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Built up pressure

By Db0 ·
Recently I've started getting more and more disappointed by the status quo of my work. But let me become a bit more specific.

I am a new IT pro (just over 3 years in the business) but with lots of personal experience and enthusiasm. I do not claim to know everything but I learn fast. My current job for the past 2+ years is as an Network and Systems Administrator supporting a native Windows 2000 domain.

Now I will be the first to admit that I didn't know much about it when I first started working but I believe I now can support the whole domain on my own adequately.
Part of my work includes supporting software, hardware (even hardware that fall outside the scope of IT such as photocopiers and faxes) and helldesk and I can fix most problems that occur on my own, very fast (others' thoughts, not mine).
Due to the nature of my work I often end up doing nothing specific for days. This "free" time I use for research and deployment of various projects I pick up myself (for example I recently set up a working Jabber2 server on a spare machine that worked flawlessly) or for lack of nothing better to do, idly surf sites (such as this).
In general I feel that I contribute enough.

My general pay for the last 2 years (which started from the base minimum) has risen by about 12% and things have started happening that are making me question my dedication to the company.

A few weeks ago we had a major problem on the AD and as a result I had to work quite a few hours overtime each day for a month or so. I never complained because these things happen. The problem however occured now that things have calmed down a bit. I asked my supervisor the dreaded question: "What about all those hours?" to which he replied that these things happen and are part of the work and also I have no right to ask for overtime becuase I always leave on schedule and I spend a lot of time idling in my desk.
Nevermind the fact that there is no reason to stay overtime on normal days or that I (seem to be)idle because there is nothing to do...

Needless to say that this upset me quite a bit, not only because I wouldn't be paid but because in one sentence he downgraded all my work.

I'd like to hear what more experienced IT pros than me would react this situation.
Should I start looking for another work, something which pays adequately (because, frankly, 12% over the base minimum is lower than anyone I know) and I have true Admin rights (right now I'm treated more like a helper)?
Or should I stay where I am so I can have time to learn more stuff on my own and in a more relaxed enviroment (I can come in late, casual wear).

What should my threshold be?
Where would you draw the line?

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by Db0 In reply to Rebel

1. Nope
2. No (I don't resist or defy anything)
3. No (I am actually very willing)

As fot the interviews...Oh come on, I'm not that oblivious!

Usually at interviews I come in a very sober attire (no ties however :) ) No T-Shirts or shorts and hair in a simple ponytail.
I will start to dress more casually only when I have some time in a company and the enviroment allows it.
To tell the truth, I've never worked in a company where they had a strict dress code for admins (kind of silly if you ask me) so I don't know what I'd do in that case. Suffice to say that in my current job the Director of IT dresses casually as well.

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Got to agree with JK

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Built up pressure

which is rare.
You seem to have a fairly cushy number. Turn in when you like, wear what you like, sit thumb twiddling 'til some work comes along.

You've only one option as far as I can see. Turn in on time and start finding something useful to do when you have no tasks to do, projects preventative maintenance. Or leave, trust me though, the grass is unlikely to be greener.

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by Db0 In reply to Got to agree with JK

>You seem to have a fairly cushy number. Turn in when you like, wear what you like, sit thumb twiddling 'til some work comes along.

But I don't want to be sitting thumb twiddling. I'd prefer to do stuff.
In any case, I didn't mind until now. It's just that recent events make me feel that there is no chance of progress with this company. I'm already overskilled for what is required of me.

>Or leave, trust me though, the grass is unlikely to be greener.

I am afraid of that as well. However each and every other IT person I have spoken to either gets a much better pay than me or has some excellent perks (free hardware). I feel cheated...

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Then leave

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to

Start working on it now. If you are waiting for your employer to recognise your value, start making space on your desk for your retirement present, and then your colleagues will chip in for that.
Make use of your spare time to improve your chances at a new opportunity, don't wait for opportunity to knock, mug him when he goes past.

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by noyoki In reply to Then leave

> I feel cheated...

Oi, you're afraid the grass is unlikely to be greener, yet you're cheated of something. Which is it? I dont know who you have been talking to, but you have a job, likely you make more than me for your geographic area (28k for basically everything you do but I AM the IT department. no one else here to tell me what to do, and I've got full admin rights (only thing I don't have is a budget and therefore no purchasing powers). In NYC (which has one of the highest cost of living expenses in the US, and no, I'm not complaining here, just proving a point)), you come in whenever, leave whenever, wear whatever...

Tell me, when was the last time you sat waiting for unemployment to run out. If you think there is something better out there for you, then by all means, go for it. However, I HIGHLY doubt it will present itself.

I suggest making some compromises, dress abit better. No need to wear a suit I suppose, but some nice dress slacks might due. One rule we have here for overtime, you don't just do it, you ask first. Try that: "Boss, this project of updating the server might **** it up, can I make some overtime and do it on a weekend/after hours so I don't disrupt everyone" or "Can I take off Wed and do this on Sat, (or come in late/leave late) when noone is here".

Otherwise, if you don't want to push yourself to earn more, then be content with what you got.

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Clothes are not everything

by Db0 In reply to Cheated...

>Oi, you're afraid the grass is unlikely to be greener, yet you're cheated of something. Which is it?

Maybe I chose the wrong words.
I don't think there aren't better jobs (As I said, most other people I know do have it better), I'm just afraid I won't find any and seeing as I am in a small town, If I start sending around Resumes then my current employer may hear about it.

>likely you make more than me for your geographic area (28k for basically everything you do

Really? How does ~8k sound to you? Just for comparison's sake, a single appartment in a low value area will rent for about 300 a month.

>you come in whenever, leave whenever, wear whatever...

You make it sound so great. I actually come in on time (or 15 minutes late if I miss the bus) I leave AT LEAST 10 minutes late and I don't have to wear a shirt & tie (I don't deal with the public either)

>Otherwise, if you don't want to push yourself to earn more, then be content with what you got

But that's the problem. I push myself, only in other areas other than clothing. Should I focus more on that instead?

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by noyoki In reply to Clothes are not everythin ...

Lol, rent outside of NYC starts at 1,300 a month for a slightly-larger-than-shoe-box of a studio. Try 2,500 if you want to actually live in the city. (neither include utils or frills) - but this is neither here nor there.

You've heard the phrase "the clothes make the man"? It is true, if only partly. I've seen well dressed, well groomed (or females that know how to flaunt what they got) know-nothings walk into a job they are well-underqualified for and well groomed only-average people get hired whereas people like you, (intelligent, above-avg, motivated, and casual) get left behind. Your call. All I'm saying is, if you want something better than what you got, there is ALWAYS a price. This is one of them.

I'm not supposed to leave (nevermind come in) at any other time than what I'm assigned, but I have so much to do, that I just don't request the overtime (and I don't mean 10 mins). My fault, perhaps. But for now, it needs to be done. There really isn't a budget for IT and things STILL need to be finished.

This was NOT ment to be a children's comparison of "oh yea?! Well I have it worse and here's why!" I am happy that I found a job. I honestly have no complaints. I am happy (even with the restrictions) with the job that I found. That is enough for me. If you want/need something else, that is your call. But my original point was: be wary lest the grapes you lust for be more sour than the ones you had.

I stick by the dress code thing because of your first absolute statement of not wearing anything more than casual. If you want to move up, that's one way to prove it to your boss. You've already got the drive to learn. This is good. Office politics (how clothing is perceived is an extension of that) is another skill to learn.

This will be the last thing I say here as I cannot dedicate anymore time to this. My point is simple. There is more to learn here than just the computer-side.

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One step at a time

by Db0 In reply to Rent

I agree with most of what you say. Unfortunately, the way things stand, clothing seems more important than the truly important things. It is a truly sad state of affairs.

I also agree on the reverse pissing match this has started to become. It is neither for here nor now.

However there are still much to learn. From discussions with various other people it seems my communication skills also need some polishing (young and blunt, you know the drill) and I plan to focus on that more. We shall see what the next steps will be.

In any case, thanks for your thoughts on this.

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One Man shop

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Cheated...

I have that T-shirt, thankless task I wasn't thanked for. Very good for learning your stuff though. Did it for five years. Left, and got a proper job once I became valuable.
You don't want call outs, hassle and failures, so you get the thing running smooth as a die and then some managment clowns replace you with a junior, the only thankyou you're going to get.

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by w2ktechman In reply to Built up pressure

First, yes you are waiting for problems to come up, but you are apparently doing research as well, and self assigned projects.
Why not bring up projects to your manager for downtime. That way he/she can look them over and see that they are being worked on, and approve the ones that will contribute. Setting up a server just to do it, is more like your own personal gain or playing.
I too stay late often, and often arrive early. Even my extra time is not paid as I am salaried. Sometimes it is just a short time, but sometimes it is more than an hour. But usually when I am late, it is because I am either working on something of real interest or 'playing' with something that I want to do.

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