In my last article, I discussed how management often makes mistakes with IT decisions. Well, IT often makes mistakes with IT decisions, so to be fair, I am going to share the five biggest mistakes that IT people make.

  1. Ignorance. IT people don’t know everything, but due to many factors, we lack critical information to make the best decision. Intelligence doesn’t mean you know things, although they often are combined. The problem is that in IT there is so much to know that a typical IT person can only remember very little. So you have to be careful and not oversell your experience and give reasonable timeframes when implementing new systems. IT people want to learn, it just needs to be budgeted so that they are not constantly fixing problems but can also improve systems.
  2. Arrogance. I have often seen people who are smart arrogantly believe they can do anything. While it may be true theoretically, the world exists in the practical realm. The time it takes, and the level of knowledge they must amass it sometimes more than they wish to do. I have seen working with companies that they can hire very smart people, but if those smart people are not motivated they might as well hire a dumb motivated guy. For example, at one company I worked at I worked with a guy who was a genius. He knew all kinds of things and was capable of almost anything. However, his flaw is that he was lazy and the result, was this employee was useless. Being a professional doesn’t just mean that you can talk the talk, but that you also walk the walk.
  3. Laziness. Lots of IT people I have met are lazy. Mental work is difficult and draining and often smart people don’t exercise or take care of themselves. Most of my IT coworkers were so invested in their energy with their intellect that they neglected other parts of their lives. It is a common mistake. What we do well, we tend to overdo. Smart people use their intelligence, but it can be used too much and not balanced with their emotions or spirit. I know that I was more intellectually focused in the past, but I have learned that emotional intelligence and respecting the interior man is key to being happy.
  4. Perfectionism. It takes a keen mind to see that a system can work better than random efforts, but that same kind of mind also often seeks to impose an order that isn’t necessary. Some IT people view IT as a way to create neat perfect solutions that can be clearly defined. Other IT people see IT as a process and rigid systems as limiting. I believe both are true. You make things as measurable as makes sense, and then let it go. I have experienced that trying to create order can squash creativity and other opportunities. Life seems to work best as a balance.
  5. Humanity. Often smart people have a tendency to look down on others. It is a strange concept, isn’t it? A person with skill in sewing doesn’t look down on those who can’t sew. IT people who don’t see the shared humanity in others are common. It is sad that being smart often is correlated with low emotional intelligence, and/or low intrapersonal knowledge of self. I have seen that the more that I am kind to myself, the easier it is to be kind to others. It is strange that in life, the outer self reflects the inner, and vice-versa. When we see others as possibly our-self, kindness because automatic.
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