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  • #2273520

    Bosses just don’t get IT


    by jinn ·

    Ok, the company I work for has about 50 people. A mix of programmers, elec. and mech. engineers, etc. I’m the IT admin and the sole IT engineer in the company. Because of the relatively small size, some days I’m very busy and some days I am not.

    When I’m not busy, I’m generally here or some other IT site. Our directors and bosses frown upon this, because I’m at my desk and not fixing someones pc. They think that I’m goofing off even when I’m installing a pc and waiting while it formats.

    They want my work load to be constant throughout the day like the rest of the employees. I sometimes will drag a job out just so that it looks like i’m working. This just seems so wrong for me, cos I’m best at getting problems solved quickly and efficiently. The work load for me, at least, is large spikes throughout the day. It should also be in their best interests that I have some free time, cos that means that everyone is running smoothly and making the company a profit.

    Has anyone resolved a problem like this at their work? Got their bosses to understand what you do and why its different? Sometimes when I’ve spoken to them about it, it doesn’t seem to register. Are these people completely stuck in their perseptions, or is there light at the end of the tunnel?

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  • Author
    • #2699131

      Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

      by liamothelegend ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      One idea might be to introduce an internal Key Performance Indicator for your department.You sit down with your Superiors and suggest that you measure for example the number of issues you receive each month and the resolution time it took to sort each issue out.If you have a help desk system then you could do it on a ticket by ticket basis.If you are as quick at resolving issues as you say you are then the figures you produce will show management just how efficient you are.It will also help you broadcast to others the volume of work you have.

      • #2699115

        may help a bit

        by jinn ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        I currently keep an IT job book where I write down every job or task I do. The main problem lies in that they want to see me working 8 hours solid each day. Somedays I’ll only have 1 or 2 hours of actual support work to do. They want me to find work when this happens. Maybe I should go break something and then fix it.

        • #2706600

          Slack is absolutely essential

          by rloski ·

          In reply to may help a bit

          The following doesn’t address your issue. It addresses the issue of everyone working at full capacity all the time.

          One company I worked at must have felt that their network admin be busy all the time. He was constantly busy. But because he was busy he could not respond in a timely manner to times when his load truly got overwhelming. Three contractors (which the company paid from $70 an hour) did not get computers for two weeks to one month (in contracts that started at three months with potential of extension). We couldn’t do any work. And I think that this stupidity played a role in two of the contractors not extending.

          If the network admin had had adequate slack, he could have put the time into getting us up and running, thereby saving the company money. In fact if he normally had sat around smoking for three hours a day, and was only expected to busy when the unexpected happened, the company would have saved money.

        • #2705909

          You are a fireman

          by drainville ·

          In reply to Slack is absolutely essential

          Just use the fireman anology: You are waiting for fires to start (IT issues) and must be available when they do. What does a fireman do in his spare time? Lots of cleaning! Institute a schedule of spyware scans, compliance checks and system maintenance. You will never run out of work.

        • #2722106

          Not quite a fireman

          by talentonloan ·

          In reply to You are a fireman

          Fireman idea works if people really thought that most of what you did was fight fires. When a fire hits – IT is NOW. Most folks don’t see IT that way. It’s ‘nuisance maintenance’, ‘upgrades’, simple installs, something doesn’t work, etc. Only when real disaster looms is the IT fireman valued. Who really cared about the NY firemen until 911?

        • #2722040

          Do some “Projects”

          by eroman308 ·

          In reply to You are a fireman

          Sometimes part of it is the kind of boss you have, my director knows that we have down time, mostly because my team resolves issues so fast that even users are impressed. One of the ways to take care of things is to tackle some projects, like the spyware scanning and doing some research, or just grab an old machine, install Linux, get simple Samba share up and running and say that you just created a storage server using linux. I play with Linux just as a way of looking busy, try it.

        • #2722013

          Firefighting vs. evolution

          by galdur ·

          In reply to Slack is absolutely essential

          You might consider looking at your spare time as an opportunity to improve the company’s IT operations in a proactive way, using it to look into ways of making the user’s ‘experience’ even better; evaluating new solutions or work methods.

          Are Open Source solutions for example something suitable for your company? How about Firefox? StarOffice? OpenOffice? Linux?

          I might even go so far as to consider ways of undertaking projects which decrease the need for dealing with breakdowns so you can use even more time to delve into these kinds of projects which increase the company’s ROI/efficiency.

        • #2706531

          Make Work

          by usaatca2001 ·

          In reply to may help a bit

          When you have to find work to look busy all the time, I call it the “make work” mentality.

        • #2705832

          This might help

          by it_in_ut ·

          In reply to may help a bit

          First, I haven’t read all the replies, so if someone already suggested this, my apologies.

          You said when you have down time you spend it on Tech Republic and other IT sites. You need to present this to mngmnt as research you are doing to help you do your job as efficiently as possible. Tell them you like to take a proactive approach and see how other people have solved problems that could happen in your organization. You want to do this for 2 reasons: 1) you might actually find information that you could use to prevent potential problems from happening to begin with and 2) if a problem happens, you can fix it faster, making the downtime for the company as short as possible.

          Unfortunately a lot of people still approach business in general with a reactive approach instead of a proactive approach. In the long run, it is much better to be proactive because the company has better productivity and reliability but unfortunately a reactive approach tends to make average bosses think you are a harder worker. They don’t realize that a great deal of work goes into keeping things running smoothly.

          Furthermore, since IT is such a mystery to non IT people the bosses may have experience with IT workers who they respect for whatever reason, a relative or good friend who is actually rather lazy and sticks to the reactive approach and to defend themselves tells your boss that that’s the only way the job can be done (which you and I know is crap). If that comes into play at all, that can be very hard to overcome. I don’t really have any good answers for that one. Perception is everything, regardless of whether it’s the truth or a lie.

        • #2721897

          Fried minds

          by leumas eluht ·

          In reply to may help a bit

          I work in a japanese company my boss is mexican and he thinks i do nothing couse i go out 30 min after my work time (he usually work around 14 hours) i recently start to fill a registry to keep him off my back, besides when i program, he want to start the operation of the new software a few days after i start lol i’m not cokking.

        • #2706450

          Paper Trail

          by randy.r.reveal ·

          In reply to may help a bit

          Most techs I know hate paperwork, but that’s what management understands. Detailing your tasks in a time log will take up some of the spare time and will give your managers something to look at. If the logs are sortable by client, problem machines or people will then be easily singled out for replacemnet.

        • #3308762

          This is true

          by geekz ·

          In reply to Paper Trail

          This also works well when budget time comes around and you need to justify more workers &/or equipment. I have an Access database that I leave open on my screen and just add to it all day. Let me know if you would like a copy!

        • #3294493

          The truth is…

          by johnk39245 ·

          In reply to This is true

          … that people who rely on the paper works are the ones who perform their jobs least effective and inefficient. Let me tell you, these people would spend 5-6 hours of doing paper work and 2-3 hours of work. The job can be done in 10 min but because of the paper works it takes 1 hours or longer to complete. Sadly, I’ve seen tons of these kinds around, they just care about the “looks” but not performance. Yes, I’m so very familiar with these people. I’m the network admin at my 2 jobs, and I only feel sorry for the end users who suffer because they cannot do their jobs while waiting…
          Yet, paper works sometimes needed as important as communication but logging every single of your move and daily task is just sooooo dumbbbb… A boss with good managment skills would know what you’re doing during work not base on paperworks, and he’d try to avoid paper work as much as possible.
          It’s best to establish trust with your boss let them know that you work effectively and problem solving quickly. Explain to them that as an IT professional, there are a lot of background stuff going on that they may not be aware of such as IT daily checklist like backups, system errors, securities, research for improvment… and of course, IT supports.


        • #3185578

          geekz; if you’re still around

          by amdrocks ·

          In reply to This is true

          I’d like a copy of that……..


      • #2706554

        Try an analogy

        by talentonloan ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        Sometimes people need to take the question out of the box and look at it differently. For example, everyone knows that a butcher with dull knives is going to make a mess of his job, and a farmer with outdated / broken equipment will not be able to produce his crop. When things are slow, the butcher sharpens his knives. During the winter, the farmer repairs/perpares equipment so he is ready to work when its time.

        Places like Tech Republic are IT tool acquisition and tool-sharpening sites. Learning something here during a slow time is precisely what is going to enable you to be efficient when you have to be. Or, better, advise you of what is ‘out there’ that can cripple the whole operation and enable you to identify and innoculate the system before something bad happens.

        Hope that helps – blessings


        • #2706106

          another anology

          by mreimann ·

          In reply to Try an analogy

          Fireman don’t fight fires 24 hrs a day. Neither do the ems people drive ambulances and take care of the sick and injured 24 hrs a day. They are paid for their knowledge to be put to work when the nessicity arrises. Kind of like your job. When someone has a technical problem, they call you.

        • #2706018

          Do your job and rest well, if you can

          by tech featureholic ·

          In reply to another anology

          Sometimes it happens people think we are just waiting for a PC to use its “autohealing feature” and not doing anything, when your nonIT boss has this opinion you have to use some paper and your knoledge to overcame his, why not passing forms with questions to determine the QOS so you can show your boss that evrything is going right and some small issues are going to be resolved or in progress, another thing to do is to LOOK for work. I once had this messy network that always had problems but as soon as I got it running I had no problems at all so I decided to put an Intranet to help some office forms run smothly, everyone was pleased that all the PCs were running fine and also I did somthing EXTRA.
          hope this helps goood luck

        • #2706003

          danger: outsourcing

          by net-engr ·

          In reply to another anology

          If you simply use the above analogies (firemen, ems, etc.), you risk having your job outsourced! Management viewpoin: “we’ll buy the talent when/if we need it — cheaper that way.”

          Suggestion 1: how do you bosses think about OJT? Like the farmer analogy, you are sharpening your skills and looking for ways to maximize the productivity of all company empoyees (“research”).

          Suggestion 2: You are also being proactive, looking for threats and learning how to ward them off before they hit. I’m sure they are familiar with the damage of viruses/worms/etc. Explain you are working to safeguard the company from internet threats. Just be careful how you sell this, otherwise internet access gets yanked due to “fear factor”…

        • #2722835

          I’ve heard it all before

          by bidchka ·

          In reply to Try an analogy

          I’ve read about half of the posts from this thread and noticed that nobody from “management” has put in comments. I have had this problem with my superiors before and just one day gave up and gave in. One vice-president explained it to me once. It’s all based on metrics. With a salesperson, you can say I payed them so much and they produced so much. With us ITers you can’t put a metric on our productivity. We get paid so much, but how does one measure what we make/save the company UNLESS something goes wrong. He explained it as working in bizarro world. He told me not to keep things running in tip top shape, because then they won’t get a chance to appreciate your abilities. He said that if they don’t see anything going wrong, then why is he employed here. Wouldn’t you wonder why a company had a janitor if all you saw was them sitting around all day and the place was spotless.

          With me it was a spam issue, I knew the problems associated with it but did nothing about it. Only once it got out of control for one of the other VPs ( about 500 emails a day of junk ) did I install a remedy.

          Basically, we see ourselves in the IT field as important for the company yet they see us in the maintenance department. That’s why we need “messes” even if they don’t exist. It might sound crazy or unethical to some of you but it will ensure your job and $$ increases.

        • #2706350

          So have I

          by oprensr ·

          In reply to I’ve heard it all before

          You’ll not change their mind. Too many bosses sit around spitting out orders because everyone comes to them, else they’d be doing the same thing as you, having some slack time. If they’re smart they understand that. Your boss has to understand the good job that you do and lay off the BS. If he can’t, find some one who does. Screw them, they are egocentrical jerks that think they are the stars of the show. Most don’t even know how to load a copier. If you’re good, you’ll always have a good job.

      • #2706107

        Users request Log & Develompent

        by saxist ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        I really feel identified with most of the comments here. I am the sole IT worker on my company (Small Corporation Unit), within the scope of my responsibilities are users and PC support, IT environment management, IT policies coordination with the corporate division and application development. I have always things to do, most of the time related with System development (be it new features, improvements or troubleshooting). Some times I have sometime free and I feel sort of guilty because I see the rest of the company dealing with the lack of time or resources, but the fact is : if they are working without problems it is (in part) due to my work. But this is not always well understood by the director, who often ask for a report about what did. I have tried to register every incidents I’ve attended to and all the changes/improvements I make over the system, most of the time are requesta that need to be done right now, without the proper analysis process because of the urgency, and all these mess is validated by the managers themselves. SO it is hard to keep a completed report of everything I do, and the way I am looking for doing this it is to add burocracy on the request process, but I think it is the only way. Each user must fill a form within a Lotus Notes database, to ask for every (noy urgent) issue that will be addressed to me. The users complained about it, but I will have what the director asked for, a detailed report of all the tasks requested to me. This is an unfortunatelly usual practice, to add burocracy to get more control and information which no one will process, but it will be there, just in case.

        CHeers !!!

        • #2705937

          Document, Document, Document

          by lagilmore ·

          In reply to Users request Log & Develompent

          I took the Help Desk Trouble Ticket form right from TechRepublic to document each and every request for assistance I receive. I also have a Request for Computer Service & Equipment Form for those “non-emergency” service requests (but it seems everything is an emergency!). So if my boss wants to know what i do all day, i have it in black and white! This helped me get a much deserved raise this year.

        • #3312270

          Make tickets

          by jasoberon ·

          In reply to Document, Document, Document

          That’s right on th Document,document,document posted. I’ve create tickets and when a finish, I tell user to sign my ticket for a sign of conformity. So, in this way I have all documented.

        • #2721599

          Easy Documentation

          by grbrown ·

          In reply to Users request Log & Develompent

          get up a quick form on A4 paper
          User Name:
          Date: Time Requested:
          User Request: (can be any thing not just problems)

          Date Commeced: Time Started: Time Finished:

          Parts Required etc

          Research & Development: Check MS patches for unexpected results on Lab PC etc etc
          Log Times etc against PC if hardware to create patterns to validate replacdement machines etc

      • #2706100

        Communication is everything

        by snicolek73 ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        Having worked in IT for the past decade, I’ve been an IT Recruiter, a Programmer, an IT Trainer, and an Application & Database Developer.

        I sympathize with your situation. I too have experienced your exact issue. It’s not only one of the most difficult conflicts I had to face, between looking busy vs. stretching the task, but it was the single most eye opening professional experience I’ve ever had to divide and conquer.

        I had to make the decision that I was going to immediately and consistently begin to document everything. We built a web-based IT Support Request, each request askin the sender for a priority of the request (1 – 4) qhich was auto eMailed to our blackberrys. This eliminated the need to prove we were busy when the IT team’s beepers constantly were going off in the office.

        Employees would see us zoom by them, and also zoom into their office, ready to help.

        After such tech calls, I would return to my pc and send out an eMail informing the employee and their supervisor that the “error they faced is temporarily fixed, and was being investigated”, or after an install I would send out a global eMail indicating “the new super color printer is available on the 16th floor”.

        I believe this is crucial, as posted by another reader; “measure for example the number of issues you receive each month”. A ticket system produces invaluable reports which are always great handouts to upper Execs/Mgmt. in a bi-weekly meeting. Talking about your schedule and trying to convince them – vs. – the company analyzing your ingenuity due to tangible items such as those reports – are two completely different things.

        Whenever I had a few minutes, between installs or other tech support, between coding, or developing training content…regardless of whose computer I was sitting at, I would blackberry the next step. The numerous amount of eMails. Four times a day, I sent out an eMail to someone, or to a group. Ultimately I was sending out eMails to groups, eMails to individual employees, eMails to Executives, eMails to my manager, eMails to specific departments. I let everyone know of the new developments amongst our team, and the projects we were involved in, over and above our usual tech support role as they saw it. I let our departments know how the new technology we purchased would help them. I pointed out business value to them.

        I not only setup New Hires, but then I eMailed the New Hire with a cc to their new Manager, and my Manager. I introduced myself and our IT team. I began training employees, and developing all software content.

        Basically, I realized that I had so much time on my hands, I ended up keeping extra busy, and earning a 15% raise with a few thousand dollars year end bonus, for 6 months of my new found communication technique.

        In a nutshell, expand your own role, begin creating your position, document everything, and
        communicate extensively via eMail. Put it in writing, and they will talk about it, and won’t have time to question or wonder.

        Hope this helps. Good luck.


        • #2706065

          Good Suggestions….

          by is girl ·

          In reply to Communication is everything

          I totally agree…communication is the key to convincing the powers that be you really are busy.

          The unfortunate thing about IT is that if you are doing your job well, you have some down time. Instead of “looking busy”, start email people with reminders and status updates — as often as possible.

          It’s also important that you let people know what you do on a regular basis that keeps things humming for them. Remind them that data on network drives is getting backed up daily, that they are scheduled for system updates or upgrades, let them know that you are working at night and on weekends to do maintenence on the system.

          Last, but not least, make sure you boss understands that your position requires that you do a lot of research online and that it is imperative that you keep up on technology trends and new so that you can do your job effectively.

      • #3305414

        Absolutely agree with this

        by yosifov ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        I absolutely agree. Key Performance Indicators are very useful to show how productive you are. But i think there is another issue here. IT pros have to constantly document their contribution to the business. If you try to point some problems you have resolved and what was the contribution to the budiness in these cases it might help too i think.

      • #3195271

        Bosses does not get it

        by old-thinker ·

        In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT (KPI)

        I agree with liamothelegend..

        You need to learn how to talk and present yourself by the language that they can understand it. Creating a solid measurement tool that works for you and help them to understand the value of your work would be a effective communication channel between you and your Bosses.

    • #2699128

      Tell them to build you a lab

      by jimhm ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Have them build you a lab – with locking door – then go in – surf – and sleep … all they know is your in your magic room working on PC’s

      • #2706475

        Good luck!

        by webdevbb ·

        In reply to Tell them to build you a lab

        Good luck with that one as I think they always want to be over your shoulder seeing what you are doing and making sure you are working on something. Thankfully I do have my own room (which doubles as the store room, yes, laugh, but it is all mine!!), but they don’t look in too much as they know I have a list a mile long and keep pretty busy, but generally I think that the boss(es) want to know and see that you are working on something.

      • #2706087

        This worked for me!

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Tell them to build you a lab

        My “office” was the primary frame and server room for the building and as such was always kept locked. I rarely got to see it the first few months I worked there, but eventually I was able to resolve as many issues as were opened each day, with the only backlog being those requiring building maintenance support (cable installation, etc.) or parts. I was then able to spend an hour or two each day doing “professional development” in my chosen field, usually without interruption.

        It also helped that I supported 4 different locations…if I wasn’t available at one, then I must obviously be at one of the others…

      • #2705995

        That’s a good idea rock on

        by tlath1972 ·

        In reply to Tell them to build you a lab

        Instead of having pretend meetings that last 4 hours where they spend most of the time talking about personal stuff, we can surf the tech web sites, have tech chats with other techies, read tech post’s, and play tech trivia. All in the name of looking productive (being productive).

    • #2699105


      by michaelpo ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      The key is educating them. If they are normal managers, they do not have a clue what you do, when you are not fixing problems. My goal is to spend more time on the proactive side, making sure the tickets do not get opened. schedule presentations on what you do that makes this valuable to them. Evaluating technology for fit in your business environment is valuable. Applying security patches, service packs is valuable.

      • #2706605

        Education – revised

        by sarahbeth ·

        In reply to Education

        Not only educate them, you said you surf TechRepublic. Go to some of the more technical solutions pages, and show these to the bosses, and tell them you are researching problems, and keeping up todate with current information so that you can be more efficient when the workload slows.

        • #2706599

          Solutions Journal

          by rharper ·

          In reply to Education – revised

          In addition to going to TechRepublic and researching problems, maybe you can print out and catelog key problems and their solutions. This will show proactivity and will give you a database of solutions that will make you even more efficient and effective.

          Furthermore, put together IT and security awareness bulletins which educate the users in how to use the PC and programs. This is also a way to remain visible to management. They will see your bulletins and know that you’re always on the job.

        • #2706513

          Show them it is cost efficent

          by kblack1a ·

          In reply to Education – revised

          While you are showing the upper mgt the tech. education you are gaining from TechRepublic. Show them the cost of a few seminars that you would go to gain the same training. Point out the paid seminars cost $300-500 and you will be gone 1-3 days. This might help, as most upper mgt types will listen to cost of service.

        • #3130070

          Reply To: Bosses just don’t get IT

          by vlape ·

          In reply to Show them it is cost efficent

          another idea, Look at Microsoft’s events in oyur area, 90% are freee. Any boss would agree to free training. See if your other vendors have educational events. Invite vendors to the office to talk about currrent implementations and future growth.

        • #3129920

          “But what if…”

          by noyoki ·

          In reply to Reply To: Bosses just don’t get IT

          Lol, that’s what I’ll hear if I ever went anywhere. “But when if something breaks!?!” Yet they enforce a paper-trail (3 actually, what you plan for the week, what you did for the week and what you did hourly) and when they don’t get their computers cause I’m busy fighting fires (or last minute tasks the attorneys give me that take 2 days straight to do), they get all ansy.

          Honestly, if you are “out of the office” some bosses may think you are playing hookey. Online classes might be a better way to go, this way at least you both look busy and you have something to show for it (even if the boss doesn’t understand it).

        • #3130071

          More education–

          by vlape ·

          In reply to Education – revised

          Get a subscription to Microsoft Technet. Not that expensive, you get monthly shipments from Microsoft. You will allways have something to “research”. The tools and resources on the technet site are invaluable.

      • #2706478

        Technical Jobs

        by richards_unsubcribe ·

        In reply to Education

        Unfortunately, for many bosses, the name of the game in a technical position is for you to work yourself out of a job. The idea is to get things running so smoothly that they don’t need you anymore. Before getting into IT I was a communications (radio) technician for a large logging company and at first they were looking at me a little sideways if I wasn’t frantically running around fixing a mobile, a portable or tinkering with the repeater on the hill. Fortunately, they eventually realized that when things were running smoothly and there was less downtime, the division also made money… a lot more money. If a “yarder” goes down due to equipment problems, radio or otherwise, they were losing upwards of $1000/hr. I was their insurance policy, able to respond at a moments notice, usually with a spare or able to quickly fix the problem on site. Logging operations are in the boonies, usually miles from nowhere. Your bosses have to understand that your are like an insurance policy to them, able to respond quickly when that server goes down or your there to help a “client” when he/she needs their permissions changed. IT is a fast changing business and it’s critical that you keep on top of things; otherwise you cannot serve your employer properly. 802.11b was cool a year ago but “old” stuff today. So keeping on top of trends and issues such as security is part of your job and you?re not an effective employee unless you do. You have to make your boss understand that. Somehow I don’t think your boss has a clear idea of your job description, and I think you need to change that.


    • #2699078

      I understand, been there myself.

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      We are about twice the size of your company with nearly 100 employees on our payroll.

      My (IT) department had 6 people in the first half of the year, in 3 weeks we will be down to 3 people including myself — the department “pseudo” manager is leaving. She was tapped on the shoulder and dubbed manager when the VP of MIS left us last September — she never wanted the job, she’s not a manager she’s a developer.

      Anyway, I’m the sole one responsible for our corporate network, I can get help on the more simple things from my fellow department mates but when it comes to network management, configuring switches, routers, etc…there is only me.

      I’m also the one filling the unofficial role of “lead support tech”.

      Let’s face it in a 100 person company you will have some downtime with no support requests coming in. Hey its worse here if you think your situation is bad, we are in our worse billing year in company history, they are laying people off left and right.

      So what I do when the support jobs don’t come in…I put my R&D hat on and test out new technologies, servers, processes, software (new to our company, not necessarily new as in *NEW* For instance right now I’m working on Windows Server 2003, which we are planning on bringing in-house over the next 6-10 months. I set up a test box in our server room, we have the MSDN subscription so I use those copies of the software to “play” with new apps.

      Along with that I’ll read up on anything related to my job or something that may have value for increasing efficiency, lowering costs, etc.

      Another idea is identify what problems your users have. What are recurring issues or issues that you know several people have related to your performance or technical problems?

      Address those issues, talk to folks with these problems (everyone is approachable just find the right time when they aren’t overly busy).

      We have users who are of the lower skill set when it comes to computers — they were frustrated by using all the features of Outlook. So one day in my “downtime” I created a “quick reference” guide to Outlook with screenshots and step by step instructions. That little document earned me brownie points by the majority.

      So remember the key point is stay useful to your company and be creative and then even in slow periods your bosses won’t think you aren’t worth your salary.

      • #2699039

        I’m right there

        by jinn ·

        In reply to I understand, been there myself.

        Heh heh, I’m also working on a win2003 server for about 4 weeks. SBS 2k3 actually. It goes live in three weeks, and is replacing our old NT servers.

        In fact, I work in a very similar way to you. I identify common problems, send out weekly tips on anything useful for employees, play with new apps that could be useful to the company, etc. I’m not lazy, but there are times when there literally is very little for me to do. Just like there are times when all hell breaks loose. Computers seem to have a horrible habit not breaking in an orderly and predictable fashion.

        As far as my performance with my colleages go, I’m pretty confident that I’m well liked by all. I get alot of feedback from them and its all very encouraging. Its really the perception that the guys at the top have with me. It doesn’t seem like they want to understand how I work.

        I have a boss who is really in charge of operations. He isn’t interested in the IT side of things, so bascially i’ve been left to my own. The only time I report to him is when I have too many people demanding that their task has highest priority.

        When I’m researching win2k3 on the net, they see me “surfing the net”. When I’m installing a system, they see me as just sitting around not doing anything, tapping on a keyboard every now and then. Must I hunch over the desk looking super interested at watching a format bar slow creep itself across a screen? I once used that time to do other jobs, but it does more damage to my sanity than its worth.

        I want to try and change our directors view on IT, and get them to understand that just because I’m not constantly typing away like our programmers, or opening up pc’s every minute, that I’m not actually working.

        • #2698842

          First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.

          by admin ·

          In reply to I’m right there

          First, get a big can of screws and jumpers. Set these to the side of your workbench, then remove anything you are presently worKing on.

          Next take a bunch of dead drives and case skeletons and drive cables and litter your workbench with them in a single layer. Now take out a sharpie and put numbers and question marks and notes all over the pieces you have layed out. Get some boxes and repeat this procedure until you have pathways to your desk and/or workbench that pretty much let you barely see over the top of them while seated.

          Now it is time to take the big can of screws and jumpers and sprinkle them all over your new office like sparkles on the frosting of a cake.

          To finish, rest one arm entirely across one end of the workbench begin a sweeping motion towards the other end ending halfway across the bench. Don’t worry if stuff falls off, it’s all dead anyway, right? After you get this far, set the stuff that you were originally working on in the clear half of the bench.

          Make sure your monitor is set with the back towards your “entrance” aisle and remember that “ALT-TAB” will always get that Terminal Service connection over your browser… NEVER let them see your browser even though you are doing legitimate research!

          Now, make sure in the future every time something breaks, tell them it’s because you don’t have enough time to go through the logs and see what is going to break that day so that you can fix it right before it does. Then, whenever you are surfing, alt-tab the server logs up and start explaining them to people. Most will leave very quickly while you explain.

          Finally, as soon as possible, start rolling out images from a central server or at least on cd or dvd. Don’t sit out there formating and setting everyone up and updating it in front of them. That is a waste of your time and theirs. Set up an image in your work area and then deliver that to them. Then they never see you watching the bar or think they can do this cuz they watched Uncle Fred watch a bar when he put his new copy of Windows on their machine. Instead of Uncle Freds 2+ hour session they see you do it in 5 minutes and then go back to your office to read the logs. To them it’s like the Captain of a starship stopping by to visit and work magic and then go back to the bridge to do everything really important and hard.

          I used to keep my office clean and had really cool fountains and plants and stuff. Everyone complained. Now, my office looks this way because I really am too busy, but you could easily emulate it in the above fashion. Surprisingly, I find I get a lot more respect when it looks like a crazy demented lab than when I clean it.

          If anyone knows of an employer that understands IT and appreciates cleanliness and understands that we all browse to find solutions, let me know. Maybe a sane enviroment would be good. Until then I’m working in the real world with the occasional click of some case screw embedded in the sole of my shoe as I walk down to image a workstation. 🙂

        • #2706614

          You are right, but..

          by itmng ·

          In reply to First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.

          You are right about that but then you might become the electrician of the company.

          When the fridge goes down, who has the screwdrivers? The IT person! call him, he knows more that what others do…

          And then you become the person for all screwdriver related problems.

          I wouldn’t like that. Do you?

        • #2706580


          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to You are right, but..

          I’m the main hardware/software support for about 160 people in the Florida state government. In my shop, the general idea is that if it has electricity in it, it’s IT’s pidgin. Toasters, phones, copiers, etc. We even got stuck with inventory because we have a computerized scanner. It can get interesting, but most of the time it’s just a pain.

        • #2706506

          Been there, still there

          by fairexpo ·

          In reply to IT/Other

          The joke around here is anything that plugs into the wall is IT’s domain. I have an 84 acre complex to manage but with under 100 users. So they are spread out. I have inherited all sorts of weird projects sice I got here. As far as looking busy, in my case I have down periods also, I use them to study for my cert upgrades, R&D new server stuff and upgrade my skills. I’m the only onsite IT staffer so all the weight falls on me but I manage. You can never plan when the PBX and the server will crash at the same time but you can try and give your users a sense of understanding and confidence in you that will keep you out of trouble when it does get slow. Get some place where you can shut the door and not be questioned to study, nap or whatever you need to. Tell them somethings take more concentration, or need a clean environment to be worked on….

        • #2706485

          Try reverse psych

          by grand poobah ·

          In reply to IT/Other

          I have the same problem here, “Hey, geek, the copier needs some more toner”. I use some of my downtime to talk to other departments, sales, advertising, marketing, etc. Not only does it give me a chance to find out needs I wouldn’t otherwise know about, it makes me more visible, more of a “team player” and not just a “geek surfing the Net”. Everybody takes downtime, other departments just think that if there isn’t a crisis, you’ve got donwtime. Plus, I learn some things I can use in my own business. 🙂

        • #2706073

          Computer Janitor reporting for duty….

          by johanncox ·

          In reply to You are right, but..

          Sounds familiar. Beware of any hiring clauses, such as “…and all others duties as deemed neccessary….” I have seen places where the tech crew also ends up power-washing the sidewalks and doing building demolition just so we could have a bit of room. I almost never have time for R&D, unless someone blows up with an instantaneous emergency, and then I get washed from the results. Here, R&D is not of any importance while on the job, but you should bring all new information to add to the organization- for free.

          If things don’t go well, the buzzards begin to land wait for the pickings.

          When I do get a chance to work on projects to increase our PR image, or to continue education advancement, I get the buzzards flocking to the door to look for fresh kill.

          Once, I took flack for instituting a network wide virus scanning procedure in the absence of network based software for such needs. The results were hundreds of viruses, trojans, and adware being wiped out, and increased productivity. I was blamed for the found malware. I removed the scripts and went back to the REACTIVE mindset (dumping PROACTIVITY) and all was well again. They too wish to see me dance from PC to PC to prove that I am working.

          Some places can not see the needs, and only wish to have their personal agendas promoted. In these places, adapt or leave. They never get any better.

        • #2706098

          What an Idea

          by heinogevers ·

          In reply to First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.

          I thought your idea was phenomenal, so I went and tried it myself and by jolly did it work. I even got a raise!! Thanks

        • #2706061

          Dont’ Forget the Mix

          by senior program analyst ·

          In reply to First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.

          Great Plan, But I would add in that at least twice a week move the pile around a bit. Make sure something new is on top to make those regulars lookers and people stopping by (like your boss) doesnt realize that the pile is not being used. Its also a good idea about 1 once a month or so to clean your desk off and start placing these items back on it several a day so it always looks like fresh stuff.

        • #3130065

          Reply To: Bosses just don’t get IT

          by vlape ·

          In reply to First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.

          have you been snooping around my workplace? I discovered this by accident. I generally kept my spot all nice and clean, one week all hell broke loose, the server went down, we blew all of our backup batteries and to top it off cards in the PBX were blowing left and right (not good for a cardiac monitoring facility). Crap over about a 2 week period just kept mounting on my desk as little by little everything got repaired. Oddly, after all the fires were out and i was starting to catch up to my regular work the boss’ visiting my office almost looked as if they were sorry they were disturbing me. Weeks later i cleaned up the area and wouldnt you know i got the “what exactly is it you do all day” talk. Cluttering the area again has kept the “BS” away. As long as i get things done and move my mess around i do not get too many problems.

      • #2706466

        Agree with “been there…”

        by davspa ·

        In reply to I understand, been there myself.

        I am not in that position, have been a developer only, and not a manager or IT resource person, but seems like a good way to do things. This behavior will help the employer out and in the long run give you a reputation for being resourceful. Also sounds like a proactive way to operate. What else could an employer ask for, one who is available when asked for, gets things done, and works behind the scenes to make things better when there is no immediate need.

      • #2706093


        by tazroth ·

        In reply to I understand, been there myself.

        Many times you can’t change the manager, but if you do some simple things, you can change their perception of you while still doing the same things as you are today.

        Often management wants to see paper. Print out some of those TechRepublic articles and put them in a binder. Then you are creating a “reference book”. If you really feel mean, send a copy of everything to them with a quick note on how it applies to your business. CAUTION: They may stop reading all of your e-mails including the ones you want them to see.

        Creating user manuals, process guides, troubleshooting guides, etc. will all help. Remind them that should you be hit by a truck on the way to work, someone is going to have to step in and these documents will help them with that. The key is setting expectations. You will be doing these things “as time allows”. That way all you have to demonstrate is a slow but steady progress.

        So the next time you are formating a hard drive, write up a step-by-step document.

        All of these things will also ensure constant movement, another thing some managers like to see. You will be constantly typing, going to the printer, hole punching, etc.

        Get in the habit of always carring a clipboard with some checklist attached. Even if they just see you heading to the bathroom, they figure you have another stop to make afterwords.

        Good Luck,

        • #3130061

          Allways carry the pad

          by vlape ·

          In reply to Documentation

          I make it a point no matter where i am going to carry a used legal pad. Makes it look better if you have “tech scribble” all over it. I know most people cant read my writing, and on a whiteboard they just get lost. Anytime i leave my desk i have a legal pad in one hand and cup of coffee in the other. If i see someone in the hall i do not want to talk to (or someone who looks as they want to see me) i start “reading” my notes and walking a little faster. Generally if they say something responding with “let me get back to you right after this” works wonders.

    • #2698753

      The fine art of looking busy

      by thechas ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      You need to look busy.

      Even if you are surfing TR or other web sites, you need to maintain a serious business look on your face.

      Choose a few “pet” projects that you would like to spend some time on, and have at least 1 set up to be worked on at all times.


      • #2706567

        Educate yourself

        by unixdude ·

        In reply to The fine art of looking busy

        Yes, the key is to look busy, even if you aren’t. If they decide you aren’t busy enough they will find you something to do… and it won’t be what you would want to be doing. I suggest you take this opportunity to get some education…. like online courses, build a box from another operating system, implement DNS, NIS, DHCP and things on an isolated LAN that will increase your knowledge… and who knows, maybe this will come in handy where you work. And you will look busy while you work.

      • #2706499

        re: The fine art of looking busy

        by dt-it ·

        In reply to The fine art of looking busy

        Agreed. Too many managers are just pin-heads who don’t want to hear logic, reason, or truth. They want productivity or the visual representation of same.

        Subbed one place as an IT-lackey for about 8 weeks. Fix problems, make sure printers and faxes print legibly. Wierd setup. Lackeys were allowed to change the toner carts, replace printer drums, unjam the ungrateful junks, and report greater problems to the Superior-Lackeys who could then recommend repair or replacement. What a JOKE! Lackeys were forbidden to clean up toner mess from off-brand and broken carts. Had to call in a ticket to the Superior-Lackeys for that, too.

        Looking busy there sometimes looked a lot like packing dead carts for return to the reprocessing centers, brand-by-brand. Sometimes, it looked like inventory of carts or ordering of replacements.

        We had a bunch of 3-year-old printers that were starting to break down. Plastic parts that were heat and use distressed. $5 parts that could have been replaced by a screwdriver jockey on any given day of the week. I did some research and suggested that we look into the purchase of $50 rebuild kits for these workhorse network printers that ran 24-7 and were printing 20 of the 24, 6 days a week. In down time, especially on evening shift, one printer could easily be reclaimed in two normal work days, four if things were incredibly busy. Rather than pay an outside contractor to come do shoddy work, utilize the lackeys and sub-lackeys to do rudimentary rebuilds (reads 12 screws removed, replace parts, reassemble). All of the network printers could be rebuilt in a matter of 6 months for the cost of parts since qualified labor was already being paid.

        The suggestion fell on deaf ears. Why save a hundreds of dollars on each printer when we can spend 3-4 times that for new, inadequate printers that require additional trays, more expensive toner carts and which produced inferior quality and quantity? Besides, what would the Superior-Lackeys and their superiors do??


      • #2705928

        Perception counts.

        by a-walton ·

        In reply to The fine art of looking busy

        Yes, it’s perception not reality that counts. Some examples. When you move around the office carry a clipboard. Look irritated, people will assume your working on a big problem. If someone asks how it’s going sigh and say “you don’t want to know”. They’ll assume you’re overwhelmed. Once I was at work early with a coworker, the boss came in, astonished he asked how long we had been in, my friend said “well I’m about ready for lunch”. Reality, we had been there 5 min. Perception, we had been there several hours. One other thing, always be the one who sets expectations e.g.If you think something will take 10 minutes say it will take an hour that way when you finish “early” you’re an effective worker who really knows the job. Are gimmicks like this childish? Probably, but then again so are most managers.

    • #2698602


      by jinn ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Well, thanks for all the input. Couldn’t have helped me out at a better time. Just had a meeting with one of our directors about my position. I’m getting my own lab/office now.

      I’m putting together a list of what I expect my daily, weekly, monthly tasks, and ad hoc tasks to be, so they can gauge how much work I actually do. As well as longer term projects, such as setting up a company intranet on the new server, etc. This is to keep them happy that I do have some work when times are quietly running smoothly.

      I suspect I had someone else high up drop some good words for me and explain my , cos all of a sudden they’re showing a small interest in what I do.

      • #2706542

        now it’s up to you

        by theamazingsteve ·

        In reply to thanks

        I’ve bounced between between being an IT Manager and Systems/Network Administrator, so I know both sides of the equation. Sometimes it is easier to work for a boss that doesn’t know much about IT. All Managers are (or should be) the same, see that workers are doing the work they should be doing.

        Now that “operational” tasks are being defined, make checklists so that your manager can see that they are being done. Consider getting one of those hanging clipboards with binder-like clips on the tap, so you can keep adding new forms.

        As for the “other” tasks, which is the vast majority of your time, keep a log of them. I rate all incoming issues by “Importance” and “Urgency” and show the list of completed and outstanding issues each week. (Yes, a regular meeting is important so that your manager understands what you are up to.) You will probably always have a non-urgent task to occupy “dead” time, so that’s what you are doing when not visibly doing someting else. This way, you can never be accused of “not doing anything important”.

        Start doing “visible work” from your desk. (Remote installs, adding user issues, whatever). This way, the key people will come to know that you can (and do) perform “useful” work from your desktop.

        As for being the “screwdriver” person, that is a challenge. I am Mr. Fixit, and end up doing that sort of stuff. However, I like doing that. (Norm Abrahams wannebe.) What I don’t like is when it becomes part of your work expectation. (I was once paged on the office wide intercomm to report to the staff louge and assemble a foosball table.) To be accountable to your boss, each task needs to be rated and justified.

        Develop “queues” of tasks, High priority, Low priority, and “Forget About” tasks. That last category is important, as you (with your manager’s understanding) have to be able to refuse requests not within your mandate. This may include assembling furniture, mopping floors, helping with home computers, etc.

        So remember:

        HI Queue Urgent issues
        LO Queue Non-urgent, but valid and important
        FA Queue Forget about it, not going to do it

        If an unreasonable request comes your way, put it in the “FA Queue”. (Say it out loud! 🙂

    • #2706632

      Easy . . .

      by paul ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I have worked in various roles as an IT Manager/ Admin for many years now. If you have nothing to do, try putting together an IT strategy discussion document for your boss, come up with suggestions for new systems / solutions, conduct a mini-audit and make sure all your licensing is in line where it should be… Run some security tests on the server, dude – the list is endless. I have never come across a time in IT where I haven’t had a long list of “Would be nice to do when time allows” sitting in my task list.

      • #2706629

        Misses the Point

        by davep89 ·

        In reply to Easy . . .

        This may be true and in most environments it is, but it shouldn’t have to be. First of all, it shouldn’t be necessary to be run off your feet to deemed useful to an organisation, and secondly there are plenty of things (like reading these sorts of things) that aren’t ‘work’ as much as professional development. And I think professional development is something employers should encourage in their employees.

        I wouldn’t classify honing your game playing skills as professional development though!

    • #2706630

      Browsing IT sites is part of your work

      by martin_ternouth ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Your bosses want things to run smoothly and for you to be on
      top of everything that might go wrong. By being so efficient you
      have managed to free up time within your working day to
      browse IT sites proactively looking for breaking issues to enable
      you to anticipate problems before they even appear. If you
      adopted the KPI approach suggested in the first reply, and
      include in it the value of the user community you have access to
      as a consequence of your browsing, you will give your bosses a
      better picture of your contribution.

    • #2706621


      by dougdoyle ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Some of the comments here are exactly right. You should be spending 30% of your time researching and educating. Cite the constant changes in the IT world as why you need to be keeping yourself up to date and ever vigilant for new threats and risks. Good luck. I had a similar issue in my last IT role, and this was how I got around it.

      • #2706620


        by ramrod ·

        In reply to Research

        Why not send a weekly or twice weekly e-mail as with an update of the various projects you are working on, their benefits to the company and what stages you are at? This will have the benefit of them knowing that at least something is happening. I also used to be run off my feet all the time but that does not mean you are working efficiently or productively. A wise old man once said ‘one minute planning can save you two minutes of execution’. Good luck

        • #2706611

          beware of setting expectations too high

          by ·

          In reply to Update

          I agree that regular communication of work completed can be good, however status reports have a nasty habit of being due just at the time that all hell is breaking loose and then when you finally do get the report out the door, its all covered in “I’m really sorry this is late” messages and people get a false impression that you don’t follow up on deadlines.
          Just be careful is all.

      • #2721964


        by rbmoney ·

        In reply to Research

        Just wanted to agree with Doug Doyle. Keep track of time spent training and include it in your activity reports. It might not hurt if you can keep a general breakdown of topics you’re researching, too.

    • #2706619

      Project Work?

      by aaronshim ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT


      I look at IT improvements. We cant simply fix/install PC’s all day. It’s childs play… & boring. Besides, thats what Ghost & RIS are for :D.
      I usually have a number of projects that I will be working on in my “free from support” time. This might include a new corporate wallpaper, screensaver, intranet section etc etc. Also, we always have something in the server event logs thats worth investigating.

      Network Admin.

      • #2705986

        Yes – you need projects!

        by jennyn ·

        In reply to Project Work?

        I agree with the above post.

        I’ve been in your shoes, and I’ve been management. In your role, I never had empty time. Yes – it’s important to be online researching stuff – that’s part of your projects… but what are your projects? if all your doing it fixing stuff, what are you researching?

        It makes more sense if you have projects – what could IT do for the organization that it’s not doing well now? an intranet? are there people who need more application training? could you set up lunch time training sessions? How clean are the server setups… could they be improved? what’s the “next big thing” that the company could use – how will it benefit them and what needs to happen to implementing it? how are their databases? could you design some spreadsheets that automate some key processes? What’s the paper flow like? could technology improve it? Does the organization have computer use policies/disaster recovery policies? do they need updating? how’s security – could it be strengthened? Is data well organized?

        If you just sit at your desk waiting for stuff to break, and aimlessly reading interesting things – then I agree with your management – and as a manager I’d have been likely to let you go gently (outsourcing). If you are proactive and thinking about the whole organization – you WILL find projects and you will be moving on up – become the internal consultant. This is the way I moved from IT tech to IT manager to (finally turning down) IT Director. Internal consultants can’t be replaced by callouts to external engineers.

        You need to shift YOUR thinking from reactive to proactive – Alternatively follow the advice of “First, get a big can of screws and jumpers.” and look forward to a future of ever decreasing pay to experience ratio, and being outsourced and marginalized.

    • #2706618

      Perception & Understanding

      by win0 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I’ve seen enough examples of this and thought enough about this to have arrived at a few conclusion as follows:
      If you have a boss with this perception of you then the most likely reasons are some or all of the following:
      1. Your boss is not an IT person and does not understand what it is that an IT Professional does or needs to do within your particular organisation and ultimately does not understand their own responsibilities as an IT Manager.
      2. Your boss is a dilbert like Manager who does not know how you spend your time and is unable or incapable of drafting any sort of work / training plan.
      3. You are so good at your job and efficient you do tasks that take other people days or weeks in a matter of hours and never have to revisit the problem(s). So, having made what others call “difficult problems” disappear without apparent effort the [dilbert] manager starts to think that everything you do is trivial ?
      4. You “are” a bludger and have a manager that does not deal with it effectively.
      5. You work in an Organisation that does not have a detailed IT Strategy (Not uncommon) that includes Support, training, Performance Optimisation, security auditing, Virus and Patch Management, incident response, Backup & Recovery Planning/testing etc etc.

      There are different solutions to each of the issues all of which can boost your career if handled correctly or destroy it if botched. Remember, the art of Managing a Manager is how to make the Manager look good whilst still getting the recognition deserved !

      These are my thoughts.

      • #2706610

        Very True

        by dsharma ·

        In reply to Perception & Understanding

        I’m working as a system admin in a small software company, my job also includes supporting the developers in day to day operations.

        Is it my fault that I’ve designed and managing the servers which are not crashing at all. Is it my fault that my network environmnet is so stable. Is it my problem that I’m fixing problem then and there in shortest possible time, without making developers suffer for that.

        Is it necessary that everytime i’ve to show myself busy and into the work to get the increment. Is my growth in the organisation is held up just b’coz i’m doing my job wondefully.

    • #2706612

      Just make them fantasize about your absence

      by fbartolom ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Well… of course you should first make this exercize yourself…!

      Assuming you have passed this exam you might want to see the bluff or you would risk otherwise to be kept forever hanging: to do this you first have to double check all your cards, though: namely you should be confortable with the ideas that:

      1) The company would be worse without you in your position – first
      2) No resource cheaper than you may be quickly relocated or hired to take your post for any reason, and
      3) MOST IMPORTANT: there is ANY other position you could take in your company – better if non-IT – that you could be fit well in – this latter provision would save you from having to fight in a lose-lose battle with your company on who loses most between you and the company – perhaps, in fact, few companies would have enough “bad energy” to say to you in sequence:
      a) You are useless in your post
      b) You are useless altogether!

      At least that is my hope as I am preparing for this dialogue myself should my boss reitirate his request of justifying my job to the higher management.

      Good luck, Fabrizio

    • #2706608

      You mean you don’t do 5 hours “billable” work a day?

      by sue’s comment ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Had this problem last week when I literally walked out of my appraisal interview. I asked my non-IT managers to review what I had achieved this year. (I had given them a weekly timesheet log so this was a reasonable request.) Resheduled the appraisal for Friday and what a different story. They realised what a difference my input had made to their busy lives. Can I do more of the same please? Sure!

      I recommend “Take Back Your Life” by Sally McGhee (Productivity Consultant who specialises in Microsoft Outlook). Every task has to relate to your main objectives and be treated accordingly. If you can show this relationship then you have won. You can demonstate that you are achieving.

    • #2706604

      Why organizations get in trouble

      by jacjud ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      The issue goes far beyond IT. The reason why most technical people are hired isto have the capacity to deal with problems as they come up, not to fill up their days with menial tasks. Bosses make the same mistake everywhere. How many times do a bunch of people wait in line for 1 cashier because the others are somewhere else, like stacking the shelves or emptying boxes. Only when someone notices the line that a call is made for a cahier to drop everything else and open 2nd or 3rd cash register. But the customers notice and may never return.

      Most jobs are to do complex jobs quickly and well ASAP. But a tired or distacted employee can’t use maximum skill and brains to resolve the crisis when they have to leave behind an unfinished boring task to do so. And they know that the unfinished task is stil waiting. So does anything get done well, with full concentration? Absolutely not. So people slow down their major task and the system may be up in 4 hours instead of 3 hours.
      And when someone calls about a minor or trivial matter, your day quickly gets filled up and, then when the crisis happens, it goes to the bottom of the line.

      And then people demand more resources to do IT in a timely way. No wonder our productivity drops and companies get in trouble. The hardest thing on a project is to wait for someone else to give you needed information because they fell they can’t spare the 10 minutes you need. Managers get tied in endless meetings to measure progress. If you are in a meeting, who is managing and guiding your staff.
      Same thing in IT. Learning from others or reading new articles means you are upgrading your skills for when the crisis hits. But ansering the phone while typing a complex report can mean the report is days late, if the number of calls breaks your concentration on typing or data entry.
      Electrical workers can restore power quicker the sooner they get there. But they may only get there late because they were doing routine naintenace on some minor part and need their boss’s permission to leave.

    • #2706598

      “Keep Personal Logs” and Don’t be so Fast.

      by aaron a baker ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      This is a problem that is going on everywhere,not just the IT Industry.There seems to be an ideology out there that goes”I Pay you X Number of Dollars and I expect to get every penny’s worth out of you” Unfortunately most of the types of bosses that you describe will ususally only have a cursory knowledge of IT or COmputers at all and as a result “and partly because most ITs make it look easy”, they will feel that since the system seems to be running all right for now, you should be kept busy so as to earn your keep,”so to speak”.What they fail to understand is that the very reason that the system is working so well is exactly because of you and the the approach that you are taking. You are keeping the system “tickety Boo!!” and making sure that you personally are up to Specs in what is going on in the IT world.I would suggest that the next time a break down occurs”And it will” Just be a little slower in repairing it and not quite so quick to jump in and help when someone else get’s into the soup.When you’re asked why it’s taking so long, just tell them you want to make sure they get their money’s worth of expertise. After a few of these, they may just come to realise your worth and allow you to proceed as you chose best.I would also strongly suggest that you keep a log of all your activities including those of checking out new techniques and ideas and then you’ll be in a position to justify your time the next time your questioned.Always keep a log,it’s the only real defense you have against people who don’t know what you do or how well you do it and why.Especially when they are the ones paying you.
      Good Luck

      • #2722177

        Personal logs can be very useful

        by dtu ·

        In reply to “Keep Personal Logs” and Don’t be so Fast.

        Several posts have pointed out the value of logged requests, priority setting and keeping records of work done. The method used should accommodate your own initiatives (such as online research, professional development, network audits, writing and distributing procedures, tips and updates) as well as jobs requested by colleagues.

        A database is a useful tool for personal logs, because you can create reports for a variety of purposes and audiences, including, if you need it, a weekly overview for management.

        Once the data is there, you will be surprised how often you can use subsets of this data in reports. Having it in a database makes it possible to recombine and analyse it in different ways according to the purpose, including cumulative totals of time spent on different projects, types of work or requests from particular sources.

        Some fields that can be useful in logging tasks:

        – Job ID (or Task ID, or Action ID)
        – Date
        – Start time
        – Finish time (this and the start time can be used to automate tracking of time spent)
        – Task description (what you did)
        – Action mode (drop-down list linked to another table, eg Discussion, Meeting, Network troubleshooting, Workstation softare troubleshooting, Workstation hardware troubleshooting, Work process management [such as the personal log or a performance appraisal report], Work break, Leave day, Public holiday [these would show standard start/finish times for a day]
        – Requested by (person – use a drop-down list linked to another table and if necessary include a field on the other table for the department the person works with)
        – Contact (who else was directly involved with the job)
        – Location (drop-down list eg Own office, colleague workstation, server room, offsite)
        – Project (that the task belongs to – use a drop-down list linked to a separate table)
        – Program (bigger picture, for a series of related projects – use another drop-down list)
        – Issue or problem
        – Priority level
        – Decision, outcome or result
        – Parent action (for a series of related jobs within a project or across projects, enter the Job ID of the first job in the series, include this entry in the parent job itself, enables reporting on a thread or series of related jobs)

        This also gives you a tool for reviewing priorities and evaluating job requests. You can track the time used for particular types of work and relate these to the job description and company objectives. The research and professional developments should be accorded importance -several replies have given good reasons for this.

    • #2706592

      Been there, did that

      by mattk ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      One of the things you should already be doing and could use to your advantage is documentation. I use help desk software (lots of cool freeware stuff out there) and a desk log to keep track of my time. I assume you have a job description, there is also a checklist available from the downloads section here that is a things to do list based on member input. Use these things to create your own things to do list. Two things will happen: first, you will be able to show what it is you are doing all day. Second, you will find that your slack time diminishes. I have been doing this stuff for 20 years, several times in the same situation as you. I have always been able to find something to keep me busy.

      One thing that you may want to consider is that your employer may not know what it is you are supposed to be doing. I have found this to be true when I took job as a company’s first IT person.

      Finally, use this opportunity to your advantage. Develop your job, and create a department, not a position. I followed these steps and went from a one man show like yours to a three person department with myself (Admin), a programmer, and an A+ tech. I only had 75 users and 5 servers but was able to justify the extra people.


    • #2706581

      IT Issue

      by ceo ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Hi Jinn,

      I started my career as a computer tech, then worked my way into a network admin job at United Technologies, then at Motorola and finished off at IBM. All admins around the world have the same problem and management, or most people for that matter just don?t understand that an admin is exactly like having and paying for an insurance policy. My suggestion during down time, is to keep a low profile ? in otherwords don?t be seen chatting and enjoying life ? use this time to learn ? say your studying. They still might not understand, but will at least recognize that you are improving yourself for their sake.

    • #2706577

      IT Meetings

      by colin ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      My name is Colin, I am currently an IT manager and also have a IT business, I have been in a similar position previously to where you are and it is very frustrating, I found by doing a mixture of the following helped.

      1. Hold IT Meetings once a month, in these meetings discuss problems you have had and how you have over come them and any IT issues or questions that staff may have can approach you there but make sure that Directors etc are there so they can see what you do plus it will go for you on a CV.

      2. I use my PC to connect to the servers and do a lot of repairs remotely maybe this is a solution for you and also explain and show your managers this so when you are sitting at the your computer they will understand and think that you are probably running updates through the server.

      3. Setup a maintenance program on ALL hardware so every piece of hardware gets a service at least twice a year as this will keep you quite busy and if there is a situations that stops you that week just move it to another week which will keep you busy in the quiet periods.

      Well I hope this helps.



    • #2706576

      like a fireman…

      by ccalvin ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      You may try explaining through your boss that while a fireman is very busy at a fire, they are busy between fires making sure that the equipment is ready and that they are trained in the latest firefighting techniques. Keep a spreadsheet of each activity with categories like “customer service”,”in-shop service”,”training/research”,etc. This will show you and them how you spend your time.

      • #2722052

        Boss is inexperienced or insensitive

        by louadmin ·

        In reply to like a fireman…

        Your boss is suspicious of your activities when you’re not “putting out the fires”. This speaks of his inexperience as an IT manager, or that he really doesn’t value the research and developement aspect of your job.

    • #2706573

      You should look for Objectives Administration

      by dmaspero.edesa ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      For what you tell, your boss has the old administration point of view, you have to LOOK busy TO BE busy.
      In the other hand, it is much better to administer your time measuring how much you reach your objectives, that is, no matter how much time it takes, the problem must be solved, no matter if it is at morning, afternoon or in the middle or the night, it must be solved. I think that is what you have to show to your boss.

    • #2706572

      simplicity in a nutshell!

      by husp1 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Why not print up all the responses here and just leave them in the lunch area and restroom for the appropriate people to see (and any other good location)sometiumes people only get the idea if the see others getting it first. but just make sure they see that this (surfing) is a relivent part of your job and a critical part of their bussiness could suffer from you not being able to do these info searchs and if that don’t work then I have to go with the building of a lab idea. (what they don’t see can’t hurt them)

    • #2706571

      Looking Busy …

      by tbkconsulting ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I lost a job from a large company for this very same reason. However, prior to being laid off I had started to institute a problem tracking database to show the work I had been doing and keep track of longer term projects, etc.

      The BEST thing to do to prevent problems with people that don’t understand IT work is a thing of ebb and flow is to find a way to show them how much work you really do get done during the ‘flow’ times, and to also show what you are doing to help them ‘project-wise’ during the ‘ebb’ times …

    • #2706569

      Improve Communication

      by levitaj ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Your bosses knowledge depends on what you communicate to him. He needs to understand the nature of your job, that you’re doing PM, that you’re updating your skills, etc. He needs to understand well enough to account to his boss. Maybe you should send him an email every week with your accomplishments listed, including PM and updating your knowledge. It might even account for over 8 hours a day. We all spend a lot of our own time keeping our skills up to date.
      Jeff Levitan, technical writer

    • #2706564

      age old problem..

      by tuomo1 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Don’t feel bad – life is just like that. Some
      people understand how the support role works and
      some never get it. Over 30+ years seen this same
      many, many times and seen corporations to react
      wrong way AND later on paying a lot ( some too
      much to contiunue – another story ). You have to
      remember that you ( and I ) propably think the
      best for company – middle management %99 thinks
      only their own benefits, how to look good. How
      else they can say “I need more head count” and
      that’s unfortunatelly how the importance of a
      manager is counted, not the work they get done. I
      don’t ( any more ) that you or I can change that,
      it must be changed from up – see what I mean..

    • #2706545

      Just be invisible

      by sherwindarsoo406 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I generally aviod being seen by my boss like the plague unless I have to. However I have a trick that I employ. Whenever I fix a problem I encourage the employee whose computer that I just fixed to make a comment to the boss like “your IT Dept. is very efficient” or something like that. That way I’ve become like air… invisible but you know that I’m there.

    • #2706543

      Communication is the key

      by tprattbp ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Skill building, research for future deployments, knowledge expansion are all paramount to the IT department. If not done network down time maybe impacted. Communicating that to your employers may be difficult but hopefully possible. There are numerous articles that may be of help dealing with Disaster Recovery, increased threats (external & internal) and treads in the industry. Many of those found right here at TechRepublic.
      I am fortunate that our CEO attends a monthly meeting with other CEOs (sort of a support group for CEOs, since no one understands what a CEO goes through execpt another CEO). This group is mentored by a successful retired CEO who said, in the context of delegating supervisory authority for departments, “Leave the IT department alone.” This is, of course, with the understanding that you’ve hired someone you trust and the fact that IT personnel, as a rule, are doing a job they WANT to do. That is why many of us will spend our own time and resources to continue doing what we like. If you can get that communicated your job will be very enjoyable and a platform for increasing your job skills.

    • #2706539

      Preventive Maintenance, Anyone?

      by your mom 2.0 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      This might not be a popular opinion, but this is how I see it:

      Up to a point, IT should stay busy as there’s always things that need to be done.

      If users have any kind of autonomy regarding internet and email use, there will be a need to scan for viruses and spyware, test and apply Windows Updates (even with SUS and WUS, there’s a need to sync and update the servers), update antivirus definitions, clean out and reseat expansion cards on the client PCs, test older equipment that’s not currently in-use…

      Let’s assume that all PM-type stuff is completed. You could use your spare time to further your education. The internet is a great source for IT-related info. Learn more about your clients’ various software, teach yourself how to use a new operating system, prepare for IT certifications such as A+ and MCSE…use spare time learning something new that would be of use to your company.

      I’ve started building PCs from leftover parts from outdated systems and have been selling them to employees and their families really cheap, and then I take the proceeds and apply it to the IT dept. budget. Not only is it good PR but it also puts money back into the budget. You could also look into donating older equipment to schools and your co. would probably get a tax write-off for it.

      My experience has shown me that anytime you can make money for your company management notices and appreciates it.

      The important thing is to show management that you’re not just sitting there watching the clock. Communicate to others what you’re doing. There’s no reason that times between “putting out fires” cannot be productive…it just takes some discipline and creative thinking.

    • #2706537

      Easy Answer

      by pmadiga ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      IT support positions are similar in demand structure to any emergency response group (think firefighters.) There appears to be quite a bit of “down time”, but in reality the maintenance aspects of the job, whether its hardware or knowledge, are less exciting than than putting out the fires. Ironically, those maintenance activities are essential to enabling the more visible activities. Tell them someone needs to spend time stocking the library or there won’t be any books to loan. Unfortunately, other positions around the company, usually have a more predictable schedule and even flow. Your web surfing will be viewed by most others as goofing off. When it comes to work related activities, everyone wants to get away with whatever they percieve as the lowest calorie burn for the buck.

    • #2706528

      It’s not just the technically challenged

      by tchall ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Keeping track of your projects, workload, and ESPECIALLY those taskings that become labor intensive because the folks asking for them don’t know what they want are critical.
      I had an MIS director that was looking for me to be occupied 8 hours a day and couldn’t understand that I couldn’t just bump users at random to PM their systems. I ended up scheduling about three systems a day to clean up temp files, make adjustments to the software preferences for the user and generally tune-up for performance. This was especially critical since they were STILL using P-75 systems running Win95 As I was doing the necessary I was automating the procedures to run monthly/weekly as needed…
      Preparing documentation of the procedures, setting standards, and generally doing his job for him created an environment that was comfortable since the metric was there to show that I was doing the job…. the only reason I left was the job shrinking to nothing more than moving equipment…no continuing training, or even real challenges for that matter…
      Once I had all the systems setup to do the PM procedures automatically and document them to the network I was cleaning keyboards and mice to look busy… with only 10% of the job having to do with networking or administration it was pretty much intern level work… nice pay grade, but boreing!
      It’s not just the technically challenged that will demand that emergencies be scheduled in between their routine requirements. Right now, when the 800 number rings I’m a consultant, if it doesn’t – I’m retired… much more comfortable job

    • #2706526

      GIVE them what they want!

      by jpenajr9 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I am the ONLY tech of ANY kind in a 200+ employee company that covers 7 south Texas counties. When I am working in ONE of many offices, all the people that cannot find me assume that I am not working. So most days 1 person thinks I am working and 199+ think I am not.

      I am always BUSY…but to fight the perception of the 199+ people who see me going to the ONE office, I carry TWO cell phones (1 company, 1 personal), I carry a large overstuffed briefcase, AND I walk VERY RAPIDLY to and from my car no matter WHERE I am going.

      Why, if I carry two cell phones, do 199+ people NOT find me??? I have come to find that the people that can’t find me don’t WANT to find me…they WANT to be able to SAY that they could’t get it done because they couldn’t find me.

      I can’t fight this strategy other than to say that I was at a certain office on that day.

      That aside, I go through my routine, I hit as many jobs as I can, I do my research, and when I see a user problem developing (that won’t go away) I document.

      I have developed a relationship with the CEO that allows me to talk to him when a particular user gets “too heavy”. During those “talks”, most of the time I can demonstrate that that particular user was late that morning because he/she could not tie their shoelaces and that normally suffices.

      In summary, what I am trying to say is, do what is within your power to combat the negative image, do your job, have supreme confidence in your abilities, but DEFEND yourself.

      A proverb says, “AYUDATE QUE YO TE AYUDARE”.
      Translations are difficult as each person interprets according to his/her experiences, but, to me, this roughly means, “Help yourself AND I will help you”, or “Help yourself SO that I may help you”, or other similar.

      I have read here so many times that it is wrong or, at least, inappropriate, for a tech to even DARE dream that a user could be wrong or over-bearing…he IS the “customer” after all AND aren’t they “always right?”

      If YOU will NOT begin by, at least, defending (helping) yourself…how the heck can you EXPECT for someone ELSE to help YOU?????

      Do your job…fight the perception…defend yourself…

      An old LASER maintenance MasterSergent doing computers now because he couldn’t find too many civilian companies dropping LASER guided bombs….

    • #2706524

      You need to learn to multi-task

      by marca ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I am in charge of the Technology Dept in a similiar size company so I am probably like your bosses. As such, you will probably not like what I have to say.

      There is always so much for us to do and so little time each day I cannot image any of us just sitting around ‘waiting” for something to happen. When we are busy, we are very busy. When we are not busy (ie; waiting for software to load or a disk to format), we are still working on something.

      Why not try working on more than one task at a time. Not only will you not have to “look busy” (because you will be), but you will be a more productive member of your IT Team and company and be recognized as such.

      If you are not given small tasks to do to fill in your valleys, why not seek them out? There is always more you can do to help others within your organization and/or develop your own skill sets.

      • #3092426


        by x-marcap ·

        In reply to You need to learn to multi-task

        Have you ever heard of thinking?

        Since many managers want you to do and not think, thinking has become a nearly lost art…

        Do Something who cares if it isn’t right you’ll be doing something…

        I take the Hipocratic oath “First do no harm…”

    • #2706523

      Accountability and effectiveness

      by ctcgitsupport ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Jinn, after working in the IT industry for years, communicating effectively with management can certainly be challenging, especially when it?s IT related. I have found that it does help to document and account for everything you do, I mean everything. Whether it be preventive maintenance, follow-up, documentation, inventory, changing out backup tapes, time spent seeking cost-effective alternatives/solutions such as lowering the cost of printing cartridges etc. This may sound very simple, but you maybe defending why you are there and why they pay you what they do. Start by building your case and proving to them that they need having you around, by logging what you are accomplishing throughout the day. If you are dealing with critical related issues, document this, briefly mentioning the possible problems that could had resulted hadn?t this been addressed. Also, remember, if you assist someone with an IT issue, kindly ask them to offer some feedback to management about your response time, how you minimized downtime and overall the quality of your service. Take pride in what you do and convince them that they really do need you and it is a delight having you around.


    • #2706522

      It is Professional Development

      by thomas_hausmann ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I expect continuous improvement and study of the team when daily responsibilities wind down. It is all part of being prepared.

    • #2706521

      Waiting for the dinosaurs to die off.

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      The managers of my generation learned their jobs at the end of the assembly line era, when people had to perform like robots. The line could only move as fast as the slowest worker. These dinosaurs have not been able to adapt to the post-industrial era, in which work does not occur in standard-size chunks like the hamburger patties in a fast food joint.

      “Management” in the industrial era was really “supervision”: nothing more than taking attendance and keeping an eye out for people who were trying to cheat the system.

      Today, managers actually need to know how to manage — and they DON’T! Perfect attendance, prompt return from breaks, and always being busy are no longer the measures of a good employee. We have to measure their RESULTS, not their TIME. And our brains are too calcified to be able to learn how to do that.

      This is why the highly successful telecommuting experiments of the early 1990s were quietly discontinued. Even though most employees were quite capable of doing their jobs at home, their managers were incapable of managing workers whom they couldn’t spy on. Imagine how much more neurotic your boss would become if he couldn’t SEE you! He doesn’t care what you DO, his opinion of you is based entirely upon enjoying your obedient servitude!

      All you can do is remember this and make an unbreakable vow: When you finally become a manager, you will be wiser than these guys. You will learn how to manage results rather than busy-ness.

      When the new generation of workers comes into power — people who have been using IM and webcams since they were old enough to click a mouse — management styles will abruptly change. A nice byproduct will be a telecommuting revolution, which will cut the country’s petroleum consumption by about 80 percent and make a military occupation of the entire Middle East unnecessary.

      • #2706516

        WOW…and I AM an old dinosaur……

        by jpenajr9 ·

        In reply to Waiting for the dinosaurs to die off.

        Excellent VALID points…….

        Although “I AM an old dinosaur……”, I support my users through one of my two cells, through a tunnel to my network from home….hotel….unsecured wireless on some street…

        BUT…I don’t let this be known…otherwise, HOW could I be working if I am NOT at the office???

      • #2705973

        Trust Management is Key

        by michael_rempel ·

        In reply to Waiting for the dinosaurs to die off.

        The difficulty with any remote management solution is trust. The problem with results oriented management is that managers are not able to pass judgement on value recieved by simply watching results. Management is concerned more about getting the most EFFORT possible out of you, not the best RESULTS. This is because of the false perception that if you find a way to do it quicker or better, then you ought to make the time savings available to the company to do other tasks. In other words you sell the company hours, not tasks. Your task efficiency is a ill defined requirement that is hard to manage. Your task dedication, or appearing to be busy, is easy to measure. People do what is easy.
        I doubt we will ever get past measuring servitude, no matter what the technology. This is especially true in traditional job shops, where inovative thinking is systematically stomped out. Such companies exist, and will likely exist for a long time. In fact I think they are staging a come back. As the cost of commodities like oil, wood, and food rise, the old school of buisyness management (pun intended) raises its ugly dinosaur head. Perhaps some innovators can punnish this behaviour enough to kill it, but that will take some doing.
        For those companies willing to innovate, the communication paradigm works wonders. Remember that your communication will always be most effective when it engenders trust. The fears that matter are often harder to identify. Your company culture will inform you. Be sure to include measures that seem to indicate that past failures are behind you. Review these factoid come statistics regularly with the folks who ‘have concerns’. And dont forget the most powerful confidance maker of all. Smile. Yup, a smile on your face will do more for your reputation than any other single factor you can enumerate.
        Those of you who just swore at that statement need to calm down. IT people put far more value in competency than any other social group. Communicate with them on their level.
        WE know the real score, but THEY need to FEEL CONFIDANT. So just give it to them. Speak their language, and know in your own mind that you have the competency to back it up.
        Another thing that helps is to go out of your way to understand the financial mechanisms your senior people use to evaluate company performance. Then use that information to support your organization. Even if you are anciliary to the process. When you recomend software, do so on the basis of ROI or what ever standard they us. Show them the calculations. Show results that shows them value on their terms. Even if you dont get it exactly the way they usually do it, you will impress simply because you care about how they communicate. You may need to be careful to say that you ‘think’ your numbers are good, but since you are no financial expert they need to review them. Most managers guard their jobs and priveleges with an iron fist. If you are percieved as a threat you could be in for a rough ride for no good reason.

      • #3294569

        The Downside of Medical Technology

        by sartre1 ·

        In reply to Waiting for the dinosaurs to die off.

        Pure genius and exactly correct. The only thing I will add is that Managers, in the traditional sense, will no longer be necessary and being PowerPoint certified will no longer constitute as “learning without walls.”
        Future organizations will be relatively flat and the old school, Henry Ford model of office management extinct. In fact, despite all of the buzz-words and overzealous optimism of the 90s “Reengineering The Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution” is still an accurate prediction regarding the future of work and corporate America.
        In terms of the specific old school criteria you mentioned: perfect attendance, prompt return from breaks, and always being busy, are all irrelevant to current IT objectives in supporting the core business functions, blatantly derived from obsolete factory or manufacturing based objectives, and mostly used to perpetuate the existence of obsolete Middle Managers “supervising” workers in a physical office. Personally, I have avoided all of this via contracting and burning bridges (their term, not mine) like a crazed arsonist **** bent on annoying the Army Corps of Engineers.
        Thus, I am always busy either on site or at home testing new Oracle, PHP, Linux, Solaris 10, etc. features yet never busy beyond what is necessary to bail out that honorary Krispy Kreme veteran…rinse, repeat. Sure, it is a lonely, hectic life of an IT heretic who pays for his own books and lacks a good plastic hip savings plan but until the Mayo clinic has a run on baboon hearts or the Insurance industry puts a cap on the number of plastic joint replacements, old school bosses and even many frontline real estate agents, Amway salesmen, and part-time hotdog vendors (yes, I witnessed this within the ranks of an old school IT department) posing as IT employees love the smell of hot doughnuts in the morning and have been making a go of looking busy ever since their asses went numb in that anti-ergonomic office chair over 40 years ago.
        On a side note, even if the evils of telecommuting had finally been recanted by the Vatican as well as expert IT Managers still confused by the acronym “ISP” I am not sure the war in Iraq could have been avoided as (1) what about the fact Jesus wanted the war (2) just because we don’t “need” the oil that doesn’t give us the right to speak for Texas (minus Austin), and (3) Saddam was thinking about WMD’s…you could see it in his eyes…you have to look at the satellite photos real closely but you can tell he was thinking about building them or at least posting the “how to” or even the “where” docs on the Internet like the NRC.
        By the way, your reply could be cut and pasted as a universal explanation of virtually all complaints, woes, and strange odors associated with IT Management in America.

    • #2706520


      by gsquared ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I build/upgrade/maintain a workflow database and front end for the company I work for. My boss is always happy to see me sitting and staring at the wall or surfing IT web pages because he’s clear on the fact that those are valid methods of working on my job. Most other employees, he’d be quite upset if they were tapping their fingers on their desk and apparently counting ceiling tiles.

      If it’s resolvable, it has to be through communication. Explain that “surfing IT sites” is how you keep your skills sharp, how you research solutions and how you learn how to prevent problems. Do those things honestly, communicate them clearly. Don’t go surf e-Bay while on the clock, of course. Periodically let them know “hey, I just found an answer to one of our problems on this web site!” when you find such. Don’t wait for them to ask, get excited when you find a solution, let people know how you found it. Do it honestly, but do it loudly (well, reasonably loudly), and pretty soon, in most situations, people will look at you surfing for IT data and understand that it’s a good thing.

      If, on the other hand, surfing sites like this isn’t really improving your abilities in IT, isn’t providing you with solutions/preventions, then don’t do it during work hours. Find something that will increase your skills and let your boss(es) know that that’s what you’re doing. Most will be happy with that.

      If, on the other hand, your boss is someone who only understands the physics definition of “work” (mass moved through space and time) and who doesn’t get that research is a part of doing an IT job, and can’t grasp that no matter how much you communicate it, you’re out of luck.

    • #2706512

      Find a place where you’re appreciated

      by lcave ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Dust off your resume. You will never change the perceptions of the “higher ups”. Find a place where they understand and appreciate you.

    • #2706511

      Document, Document

      by cattx ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      The best way to get any boss to understand what you do is to doument a day or two of your work. Better yet, document everything. When they complain, you have evidence. Putting it on paper makes all the difference.

    • #2706510

      You’re a utility

      by wahooguy ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I work in the IT department for a technical college. Five years ago, there were 5 people in the department doing everything from network support to programming positions. Today, there are 10 of us without any “new” responsibilities, including an Executive Director that sits on the President’s cabinet, something we have never had before.

      In our first college-wide meeting after the Executive Director came aboard, he gave a presentation on what IT did. This was mainly because employees were quite blunt in their views that we had doubled our staff and saw no tangible results from the hires. (Keep in mind we don’t teach, or enroll students, or advise students, or process financial aid, etc.) Our Director compared us to an electric or telephone utility. When you pickup the phone or flip a light switch, you expect it to work. You assume the electric/telephone/water/whatever utility is doing things in the background to make its service more reliable (who hasn’t experienced some type of outage), more efficient, replace aging equipment, etc. In all honesty, you *don’t want* to see a technician; that means something is wrong!

      When people turn their PC on and it works, they can connect to the network, print to printers, access network files, etc., you *are* doing your job. Have any viruses lately? Nope! You *are* doing your job. Have any mission critical apps/files unavailable/lost lately? Nope! You *are* doing your job. Management needs to understand that when you are working in their eyes, someone else probably isn’t working.

      Just wanted to give a slightly different perspective on the IT justification arguement.

    • #2706502

      Maximize IT Productivity

      by dave.a.minnich ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Your situation is not uncommon, especially in small IT shops. The ideal situation is that IT employees who work in the “peaks and valleys” type jobs should have back burner IT tasks they can pick up on during the valley periods. I think the ideal type of activity for these periods is research into new technologies. You are probably already doing this to some extent while surfing, but organized and directed research is much more effective at bringing a return to the business as a number of employees can be working on different areas instead of individual employees drifting along their own areas of interest – with no reported results, and potentially duplication of effort with others.

    • #2706501

      Enjoy it while it lasts

      by erik.langeland ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      At some point in time the company will grow just enough that your to-do list of smaller issues and upcoming projects will grow faster than you can work through it, but not so fast that the company can justify hiring someone else. That’s where I’m at right now – my to-do list was big at 4 pages at the beginning of this year, and now it is 6 pages and counting.

    • #2706497

      It’s your boss’s fault !!!

      by itdood ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      It sounds like you’re at a junior help desk level?

      Managing perception is something your boss should be doing.

      Here are some suggestions to make to him or her.

      1. Reporting. Run a help desk software tracking solution and report on your work. We currently use Track-IT, but have a custom Access DB I threw together myself. Your boss should spring for a software solution.

      2. Benchmark. Compare yourself to industry benchmarks. i.e. techs to staff rations, techs to server ratios, etc.

      3. Keep busy. There’s always something to do. Your boss needs to come up with a decent maintenance schedule to follow between fires. Your boss should also have you working on longer term projects between spikes. If I were your boss, and you continued to have the attitude that you deserved ?down time? between break-fix, I?d have to let you go. I personally won?t tolerate slackers on my team.

      Since none of these are being done now, I’d venture a guess that the head of IT at your company is incompetent. You may end up becoming a scapegoat for their failure. If you can’t get perception fixed, be prepared to abandon ship.

      Perception means everything, even undeserved perception problems can get you fired.

    • #2706494

      Possible suggestions

      by joekool24601 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      You said this is a small company- how small? I am the sole IT support for our atlanta office, which has 75 employees, and I still get downtime. Because of the location of my desk, no one ever really knows what I am doing and I am forced to make myself personally accountable to myself. In your place, I would spend my time researching things. If you are constantly showing a commitment to improving your skills, you are increasing your ROI to your managers by educating yourself (avoiding most company-related expenses) and certainly making yourself worthy of greater compensation. It may also unintentionally let them know that you could have other options available. I’m not saying to sit around and read, but rather to branch out and experiment. You will appear busy, that’s for sure! Also, if that is not an option, you could consider taking on additional responsibilities, such as managing the phone system, security system, or finding additional ways to increase collaboration within your company in the technical realm- for example learning about video teleconferencing for work with outside clients. Or, maybe you need to change employers- the way things are going, it sounds a bit radical, but if management thinks you are not “busy enough”, you may be forced to pursue that option anyway. Good luck!

    • #2706489

      Give THEM something to do….

      by gdoc ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I utilize several system health check and monitoring utilities. I generate reports out of these platforms to give semi-daily status reports to the managers, and weekly to the directors. Even though this is a mostly automated process, it gives a snapshot of whats going on in the environment. I tend to give a bit more information than is absolutely necessary so as to clue them on the complexity of the task.

      This practice does mean I am in a meeting explaining the actions taken and the ongoing research into the causial factors and fixes about once a week, but does keep them off of my back as I try to resolve ongoing issues.

      Additionally, never sit with your screen viewable from behind, and always have a monitoring front end up.

    • #2706483

      I’m in the exact same situation

      by rrosca ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      We have about 45 employees and I am the sole admin. I take care of everything from desktop support to our routers, firewall, exchange server, ftp and website.

      As you say, sometimes the workload is incredible and I have been know to be here 48 hours in a row, but sometimes the workload is not as bad.

      I have made it a point to bring the following in every one of my employee review:
      “If things are running smoothly, then that means I’m doing my job properly.” I hammer this every time I have a review scheduled.

      The other thing I do is get involved in all facets of work at my company. We are architects and this means that I’ve learned how to support autocad and I have autocad running on my desk 24-7.

      But generally my bosses are very understanding and know that if the the exchange server, for example, hasn’t gone down once in the three years I’ve been here then that means I’m doing my job. They just get it.

      In closing, I also point out to them that by being on or I am keeping my skills up to date and save them a ton of money by not having to go to school.

      It’s amazing how much you can accomplish with a little bit of communication.

    • #2706482

      Watching a disk format?

      by cherring ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      If you’re sitting there waiting for a disk format to complete, you really are “slacking off”. Most IT staff perform multiple tasks at one time, otherwise we would keep up with the workload.

    • #2706477

      maybe this would help

      by imitra ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Hi Jinn,

      Do a cost-benefit analysis of “when you are working to fix something and when your systems are running smoothly”…the more you systems are working smoothly…your case becomes stronger…becoz downtime is less… production is high…and then present it to your bosses

      best Regards

    • #2706474

      Why not operate as a professional?

      by onthego ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I see alot of this type of whining out of so-called IT types that signifies they are truly “technicians”. A utility type that is apt to be outsourced/off-shored to a cut-rate company that pays sub-standard rates with little or no benefits who employ only wrench types to go turn the screw when it is loose. This is a prime example.

      It is better to perform as a professional that demonstrates self motivation and can establish tangible, definable “projects” and market those initiatives to the right people, gaining buy-in for improvements in the overall IT network infrastructure and service delivery. In this manner, you are not only building better relationships, but are performing something viewed as useful to the company. At the same time you build for yourself a better career and a better resume. The “defined projects” do not need to be big, or even have a tangible cost associated with it. They should, however, reflect tangible improvement and forward thinking.

      Try patterning your work habits as a professional consultant even though you are company property. Outside professional consultants have to document and communicate their purpose, how they are doing it and status. It sounds as though there might be some need to improve communication as to what you are doing in slack times and how it is really benefiting the company.

      • #2706050

        Harsh but True

        by cbarnham ·

        In reply to Why not operate as a professional?

        Couldn’t help thinking the same thing, although I would have worded it differently! It’s all about making something out of the time you have spare – showing initiative, that you can work unsupervised and give (unexpected) benefits to the company. Just looking busy doesn’t do anyone any good.

      • #2722139

        Yup. Proactive vs reactive

        by pbt ·

        In reply to Why not operate as a professional?


        Pursuing the “firefighter” analogy will put any employee in the ‘reactive’ basket: its a big basket. When not actually reacting, employees that want to stay employeed or get ahead a bit should be looking for ways to avoid the next crisis and improve things from their own angle (adding value). Step two is to ensure the value is recognised.

        Of course professional reading is a requirement, its just a matter of how much is done on company vs personal time and appearance is 95% of everything 😉

    • #2706112

      how’s your documentation?

      by dbachovin21 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      If you can’t come up with things to do to keep busy you probably are like most other admins and don’t take the time to keep your documentation up to date. This is an admins biggest responsability but more often then not is mostly ignored. You have to think that someone else may need to know about your systems configurations, patch levels,etc. Your management will be grateful and you may find out more about your environment so that you won’t have to be putting out fires as often.

      • #2721900

        Documentation is the step-child

        by thompson ·

        In reply to how’s your documentation?

        I have been in IT for over 20 years. Every place I have been to (with VERY few exceptions) the documentation has been sorely lacking. If you have hours in a day that you do not have any fires to be put out, spend 30 min and document what the problem was and how you solved it. This can be put up on the internal web in a FAQ format to help the user help themselves. This also is then a way to show your manager how you are helping the company for years to come.

    • #2706105

      Define SLA’s and have them buy you a couch for your office.

      by spankyb ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I’ve never worked for a none-IT person that has any clue what we do for a living. Having said that: Step One, the way to protect yourself from these fools is to define a set of Service Levels that you and your supervisor can agree on. This helps you prove you actually do something for a living.

      Second) You need to make sure you are working in a proactive manner as oppose to a re-active manner.

      A very wise instructor of mine once stated, “An IT Administrator that is doing his job properly should be laying on the couch in his office watching TV”. An explaination is in order, if you’re doing your job right, everyone should be happily working away and you should have no problems to deal with. Problems cut into your couch time.

      Stick with it, have a nice day. -spanky

    • #2706103

      communication … status reports and plans?

      by nearthesea ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Others have emphasized communication, you may want to sit down with your boss and find out if he/she would like a regular status report and how often. Or just do it. Keep a log of everything you do including research, preventative maintenance, etc. and report it. They may need to ask you to turn down the level of detail 🙂

      The other option is to do some thinking on where you need to go in terms of IT — especially if you aren’t getting the direction on this from above — and start working on making it happen. For example, are you happy with the level of security you have? If not what’s missing and what can get you there. Are you happy with the level of training people have on security or best practices for being a road warrior/remote access? Consider setting up a regular training for that.

      Then communicate your plans and start implementing!

    • #2706089


      by w2ktechman ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I am currently joggling the same things, but my bosses know that it is good to keep me around. I have found that if there are any questions about the websites that I visit, I just say that I am learning or researching a problem. In most cases this is true, but there are other things that I would say can help out as well. Often I assign small projects to myself and post them to my manager upon completion. Mainly these will fall into the documentation, automate or script something to make common tasks easier and faster, etc. Often they do not take that much time and if it gets busy, I can drop them quickly and come back to them another day.
      Since things are getting done

    • #2706083

      Add Value

      by jdonna ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      The problem you describe can be tough. Show them the research you do is valuable.If you can help them see that your job is more than problem resolution, it will help. Give them some results they can see–a technology plan, research on new products that would be of benefit to the company, reports on changing issues that impact the company (spyware/adware, viruses, etc.), a newsletter on safe computing practices–any of these would allow you to do research at your desk and show them that there is some value in it for them. This may mean doing some research on your own time.

      If you can find a sympathetic executive, tell him/her that you are trying to move from being reactive to being proactive. Get the ok to research new technology that would be of benefit to your company and then report on results.

      Good luck.

      • #2705910

        Know what that;s like!!!!

        by ecadogan ·

        In reply to Add Value

        Ever so often you need to produce “something major” to convince your boos that you are worthy of your fat paycheck.

        Roll out a new intranet, put the company newsletter on the intranet, retire some old PCs, bring in a new printer, upgrade to a newer version of Office or something, produce a revised draft of your strategic IT plan for your boss to review, change some old cabling or old cards. do minor upgrades during the day, which would require the mail server to be offline for 10 minutes max.

        If you’re like me you have a 100 item list of things to do, but you have to have time to research each of them (even though you could do most of them with your eyes closed). So your time spent on research sites (and working on your thesis, projects, upgrades to your car, home stereo) factor in as research time before you implement one of your endless list of upgrades.

    • #2706081

      Scotty of the Enterprise had the right Idea

      by senior program analyst ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I often use the phylosophy of Scotty. Any job I have to do I always estimate the time I believe is “Normal”. Add 1/2 that time for the “unknown suprise issue making it not normal”. Double that figure to tell everyone when to expect to finish. Even though you finish in half the time every was told make sure you don’t turn the system back on with the finished result until close to the estimate they recieved at least for the non-critical items. That way when you run into a critical issue and are able to get it up and running in 1/2 the time – you look like a genious. And even the times you come close to the given estimate you still beat it out so no one has too much to complain about. While waiting for that “possibly unneeded” defrag to complete after installing the system with Ghost you could be writing up a quick step by step document to give the users for them to follow the next time thier printer jams.

    • #2706078

      Two words Formal Process

      by havenmoth ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Develop and set a process that racks all that you do, create weeekly/monthly status, keep them busy analyzing your numbers and smile smile smile….

    • #2706077

      The boss will have to learn the hard way

      by bluemoundshandyman ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I remember back in the early days of IP, when Novell was king of networking, and email actually increased efficiency.

      We had a single IT wizard, a corpulent fellow I will call Scott. Scott was fond of eating donuts, and always sighed deeply and soulfully whenever he was requested to get up and iron out some network difficulty.

      As he was the son of one of the company higher-ups, we all considered Scott a big slacker and bitterly resented his relaxed lifestyle. Carping ensued, but we never got any “satisfaction.”

      Finally, Scott got a better job in the IT department of a large corporation in town and left us. We were happy to think we would get a more diligent replacement for Scott. In fact, we got two replacement. Fit fellows with good academic IT backgrounds.

      You know what is coming…

      Nothing ever worked correctly again. These two were constantly trying to upgrade the system to improve performance–but it never worked. They demanded bigger and better computers and the newest operating systems–which broke existing software solution we had been relying on. They required that everyone standardize onto a single operating system if they wanted support, so Mac users had to do their own IT or give up their beloved systems (well, that part worked out–I learned to take care of my own stuff).

      In short, we entered the IT hell known by so many other companies whose IT people were long on busyness, but short on clue.

      As my boss ruefully stated about a year after the flying monkey IT guys showed up “Scott could run the network better sitting in his cubicle eating donuts than these two working 24/7.”

      Maybe you can get an immediate supervisor to define your browsing time on TechRepublic and such as “research” and require you to do it between 10-20 hours a week, unless emergencies prevent you. Then you just have to bitch about it once in a while to keep the carpers quiet.

      Otherwise, your supervisors may one day learn the lesson of Scott the Donut Eater.

    • #2706060

      Small companies may just need a simple priority list

      by allpurposetech ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I used to be the sole IT guy at a small construction management
      company, and yes I tended to be in charge of anything that
      plugged into a wall. I also had admin-related duties such as
      setting up new Bills of Assembly for new jobs and helping fix *&
      create systems to make the secretaries’ roles easier. My role
      expanded into FileMaker Pro development and other activities
      like buying & selling used office equipment on ebay.

      With all these activities I was always busy, but there were
      frequent clashes about priorities with my boss, who was also the
      CFO. We solved the problem with weekly meetings during which
      I would go over a simple one-page priority list with maybe a
      dozen items. As things changed through the week, I would make
      a new revised list and put it in her box. That way she always
      knew what I was working on. And if certain things near the
      bottom never made it to the top, she was the one who made the
      decision what to do about that, not me.

      That said, I was not a complete success because of my tendency
      to underestimate time for tasks and feeling guilty and overly-
      explanatory when the unexpected inevitably happened. Part of
      this was due to my ambition to make a big difference in how this
      company operated, transitioning them from a mom-and-pop
      dysfunctional family to a scaleable business that followed the
      best practices of the industry. I assumed this agenda was shared
      by the principals, and while they would make occasional noises
      of agreement, when it came down to it they just wanted to
      keep doing things their way.

      So the shared list of priorities kept us on the same page
      operationally, but in the long run our visions of how the
      company was to move forward diverged, and my habit of
      underestimation undercut my own confidence.

      I now have my own consulting business.

    • #2706043

      You have nothing to do?

      by dba doc ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I have been in IT for 30 years in many, many different positions: application programming, software support, database admin. I have NEVER been in a position where I have NOTHING to do. There is always tuning, documentation, procedures to update, code that needs fixing, people to train, … all the little things that are not crises but are on my “when I get time” list. I wish I were as good as you so I could get paid for just sitting around. Come to work for me and I’ll keep you busy.

      • #2705939

        Have to agree

        by taewen ·

        In reply to You have nothing to do?

        Even for a small network of 50 or fewer users, I’m sure I could make a very large list of items that a network administrator could accomplish in slower moments, and I’m sure you could too. The probable reality is that you don’t want to do any of those things because they aren’t ‘fun’. Apply yourself to the less desireable tasks and get them done.

        Take your supervisor’s hints and find better ways to fill your time. TechRepublic and sites like it are great tools to have, but they should be used as tools, not as an escape from less desireable or mundane tasks that you could be completing.

      • #2722133

        Maybe we do not get it….

        by mattk ·

        In reply to You have nothing to do?

        I have had a job where there was exactly 34.5 hours of down time a week. I was Net Admin at a training facility that had 3 35 node computer based training labs, 50 staff users, 10 remote users, and one computer controlled trainer. One hour a day I checked logs, verified backups, and otherwise did all of the routine, mundane things that any net admin does daily. 25 minutes a week were spent updating training files. The final 5 minutes were spent updating anti-virus software. It was so routine and dull that I spent my free time finding a more challenging position.

        The goal of any admin should be that their product provide uninterrupted service with a minimum of maintenance. In my boring job I replaced a young man who had attained that very thing. There were never complaints from users, everything just worked right all the time. Of course, that was back in the day of Novell and Windows for Workgroups. I think that with today’s “improved” software, operating systems, and hardware we have become numb to the fact that the goal is supposed to be systems that simply do what the business needs done without interruption and relyably. We have become so accustomed to having to “fix” things and monitor our systems that we now think that is the norm. I can assure you that is not the case outside the IT department’s doors.

        I would venture to guess that Jinn is a fairly new net admin who has not had the pleasure of working for an IT manager before this position, and may not know what she should be filling her time with. I am sure that she does not need indignant responses from folks who do not have nor ever enjoyed her point of reference.

        We also do not know what her employer’s expectations are. For example, in one past job I was expected to maintain meticulous inventory of physical assets. I was not, however, permitted to spend any time inventorying software assets. This wound up playing a major part in my decision to leave an otherwise excellent position.

        With these things in mind I would like to offer her the following suggestions:

        1) Document your network. Create documents that reflect every aspect of your network the front door to the back.

        2) Develop your disaster plans, and test them.

        3) Develop procedures and user guides based on company policies.

        4) If you do not have policies, develop them.

        5) Learn your company’s business, what they do and how they do it. It will make you better at your job.

        6) Get your software inventory in order.

        These are just some things that should be done for Jinn’s employer. I am sure it is what they want but may not have accurately articulated.

        Jinn, go to TR’s downloads section and search on checklists. It is a great place to start for these things, and you get the benifit of having someone else do much of the groundwork for you.


    • #2706016


      by technicalmumbojumbo ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      How can any company IT staff member ever look not busy? You’re either a miracle worker or your boss should be worried. There’s always room to upgrade, improve or automate something to make your own or other employee’s lives easier. The business changes daily; it’s impossible to honestly sit down and say “I’m done” in this field. I manage a staff of four technicians and we are responsible for the operation of twenty something servers and 1500+ PCs. Handling Helpdesk calls from some 300 – 500 full and part-time employees, most of whom don’t seem to have a clue how to use a computer. (they require a lot of hand-holding – and you have to do it if you want to move up in the organization) Nothing to do eh? Factoring in staff sick and personal days and their vacation time it often seems like there are only 2 of us here on any given day, kicking our feet furiously, fighting to keep our heads above water. I don’t have the luxury to be able to prioritize my staff’s tasks, but rather spend my time prioritizing emergencies; Trying to decide which emergency is most important to address today. What fire is affecting the most users and hopefully only one fireman can handle it.

      Must be tough to be you. Your boss probably wouldn’t be so hard on you if everytime he came to your office he didn’t see you with your feet kicked up on your desk while you sit there surving porn sites, with your zipper open or watching another one of the movies you’ve been sucking up their bandwidth downloading.

      Just a tip. Leave the slippers and bath robe at home.

    • #2706014

      You are a Computer MD

      by aapjanaya ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Though people are getting acquainted with the realm of PCs, usually they don’t understand how their operation and maintenance goes, also that they can have diseases.
      Try telling them you are something like an MD at the emergency room, sometimes its quiet sometimes not.
      If you are dealing with very old fashioned people tell them that PCs are their pigs and you are the Vet, actually you are doing the dirty work.
      Hope this may help

    • #2706007

      Start Developing Long Term Plans for the company’s Technology

      by pipe guy ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I think you may find it helpful if you started to develop some long term plans for IT in the company. For example, you may want to set up a Linux box and learn the technology for a possible application in the future. You should have a list of things that you are “researching” for future company benefits. And whenever you aren’t busy sorting out “fires” at least you will be learning some new technology for the future benefits of the company. Things to research are: Voice over IP. Linux applications, Faxserver software, Collaboration tools and enhancements on the existing set you have. For example, researching the collaboration of your voicemail and email/fax systems. It might be possible to create a list of future possible projects that the company eventually will want to implement. These things will help sharpen your research and implementation skills as well as the maintenance and resourcefullness that you already have. When ever you are asked, “what are you doing?” you should always have a Business answer to explain what you are doing. And its certainly not “down time”. None of us ever have down-time because employers don’t pay us money to sit there and “rest” between fires. They don’t mind paying you to research business applications that will add to efficiency and enhance the profitability of your company.

    • #2705976

      How to deal with nitwits

      by dino1a ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      It sounds like you’re dealing with nitwits–and that you don’t have sufficient experience in organizationl politics to know some effective ways of doing that.

      First, understand that you simply are never going to change their mindset. Therefore, you have to appear to do what they want. And then undermine them.

      So, for starters, understand that you have to “look busy” all the time. Period. There’s just no getting around it. (Of course, anyone with an ounce of sense understands that any professional–a doctor, for example–is required to spend *lots* of time keeping up with developments in the field. Obviously, your managers don’t understand that. Or are not smart enough to leave you alone.)

      In practical terms, for starters, when someone finds you at your computer and objects, the answer is that you’re researching a tough problem. Or maybe trying to find some piece of software that will address; or something similar.

      Second, maybe you should find some place other than your office to use to do your professional reading. You are simply going to have to be a little sneaky here. Use some machine–at the desk of one of your “customers” (or clients, or whatever they’re called in your shop)–to do that. And move around.

      Bottom line: you just have to outfox the nitwits in your shop. That’s more or less a universal law of organizational behavior.

    • #2705967

      Reply To: Bosses just don’t get IT

      by the admiral ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      You should find a program like Ghost, put it on CD with a blank formatted impage FAT32 (22K) instead of waiting for a format of a drive.

      Everything today is done by images. Images are dropped down to the PC in 15 minutes and with Active Directory, people get their mail when they log in. It might be time to start thinking about making a bit of a change to the infastructure.

      Then, show that you are making decisions by presenting the information in a Powerpoint format to them. They love power points. You can tell them that the utilization will go up and down time will go down using these steps.

      Your face is saved and they are impressed.

    • #2705956

      Proactive work?

      by Ramon Padilla Jr. ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      If I read your post correctly you state that you are an admin. Therefore you also have server responsibilities as well? I know that most of the IT shops I have been associated with never seem to have time to do the proactive and pre-emptive work that is needed to ensure smooth operations. Things like checking error logs on servers on a daily basis, verifying that back ups took place, documenting systems, networks, changes, performing routine maintenence on systems and servers…the list goes on and on. Whose doing this kind of work? Perhaps you have more work than you realize?

      Good Luck


    • #2705955

      Educate your boss with data

      by rqv ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I have experinced this issue in a previous job with “higher ups”. Fortunately for me, my boss was of the intelligent variety. When the VP complained to him that the operations staff “didn’t look busy,” he replied, “If the system is up and running, then they’re doing their job.”

      That’s what you bosse(s) need to know: The fact that there are no problems and that you don’t “seem” busy means that you are doing an outstanding job. You may have to document your work with a weekly report if they’re truely thick-headed. But if you’re like the rest of us, you’re certainly pulling your weight and should be able to prove it without resorting to marketing tricks.

    • #2705933

      Must be nice to have free time, but use it wisely

      by czarina_ote ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      What is that? Free time? I stay constantly busy, have to work when I am sick, and choose my time off wisely because I am in such high demand around here. It’s like, they could put one of those “take a number” wheels up on my door and it would be empty real quick. I feel guilty when I do catch a few online minutes to slow my mind down or take a quick break, (like right now) because there is always something needing to be done. I get scads of magazines and e-mails that go unread because there just isn’t time. My workload is very demanding. I am usually the one the boss says works the hardest (and gets paid the least) around here. I consider the multitude of online knowledge when I have time to research or acquire to enhance my understanding and skills to be in the line of duty, and know of no other tech that would argue with me. Bring up the point that there is online research and investigation that further enhances your creditability and value as an IT support person. After all you are an IT person, and the Internet holds a great resource tool in technology information. Start shutting your door, turn your monitor away from the door, use some of the tricks gained from online to dazzle the boss. If you make more than me, ya wanna trade jobs? 🙂

    • #2705912

      Not looking busy got me Out Sourced

      by fcleroux ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I worked for 5 years for a large corporate company downtown. I worked some weekends, was in early 7:00 every day (when most staff came in between 8:00 and 9:00 and sometime stayed late till 6:00 or 7:00. Usually worked lunch times between 12:00 and 2:00 as most users were of at these times or were not on their systems early or after hours.

      Between 9:00 and 12:00 and 2:00 and 4:00 I would take my breaks, lunch, do errands (work related) and such so I wasn’t around much or did not appear to be busy during these times. Some management person decided Outsourcing me would be cheaper as I “wasn’t always busy”.

      They outsourced me for about 8 months and before a full year was up had hired someone full time again!! This person works their 8 hour shift and sometimes still needs help!!

      I would have been better off to just work my 8 hour days and kicked staff off their computers instead of making it convenient for them by working before and after work hours and during lunch breaks.

      • #2722836

        Proactive vs Seamless

        by techierob ·

        In reply to Not looking busy got me Out Sourced

        I am in the same boat here. Though I havent quite been outsourced yet, my managers don’t se my work as a “valuable” contribution for the company. The reason they don’t “see” my work is that it is seamless, I work on major projects when nobody is on the system – to ensure minimum disruption and theorectical downtime.

        By reading these articles I can seee many bosses have the same mindset. It doesn’t matter if you work late on a friday night rebuilding a SQL or Exchange server into the early hours of the morning – If they don’t actually see it; its “not working”

        I have only been in the professional industry for a year and I can already see where everything went wrong. It all went wrong when I decided to be more “company-convienient” and do all major jobs afterhours.

        As much as I do detest being sloppy or inefficient; it seems that only when Im physically in the way that they think I am doing something.

        All of us know how much effort it takes for jobs such as network monotoring and opimisation, web coding, SQL configuration etc etc etc…..

        The main similarity between these jobs? They can all pretty much be done from your desk in a seamless fashion… Doesn’t seem that we do much “visible” work now is it?? 😉

        Oh – I am the sole IT support / administrator in a company of 100 employees. 44 desktops, 2 mobile users and 2 servers. Despite all the good and hard work I have been doing (9 hour shifts most days) they dont actually “see” me working.

        Sure as heck doesnt mean that Im not 🙂

    • #2705836


      by phillbo ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      IT Staffers have always had this issue, all the way through time! It doesn’t matter if you’re in Corp or small bus, the issue of balancing face time with intrusiveness and functionality has always been an issue.
      Usually, the reason for this is two fold: first, the IT Pro may be a little bit introverted or just have a quiet personality and, second, Execs do not see intricate value in a process that is pure cost (normally more prevalent in small business)? until it affects them.
      Suggestion; Treat your computers as patients, and you be the doctor. Perform your rounds in the morning, following up on computers that you have worked on the previous afternoon. Then, perform your rounds in the afternoon after your lunchtime fix-a-thon, ask the user of the computer if they see benefit in what you did, if the problem is fixed, and if they are happy with the service they received, maybe give them a comment card with 3-5 questions about the services, using questions like ?Did your service require you to lose any productivity?? keep the comment cards and report to the execs on a regular basis. Remember, face time is important to them, whether or not it is to you is irrelevant. It will make you look like a part of the team; it makes you look busy and most importantly in will start to enable you to proactively manage your patients? users!

    • #2705806

      They dont understand!

      by londongooner ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      So you see that glazed look everytime you even start talking to them. Trying to relate the information which they seem to be asking for but then don’t seem to understand, common problem!
      I assume you have a boss? Is this person unable to deliver the correct message to the management concerning your time and how it is spent? Thats where the problem is! If your line manager is unwilling or unable to intimate the structure of IT within the organisation then you have got two choices.
      Number one choice – redirect any criticism of your activity/inactivity to your boss, I take it he/she is aware of your schedule and should defend you from this criticism.
      Number Two choice – If you have not got any protection from the criticism, establish a daily work schedule, book in work as it comes in. In other words formalise the structure so the users (inc management) have to respect your schedule. You still have to react to some instances on the fly, but the bulk of it can be planned work.
      If it was me I would do a bit of both, protection from your line manager until everyone is aware of your new formalised structure, I hope this helps!

    • #2705797

      Go on the offensive or you will lose

      by hapowell ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I had a similar problem

      I started with a company, as the ‘IT’ guy ‘Fred’.
      The company matured to 3 locations in 3 states, with 3 local networks, an intranet and 100 plus users. I ordered and installed it all. Plus did the programming and maintenance.
      Eventually, the programming end suffered as hardware support needs grew and my boss (The President) was IT illiterate. He hired a friend, made him a VP Of Information Systems and fired me. The VP then hired 2 full time programmers and 2 high paid consultants. So, it took 5 people, each being paid more than me, to replace me. And they are still using the programs that I wrote.

      My problem, I could never convince my boss that I was working at 100 percent.

      You need to find someone who understands what you do and who the boss admirers, and have that person explain your value to the company, or you will be in deep trouble.

      Good Luck,
      Hap in PA

    • #2705787

      If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…

      by soundy ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      … baffle them with bullshit, as the old saying goes.

      Just plop a few extra monitors of various sizes and types around the room, hook them up to a couple old 386s running Windows 3.1, and leave The Matrix Screensaver running on them all day.

      Whenever the bosses come by, peer intently into one or two different monitors, point at something on the screen and mumble, then as the bigwigs are about to leave, jump up, pump a fist in the air, and shout, “GOTCHA, YOU VIRUS-SCROUNGING BASTARD! You won’t get into ‘s email while I’m around!”

    • #2722184

      Paycheck vs. Workload

      by ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      “They want my work load to be constant throughout the day like the rest of the employees.”

      This sentence is key to the problem. It seems the management is seeing IT like thier co-workers, a workinghorse who need to earn their paycheck by working, working and working.

      As a IT professional, I’m a MIS Manager for a small Federal Program in Puerto Rico, I’m paid for my skills and knowledge, not for what I may produce. I’m in charge of overseeing everyhting is running smooth and without major problems. Management know I’m doing my job because all systems are on production and data is coming in without interruption, workstations are working flawlessly.

      Management, in this case scenario, should enter into a proccess of educating themselves as how IT working environment is, vs the day to day job of producing workers knowing the fact their IT department is a one person job.

    • #2722183

      Employer likes me to have time out

      by danthecomputerman ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      When I have slack time thats time to go into learning mode. My boss and I take advantage of any slack time to tighten up our skills.
      Security tacktics can always keep you busy.
      Reading anything we can get our hands on to further our education.This makes Bosses and employees more valuable.To bad your boss dont take advantage of the time to brush up on skills.

    • #2722161

      Invent work

      by rich-having. fun. ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      When I was interning during my last semster of college at my college, I did the following to fill the voids during the day with much success:
      1. Face plant into a Cisco or Microsoft book. ‘Nuff said
      2. Clean monitor screens, mice,and keyboards. Blow dust out of machines (800 machines). Mind numbing but effective.
      3. Hide somewhere. (optional)
      4. Clean & organize the boneyard.
      5. Clean and organize the shop.
      6. Inventory.
      7. Walk around with a clipboard writing notes.

    • #2722156

      common problems

      by mubarakahmed73 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Dear Jinn,
      I think most of the IT dept?s have common problems but it may vary from place to place. I?m IT manger in a hospital where we have more than 150 users. We have daily problems from both the administration as well a normal user. It may happen that some times you should solve the same problem for the same user. Well as you see there is no difference between a normal user and any other user that may work with our applications for years.
      Another problem I have experienced in this hospital is that the administration will never recognize what ever effort we may provide. Since we all member of the IT dept are foreigners they think that we should be busy for all the time (even they may ask you to do their own work what ever this job may be)
      Finally I hope I have shown something has a value.

    • #2722154

      Reply To: Bosses just don’t get IT

      by david.howard ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Hi Jinn.
      The perception in the IT industry is that you always have to look busy because many don’t see IT as core Business.Ever heard of the phrase”the more you do the more you have to do”.Unfortunately, it is true.I can only suggest that you prioritise your workload and ensure that it gets distributed more evenly. Something else I like doing is being proactive by going to the users and asking them if there is anything I can do for them,bosses included.Many users don’t log faults as they think we are overloaded and don’t want to “bug” us.I am in IT and trust me “I get you” as I sometimes have the same problems,difference is, I look for work.I make them so dependent on me that they realize that they can not without me.

    • #2722153

      Research and development

      by saleemi ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Keep log of what you do with user problem resolution and negotiate some performance measurement parameters with seniors.

      For the spare time you have to invent and work for development on cost saving projects. These would require you to give time for research and development. update management on monthly or quaterly basis.

    • #2722144

      re: Bosses just don’t get IT

      by stubby ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I too am in the middle of this.

      My “big boss” as I call him has a favourite saying … “Too many green shirts” which implies that his support engineers (me included) who all wear green polo shirts with company logo, are sat at their desks doing vital nothing. However, he has a reverse attitude when he needs someone and like the proverbial bus, taxi or police – can never find one when you need one.

      What he forgets is that he has authorised ?1000’s to purchase remote control software, etc to reduce mileage and time in responding to calls.

      However, my situation is different and I am funded in a weird way and he sees my role as being never here – until he needs me here – and so recently he had a go at me about “always being sat at my desk” and “did I understand my job”. During this random rant – he was meant to be talking about me – we covered 4 or 5 other engineers and what they didn’t do and I was compared to a colleague who has a similar job and he was listed as being “my highest mileage claimant”. Well it comes as no surprise for me to discover that I month in, month out claim at least twice what he claims ….. read into that what you want …

      Anyway – point here is that I am going to read this thread with interest and to let you know that you aren’t alone! Finally, at the end of the day this boss is still the best boss I have ever had – faults and rants included – in 20 years in the industry, which is a sad indictment of managers in general I fear!

    • #2722103

      It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

      by mattmaeda ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Try to explain that the nature of the workload you have isn’t so different from their own. Try using examples of any recent events in the company that had them swamped (if there’s nothing that comes to mind then use a hypothetical that almost happened) to relate to your most recent overload. Then try to explain how you aren’t sitting idle so much as you are monitoring the network to ensure performance, or overseeing a procedure to guarantee that it’s done right, and just like them you don’t have to spring into action unless something that shouldn’t happen does. Then tell them what could happen, were you not as vigilant as you are (for example the possible negative effects of having and end user take over an install after you get them started, and leaving them do it). Again try to relate it to the work they do. Don’t think of your down time as down time at all – you are “effectively managing” or “vigilantly overseeing” – making sure whatever it is that you happen to have in front of you is operating trouble free, just like they do. I’m not sure what position it is that your superior holds, but considering you are at the top of your companies’ IT food chain, I would think that your bosses have the same type of peak and valley workload you do – and simply don’t see it that way. I doubt you’ll be telling them anything new, but see if they aren’t a bit more understanding.

    • #2721971

      Engineers you say?

      by ippirate ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Then use the math of the issue. Sine waves work nicely. Use it to explain that the upcurves and crests are inevitable and that what you are working toward constantly is to deepen and elongate the troughs/downcurves. Press home that the longer the downcurves and wider the troughs the higher level of effectiveness your department actually displays.

      If that fails, build a work bench and get a few old PCs, tear them down with exception to 1 or 2, keep these running and reloading. Meanwhile you can get down to product/tech research or whatever “on your can” work you need to be about and makes you look lazy. Oh, to go one better, cycle through the machines so that they all get torn apart and loaded in cycle, makes for realism.

    • #2722795

      Does your Boss really think this way?

      by jamie301_1 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Jinn, I wouldn’t personally say anything until he or she says something. If they do, just explain that your company isn’ t big enough to have you busy all of the time. If they say banything else, just respond that you are the IT Pro here, and it took a lot of schooling to get to where you are. I don’t think that they will get that upset. If they do, tell them to go to school to get their BIT Degree or whatever the job calls for.

    • #2722740

      Like a Firefighter

      by wes purvis ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      My boss once made a similar comment and I compared my position to that of a firefighter. I would rather watch the guys next door to our office washing the fire trucks and playing basketball than having to be out doing their jobs where lives and property are at stake. When those of us at small firms are “goofing off”, the company is running smoothly and making money. It is when everyone is yelling for me to “fix it” that the company has a problem. Just do your job well and enjoy the slack times, because if your firm is like mine, when something breaks, you more than make up for it.

    • #2722627

      Who’s running your asylum?

      by barry ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      It sounds like your role is well-defined, and that your employer has no right or ability to manage what you do as long as you fill that role.

      It’s not just tech support personnel. Most IT workers feel the same way. We were ’empowered’ in about 1990 and, ever since, we’ve had autonomy. Whether we work as a service tech, help desk agent, developer, analyst, manager, executive, or network admin, we all seem to have the right to run our own personal R&D or training department.

      This works great, until the organization is forced to become more efficient or effective. Then they may realize that: a) they don’t even know how they are spending a large portion of the resources; and b) they haven’t been in the business of managing those resources for 15 years.

      For now, the inmates are running the asylum. It’s not our fault. We didn’t invent “EMPOWERMENT”.

      Just don’t assume it will last forever.

    • #2721665

      You seem to have the wrong attitude.

      by vaevictis ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT


      I have been in your position, and I have been in your boss’s position. I understand both sides of the coin.

      I understand that you feel your primary job is to support your users, and that when your users need no support, then you have no “real work” to do. You said in one of your posts that you have some days where you literally only do two hours of support work.

      What YOU have to understand is that your boss(es) has a job also — and in the role of “boss”, one of his responsibilities is to make sure that the company gets the very most possible out of what it pays for. From his/her point of view, if you only appeared to have worked two hours out of eight, then the company just spent four times as much money on something than it needed to.

      What you need to realize is that, frankly, if the perception is that you are regularly only working a certain fraction of the day, then your position is replacable, either by a part timer (with no benefits), or by outsourcing (again, with no benefits). This will save your company a bundle of money — on paper anyway, which is where managers look.

      You seem to be annoyed that your bosses are doing what they’re doing. You should be happy. Many people only find out that the bosses are thinking about this when they get the pink slip saying their job has been outsourced.

      You absolutely must find work to do in your downtime that produces results. This will not only result in your bosses not thinking you are being a slacker, but it will usually result in promotions and pay raises.

      Here is primarily what you should be looking for — and I am putting most important things first.
      1. Ways to automate your job.
      2. Ways to automate other people’s jobs.
      3. Ways to turn existing cost centers into profit centers.
      4. Ways to develop new profit centers.

      The first two may seem like they should possibly be swapped with the second two, but if you get the first two down, then there’s more time to do the other two. That’s why they are first.

      Turning a cost center into a profit center is the single most important thing you can do as an IT worker. Most PHBs see IT as a hopeless cost center, a tax. IT is something they can’t live without, but it’s a drain on the bottom line. Can you imagine the thrill when the IT department starts adding net revenue to the company? You will be a hero. It also has the added benefit of being an incremental change; you are already running the existing cost center, it’s probably no loss to try things a little different to turn it into a profit center.

      Developing profit centers is self-explanitory, but it’s higher risk, because it will involve signifigantly more investment than modifying an existing cost center to be a profit center. However, you will still be a hero if you come up with a big money maker.

      As someone who has been on both sides of the coin, it is YOUR perception that appears to need adjustment. A company cannot afford to pay to have you sit idle. And if you are not willing to alter your perception and adjust your behavior so that you are always working on something while you are at work, then they will either find someone who will, cut your hours, or outsource your job. That’s just a fact.

      And I do understand about researching on the web. I had that exact problem; you just have to communicate to them that you are in fact researching something, what you are researching, and why it is relevant.

    • #2721586

      Your boss doesn’t get it, eh?

      by jamie301_1 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      This person hasn’t been to school for as long as you have been. This person, man or woman, IS NOT an IT PROFESSIONAL, but their devoted Employee, Ginn, IS! When I used to work physically, I was always getting trouble from the freakin’ Owner for not working hard physically for 8 hour’s every day. He wasn’t paying me much better than Minimum Wage (7.15 CAD at the time).

    • #2721571

      My Proposal for a Resolution

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Create an analysis paper with financial figures showing what the total cost of ownership for Dilbert-level management.

      Recommend that the company outsource these Dilbert-level managers’ positions to some hungry third-world college graduate.

      Bind it and send it to CFO and CEO.

      Set up a meeting.

      Develop a plan.

      Get aggreement from top management and become the program manager.

      Sign a large contract.

      Hire some shmuck to implement the plan.

      Retire to Florida or other destination of your choice.

      If this plan fails, my advice is to vote with your feet. In other words, go somewhere they appreciate you…

    • #2721555

      You are doing research not goofing off

      by kevj ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Tell them the reason you are so efficient when a problem arises is that the time you spend on the computer is spent doing research (due diligence) for resolution to common problems. I would point out that learning about issues and avoiding them (risk avoidance) instead of experiencing those issues keeps the company employees working efficiently which saves the company money.

    • #2706425

      Sorry to hear that

      by thelastword ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      One thing I like about IT has been the fact that I can decide on how to ‘approach’ my work. Usually that can mean mulling stuff over, walking around thinking about it, going down for a coffee, sleeping on it or whatever. I just took this for granted as part of the job. I can tell you that this appraoch is far better than sitting at a desk slogging something out without a plan. Unfortunately at my current job I also have a non-tech manager, this is a first. He manages it like hes supervising a bunch of clerks, strolling by all the time, peering in, surprising you to see if you;re ‘working’, there’s an odd twist here though in that he doesnt give the go ahead to do work so he can be doing this when he and I both know full well that he hasnt given me a project in months and has stalled every initiative I have put forth so its extra wierd here in that sense but the supervising thing sucks. When he is not here some weeks, so much MORE gets done, it might not be on the schedule he wants you to think by but the work is way more efficient and productive. I feel for you. Smaller places may be more like this. I don;t know how you would approach it either. Just stop feeling guilty about it and keep faking!!!

    • #2706261

      boss is just a boss

      by freeozraelised ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT


      I am the only IT for a 50 users accounting office.
      As you can imagin working for accountants; they count every min’ and ask all the questions.
      One of the thinks that I have found is to give you boss a repoert every month of what you have done.

      Of course there will be the days that nothing needs to be done, but as a IT person by yourself I am sure that study is a major part espcaily in IT. I have found that when I am not busy fixing problem I am busy preventing them. So cheaking the network learning and drilling more into areas that will improve the network and my expertise.
      When I sit in my office all day and no one comes and need support I always use some of this time as maintenances and impovement.
      What you are facing is something that every It personal faces when working for a small company that just need a full time IT Administrator.

      Explain your boss that like them you need to keep up to date and in IT that by itself can be a full time job.
      I am very busy and making sure that even when no support is needed I explain my time as improvemnt and learning.

    • #2706167

      IT Pros Looking Busy

      by rma999 ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I’m also the main IT person in our company and I always make a point of making certain my bosses know the times I’ve been in the office until 3AM or stayed all night fixing some IT problem. Also when updates are needed I make sure the proper people know the updates and testing are taking place after normal business hours. This keeps the company running during the day plus gives me the opportunity to let the bosses know I’m working while they’re home……

    • #3305323

      To change their mindset you need to start at a deeper cause…

      by newtonr ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I’ve seen this type of attitude towards IT for the past 12 years. The real problem is not just that you don’t always appear busy; it’s that they see dollars going “out the window” with what is defined as a “cost centre”.

      IT is perceived to be a “necessary evil” by the vaste majority of non-technology focused businesses. So, it eats away at the “C-level” individuals if they don’t see you “utilized” 100% of the day 100% of the time.

      To change this attitude will actually require more effort by you in an area that most IT people are either unfamiliar with, or uncomfortable with — putting a dollar-savings/recovery on the work you do. For instance, say you assist an individual get their system “fixed” in 15 minutes instead of, it taking 1 hour if there were no IT support (the same applies to server “maintenance” etc.). There’s 3/4 of an hour the this person is productive that they otherwise would not have been. What is this person’s hourly charge-out rate? The 3/4-of-an-hour that they “got back” because you were able to fix the issue in 15 minutes is a “recovery” of lost profit.

      Track this statistic for a period of, say, 3 months. Then when someone “complains” you not only tell them that the apparent “down-time” is being used to hone/keep current your skillset, but that the efficiency you have brought to the job has recovered what would have been x-dollars worth of lost productivity from those individuals/systems that you support.

      This flips the equation, you are now a cost recovery centre, so long as the “lost” productivity is more than your salary (if it isn’t, I’d suggest you learn to live with the grumbling and hope they don’t do the analysis and decide to outsource…)

    • #3306666

      test lab

      by mveira ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      setup a lab, play on it, look busy when they’re looking

    • #3297158

      Take a week off!

      by entertaining it manager ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Hi – Last 12 months…..I have upgraded from NT4 to 2003, upgraded the main Legacy application ( 2 stage and just about as frought with patches as MS!), set up a 20Mb link to the nearby city for offsite recovery/VoIP/webserver etc, set up a wired and wireless network topology against all odds at the front of our concrete maize of a building, created a backstage internet solution via a Linux server/router that gives the users a front end to schedule usage and then receive a full usage report via email with an invoice……. plus system upgrades, printer upgrades etc etc. End result, a huge workload to provide the necessary functionality to do our business…… Higher management and users alike complain that they can’t open up a jpeg file, or “How do I put an Excel Sheet in to a Word document” – It’s a great life but it would be much easier without users!!

    • #3297552

      Love to be in your shoes

      by irish_pepper ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I’d love to be in your shoes… In my office I am expected to know when we are about to have a fire and be ready with steps to correct it fast or pervent it. I currently have 98 Items on my list and never have slack time.

    • #3170510

      Bosses just dont get it

      by info ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Most of us are in the same boat.
      I am a qualified network administrator, who does basically everything else, from website design to digital sign printing.

      From this week I have to give a list to my Boss of what Im going to do during the day. This has to be given to him every morning.

    • #3177892


      by johnmerc ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      I used the insurance card. My boss had bought a new car and I ask him if he would like to have to call his insursance company everyday to say someone has crashed into his car. Of course he said no. I told him you need to think of me like insurance and a mechanic. The mechanics job is to ensure the car runs smoothly but it does not take much work to change the oil on the other hand you want to make sure you have insurance for the time when the unexpected happens. So, if you see me running around like a crazy man someone has pulled out the insurance policy and you might want to know why. I also wrote out a daily task schedule of things I do on a daily basis and was very anal about it to include things that I automated. Because regretfully, some managers need to see a scope of responsibility. If they don’t have an idea of what you do it makes them feel uneasy. Using both goes a long way.

    • #3131076

      Work plans and research

      by pmoleski ·

      In reply to Bosses just don’t get IT

      Jinn, a planned approach to IT is the same as a planned approach to any other part of a business.

      What are the expectations of the business of IT?

      Once you have met those base expectations then what are the additional services that you can be bringing on board that will further enhance your company through the use of technology?

      Figuring out the answers to the above is at it’s simplest a form of IT planning. The start of the planning process is to talk to your boss. Get their permission to talk to others in the company about what they are trying to do and how IT can help get them there. The written summary of these discussions will be the basis for your IT plan. The plan should talk about what information technology is currently in place, how it meets the business needs, and then talk about what additional things needs to be done that are not yet addressed by the current IT services delivered.

      Once there is agreement to the contents of the plan then you can spend your, ?free time?, researching and developing the additional services that are required. The plan also gives you the vehicle to discuss additional resources be they people or technology that you need to carry out the plan.

      Going forward with a planned approach will get you management buy in and tasks to fill your time. My one caveat would be, those who plan and execute well often end up been the very managers that would seem not to understand IT! Learn to talk the language of your business, other then the caveat above it will serve you well. It may even get you the lab mentioned in some of the other replies to your post.


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