Hackernoon logoI am not I.T. by@aura.a.wilming

I am not I.T.

I.T. jobs must be the most thankless type of white collar work you can get yourself into. I like the computer aspects of it, but since I have a tendency to befriend people who are a little older than I am, sometimes a decade older, I saw what the job is like at the time I was making the big choice about what direction I wanted to take my studies. IT departments are mostly understaffed. IT people hate to take time off. Theoretically they can, but all the computers are ‘their’ computers and they just ‘know’ that the moment they decide to not come in to work, all their computers will revolt.
Aura Wilming Hacker Noon profile picture

@aura.a.wilmingAura Wilming

I am not I.T. By choice. It might seem strange to state that, but I have to say it quite a lot. To my boss, to our clients, to friends. “No, I am not I.T.” which I will admit is usually followed by “But I’ll take a look at your laptop” or “But going by that sound, I think there’s a bad cluster on the hard disc drive.” or “But I do have a program that will get into your QuickBooks file you forgot the password to”

I probably should have been I.T. because I understand computers and programs on a level that I am always surprised to learn not everyone does. Had I taken some time to go a bit more in depth, I probably would have been pretty good. More than that though, the I.T. crowd seems to be my crowd. Computers do seem to attract a certain type of person and it’s these people I fit in with comfortably and effortlessly. Anytime I talk to someone and we seem to be clicking, when the ‘so what do you do’ question comes around the response I hear most is some field in Information Technology. It might also be worth noting that all serious relationships I’ve had were with I.T. people.

It is because I fit in so well with the I.T. crowd that I made a conscious decision to stay clear of the I.T. field. I like the computer aspects of it, I love the people, but since I have a tendency to befriend people who are a little older than I am, sometimes a decade older, I saw what the job is like at the time I was making the big choice about what direction I wanted to take my studies. In my mind, no sane person would subject themselves to working in I.T. if they had alternatives available.

Of course this was almost 20 years ago. Perhaps by now the situation has changed. And I did not know anyone who went to work at a pure Tech company. Perhaps that is a different thing all together. But to work in I.T. at any medium to big company, for people of my generation, needs a type of masochistic streak I just do not have. I.T. Jobs must be the most thankless type of white collar work you can get yourself into.

To start out with, I know more than a couple of good guys who worked themselves out of their first job. They were hired to do something, spend a few months doing it and getting a understanding of the task, saw how much time got wasted with an obsolete process. Designed and created a much simpler, much quicker solution for the task that could be done in a few minutes per day, or week (depending on the situation). In other words, not something that required a full time employee to work on it. And they were proud as hell. But instead of getting recognized by management and being kept on as the company’s new ‘talent’ they heard “Good job, thank you. Now we don’t need you anymore” and found themselves without a job.

The next point is likely related to the previous, IT departments are mostly understaffed. In a lot of cases the word ‘department’ is a joke. It’s one guy. If you’re lucky it’s two people. And that means the IT people hate to take time off. Theoretically they can, but all the computers are ‘their’ computers and they just ‘know’ that the moment they decide to not come in to work, all their computers will revolt and rise up and create SkyNet. Or at least stop working. Which is not as bad as getting some temp in messing with their computers, changing all kinds of things around which will take them months -months- to put right. Or, you know, a good part of an afternoon. Which in practice means they can’t spend their time off relaxing. They are either worrying about the maltreatment their computers are enduring right now, or are on call for when the shit hits the fan. I wish I could make fun of that attitude but I’ve noticed that shit will indeed hit the fan, inevitably, because, people. And you can see, it, when they take that call. Yes, they are a little annoyed. But also a lot relieved.

Most I.T. jobs are 9 to 5. Which is a joke. I.T. are the marines of the office; first in, last out. Not because they are that damned dedicated, (well, maybe a little of that as well) but because it’s just easier to do their job without people bugging them. They need that 30 minutes to an hour to do what needs to be done so the rest of the day can be spend on ‘stupid problems’ Pro tip: if you encounter a slightly on edge I.T. person, do not get them started on stupid problems. You’ll be afraid they will work themselves up into a stroke or something. Also heaven forbid the server(s) have some downtime when the rest of the coworkers are in the office. They will look at I.T. as if they aren’t doing their job right. Speaking of servers, I.T. are the only ones who know how to shut one down. It really isn’t all that hard, but somehow, no one else can manage. I don’t know anyone who can declare those extra hours.

The main problem with I.T. though, is that most people who are not I.T. have no idea. They just don’t know how much time things take, or how much work goes into it. When I.T. does their job right, no one will ever notice. It’s only noticeable when things go wrong. From what I’ve seen, the only time an I.T. person is truly appreciated, is a few weeks after they quit.

With all this going on, why would anyone want a job like that? That’s why I am not I.T.

I also happen to be a woman. And women in Tech is a big topic of discussion lately. The story is, they have it hard. I believe it. But being around the I.T. crowd since my mid teens, I doubt this is really because the crowd is more sexist than any other field today. They really are great people on a whole. The real problem is they are also a frustrated, unappreciated people on a whole. And when people -men or otherwise- get into a situation like that, they will start to act out a bit. Bullying, nasty behavior isn’t so strange when they feel unwanted and taken for granted. And socially, women and minorities are soft and easy targets. That’s not an excuse. But it is human.

I really think that if the I.T. field gets more recognition, it would go a long way to making it a better field to work in. For everyone, women and minorities included. And then maybe, other people like me would see I.T. and think ‘that’s a great way to earn a living’ instead of ‘oh hell no, I am not I.T.’

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