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Lone Geek Syndrome

By maclovin ·
Well, I was wondering how many others might be the lone IT staffer of their company. Or, thoughts on how other companies handle this setup.

I have found that it is quite easy to work in a smaller environment, and I can get things done in a somewhat orderly manner when it comes to updates, etc. because there's nobody else to get in my way or to say, well I'm doing that tomorrow (even though it needs to be done today). I find that in larger environments it may be harder to complete tasks, and also prove your worth at the same time...not that that's not the summation of IT as a whole in the eyes of Big Business.

I truly feel frustration toward some of the users I have to deal with because they don't understand the multitude of different roles I need to cover (see comments I've made on other articles), HOWEVER, I realize that this frustration may stem from my insecurity of my own work sometimes. Being younger, and given the current job market, it's relatively easy to see why, in my opinion.

For the lone wolves/others with mipltiple roles: how many roles do you normally cover? Are you just the helper that walks people through things, or do you have a multitude of servers to manage and multiple different DB systems to manage, etc....maybe even some web design as well.

Are there any things that you have to have outside sources complete?

Also, with all of these things to manage, are you good at managing these stressful situations (if it is stressful for you), and how?

This is mainly just a probing question. I would also like to know if anyone has good suggestions on how to better educate users on how to learn things so they can be somewhat self-sufficient.

One of the main reasons for asking is I know I'm young, being 25 and covering multiple roles, but I'm definitely having trouble figuring out a way to better identify and assist users with their everyday tasks...and keeping some on task .

Let the games begin.

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Might I suggest - Edited

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Lone Geek Syndrome

As to the roles you should focus on, try this. For one month, keep a log of what kinds of tasks you perform and calls you handle: MS Office support, database administration, network account management, etc. You don't have to keep details, just a simple count.

At the end of the month, see what kinds of activities are taking up the largest slices of your time. Then determine which ones you think you're not particularly good at. Concentrate on learning more about that particular area.

Training users? Patience is the best key, and you'll have to work with each of them for a while to determine which ones will be good candidates and which ones will be a waste of your time (and theirs). When possible, don't do something for the user; talk him or her through doing it for himself. Start with little things like loading toner cartridge, or automatically sizing Excel columns. This will help determine which ones can handle creating macros and importing address data into a mass mailing.

Most important, you're not alone. This place is crawling with people who perform multiple functions as the only IT person where they work.

Edited - I notice you're in Indianapolis. Are you aware of the TR 'get together' scheduled for the 26th in Louisville? While you and I may disagree about the meaning of 'customer', that doesn't mean we can't raise a glass together. ****, nobody here agrees with everyone else on everything. C'mon down.

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Was not aware...

by maclovin In reply to Might I suggest - Edited

No I didn't know about that. What time is it on that date?

Depending on after hours work needed I may be able to make it down.

Where can I find the details on the event?

Also, thanks for the advice. Definitely a good starting point. I'll give that a try. I've been trying that whole patience thing, and well, I massively fail and eventually I try to let it out in short bursts . It's just inexperience on coping with the stresses of the job. It will come in due time, but I just hope that I don't sever good relationships with co-workers, etc.

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by shasca In reply to Was not aware...

That can be a real challenge in your day to day activities. When three people are standing in front of you asking questions all at the same time. Each one considering their situation the most pressing. What could possibly be stressful about that??

Face the fact that there will just be some people you won't be able to reach. They just don't care. If they don't want to you cannot make them.

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You are not alone

by vmorin In reply to Lone Geek Syndrome

When I landed in the middle of this job I did have the advantage of raising children & grandchildren but that does not always help with the patience part. I was told I would get some training and my first day on the job started with a full power outage and not one person there had any idea which ones were servers or desktops and my predecessor was passwords, no architecture, no server listing, no policies or procedures, no records of hardware or software, no manuals were saved for anything, No license records..... It has now been over a year and it is now a responsible in compliance IT Dept. I am still the only one but I like it that way. I often look at other IT jobs and find I am very comfortable right here. I have 11 servers, 48 desktops and 14 DPU's to maintain to keep a small casino running. I too still struggle with the users. I have held classes, sent instructions in writing with pictures and still there are just going to be some that can not remember every day how to get in their email. For SOX I have to conduct training on an annual basis for certain financial accesses so I use a lot of self designed training materials and make sure they keep a copy at their work station. One of the other trials I am still dealing with is when you are the only one and you get into an Ops meeting with all the managers and the CEO asks if every one got the Memo that was sent last week suddenly there are 5 persons that claim their emails is not working. But they never mentioned that several days ago when you said good morning to them at the time clock. Then after the meeting you go to check it out and it works fine???
I did as the other poster suggested and listed all of my duties as I knew them and as they were added, started making a list of when this gets done and that gets done, monthly, daily, weekly Audits, SOX, Gaming MICS, quarterly yearly, licenses, updates. I now have a map that should something happen to me at least I know of 2 persons within the building that can take my manuals and lists and make a go of it.

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by KSoniat In reply to Lone Geek Syndrome

I've found TR to be very supportive and there are many good older articles also about working in different environments and with different people (just watch dates before you find yourself answering a question that is 2-3 years old).

I'd be real careful with the patience toward coworkers. You don't want people on your case for that - you can justify the wait for service, but not a bad attitude.

At one of my companies we had a project tracking system that was published weekly. It listed all the (approved)requests - their slot in the queue and expected completion dates for the ones being actively worked on.

Some of our most vocal "complainers" did not have any concept of the volume of projects on our plate and to see where they were helped them. (There were others who complained no matter what).

If a "hot" item came in it had to be placed in importance with the understanding other things would slide.

To be able to tell someone "We probably won't get to that until September, and here's why". Helps to keep them all informed.

Good Luck!!

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