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This brain is my brain, this brain is your brain

By TechLizard ·
I serve as the highest on site level of IT expertise in a mid sized company. When no one else knows I can figure it out. The company doesn't offer a training budget so it's up to me to keep up to speed as much as possible on methods to maintain existing systems as well as what's new and how it can be used to improve the bottom line.
I'm a quick one, I learn VERY easily and I realize it doesn't come so easy for others so I feel like I have a special talent which I credit much of my success to. I put a lot of my personal time into expanding my knowledge so that's why I don't think it's fair for my employer to expect that I will teach what I've learned to my coworkers.
In trying to free up my time to focus on projects and for backup support I have trained coworkers on some of the more mundane tasks, however I am at a loss on how to train someone to be a critical thinker, how to come up with the next thing to try in a troubleshooting session, and quite frankly I don't feel like I should have to turn over some of the more "marketable" skills I've learned on my own time, like reviving a SQL server for example.
I don't have anamosity toward my coworkers, I like them, they are just not as ambitious as I am (I think). I do get a little perterbed when one claims to be a script god when all of the scripts he has put together are based on things I have already written, he hasn't written any original scripts.
Am I being selfish and/or childish? I guess I kind of feel like my skills are for sale but my methods are not. Am I alone here?

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gee no ego here.

by JamesRL In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

I've been in a similar position, and I've found great satisfaction in helping others grow. And as you may see from other recent threads, sometimes being the uber geek is a set of handcuffs which stops you from taking that dream job somewhere else in the organization. The first job of good manager is to train up someone who can replace themselves. Key employees in technical roles should look at it the same way. Unless you want to be on 24/7 support forever.

If you want to do projects, then teach them not only the what but the how. You are justified in going to management and asking for training in coaching and/or training. Identify which tasks really require more than one body for coverage.

But don't be too hard on yourself. There are people who are trainable, and those who aren't. Frankly - give me someone with the critical thinking skills and I will teach them what they need to know about the environment, over trying to teach an unambitious veteran who knows alot but trys to not think too hard.

You are a little selfish from my perspective, but if you are a quick learner, there is always hope. Let me give you some management perspective. I look at those who share their knowledge as much more team oriented than the anti social genius. And those soft skills are exactly the same skills you need to be a successful project leader or team leader.

The method we used to use, was a buddy system. We would pick tasks that were stretch tasks for the employees we were trying to train, and then work with them, letting them try, giving them suggestions, pointing them in the right direction without spoon feeding them. It was very rewarding at times.

If you are ambitious, realize that there is a ceiling on how far you can go on tech skills alone - use this as a chance to develop other skills that will help you get to the next level.

James

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Teaching ability is a gift

by DC_GUY In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

If you have it, you simply have to use it. It's your destiny. I'm sure you enjoy the process, are challenged by the need to devise new ways of connecting with people when the old ones don't work, like presenting the material so enthusiastically that the students pick up on your passion and want to learn, and get a warm glow when a few of your students become stars and all but the worst of them come out knowing more than when they went in.

Teaching is its own reward. Unless you get a job with one of the IT training firms that pay $800 a day plus expenses -- which, fortunately for me, is one of very few areas in which age is an advantage -- you won't find it to be especially rewarding financially. Most of your students will make more than you do when they reach your age.

If you like your regular duties, then concentrate on them and heed the advice given above. Everyone is expected to train their own understudy because you might get in a car accident. Enjoy the teaching assignments when they come up.

If you prefer training, then maintain a high profile. If you work for a big company with a training department, they will notice you eventually and pick you up. If not, you'll need to move to a big company.

It's not likely that you'll get hired by one of the IT training specialty consulting firms without a good long resume specifically about teaching, and not before you're at least 40.

Enjoy your job, millions of people don't have one. Rein in your ego, that doesn't suit the attitude we look for in a professional trainer. A teacher's proudest moment is when one of his students surpasses him. If you can't think like that then you're not born to teach.

Whatever you choose, good luck.

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leadig others to success improves your own success

by Oz_Media In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

First of all, just a tad of an ego at play here, and let me remind you (there are about 300 million other Americans that feel the exact same way).
I am a licenced mechanic, MANY years as $$$$$ of school and some REALLY physically demanding work that beats you up bad. When someone brings thier car to me, I prefer not to show them how to replace brakes as it is a liability on me if they do it wrong and die (no brake pads aren't a quick swap out as many seem to think), but for the most part I love showing them how things work and WHY thinks stop working. I find sharing this information actually increases thier trust in my work as being professional and knowledgable.

For the most part, I LOVE sharing such knowledge ( the more I can pass of, the less work I hae to do) but have seen many who won't, they feel they have spent time and money on a skill and shouldn't share it.

Now if they are THAT clever, they have no reason for worry, because the others will only learn SOME of thier knowledge and they will always know more and stay ahead of the drones.

what it sounds like is that you have a subconcious fear of someone else gaining recognition for what YOU have shown them whereas YOU feel that you desrve the recognition yourself.

Now being someone who is THAT QUICK on the take, you will ALWAYS have greater knowledge than those you help, unless you have given up on moving ahead and simply retain a bag of tricks that you want kept secret.

TEACH them, share your knowledge, if they can't take it, they will soon e left behind. A best case scenario is that you can have others take responsiility for any of you tasks and you just beig an overseer or mentor to them. Just make sure that with the extra help you aquire that you use the added free time to keep your own knowledge moving forwarr or you will become obsolete. Perhaps THIS is what's REALLY bothering you.

Just food for thought,

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Remember

by Black Panther In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

Yes it can be difficult passing on knowledge. How did we learn ourselves??? With no formal training I have learnt from the School of Hard Knocks, watching, listening and researching.

Some people have a 'natural' logical mind which they can apply quickly to resolve problems.

Others may take quite a bit longer to learn the same thing someone else picks up straight away - in any type of learning - even sports.

When I get frustrated I try to remember back to when I was learning trying to understand what someone else took for granted.

It is hard but the more you can let go, the more opportunity you will have for growth and different 'doors' may open.

As others have said -- the teachers greatest reward is when the pupil surpasses the teacher.

Very true in Martial Arts!

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IT expertise perhaps; interpersonal skills?

by mlandis In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

Some great people have taken the time to respond to your post, have advised you within the constructive criticism you need to hear, and have given you insight and pointers on how to proceed; yet you haven't acknowledged any one of them yet.

Does this happen on the job too?

Why doesn't your company "offer" a training budget? Is it because you haven't asked for one? Do you get an overide in your bonus? Are you concerned that if you were to ask for additional training, the company might select other employees in addition to or instead of you?
Do you think if you ask for more training the company will see you as weak and ineffective?
Is the issue lack of funding? Or something else?

Most companies realize that keeping their IT people trained and up-to-date benefits the company. Unless they are being kept from that information, or don't think it's that important.

Before I continue this post, please answer some of these questions.

Maureen

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Wow...

by TechLizard In reply to IT expertise perhaps; int ...

Thank you all for the responses. I guess I may have been as clear as mud and I'm sorry that some of you have decided that I have a large ego. I really don't. I am a humble person, I thank God for the gifts I have been given and I am very proud of getting payed to do something I love.
And that is just it: Yes, I want to be in a position much like the one I am in for as long as I can. I do not want to be a manager, I do not want to be a project leader. I love what I do, so why should I try to change it?
Oz, I think you nailed it on the head, how I feel. It takes a LOT of work to fine tune my skills, to learn new things, and I do that work outside of my time on the clock, because I care about my career. So why should I give that away? Think about the ant and the grasshopper story. Here I am working for my future and the others are doing whatever they're doing. If I had someone to teach me all I needed to know to make a few bucks I guess I wouldn't work to hard at it either.
I am motivated to improve my skills which will in turn improve my effectiveness. I do it for MY career and if that sounds selfish I don't know what to say about that.
I think at the root of every person in IT there is a fear of becoming obsolete, or possibly jumping on the "wrong" bandwagon. So yes, I do have that fear but I count on my ambition and quick learning to keep me up to date. If I ever lose that drive I will most likely try out a new career doing something else.

So thank you for the responses. The more I carefully chose the words I typed here the more it became clear to me what the issue is for me. So in a way you have helped. Thanks again.

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Been where you are ... you can outlearn, outgrow and outlast

by A_dangerous_mind In reply to Wow...

I've been where you are for about the past eight to nine years, and I'm also a quick learner with ambition to go further. I would suggest simply documenting and teaching your coworkers what is necessary to do the job and keep the place humming. Avoid giving anything beyond that to anyone who tries to trick or demand knowledge from you, who parades hijacked copies of your work as their original efforts or who tries a 'something for nothing' trade -- of beginner level knowledge for advanced level knowledge. And you might be able to expand your documentation and teaching into more prominent exposure within the industry, and gain more recognition outside your company. Who knows -- you might eventually become an industry guru.

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So you don't wanna share brains? Don't worry they won't understand it.

by Don Dean In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

During my corporate clone years, I remember getting hired as a Level II/III support specialist only to find my supervisor asking (begging?) me to become Senior System Admin after just 10 days. In terms of the bang for the buck, it's totally the difference between night and day when one utilizes the command line (DOS/Unix) vs fiddling around with a mouse.

I'm not trying to sound like a chauvanist pig, but are you really a 'T3ch_chick' *chick* ? Coz I've -yet- to meet a true girl-geek who lives and breathes computers as if they are sworn into never ever losing a good fight with a machine. he rage against the machine(the computer), and the desire to conquer and control it has been related to testosterone in my emperical observatory conclusions.

Regardless, congratulations for being in the boat you are in - as you certainly earned your status. It's obviously due to your sheer interest and relentless curiosity. Sounds like no matter how much of your knowledge you share or dispense, the other grunts will never be at the level you're at. Because it's something that either runs in one's blood, or doesn't. You either have it or don't. Tis sad.. but the vast majority of folks, even if they do work in the bleeding edge I.T. industry, just don't have it in their blood. They come in the form of the quintessential "paper MCSE's" who know not what to do when placed in front of a Win32 box for example. (They hold a mouse rather than impatiently hitting Ctrl-Esc, r, cmd, [Enter], then going to town) It's coz it's not in their blood. I don't really understand your complaining undertone. World-famous chefs know they don't have to share their TRUE recipes. You don't either. And even if you push it on em, they won't care if it's not there. They'll most likely resort to the mouse again. True problem solving abilities can't be taught or transferred.

Re: Something tells me that you having to share your brain (as is) with other team members - well, I'll bet it won't work even if you force-trained them. Could it be just laziness? Could it just be lack of interest? But if some people just don't have it, that doesn't change.. So there's nothing to worry about. Heh.

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I Don't Know

by rayeni In reply to This brain is my brain, t ...

I get personal satisfaction and enjoyment in sharing knowledge, as opposed to hoarding it, and enriching my teammates. It validates my existence/position on the team.

Do your teammates have other commitments (parenting, night school, or a second job) outside of IT that may preclude them from acquiring extra skills?

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