Playing favorites with IT people

It is funny how people like playing favorites with IT people.

I have worked at many companies where I am the new hire. People are used to a certain IT person and so they reach out to that person every-time for help. The problem is, that person is often not available.

They might call the persons phone but that person is helping someone else. So their phone rings while other people are not working on something as urgent. Also it happens that people call the main number and say they are looking for someone and when I offer to help they say they prefer someone else.

Does this mean that I am a terrible IT person and people don’t like me? Not at all. I fix those issues for others who do not care. When I say that I can help them they don’t seem to care. Which is fine with me if they want to wait to get their issue fixed.

The manager of course is aware of this behavior and finds it silly. His attitude is that everyone should be open to whoever is available to help them. Conversely there are some people who prefer me over this other gentleman, and they specifically call for me and ask for me. The other people in the department can help them as well.

All of this is to say that companies that have ticketing systems do so for a good reason. Often IT peoples priorities change due to emergencies and having a ticket or written statement is easier than an email where critical information is often left out. A ticket and a willingness to allow new people to try to solve your issue will get it solved the quickest.

One other interesting thing about this other IT technician and myself. He knows things that I don’t know, and I know things that he doesn’t know. Often with things that we don’t know how to fix we can ask the other person to take a look at it and we always seem to fix the others issues. Critically we can learn from each other when others allow us the opportunity.

Playing favorites with IT people doesn’t make sense for any reason.

New equipment sometimes means hurt feelings

New equipment sometimes means hurt feelings.

Let me give you an example. I once worked at a company that was pretty cheap. They didn’t spend money on regularly refreshing their equipment, so it was years old and very slow.

One day I was asked to upgrade some people to have two monitors instead of a tiny 15 inch one they had. As I did this, many people asked me if they were getting a monitor. I said that I had a list and only the people on the list got one. So there were lots of hurt feelings because they didn’t feel important enough to get a second monitor.

So guess what? A few days later one of the older monitors breaks. Now in any other company this would be an opportunity to just upgrade it with the new larger monitor. However in this case the political climate was to get the permission of their manager so that any hurt feelings could be addressed before this was done. Interesting isn’t it? Normally you would just replace something that is broken and let people deal with it as best they can.

In one way this is nice. It is nice that a company is aware of peoples feelings. In another way this is kind of treating people like children. Children don’t have the emotional capability of regulating their feelings like adults show, so you have to treat them more gently than an adult.

Of course the next day the monitor got replaced. However I see this happen in every company. Once someone gets something, everyone else seems to need it too.

It is a fascinating thing to watch. The person with the broken monitor said how terrible it would be if her monitor broke. Now that it did, she seemed kind of upset and nervous about the attention she would attract. She did attract attention.

It is ok to have feelings at work. However if your neighbor gets a new monitor or whatever, it doesn’t mean that you are less valuable. It just means people make decisions for reasons we aren’t always aware of.