10 Things Your IT Guy Wants You to Know
by Jeremy L. Gaddis on May 31, 2009
1. If you come to me to ask technical questions, please don’t argue when you don’t like my answer. If you think you know more about what you’re asking than I do, then why even ask? On that same note, if I am arguing with you, it’s because I’m certain that I am correct; otherwise I’d just tell you “I don’t know” or perhaps point you somewhere that you could look it up. We don’t argue just for the sake of arguing.
2. When you start a conversation by insulting yourself (e.g. “I’m such an idiot”), you will not make me laugh or feel sorry for you; all you will succeed in doing is reminding me that yes, you are, indeed, an idiot, and that I’m going to hate having to talk to you. Trust me, you don’t want to start out this way.
3. We’re okay with you making mistakes; fixing them is part of our job. We are NOT, however, okay with you lying to us about a mistake that you made. It just makes it that much harder to resolve and thus makes our job more difficult. Be honest and we’ll get the problem fixed and both of us can continue on with our business. Lying to us and, therefore, costing us twice as much of our time will not win you any brownie points with IT.
4. There is no magic “Fix it” button. Everything takes some amount of work to fix, and not everything is worth fixing or — gasp! — even possible to fix. If I tell you that you’re going to have to re-do a document that you accidentally deleted two months ago, please don’t get mad at ME. I’m not ignoring your problem and it’s not that I don’t like you, we just can’t always fix everything.
5. Not everything you ask us to do is “urgent”. In fact, by marking things as “urgent” every time, you’ll almost certainly ensure that we treat none of it as a priority.
6. You are not the only one who needs help, and you usually don’t have the most urgent issue. Give us some time to get to your problem; it will get fixed.
7. E-mailing us several times about the same issue is not only unnecessary, it’s highly annoying as well. We record issues in a database so that we don’t lose track of them (remember how we ask that you create a ticket? That’s why.) We will typically respond as soon as we have a useful update to make. If your problem is urgent, please do let us know (but see number five).
8. Yes, we prefer e-mail over phone calls. It has nothing to do with being friendly or anti-social, it’s about efficiency. It is much faster and easier for us to list out a set of questions that we need answers to than it is for us to call and ask you them one by one. You can find the answers at your leisure and, while we’re waiting, we can work on other problems.
9. We may, at times, seem blunt and rude. It’s not that we mean to, we just don’t have the time to sugar coat things for you. We assume that we are both adults and can handle the reality of a problem. If you did something wrong, don’t be surprised when we tell you. We don’t care that it was a mistake because, honestly, it makes no difference to us. Please don’t take it personal, we just don’t want it to happen again.
10. Finally, yes, I can read your e-mail, yes, I can see what web pages you look at while you’re at work, yes, I can access every file on your work computer, and yes, I can tell if you are chatting with people on instant messenger (and can read what you’re typing, as well). But no, we don’t do it. It’s highly unethical and, perhaps more importantly, you really aren’t that interesting. Unless I am instructed to specifically monitor or investigate your actions, I don’t do it. There really are much more interesting things on the Internet than you.
I hope this didn’t come off the wrong way because, even as much as us IT guys refer to “users” as “lusers”, we do like (most of) you. Just like you, we’re here to do a job and we try to do it the best that we can. It’s easiest to do that if we all work together, stop pointing fingers, and give other people the space that we would like to get as well. If we can do that more often than not, things will go well and work out for all of us.
P.S. IT guys are easily bribed with food and/or beer (personally, I prefer the latter). That’s a sure way to get your problems moved to the top of the list. *grin*