Most new graduates experience a degree (so to speak) of culture shock when they start working, even if they did an internship.
Office politics may be intangible and constantly changing, but they’re real. Plus, suppose no one shows you where the coffee pot is. What if the photo of you on your new badge looks like an explosion in a pickle factory? What if you inadvertently park in your manager’s space on your first day? One way or the other, taking a new job is fraught. On top of that, you will quickly realize that things are different from what you expected when you were in school. Here are 10 ways you were lied to when you went through your IT training.
- End users know less than you think. They may say they used to be “in IT,” but this may mean they sold computers at Best Buy, or that it was only last week that they learned to program their microwave. Remember: there’s a reason you’re the one with the administrative rights.
- End users know even less than that. You’ll meet co-workers who can (and will) tell you the diagnosis of the step-nephew of someone in accounting, what kind of tattoo the new receptionist is considering getting, or exactly how Jake in receiving got that scar. Somehow, these same end users haven’t a single clue as to how something broke, which leads us to …
- End users never think they’re at fault. The more the end user is responsible for putting the wrong paper in the printer or saving the document in the wrong format, the more emphatically he or she will blame the printer or computer. Get used to hearing, “It was fine earlier,” which somehow absolves them of all guilt.
- You’re expected to support the unsupportable, like an Android dropped in a toilet. Or you’ll be dealing with iTunes when the end user re-syncs and his playlist disappears. This is an unintended consequence of having a BYOD policy that isn’t airtight.
- The IT help desk manager who hires you may know nothing about computers. He may, in fact, have only got the job because he was responsible for purchasing the company’s new computers and HR figured that “purchasing computers” was pretty much the same thing as “knowing how to fix computers.”
- You will encounter the end user who reports a malfunctioning computer without providing contact or any other details. They won’t respond to your emails, instead creating new work orders every few days, wondering why you haven’t used your psychic powers to know which computer to fix.
Adding insult to injury, most corporate crystal balls still run Windows 2000.
- No good deed goes unpunished. Fix someone’s computer on your own time, and anything that ever goes wrong with it again will somehow be your fault. That’s true even if it’s five years later, and even if it involved a wayward can of soda and an unexpected express trip from backpack to concrete.
- Not all advertised jobs are real. They are being held for someone a company wants to hire, but EEOC regulations require that the job be advertised. This is a horrible fact of life for job seekers, and anyone who learns to distinguish these job advertisements from the real ones would stand to make bank by helping job seekers avoid wasting time on them.
- You will become a veteran of the network upgrade wars. Someone higher up the corporate food chain will one day think it’s a good idea to upgrade the network. Their long-term theory that the improvement will end up costing them less money will result in your trying to making the unworkable functional by dint of the wizardry training you received in your IT studies.
- An internet connection is never fast enough. In an era when many business functions are cloud-hosted, end users are often across the city, or even the country, from the server farm running the software they see on their desktop. A bottleneck at any point on the network connecting them to the cloud is somehow IT’s fault, and you will be expected to speed things up.
Reconciling your formal training with the messy reality of the workforce takes time. Hopefully, someone will show you the ropes, tell you how long popcorn takes in the second floor microwave, and reassure you that Ruth in HR treats everyone that way. Then you can hope that your IT manager had the foresight to choose IT service management software like Samanage, so you can work in an efficient and flexible help desk environment with great tools like remote desktop control, smartphone apps, and powerful knowledge-base building. Great IT service management software can help make up for some the bewildering realities that formal education can’t prepare you for.