Leadership

Video: Understand five things that suck about working in IT

Working in IT can be one of the world's most challenging jobs. IT leaders need to understand the problems of the profession so that they can take steps to keep morale and retention as high as possible. This episode of Sanity Savers identifies the problems and offers some suggestions to mitigate them.

Working in IT is one of the world's most challenging jobs — and not always in a good way. To build a strong IT department, IT leaders need to understand the problems of the profession so that they can take steps to keep morale and retention as high as possible. This episode Sanity Savers for IT executives discusses five of the worst things about working in IT and suggests ways that IT leaders can help to overcome them.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can go to the video player page for this episode and click "Full Transcipt," or you can read the original article that this episode was based on: Five things that suck about working in IT.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

92 comments
extremejm
extremejm

I've read a number of posts, some that are really down on IT, while others want it painted like a pretty picture and think for some reason you shouldn't be allowed to complain. While there's nothing wrong with venting about one's job, there comes a point when you should decide how much you truly dislike it. If you can't stand going to work, if you really hate your job then it's not the field for you. I think the biggest reason IT people have attitudes isn't because they think everyone should know technology like they do, but rather that end users refuse to take their time to learn anything about the very machine they work with every day. If end users knew as much about cars as they do computers, they would be calling the car manufacturer as soon as they turned the key. I'm not saying that attitudes are right or even justified, I'm just saying that some are explainable. The one thing I noted is that some are complaining because we even have this article. They note that we should be happy and that it's a wonderful field for them and their like Bob on the Enzyte commercial. Well to that I can only say congratulations to them. For many, the real world puts on pressures and deadlines that are near impossible to make because management expects it and sometimes your job depends on it. If you aren't working late and getting pressure you're likely to be viewed as a luxury and replaced by outsourcing. I'm not saying that's right either but that's many times the way it works. There's nothing wrong with venting about your job with other pro's in your industry. It helps you smile and realize you're not the only one who experiences these various problems. It puts things in perspective and helps you to do your job better.

donduls
donduls

GOOD VIDEO ! but doctor in the hospital will explain that HIS JOB IS MOST HARDEST IN THE WORLD !! and we are going to the CIRCLE !!

mak1e
mak1e

nice and funny

blowyandthehootfish
blowyandthehootfish

They all are true but number 4 hits home. One of the VP thinks that the IT department is Best Buy. My boss is all to happy to suck up to him and get Iphones for his wife and kids. AND THEY ARE ALWAYS LOSING THEM!!!!

kurogers
kurogers

I agree w/ all points, particularly the one about IT workers being blamed for everything. I would also add 'Lack of recognition'. There's no recognition when all systems are working as expected, but all heck breaks loose if anything unexpected occurs (however minor). I would think that this is due to non-IT workers lack of knowledge regarding how much work is involved in keeping all systems online. Oh ... also, staring at lines upon lines of code on a computer monitor ALL DAY could not be great on the eyesight.

smiller987
smiller987

Wow; dead on accurate. Great video!

enquiries
enquiries

the biggest challenge is the mess the industry is in - the badly informed (users) trying to do important work on the badly designed (PCs). Users are lazy to understand PC's, and probably shouldn't have to. The design of PC's is an inheritance from when geeks were the end users and built them before using them. The way Microsoft has taken the design, they do everything you'd need, but nothing very well. So it's like the blind leading the blond. There's nothing much we can do, it's just a noisome situation, and we are the recipients of frustration at this situation.

RedM3
RedM3

The biggest thing that sucks about working in IT is working with IT people. Most I find are clueless to how the real world works, are arrogant, have too thin skin, think everyone loves technology, and are just simply wimps. Those who whine about working odd hours or feeling the pressure of fixing critical problems need some perspective. Try living out of a fox hole for a while then come cry to me about poor IT staff working conditions. Boo hoo! Talented network engineers make 6 figures now. Well here's a news flash; make that much money and people expect a lot out of you. You want a stress free job with consistent predictable hours go work at Handy Mart for $10 an hour; perhaps you'll find an appreciation for that awful IT job. As a former IT worker and now an IT administrator I solve this problem by outsourcing all traditional IT tasks to local vendors. That way I don't have to put up with their wimpy can't do attitudes. I actually quit my last job because I was fed up with the people that worked for me. Now if I'm unhappy with one of them I simply tell them not to come back. Internally I hire individuals that are experienced in the profession of our core business and have an aptitude for technology. While these aren't IT people they work with me in IT to support the things that are unique to our business. They do a fantastic job of supporting the end users because at one point in time they were an end user. They know what the user is challenged with and can relate to them. IT people just can't relate to the end user or don't want to relate to the end user. They think the end user is stupid and inappropriately treat them that way. I don't know how many times I've heard an IT person state "that person is too stupid to use this program". Well in my opinion the program is at fault for not taking in to account the skill set of the user. When IT can focus on the core business, provide applications and services that end users feel is helping them do their work, and can provide support when and where it's needed IT can bring a lot of value. Unfortunately most have their heads stuck in the bits and bytes of technology and could care less if they support the core business or not. To summarize I outsource traditional IT tasks and I hire non-IT people to support the unique aspects of our business and the applications that enable the core business to succeed. It's working well and our business is flourishing in a time of chaos for many others.

RedM3
RedM3

All i hear is whining and complaining. Be glad you have a skill that pays well (for now). You make it desireable to replace you. As soon as that can be done it will happen. You will then wish you had that crappy IT job with all the users complaining and managers misunderstanding. Let's all cry for IT. SNIFF SNIFF...

wilkarbouet
wilkarbouet

I think it's an awesome video. I would like to say that it's a struggle for family of IT workers. Now, How can I have my Techrepublic cup?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

Send your mailing address to jason.hiner at cbs dot com and we'll mail you a TechRepublic mug.

jck
jck

Something else that sucks about working in IT? People think because computers work 24 hours a day at the office, so should you. lol

crodrous
crodrous

I left IT 5 years ago and opened an ice cream shop. I do miss IT and want to dust off my rusty skils (I'm a mainframer, sad to say some of the younger guys reading this may have only read about mainframe but may not have actually ever met a mainframer). Reading this makes me remember why I left in the first place (along with the refrain ...if you don't want to work 7 days a week for 6-9 months we can off shore the project). Oh BTW - even as a mainframe guy every dweeb I supported asked me for help with issues they were having with their personal PC's. Try explainig that even thou you are an expert on large systems you are almost clueless on PC issues.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Stock three shades of shirt and garish ties suck :-) Just pulling you leg!

tstrachan
tstrachan

Great Video!!! Number six should be: Enduring Incompetent Mgrs and having to manage your Mgr. My job has now has now become 95% managing my mgr, ensuring her insecurities arent touched and 5% work.

hbombvi
hbombvi

1. IT will turn you into an antisocial recluse It it literally impossible for me to walk through the halls without someone suddenly discovering they have a computer issue. Heck I even get this kind of banter while I'm obviously working on something. My usual response: send me a request and I'll work on it. Usually the issue in question is too trivial to bother filling out a request and asking their supervisor for a signature. Needless to say I work on as much remote stuff as possible. 2. Managers just don't understand Every try explaining to the boss why giving employees USB jump drives is pointless since they can transfer files pretty much anywhere in the building over the network via the mapped drives sitting on their desktops? Nuff said. 3. You'll often be berated for things that aren't under your control The ISP starts acting up? Your fault. Bad weather interfering with radio signals? Your fault. Employees manage to destroy their PC? Your fault. Power outages? Your fault. Nuclear bombs destroys everyone on the boss's IM list? You get the idea. 4. Your tech skills will be greatly exaggerated This is kinda related to #4 on Jason's list but it really does go deeper than than. People will start to think that you can accomplish small miracles with no budget and no staff. Thinking out of the box comes naturally to IT pros because we're often given so little to work with. On the flipside, when you do ask for help and/or resources managers think you can't handle the job. Unless you have someone available in your unit who's good at conveying why you need certain things don't expect squat from management. 5. You'll find yourself wearing many hats As your IT unit shrinks more and more responsibilities will be redistributed to the remaining members. An example: the company's website is finished so they let the webmaster go but expect the IT unit to make updates and changes. The worse case scenario: You're the lone IT person (as I am). EVERYTHING tech lands squarely on your shoulders. You'll find yourself many times saying "That's not within the range of my abilities" and if you have to say that enough times it can get a bit demoralizing.

dbecker
dbecker

5. Lack of planning. Sure, IT has an impressive track record... as being nimble footed through making massive changes at the last minute. None of that would be necessary if IT weren't always looking away to a future vision and paid attention to where they were going. 4. Not understanding about the difference between tactical planning and strategic planning. IT just concentrates on the hows until, of course, they have to invent some etherial vision to support their request for money and resources to play with technology they want -- THEN IT really starts preaching strategic planning [with no intention to back it up]. 3. Concentrating on the customers who will do the most good politically while ignoring the ones who are core to the support of the entire establishment. Playing favorites pays off for IT, even as the business fails because of starved resources in [ahem] strategic areas. 2. Treating "lowly workers" like crap. The only reason for management is to provide the "lowly workers" the resources the resources to actually SUPPORT THE ENTERPRISE. Self-congratulatory meaningless awards to the upper crust of managment is not only insulting, but quite detrimental to productivity, not to mention whapping employees upside the head when they actually make sacrifices for the good of the whole -- do a good job -- only to be publicly humiliated for doing so, just before they receive their pink slip for not being "a team player". 1. Lies. This is number one in the realm of infinite denial for the culpability for the failure of not just IT, but entire business enterprises who misplaced their trust in IT to do their job. One must admit, however, that senior management is also responsible for Five things wrong with IT Management because they only listened to what they wanted to hear instead of doing what was good for the business. The first big lie of IT Management is that it exists to be a narcissistic source for the IT Managers.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

1. Bean Counter in charge of IT: Bean-counters are more concerned with counting beans than the quality of the project or product. I don't know how many times my company was burned by some cheap-ass contractor that my manager found in the bargain bin. There's a reason why he's cheaper than the competition. Our "Professional Cabling Crew" ended up being the guy who showed up in a suit and tie for the intial meeting who handed out snazzy business card. He brought his grungy looking friend to help him out. They do half the job and say you owe them more money when its done. Seven year old computers are starting to fail. The solution? Instead of coming up with a comprehensive computer refresh strategy, the bean-counter says, "We have some old computers in the closet, add some memory and give them that." That should last them until the next Fiscal Year or more if he's lucky... The bean counter always delays or deflects IT issues to save a few dollars here and there. 2. The IT Manager is often the manager of two other Departments: It's like the Island of Misfit Departments, IT, building security, and building maintenance. IT is the little train with the square wheels and often gets neglected until something goes wrong. The IT manager, bless his heart, is swamped with managing two other departments and "managing" IT consists of forwarding all issues to the Systems Administrator. Of course, he gets all of the credit when IT does something right and you get a tongue lashing when he forgets to do something IT related. 3. "I have a subscription to Information Weekly" therefore I'm qualified to be IT Manager: My favorite part is all the mis-used buzz words and acronymns that fly in management meetings. Why? Well the Finance manager spouts numbers so I guess the IT Manager has to spout "IT Stuff" to sound like he knows what he's doing. I mean, no one else will know the difference, right?

mark
mark

Along the line of personal requests... I work in a health care facility and it seems that there are those who will only want a certain individual to address the problems that they are having at work even though there are others that as just as qualified or have more experience dealing with the issue that they are calling about. As much as I can I try to do as others here do and empower the end user and make sure that they know that everyone in the department are capable of addressing the problems or at least help trouble shot.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

Instead of constantly harping on the things that "suck" about IT or that are terrible about our industry, how about talking once and a while about the things that are great about it? I love my job. I love working in IT. The constant learning... the sometimes long hours... I knew all that going in. Some people just forget why they got into the industry in the first place or how truly lucky they are to even have a job that pays good (most of the time pays great) especially in these hard economic times. I'm just saying I think some people need positive talks and reminders sometimes about good things. To constantly be hammered with negativity doesn't do anyone any good.

chris
chris

the hours are great. hey, everyone, how many weeks have you had when there were no problems, so you were able to "relax" a bit?

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

I get most if not all of my work done while I'm at work. I don't spend all my time sitting at work replying to posts. Admittedly, I do answer posts, but not near the amount some people do that complain about "how many weeks have you had when there were no problems, so you were able to "relax" a bit?" You see Chris(#55 of the top 100 site activity rating in the past 30 days), most, if not all of your posts are coming during the day when the majority of us are working. So, the way I see it, either you are "relaxing" when you should be working and working when you should be relaxing, or you're just one of those "jump on the bandwagon" types that just like to complain about things. Either way, it seems since you have so much time to read and reply to all these posts, you must have plenty of "relaxation" time, or your work is going undone... Get your priorities straight and you might find you have much more "relaxing" time...who knows, you might even get that coveted "top 10 site activity in the past 30 days."

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

that had 'nice & happy' headlines? Did not think so. I don't believe it!

Desert__Rat
Desert__Rat

Negativity is the pervue of the media. To get page hits for their ad contracts, they have to generate content that people read. If this site produced the statistics on pages with most hits, I think the negative based ones would win. We thrive on the stuff. IT readership might be different. Due to the speed of changes to our environment, we have to be infomation sponges and try to soak up all the info we can to broaden our skill set. Just my thoughts.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

Except for #2 (OT is not allowed in this office) the rest hit the mark. I'm a "Jack of all trades" kind of IT person (I know a little bit about a lot of things). This makes it even worse with staff as they think I can do it all. Having just two of us to cover the servers, website, database, helpdesk, backups, applications, printers, audio/video needs, etc. makes it VERY hard to stay on top of things. Money is tight so the experts don't get brought in unless absolutely needed. This means A LOT of reading to stay on top of the ever-changing IT world. Once again, good article. EMD

samuel.degendt
samuel.degendt

There are gradations how things really suck. It depends mostly on the company you are working in, consultancy or the other side of the table. On top of that the way the company appreciates your knowledge, the level of support you get from the team and manager are a few things that can make the difference. From my perspective if you love the job but dislike the way to do it I suggest to hop to another company until you find the bases that pleases you the most.

Andrew.Istead
Andrew.Istead

From a development perspective it is bridging the gap between technology and business. Most users don't understand why a system has to have checks and balances. They certainly don't realise that the easier something is to use the harder it is to write.

chris
chris

they don't understand why well written and usable apps are so difficult. it's just a web page

PunkRock_PM
PunkRock_PM

If this problem is pernicious enough, I'll bring in a prop to demonstrate. Might sound hokey, but it works even if it isn't a precise technical equation. You're talking to people who don't get it anyway. Any enlightenment will help, right? Get 3 1,000 piece puzzles and mix up the parts into a single bag. Dump out the parts and tell your designated "lead" participant they have until 4 pm to refactor all this into a shiny new picture you promised to a client this morning. If he can't make it, then he better have a damn good reason as to why. Then you can badger them a little over why they don't know down to the second when delivery will be, or how many new pieces might need to be made or reskinned. Isn't that what we pay you for? :-) I promise this exercise is very helpful.

MGP2
MGP2

I work at Town Hall and many of our users are technically deficient. I do try to empower them when I can, for things that I know they can do themselves instead of waiting till I can get to their office. On the flip side, I have no problem when they come to me telling me their home computer is running slow, or has problems with this or that. My stock answer? "Twnety-five dollars an hour; most likely take about 2 hours, and if they can't bring it to me, I charge for pickup & delivery". On the other hand, I don't charge them for the time the process takes. For instance, I only charge them for the time it takes to install and launch programs like MalwareBytes and Ad-Aware...not the amount of time it takes to run. But I also open their machine, pull out the RAM, disconnect the wires, blow it out well with compressed air, vacuum it out with a SharkVac, run disk cleanup, defrag, and if I have any RAM laying around that works on their machine, I'll install it (providing they have room). When I return their machine to them, I provide them with a detailed bill of the services I performed, along with recommendations on "how to avoid having to call me again so soon", etc. And compared to Geek Squad, my rates are MUCH more reasonable and much more personal. I've had no complaints yet. So, personal requests? Bring 'em on!

chris
chris

you get what you pay for if there is a problem. haha

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Add a cheap stick of RAM (if possible) and charge about 50-75 bucks. Computer will be faster regardless normally.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

When I tell them: "It'll cost $100 and I'll get it back to you when I can." They say, "Ok" and walk away never to be heard of again. I've been burned too many times by cheap people who wouldn't pay up or pay in full. I once had a friend who says, "Why do you charge so much, all you do is sit down a push a bunch of buttons." He delivers cars for a living. I said, "Why do YOU charge so much? All you do is sit down and drive all day." He clammed up after that.

scottlysle
scottlysle

Since no one ever pays the slighest bit of attention to me when I explain how to keep out of trouble, I found the easiest way to discourage repeated requests for free tech support was to simply start up the machine, open the temporary internet files and start reading aloud.

chris
chris

uh, wait, that must have been my....uncle....or my kids.....

ronatola
ronatola

Good strategy. I was once over at an old mans house on the premise that his computer was broken. About 70 yrs old. Turns out his porn was being blocked because his browser's privacy setting was set too high. Told me not to tell his wife and gave me a substantial tip :)

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

Some organizations limit the amount of work you can do for employees at your company. Not saying it is your case, but for some, it can be a problem.

djmentat
djmentat

My Co. approved me 10 of OT per week for the next 2 years. This was mostly b/c we had to let go of out PT assistant and I have to stay late/come in early for after hours stuff. The other part was for us to be able to initiate a coworker personal PC repair program. If a co-worker, or their family or friends, bring in a PC to be worked on they sign off on a form stating that they will be charged $30/hour (basically pays for my OT) and after the 1st hour I'll let them know what's wrong and how much longer it'll take to fix it. If they want me to continue I will at the $30/hour rate. I as well don't charge for scan time and clean out the insides and possibly give more RAM if the right stuff is lying around. It's worked out well so far. The co-workers are happy they get cheap and much better quality work than a Geek Squad can do, and I get my OT. :)

robo_dev
robo_dev

just like office romances can cause you grief when they go wrong, so can repair jobs. It was not strictly computer related, but I rebuilt the engine on a co-worker's car, and ran into expensive complications which really strained the work relationship. Fortunately we were peers. But if it's the Boss's PC and you do a 'whoops' on his five years-of-email archive, don't expect it to be all grins at review time. ESPECIALLY if he or she is a non-technical type..... YOU are the last person who touched the machine, and it was working fine until YOU worked on it.

jkforms
jkforms

@ robo_dev. ESPECIALLY if he or she is a non-technical type..... YOU are the last person who touched the machine, and it was working fine until YOU worked on it. That saying never gets old. I have the problem with customers not saying when something is wrong. I take backups of all computer i reapir i dont always get everything some pple scatter things all over the hard drive. I tell them i have a backup call if i miss anything. I dont find out until 2 years later and the backup has been erased.

XnavyDK
XnavyDK

I support everything tech. I have no set job description and I find out later that I should not have done this or that (after hours tech support) without prior approval "its not what we hired your for". My suggestion is to get your job requirements in writing to make sure you are doing what you are hired for. I work for a small company and I am THE tech guy. I am slightly overwhelmed but I love it and it keeps me busy.

elizabeth.r.martin
elizabeth.r.martin

Having a set job description is a good thing and if you do not have one now, sit down with your supervisor and ask if you can write one out and then get their approval on the final draft. The only thing is you need to be wary of one of the listed items in my job description is "and other duties as assigned". That seems to mean everything else.

chris
chris

jack of all trades keeps you employed. the issue is more about being properly compensated, especially if you're gonna be help responsible for things you shouldn't be.

takaharu
takaharu

Definitely the lack of grattitude. Employees that aren't very computer-literate really don't understand the knowledge and dedication that goes into the job and think we're just lazy, doing an easy job all day long. The company I work for is 100% computer-based; literally the company could not function as is without computers. The non-IT staff know the importance of computers, just not the IT staff maintaining them.

jrbogle
jrbogle

Family!! - I have become the helpdesk for all my relatives. Even when you are doing them a favour by setting up their PC or wireless they always have to add in their two cents regarding something they saw on the internet and maybe I should try this.. or do that. Pick up a manual every once in a while.

daniel_allen
daniel_allen

I was in the same boat. Heck, I was at the point where my bother's mother-in-law was calling me at work because the IT staff at her company was a "bunch of morons" so something had to be done. I put my foot down and let my family and friends know my consulting rate was $150 an hour for normal customers. My "friends and family" rate was $100 an hour. If they wanted help it was going to cost them. There was some grumbling at first but once they figured out I was serious they backed off. They can pay me or they can pay Geek Squad.

rafaelm
rafaelm

I think that's one my biggest challenges. People at my office tend to get offended if you say that something is "simple" or "easy" since they just want it done. So, I guess the challenge is to educate and empower my internal customers while at the same time not give the impression that I'm talking down to them. I think it's really easy for us in IT to be unintentionally (or perhaps intentionally in some cases) snarky, and that's one of the challenges of IT.

chris
chris

just don't BE a snob. (at least that's my experience working with guys who come across that way). :-)

outta_here
outta_here

This one hit's the biggest problem right on the head. The others (long hours, fingers pointed, unoffical requests for help) are to be expected. The need to continually train/re-train to keep up to date and having to do it on MY time and on MY dime is expecting way to much. I spent years in engineering before moving to IT and the demands at work are similar; but the constant demand on my personal time (which means less time with my family) and expecting me to repeatedly pay out of my pocket for training to accomplish IT work tasks is unreasonable. This is the number one reason why I am walking away from IT.

Ou Jipi je
Ou Jipi je

Keeps you sharp and it remains challenging. But you can always get a job in a post office licking stamps, no retraining needed there!

chris
chris

you CAN choose not to do that. There are "specialists" out there who make serious bank because they are one of the experts in outdated stuff. EDI is a good example. Make 80+ k a year without even trying to hard to find a job...be willing to travel and enjoying doing that are the two factors. Epic EMR is another. Make 80-100k, travel for 2-3 months at a time. So, it's more about wishing things to be either, a) the way they "were" (in the heyday) or b) easy (even keel kind of job) it's not (well, not always anyway) you're right, get in or out

fgamba
fgamba

Setting realistic expectations & being able to "dumb it down" so staff can understand.

chris
chris

but I work with a guy who uses great illustrations to get the point across. it all starts with having (not pretending to have) respect for other people. they are intelligent valuable sentient beings who just happen to not be devoted like we are to geeky things.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Seriously, there needs to be more IT Managers like yourself. I often say that the best general is one who actually fought in the trenches himself. That's becuase he understands the limits and the psychology of those he commands and will not ask them to do more than what they can. The same is true of an IT Manager. Most IT Managers (from my experience) come from a bean-counting business background and really don't understand the limits of IT. This can cause a strain on IT professionals. We're humans too with families to take care of and being on call all of the time with no extra compensation or perks can be demoralizing. It's very difficult to self-promote in IT. I can't send an e-mail out that says, "We experienced 99.99% uptime last month! Horray for IT!" No one cares. No one cares until a storm knocks out the Internet connection and the remotes can't access the system. Sure, we could try to speak to them in dollars and cents but even that is an exercise in futility. It's like no one cares about 2 or 3 years ROI when upgrading infrastructure. Everyone wants immediate results. And IT ROI estimates seem to be convoluted and difficult to produce. I work in healthcare and its easy for the front desk to self promote. "Our co-pay collections increased 50% over last month!" Billing can say, "Our claims generated 10% more revenue this year!" Then I come in with, "IT kept the system up 99.99% this year!" Yet no one cares because they think I just sit behind a computer all day staring at a screen. Nevermind that the front desk and billing would have never seen those gains without the 99.99% up-time. No one cares. It can be psychologically draining when the only time people know you're alive is when something breaks. It used to be (and Jason, you still say it) that IT people were well-compensated and this somehow made up for the ill treatment, but that's no longer true. With off-shoring and "off-streeting" (I'll coin-that term) IT salaries have been depressed. What do I mean by "off-streeting"? Well, that refers to any Joe off the streets going to a Cisco or MS bootcamp and calling himself an "Engineer" glutting the IT market with cheap labor thus depressing wages. I recently did something unethical but perfectly legal to check out the competition in the area. There were folks out there who were willing to do my job for even less than I was making. That makes sense though. $30,000 isn't a whole lot of money for a seasoned IT professional, but to a fresh CCNP whose previous job was waiting tables at TGI Fridays, it's a whole lot of money.

chris
chris

when computers work well, it's because they are good computers, not because of anything you have done. :-P

Desert__Rat
Desert__Rat

While it's nice to get face time with the masses. Please save it for your family videos. The 7:35 video could have been put into text format and I could have read it pulling relevant info in under a minute.

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

then you can read the full transcript or the original article that this episodes is based on. I put links to both in the post.

chris
chris

that may be true, but also true is that computers do not need guis either. who want to work that way? Also, do you make sure you use a text based browser? Come on, you said it yourself, the information is what matters, not the presentation. NOTE: from a usability standpoint, the key factor is a nice balance of both. So, why not offer things in both formats so you can please multiple people?

ronatola
ronatola

I just pulled off a major implementation of a new Cognos Budgetary System which involved the net-new setup of 6 servers and customized clients and took 6 months. The users bitched at me the whole way, resistant to change. The system is now successfully in place and being used instead of the old system. I had to overcome many technical and social hurdles to bring it all together. I didn't even get a handshake or a thankyou email. Even from my Manager. I went to him and said 'this is a thankless job isn't it?' He says 'ya, it's like that'. So i didn't even get a thanks from him. But what really bothers me is that we have a recognition-reward system in place here at work, where you can nominate someone and they get a $300 gift card. A helpdesk guy just got one because he showed a VP how to use Windows Restore on his personal laptop - took 10 mins. At least someone's getting some love.

mjc5
mjc5

Your experience is just about correct. Those reward systems are pretty much useless, and I always figured they were made for people in human resources, or maybe accounting. But everyone does need an attaboy once in a while, it's true. Soo... Keep up the good work, Ronatola, it'll get recognized some day. - Mike -

F1980
F1980

You are more likely to get rewarded not for what you have done alone but who knew "you did it". Ditto not for what you know but who knows that "you know it". Many of the times, senior guys are not aware of those who actually got their hands dirty - that's because you are viewed as a resource.

IronCanadian
IronCanadian

Well that doesn't surprise me. In the eyes of the overlords you were just doing your job; and poorly too since you took so long to finish and inconvenienced so many. On the other hand that poor help desk guy potentially saved Millions... possibly Billions of dollars for the company by keeping the VP's computer up and running... until his kid gets on there and fills it full of Malware and viruses! Keep your head down brother, people will eventually stop slapping you around... since they'll be hurting their hands on your head.

bill.berger
bill.berger

Good list. A couple of thoughts... With respect to constant retraining, many other professions do have the need to keep up to date regularly (healthcare comes to mind immediately), but I agree IT may have be moving the fastest. The interesting thing I've found about the introduction of 'new' stuff in IT is that much of what is hyped as 'new' is more repackaging or spin than it is truly new and innovative. You could argue that repackaging is an innovation in itself, but in many cases, I've found repackaging to just be a vendor's need to differentiate from competition and try to grab mindshare/marketshare the quickest - the first to market syndrome... I believe this is where the idea of vaporware started, along with the notion that altering a concept - even in the slightest way - is an innovation and thus requires a new name and marketing. The IT industry has created its 'need' to keep up to date by not being rigorous about what innovation truly is, and by playing incredibly high-stakes, cut-throat competition at the expense of its own industry. The other item that interested me was the long, erratic hours. This has been a pet peeve of mine for decades, especially when you are paid a salary. At a point early in my career, someone tried to convince me that overtime was a way of life and part of the job - to just accept that. I've never bought into that philosophy. Instead, I have adopted the policy that I will, at my choice and convenience, work overtime/weekends/holidays if necessary. My job has never been, nor will ever be, my life. A salary does not equate to indentured servitude or slavedom. To me here in the US, the salary is premised on a 40 hr per week basis and that is what I agree to do on a regular, weekly basis. Beyond that, I make the choice how much more I do. Of course, I've also made the decision to live with the consequences of my actions as well. I guess I might revisit this decision if I'm ever sacked for not having worked a weekend (but that has not happened in 20+ years both as an IT developer and as a consultant).

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Everything you said, I agree with, but it's moot. The fact of the matter is that it creates a situation where IT professionals have to retrain constantly on their own dime and on their own time to keep up with new products. Employers are in cahoots with them as well. How many times have you seen a job description where it lists a littany of products and product versions? I know it's not right but the people with the hiring power don't know any better and so you've got to "play the game" or be seen as obsolete. No one cares that you've worked with Nortel, HP and 3com switches and routers for 25 years. You'll still get undercut by the ex-Jiffy Lube employee who got his CCNA last week just because Employer X calls themselves a "Cisco Shop". It's not fair, but we have to play the game. An expensive, time-consuming game.

GreenPirogue
GreenPirogue

I work in the DBA end of the IT pool, and we are all about housing and extracting data for management use. For me, I can give management almost anything they want, but sometimes it is hard for them to prioritize their requests. It is not really that we need more IT professionals - it is just that once someone solves a problem with mostly IT partnering, they look everywhere for a similar win. And right now, picking the low hanging fruit is most prudent. Some managers don't want to hear such things. Even though I am on salary (they see it as fixed expense) doesn't mean that my time should not be guarded and valued.

snewton628
snewton628

I constantly experience three types of 'tude from co-workers and clients. In order of my desire to plant my foot in their backsides: 1. The twerp who has figured out how to run Defrag on Windows XP and thinks that means she knows how mainframe VSAM storage pools work, or the nuances of SAN / NAS management. 2. The dweeb with a nephew who is taking a DeVry IT course - he remembers the nephew as a small child, the nephew seems to be doing well in the IT course, so, therefore, what I do can be done by any small child, and I am an overpaid parasite who is getting in the way. 3. And, finally, the dolt in I/T who treats our "customers" as though they were evil-minded cretins bent on driving him mad by not paying attention when he explains the problem a second or third time (usually after it took me 5 or 6 tries to explain it to him!). I'm not sure when we stopped being a civil society, but it seems like there are more of these lower life-forms asking me to call my wife to say I won't be home for dinner because they just realized they need something by 7AM tomorrow. And yes, I am aware that this comment is good evidence that I am also suffering from an attitude deficiency... TOUGH!

smithdavee
smithdavee

I was told once, a long time ago, that I had an attitude problem. My reply? "I like my attitude, if there is a problem here it would seem to be yours. Have a nice day!" Sometimes I can't help myself.......

ClueLEss Arse
ClueLEss Arse

i like the confidence but im not sure of what kind of faith that is.

bill.beckett
bill.beckett

It sounds to me like one of two things - a) You had a really bad day when you posted b) Time to find a new field

mamies
mamies

I am a 20 year old student that works in IT as well. I believe that i am here to learn how to work effeciently in the IT world. I agree that young new IT people have bad attitude, I have seen it and that is the reason I am still working in it and they arn't. Although in saying that young people generally have a bad attitude when introduced to IT, I have also seen the other side where the experienced IT person thinks they know the lot. They fail to teach the younger staff the ways of IT because they feel that they dont have to. This is just a great big circle again. Im just waiting for the time where my attitude deficiency will start.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Your profie need I remind you says: "...usually spend 40 to 50 weeks a year on the road. I move from gig to gig every few months, meeting new people, learning new environments, processes, and tools, and avoiding the boredom of supporting the same applications and users for years at a time." I doubt there is a wife to worry about.

snewton628
snewton628

G-Man, I just celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary - and looking forward to another 35. But thank you for taking the time to read my comment, and, apparently, actually thinking about it - it seems most of those who commented did neither. Have a good year!

extremejm
extremejm

Aside from the Oracle of IT and all things Humanity (i.e. Richard Wilson's prophetic post), I couldn't agree more. I'd also like to mention that I COMPETE with #2. The customer has been duped into believing that IT is an OPTIONAL department/service and should be paid as such. Their nephew/niece who is young and "knows about computers" most likely doesn't know the first thing about network protocols, SAN's or NAS devices, or even one of the most important, Disaster Recovery. You don't see lawyers lowering their rates to compete with each other; hell, you see them raising their rates all the time. IT people (most of them) have no real business background but end up trying to provide IT services to business only to end up failing (most, not all) because they think that lowering their rates to nothing makes them more competitive. This is NOT the case, but it ends up devaluing our industry to the point that the attitudes the customer have are validated. I would say that most attitudes are a "better than thou" attitude towards the customer but some are rightfully deserved. "If people knew as little about cars as they do computers, they would be calling the car companies asking what to do upon reaching the first intersection, assuming they ever leave the driveway." Jim

extremejm
extremejm

You're obviously someone that enjoys attempting to be correct but allow me to correct you on a few things. "Yeah let's attack the guy that is just trying to point out that people can't change others..." With your holy-than-thou attitude you missed the fact that people CAN change and that I was pointing out that you were a blatant negative commenter with no substance. Don't say you were "just trying to point out", that's an extremely lousy excuse. YES, compete with #2. I thought it was written in English but apparently you're too dense to get it. Businesses THINK that people are qualified just because they THINK that person "knows computers". If you haven't experienced this, it's probably because you're an employee, not an owner wonder boy. "What proof do you have of this statement? If "most" IT people failed every time they tried to provide IT services to businesses, there would be no IT industry" I have proof because I watch more of my competition fold every year. The best part about IT is that there is always a "computer guy" grown somewhere that ultimately takes a failed company's place. It does make sense. Try reading before posting a dense comment. "Which industry? The "Executive Management" industry or the "chairman, CEO, CFO, partner" industry?" What are you 12 or is that your IQ? If you can't figure out that I'm speaking about the IT industry you really should try bungee jumping without a cord. Finally, it's not because they don't know acronyms, super sleuth, it's because they don't know what they DO or how to set them up. Thanks for the grammar check Einstein, Firefox didn't pick that one up. So one last thing "Networking / LAN Administration" Richard... Try using your head when posting instead of banging on the keyboard like a monkey with rabies. Talk about pompous asses. Geez.

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

Yeah let's attack the guy that is just trying to point out that people can't change others, they can only change themselves and hopefully that will have an impact on others, thus making things better for all. Good idea... But enough sarcasm. You say you COMPETE with #2...what does that mean? As a "chairman, CEO, CFO, partner" of your company you compete with someone with a nephew who is taking a DeVry IT course? Or, as a "chairman, CEO, CFO, partner" of your company, someone thinks you're overpaid? What the hell do you mean by "I'd also like to mention that I COMPETE with #2"?? Make sense man! Then you say: "IT people (most of them) have no real business background but end up trying to provide IT services to business only to end up failing (most, not all)..." What proof do you have of this statement? If "most" IT people failed every time they tried to provide IT services to businesses, there would be no IT industry. What do you mean by that statement? Please try to make sense.. This can be looked at from the other side and it actually makes better sense. Executives (most of them) have no real IT backgroud but end up trying to steer and manage the IT department only to end up failing (most, not all)... See? Makes more sense doesn't it? Then you state: "but it ends up devaluing our industry"... Which industry? The "Executive Management" industry or the "chairman, CEO, CFO, partner" industry? Are you even in IT? I'm assuming not since you chose one of the selections under "Non-Technology Related" for your primary role in your company for your profile. Or are you one of those afore mentioned "executives" that like to act like they know about IT because they know words like SAN and NAS and DR? (also, fyi, it's not SAN's or NAS devices. It's SAN or NAS devices. Does the SAN own devices? I think not...) I'm just requesting a little clarification from the "Executive Management" Jim... One other thing, "The Oracle of IT and all things Humanity" (extremejm's description of me) has sort of a pompous ass ring to it don't you think? Guess that's why I never thought of it....

mjc5
mjc5

Repeat after me 100 times: The customer is not my enemy, the customer is not my enemy.. Those "twerps", "dweebs" and "dolts" are your customers. One of the important attributes in working with people is the ability to work with people.

aznemesis
aznemesis

THIS: "If I could pass one bit of vital advice along to new folks, or even old ones, it is that too many IT people have a chip on their shoulders, and feel as if they are forced to work with stupid people." That has been my experience, as well. I understand that there is a certain amount of that in all fields. (Who doesn't remember their parents talking about the stupid boss they had or the stupid colleagues they had to deal with?) Still, there is a certain amount of undeserved self-satisfaction and a sense of superiority in a lot of techies--whether they work in IT support or not. You just have to go on any tech-related Internet message board. You find people with little perspective who act as if your choice of an operating system was a moral reflection on you. (Of course, their favorite OS is always the choice of the "good guys.") This strident behavior and bizarre conception of the world are carried into the IT field by many of them.

aznemesis
aznemesis

My last position was providing IT support in a large public school system. I was forced to leave because of the horrible pay and lack of decent benefits, but I loved that position. As I mentioned before, I consider my job to be a teaching position. I enjoyed the reward of showing teachers how to better use technology to engage their students. I also found that they were far more appreciative and less impatient than the end-users in my corporate jobs. On the password topic, I understand the keychain analogy. However, I also understand where the teachers are coming from. They are always "on." You can't be sitting in front of a room of 12-year-olds struggling to remember a password you need to access resources you planned to use that day. The school district I was working for decided to introduce MacBooks as a "pilot" program. Only teachers in certain subjects got them, though. In addition, much of the mission-critical software (such as attendance databases) required Windows. So, the District, in its infinite wisdom, chose to buy these overpriced computers, then spend more on Parallels (the worst VM ever created) and an additional OS (WinXP). The teachers would have much preferred to have the HPs that their colleagues had, and the District would have been able to save a considerable amount of money by keeping everyone on the same OS and hardware. The teachers saddled with the Macs spent all day, everyday struggling just to sign onto their computers to take attendance. Parallels gets "upset" very easily. When it does, it quits working and has to be reinstalled. Even when the Macs worked, the teachers had to sign onto their computers twice--once for the Mac, and again to access Parallels/Windows. Imagine if they had to remember separate passwords for each? Until you've been in their shoes, you just can't understand what they go through every single day.

aznemesis
aznemesis

Since going into the IT field, I've found that many of my colleagues have no idea how to treat their end-users. Far too many of them treat the users as if these people are in the IT professional's way. When I was earning my degree, one of my instructors always told us, "You have a job only because of your users. Without computer users, there is no need for computer support." I always remember that while computers are my job, they are simply a tool to help my users do their jobs. Expecting them to have knowledge of networking principles or the TCP/IP stack is ridiculous. On the other hand, treating them like they're stupid is even worse. I approach my job as a teaching position. I not only troubleshoot problems, but I teach people how to avoid problems and how to get the most out of their technology. IT support should be about human interaction. It's really odd to me that more IT pros don't realize this. The people are your focus. The machines are just a symptom.

mjc5
mjc5

If they are people that you do IT work for, they are your customers. When I ride to the rescue, getting someone's computer to work correctly again, they are my customer. If you don't actually do anything for the Twerp, dweeb, or dolt, thant they not only are not your customer - there isn't much point complaining about their attitudes. If I could pass one bit of vital advice along to new folks, or even old ones, it is that too many IT people have a chip on their shoulders, and feel as if they are forced to work with stupid people. Of course you are smart, of course you know a lot. That is exactly why you are helping these folks. They don't know as much - about computing - as you do. So you have a choice. Be happy to help, and don't further the stereotype of the disgruntled IT worker who belittles those he is helping, or you can continue to hold those you help in contempt. I've seen the results of the second course, and it 'isn't pretty. - Mike -

ClueLEss Arse
ClueLEss Arse

attitudes, attitudes uggghhhhh Snewton admitted he also have attitude impairments. In fact, everybody has so just chill. Either way, customers are always right (in their own perception perhaps) but they are the ones who gives you crap to work on so you can have a meal to eat daily.

RicciJo
RicciJo

I have quite a few people on my job who think they know my job better than i do, I tell these people that it is easy to PLAY IT like a little kid than to be in IT like an adult.

snewton628
snewton628

mjc5 I do apologize - I was not clear. The twerp, dweeb, and dolt were not then nor now my customer. And though I am probably deluded, I do think I work well with people. But the title of your post has me confused - what is the "it" I now have that you imply I deserve? But thank you for taking the time to reply to my comment.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

When a teacher or any other employee asks you why they need so many passwords for everything, ask them if you could see their keychain. When they pull it out, ask them why do they have so many keys for all their stuff. Ask them how easy they think it would be to get one key made for all their stuff and the work involved in getting that done. Then you could simply end the illustration with, "It's about that difficult/impossible to have one login and password for everything." More importantly, if they had only one key for everything, if they lost that key or the key was stolen, everything they owned would be in jeopardy.

Rastor9
Rastor9

Without those twerps, dweebs, idiots, we wouldn't get paid for sitting all day! I work for a public school where the teachers all have Masters, PhD's, and all sorts of "certificates" indicating their intelligence greater than that of anyone in town, but yet they can't understand why it is important to have more than one password for important items. All I do is keep posting the requirements, and recommendations and when their checking account has been cleared by some "fellow" in Nigeria, I remind them of their mistake, and rebuild their profiles and user accounts. Besides, without these kinds of "customers" paying us to do things over and over again, I wouldn't have a job!

richard.wilson
richard.wilson

"I'm not sure when we stopped being a civil society"... "In order of my desire to plant my foot in their backsides" "The twerp"... "The dweeb"... "the dolt"... "lower life-forms"... Your post reminds me of a simple phrase: "You can't change the world until you change yourself." Remember, there was a time when you didn't know anything either.

skarnovski
skarnovski

Well, I'm new to the IT field - but your 3-part explanation of today's attitudes made me chuckle! :)

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