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.

Stories from My Past: Be careful what you ask for

In IT you often find that when you give people exactly what they want, they are sorry they ever asked.

I helped one person who wanted a new version of Adobe rolled out to the entire company. They were working on a project and that project needed a new version of Adobe. Not an unreasonable request. I asked someone to test that new version and they tested it.

A week later that person had a different problem and I went to help them. It turns out that the fix was to upgrade their versionĀ of Adobe just like the other person who was testing it. However when I went to upgrade them they said “Maybe we shouldn’t upgrade this because it might break my other applications.” This was the same person who asked for the entire company to be upgraded the week before. I agreed that could happen, and upgraded him anyway. It worked fine. Problem solved.

Of course I went to my supervisor and told him what happened. The same person wanted the entire company to be upgraded, but not himself personally. You can’t have it both ways.

Often the quick and easy answer seems to be upgrading the software. Many times this is the correct one. I personally like using recent and supported software. However not every company believes in this. Many companies use very old software that is poorly supported or not at all. This is the main cause why they have problems as well.

To me, when you quickly want to make a major change and don’t consider the consequences you are just asking for problems. If I had upgraded everyone that day like it was my technical ability to do, I might have unleashed worse problems. Having someone test a change is so helpful, and so basic in giving the best IT experience for users.

If you want disaster make a quick change. If you want stability, think decisions through.