was then employed with.  My role was to manage the programming and support staff (only 3 people at the time).  I was also responsible for keeping the lights on at 72 remote sites in North America (Canada, US and Mexico).


All of Jack's points, and then some, applied - but it was my fortune to have a great deal of control over my own work environment and, eventually, my own destiny.  Coupled with that are two character traits that, I believe, helped me not only survive for 20 years (longer, really, because I am now retired but running my own 5 year old one-man IT support shop for a handful of small businesses as a hobby during retirement - and it pays for my tech habit).


Those traits are:  #1 a keen sense of reward for having successfully helped others succeed in their jobs (and I'm talking "users" here as well as IT staff that reported to me), and #2 an unwavering faith that computers are logical (even if programmers sometimes aren't) and that any IT problem can be solved when you are finally able to properly analyze the situation (those analytical skills I talked about earlier).


There is probably a third element.  I have never been fond of upper management.  I always felt that many of them are a bunch of thieves who often make decisions with a dearth of knowledge - especially when it comes to IT. Fortunately, I always had a layer of management between me and them that allowed me to exercise complete control, including budget spending decisions, over the IT support function - including running of the Data Center as well as Help Desk and Database support.


I doubt that many of the people who responded to Jack's article were fortunate enough to end up in such a position.  For me, anyway, the 80 hour weeks never really burned me out before I advanced to a position where I could work only 50 hours a week.  Clearly, I never stopped enjoying it.

rwnorton
rwnorton

I, like Jack, am a 2 career person also, but it was my second career that was IT.  Had I been smarter in college, I'd have realized that IT was my passion, instead of the Experimental Psychology BS Degree I ended up with.  (That was actually good for developing problem solving and analytical skills, however.) 

bonnie5
bonnie5

My all time favorite IT calls were from attorneys who had kicked the plug out of the pc without realizing it and called me in a panic because their computer wouldn't turn on.  Happened 3 times (twice to 1 person).

It helps if you can laugh at the stupid stuff people do instead of getting upset about it. 

Mohameda1
Mohameda1

I really think to be in IT you are either made for it or not. Yes it is pressured and stressful many times but it comes down to you on how you deal with that (lets be honest which jobs that are not challenging do not have stress and pressure?). I have been in IT for 9 Years now doing solutions and being a client too. IT is not for the weak hearted but one thing people really need to understand is that if there are not problems therefore you do not have a job. A bit like the situation where if people stop littering there would be no need for binmen? Each to their own I guess


settle.g
settle.g

All points covered are painfully familiar to me. The lying of the people being supported always amazed me. I got to the point where I told callers their PC was not down and they can work to prevent the inevitable call from their boss to my boss which resulted in a ton of stress for me. I could go on all day about users, support and management but, if you're reading this, you already know. Nuff said.

APPIRITION
APPIRITION

Very familiar words! But some great new insight. Enjoyed reading. :-0


tony85
tony85

I would take a bit of issue with 7 (Windows) and viruses. In my experience it is because people have clicked on all sorts of dodgy things and installed goodness how many dodgy toolbars (especially secretarial staff wanting to search for bargains and free videos to watch).


IT is changing now anyway as things move to the cloud and for a lot of tech support, there is no money in it - not enough to justify the levels of stress the 24/7 expectations of management demand.

hermanbrood
hermanbrood

That's the big problem with IT. IT does not have emotions. People do. That is why these two elements do not, and never will work together seamlessly. Questions people ask: "Yesterday it was working, and today it is not!! How the ** is that possible?"


But the fun thing is, they never ask this question when their car broke down.


IT brings stress. Even bigger stress to people who do not understand it. They wait, while they look frustrated and are ticking their fingers on the desk, while 100's of letters are automatically generated. And they complain that the process is taking 10 minutes.


One phrase but them back on track: "Try typing 100 letters manually in 10 minutes."


To be an IT engineer is a big challenge and you need to actually see problems as a challenge. You have to be stress resistant (factor 100, or even 1000). If you are not, the stress will smash you into pieces mentally. I've seen a lot of colleagues go like this. In my opinion IT-staff is severely underpaid, because the stress in combination with a lot of sitting will take a lot years from their lives.  


There's a lot of frustration in your article. For example, you are pointing to Windows or malware. But the real problem are the people that are using IT incorrectly and how you handle all their complaints in your mind. The problem is not Windows or malware. Windows, or any other OS just does what the people are ordering it to do. And that includes installing malware or installing a wrong printer driver for instance.


Sorry for my bad english ;-)

rimpac99
rimpac99

Half of your troubles is due to problems caused by Windows? Very interesting.

Britisch
Britisch

The root of the problem here, as I see it, is the "work for someone else" mentality.  I run my own technology business; technically an ITSM company, so a lot of what I do is local and on-site.  #2 (pay) is something you negotiate on an individual basis;  #4 (ignorance) becomes a payday; #5 (micromanagement) becomes something you're in charge of; #6 (pace) is something you set -- the faster, the more the money; and #7 (Windows) becomes a cash cow, not a burden.


For those who don't want to spend all their money on fixes, steer them towards Apple.  Then you can make money training people instead of fixing their problems.  That's actually much more fun!


Incidentally, Windows 8 is about enough to drive me out of the business.  I can't in good conscience install this on a productivity machine.

RMSx32767
RMSx32767

One of the problems is that support is considered an entry level position leading to a "real job". That's why the pay is low and the turnover high. It (support) requires an unique combination of attributes; a combination of people skills and technical ability. If business, and technology, wised-up and treated support as a career path on its own they would attract and retain EXTREMELY competent staff. Instead they hire almost anyone then wonder why folks don't want to call support, and why support believes most users are ID10Ts.

macmadman
macmadman

I spent 12 years doing telephone support and I pretty much agree with all 10 points, except maybe #7. I worked 9 years for a Macintosh software company, and I can't remember how many times I heard "What's an icon?" People have heard that the Macintosh is so easy to use, so they don't invest anything in training. Salespeople perpetuate this, since they get their commission on the sale and leave the training to underpaid and overworked support departments.


Telephone support may be one of the worst jobs in the world. If I knew then what I was getting myself into, I doubt I'd have taken the job and even if I had I sure wouldn't have stayed at it so long. Getting away from phone support was a huge relief.

JCAlford
JCAlford

I'll say the inverse of #7, not enough Windows.  My company uses a hodgepodge of software frankenstiened together to work.  My department director thinks he's saving money this way.  It came as quite a shock to him when, at last year's True Up with MS, he found out the MS licenses we already had would pay for most of the MS software he insisted were "too expensive."  In other words, his hatred of MS cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars because he atomatically assumed they were expensive and bought another companies product that we then had to make work with our frankenstien system.  If he would have started with MS offerings we would have paid less in actual dollars and a boatload less in soft dollars.

Now we're starting to migrate off of the other stuff and on to MS. 

unclefish
unclefish

I agree with all 10 points the author made with the surprising exception of #7. Perhaps because I am so used to the issues with Windows but also with the fixes. I found it more maddening dealing with issues that cropped up with iOS. Like they would do an iOS update for the IPhones & IPads and it would brick the email accounts for everyone. A couple of occasions the only fix was to delete the account from the device and set it back uo again. All well and good but the customer would be pissed because they just lost all the saved emails they wanted to have. At least with Windows you could usually work around that without them losing everything. I too am ex IT because the low pay just isn't worth the aggravation especially being treated like an infant by your employer. I understand why because I was way older than most of my co-workers who well knowing tech very well left a lot to be desired in the maturity and reliability / work ethic dept. Even so when you don't need to be watched all the time it does wear you down after a while. Glad I am out of it and doubt I'll ever go back.



EphiICT
EphiICT

@KarlX When I was in high school computer was my first choice to learn at university level. It is now frustrating me without any benefit. Even I have no money to appear at doctor. IT is very difficult. It is playing a game with machine. It is very wide. I have the passion for film. Believe me I will leave IT and go to film making.

KarlX
KarlX

Mr. Wallen said everything I was complaining about after I burned out too.  When I got into IT, I was in my 30's.  It was an exciting time learning new things, becoming an expert, and being paid well for it.  Fast forward to my mid 40's, I worked for a fast growing company with zero tolerance for ANY down time.  I couldn't keep up with technology or 24 hour stress.  I ended up with debilitating adrenal fatigue, insomnia and depression. I hated technology and life.  IT is a young man's sport.  I'm thrilled to have gotten out alive, and will NEVER go back.

viProCon
viProCon

Side note:  This TechRepublic comments tool has some good functionality but it still needs basic improvement.  I made a lot of typo's in my post so I think I went back and edited it about 4 or 5 times.  At the bottom it says something like  "edit in 4 minutes" or whatever.  This timer is not at all accurate, as 5 minutes after my initial edit, a box popped up (upon clicking Post Comment) saying my timer had expired, even though my most recent edit had said I still had 4 minutes and it was a one-word typo correction so was done in maybe 20 seconds after I spotted the word.  Anyway, just a gripe as the TR comments thingy has needed some fixing for months now.  Maybe just needs somebody o know about it for it to be fixed though. 

viProCon
viProCon

We're all stuck in this world of technology too immature to be of any real use to the common man.  It's still exploding, month after month every company chasing a dollar is scrambling to make something new, make it as best as you can but most importantly "make it now!", get it to market .  Support engineers are there to clean up the mess, and what a mess it is.  The incompetence ultimately is the industry itself, not any given company, CEO, middle-manager, or employee.  We're all invested in this mess just by being willing to take a paycheck.  It's unfortunate but at least it's not war or something worse - it's just human progression.  We're not mature enough yet to curb this trend but the day will come when the system breaks, or morphs into something better.  It's very Darwinian in nature, unfortunately.  Oddly, we have the ability to supersede Darwinism and CHOOSE to make things better, but that also can only be done by manipulating the thinking of leaders, or as a collective large enough to facilitate that change.  


Time heals all wounds and time will, one way or another, heal this one.  It sucks that people have to suffer in the meantime though.   


Anyway, back to earth for a moment.  The one and only thing that tethers a support enginner to his/her job is the need for a paycheck.  If not for that, as soon as it's too much you leave.  As soon as you realize your idiot boss isn't willing to support you the way you need it, you leave.  As soon as you've had enough of the absolute stupidity of people in this world that use their computers, you leave. 


In lieu of that, bide your time and take steps to get out into something better.  I did exactly that.  I still support users but now it's on a more limited basis while I also do other things in IT.  And I am lucky in that I like the people I support.  They still do things that indicate they lack sufficient computer knowledge, but since I'm not stressed out nearly as much, I don't hate them for their ignorance. 


Tech support is simply not a sustainable profession for the long term, it does not matter who you are.  Most people in this type of position don't want to admit it, but it is unfortunately true.  Unless you can completely detach, of course.  So as I said, if you're one such person in a stressful support role, it helps your morale a lot to make plans to move up and on.  Yes, this might mean off-hours devotion tot hat effort but that's the alternative, keep being unhappy?  A person can do whatever they put their mind to, but they have to realize that they HAVE TO PUT THEIR MIND TO IT.  Everything else will follow. 





V.H. Scarpacci
V.H. Scarpacci

I can really relate.  After 34 years in the field I have decided to move to the country buy my own low tech business.  Stress probably won't go down over all, but at least it will be a different set of problems.

walldorff
walldorff

#7 is true, from every angle.

bobp
bobp

Number 8 is the one that really bugged me - even when I explained to the client that they should not touch the computer until I came back to see the results of the malware scan, they would use the computer anyway, making me have to start over. The other thing that really bugged me was, when I tried to explain some maintenance basics to the user (like updating and running anti-malware programs regularly), was that it went in one ear and out the other. They didn't listen and didn't even understand the basics of how a computers works!

It is as if I were a mechanic trying to fix a car which hadn't been serviced for 50K miles and then the owner expects me to make it run right without any big expense. Maybe if you did BASIC maintenance .... !

RDWII
RDWII

While I sympathize regarding the various points, I have always been somewhat amazed hat "IT" gets a bad name because of those who are in the "IT Support" arena burning out.  As far as I am concerned, IT Support is to IT as Admitting Clerks are to Medical Staff at a hospital.  Yes, you deal with IT _equipment_ and users but I've taught secretaries who were "Power Users" to do a lot of the first level "IT Support" activities.  I've also dealt with IT Support staff who were obviously following a script ("Have you tried rebooting your system?") and had to explain that sometimes there are issues that simply don't follow their script.


Desktop Support needs to be recruited for the skills that the position requires and, yes, among those are patience, tolerance of "silly users", as well as decent knowledge of the desktop applications in use by the firm.  Unless there is TRULY a path of advancement from Desktop Support to IT positions, there shouldn't be any pretense that those in Desktop Support are part of the IT department except in the same peripheral way that the guys who physically set up computers on the users' desks are. 

jeffreyhamby
jeffreyhamby

"If you used Linux or Mac, you wouldn't have these problems and you'd save a ton of money!" But I refrained.

As well you should have.  If Linux or Mac had the marketshare Windows does, you would be dealing with viruses on their machines.  Malware's biggest play in getting onto a machine.. making an user think it's not malware.  Buffer overruns are rare anymore.

Windows isn't great, and I'm mostly a Kubuntu user myself.  But thinking malware is a Windows problem rather than a user problem is a bit naive.
DimBulb
DimBulb

If Wallen would only give up journalism, we could all be happy.  Is there a job out there that does not have it's own form of stress?  I doubt it. Grow up Jack!

Coss71
Coss71

I love this question at the end:

"Do IT departments need to rethink how they provide desktop support? Or is it just a matter of hiring people who can withstand the pressure and pace of a high-stress industry?

No.  They need to start getting end users to HAVE to learn some of it.  I had end users that flat out told me "why should I learn anything about a computer when all I have to do is pick up the phone or send an email and you'll fix it for me.  They are LAZY!  I have no idea how many times I held classes in offices, sent out written warnings and posted sheets around offices says "Don't open attachments unless you have at least read the whole email first".  Guess how many would remember this?  If you said maybe 1% you would be over by .9%

I blamed the office managers because they would never discipline or enforce the company policies.

"Aww you infected your machine?"  "Ok we'll get support to fix it".  Then they call support and read me the riot act because their employee can't do their job.


I have been in IT for over 25 years (18 of which have been tied to Title and Escrow) and it has always been the same.  The managers/bosses see the employee as money coming in, and IT as money going out; IT is just an evil that costs money but we can't work without it.  Gee what a nice way to treat the people that give them the tools to be able to make money.


<Gee can you sense a bit of bitterness from me?>  I am another that is past the point of being able to withstand the abuse any longer and have retired.


mrdelurk
mrdelurk

"3. Printers"

So thougthful of the writer to not say directly, "HP Printers".

qhcomputingny
qhcomputingny

@tony85  i agree Tony, it is not so much the fault of Windows, but the fault of uneducated end users that causes malware and viruses and a myriad of other issues that contribute to these support calls.  But all lead back to uneducated users who are trying to do anything, but work.

jnkmail
jnkmail

@hermanbrood  These days I work one on one with people in companies with 50 or less employees so I can say things that others can not.

When someone asks me how it could work yesterday and not work today I often ask them if they have ever seen a tow truck with a crushed automobile on a flat bed driving down the freeway.   I tell them that hard drives fail at some point but just before that they were working fine in many cases.  The automobile was driving down the road looking like a car before it ran into the pole.  Then, in the blink of an eye it became a wrecked automobile.

Computers break. Software breaks. Virii happen.  

If these things did not happen I would still be replacing transmissions on automobiles or driving from dealer to dealer selling my month's quota, or putting up drywall.  

I am happy that things happen and most people are too busy using the equipment to understand how to fix it.  It's a living.

jnkmail
jnkmail

@rimpac99 Yep. Narrow minded person who never had to fix a Mac apparently or who does not realize that the first rootkit was on a NIX box. 

hermanbrood
hermanbrood

@Britisch  Watch out, holding on to old stuff nearly blew Kodak out of existence.

Jabailey325
Jabailey325

@Britisch You can't even count to 7 correctly, I won't be recommending you to fix anything !!

kernal_panic2000
kernal_panic2000

@unclefish if they lost emails because they had delete the account and reset it up its because they are stupid and set it up as POP instead of IMAP. If email is that important they need to be using  Exchange.

tbmay
tbmay

@RDWII  Agree.  But they are typically recruited with only one consideration.  Put a cheap butt in a chair and use the false hope of advancement as a tool for doing so.

kernal_panic2000
kernal_panic2000

@jeffreyhamby Says someone who is ignorant of the way both of those OSes work. Linux runs nearly 1/2 the servers on the internet yet they don't suffer the worms, tojans, and malware windows does.

tbmay
tbmay

@jeffreyhamby  I've noticed most people who think "Linux" is what everyone should be using are "Linux" hobbyist.  Not people who have ever had an actual role as a unix/linux engineer in any real work environment.   "Linux" (a misuse of the term because it's a kernel, not a complete OS) is most certainly NOT perfect.  These folks would not enjoy the real unix role because you aren't installing the latest ubuntu and playing with cool things.  You have to do real work and you better know your shell scripting, db management, etc.


Most vulnerabilities these days are going to attack applications, not the OS itself.  So the segregation that has traditionally made unix systems ("Linux" included) pretty secure is losing it's usefulness.  In other words, if I run apache under it's own user with access to only what it needs to run, and someone successfully attacks apache, and that's all they want to do, it doesn't matter if apache is isolated from the broader OS.  The attacker did what he meant to do.


On the broader topic, I've been in IT in numerous roles for a long time now.  I most definitely would not be interested in a help desk job.  It is unlikely most people in those roles will experience career growth.  For that matter, people in other IT roles need to evaluate what the cloud/virtualization/numerous other cheap options are going to do for/to their careers and adjust accordingly. 



bobp
bobp

@DimBulb Your moniker fits you. You have obviously never done support for any length of time. It is amazing how stupid and ignorant computer users can be. They often willfully refuse to learn anything to make their computers run better.

DimBulb
DimBulb

@bobp @DimBulb  I've been in a technical repair and support role since 1977, probably before you were born. Whining about the people that make your job possible is immature and counter-productive to remaining employed.

333239
333239

@bobp @DimBulb If computer users were not 'ignorant and stupid' then we wouldn't need IT support people, that's the job. People won't change, and support techs who blame the users are right, but if you want them to change and make your life easier then maybe you are in the wrong job, otherwise you have to develop a system to cope with them. It's like paramedics blaming their job woes on people who walk out in front of buses.

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