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Stories from My Past: Cleaning up IT messes

I like things to be organized so when I start a job and the IT area is a mess I first get busy and get it organized.

This has made enemies from the current IT staff. Many IT people feel that when I clean things up it makes them look lazy or unprofessional. When anyone asks I say that I am just doing inventory to see what we have. It is true that one of the first things I do is inventory so I know what there is to work with.

One time I was cleaning up and the person who made the mess was angry at me. It was a separate IT dedicated room that could not be used because there was so much junk in it. The IT room had been moved to a small cramped place because of this persons feeling he owned this company. When I asked him about it, the IT person said that the stuff may be useful. The stuff was 20 years old and covered in dust. I couldn’t believe that management had allowed this waste of space and resources to happen.

So this guy yells at me and calls me some unflattering things saying that I am making him look bad and lazy because it was never cleaned up. I go to the manager and he says he is not the manager and doesn’t want to deal with it. I try to work it out with my coworker but he is just being a jerk. What can you do in this instance? I was a consultant and I found my own solution.

Working in IT means that sometimes you might make others look bad because of your hard work. This situation happened again where I cleaned up an area and the manager appreciated my efforts. You can’t ever know if your attempts to be professional will have helpful or unhelpful consequences.

What I learned is that you can only do your best and let the cards fall where they may.

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