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One man shop

By TjD ·
As long as I've been in IT, I've been at small companies. For the last 3.5 years I've been a one man shop for at small manufacturing company. For the rest of you in one man shops, I'd like to know how you get on.
I find it a bit lonely at times, lack of community with noone else tech oriented. There's also the double edged sword of no one understanding what exactly it is that you do. If you're having a bad day you can always hide behind menial tasks that require "immediate attention" and not deal with some of the stupid people things, and when things look really bad you can come through like a champ with a quick fix. But I also have the problem that I don't feel I am appreciated or compensated on an equal level with peers in other departments.
One of my big gripes is my title - systems administrator - I doing a heck of alot more than system administration - planning, evaluating, strategizing, budgeting, development... thing I feel are more IT Manager level task. The big boss won't let me be IT Manager because I don't "supervisor people" yet my position is considered staff level along with 2 VP's, the controlled and the sales director. Then of course when bonuses come out, they follow title and I get the smallest portion. I contribution is no less than theirs. I guess the problem is the big boss just doesn't have any clue about what I do. Fortunately he understands that he needs me here, but unfortunately is always looking at me to solve problem that others create.
I'm really ready for something bigger. In past lives, as a naval officer and as an engineer, I've had as many as 110 people working for me. I've dealt with all the big numbers with dollar signs, I've done enough time in the trenches to understand the overall business needs and the business role of IT.
Maybe my career is just stuck.

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Only one choice really

by DC Guy In reply to One man shop

You need to sort through your own concerns and decide what you really want. More money? More respect? More responsibility? Different responsibilities? Advancement?

Many organizations have established a special HR/payroll track for "I.T. Specialists" that mirrors the "I.T. Managers" without having to have subordinates. If your executives won't do that then they really don't understand I.T. very well and you can't expect much from them. If you're unhappy you'll probably have to simply leave and try to find a more enlightened environment.

Ditto for respect. If your boss doesn't care to know how critical what you do is and how well you have to be qualified to do it, nobody else in the company will either.

You're not going to get more responsibility on your current career path at this company because there's nowhere higher to go. There's no one for you to manage since you're the only I.T. person.

If you want advancement on a different career path, they could put you in charge of I.T. AND something else of equivalent stature, but I doubt that the company has anything else of equivalent stature. You're probably qualifed to replace one of the VPs or the other executives if they leave, but your boss may be reluctant to try you out in one of those positions without seeing you in action in something intermediate... which doesn't exist in this company.

You're going to be right where you are unless you make the decision to take a big risk and go elsewhere.

If you're making at least decent money and you have job security, you're better off than a whole lot of people. It's a tough decision.

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Me too

by AV . In reply to One man shop

I'm a one woman shop with the title "Network Administrator", though it is a hybrid IT position that encompasses everything from project management, budget creation, managing consultants and planning upgrades to repairing PCs and servers.

I have the same problem as you, where very few people understand what I do. Everything runs well and they think that happens automatically. It can get lonely at times too, but it really can't be helped.

I think maybe I'm more content than you are, as I worked for many years in Corporate America prior to my taking a job at a smaller company. Initially, I didn't like it but now I like it because I get to do a little bit of everything.

I think larger companies can really expose you to so much technologically. I didn't care for all the politics though.

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Put up or Shut up

by skicat In reply to One man shop

It is always tough leaving a comforatble position. Even though you are alone and things are routine, you are in full control. It sounds like you need to get your resume out there and start interviewing. Not necessarly for a new job but more for what you are worth. The key to leveraging more from a current employer is to know what you are worth in the open market and present that (in a positive way) to your boss. He/she may look at the information as a revelation and offer to make changes... or you may be looking for a new job after all. Too many employers look at IT as costly but necessary overhead and they hate the fact your department is not required for generating revenue.

I would seriously take a look around. You might be surprised at what is available.

Good luck.

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by TjD In reply to Put up or Shut up

I've been quietly monitoring the market for a while. even had one interview, and could have had the job but the commute was too much and to the middle-of-nowhere(tm). And considering where gas prices have been, a slight gain would have been a a loss.
One of my problems is that I'm geographically fixed. I know that I could find something solid if I was one to moving, but alas...
You touched on a big problem with exec's and IT - the expense vs revenue thing. They have it all wrong. You know darn well that the deployment of an enterprise CRM package is worth every dollar and more, you just can get your fingers around the numbers.
If I was a bit braver, more well connected, and had 4-5 month expenses in the bank, I would definitely consider going out on my own. There are so many small businesses that need go IT leadership but can't afford even a full time support person.

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