For some reason, people have a misguided view of all “IT people” as being pretty much alike. In fact, the IT group is just as diverse as any other department, only more technically oriented.
There’s definitely not just one IT “type.” Here are 5, and you can probably name several more.
1. The Peace Negotiator
Anyone with the slightest knowledge of office politics knows that what goes on in Washington is amateur hour compared with what happens between two feuding departments. If your IT department has a Peace Negotiator (also known as a “Cat Herder”), the ongoing donnybrook between Procurement and Payroll over who gets the next hardware upgrades becomes an inexpensive form of entertainment, like reality television. The Peace Negotiator knows that sometimes, someone’s got to be the bad guy, but he or she can do so in such a way that the “loser” retains some level of dignity. This person vaguely reminds you of your dad when he caught you enjoying the last Klondike Bar in front of your crying sister, before marching you out to the ice cream truck the next day to buy her one of anything she wanted with your allowance money.
2. The Promise Maker
A potential client could ask for a six-month job to be completed in three, with a side of fries and on-site neck massages every Thursday, and the Promise Maker will look them in the eye and shake hands on the deal. To the Promise Maker, cost overruns or schedule delays are things for other people to worry about. She has no problem driving you and the other team members like the pack of sled dogs she thinks you are in order to deliver on her outrageous promises, because she knows that in the end the whole team will be seen as superstars. Of course, fulfilling near-impossible goals once makes it that much easier to promise the impossible next time too.
3. The Obstructor
This person is the opposite of The Promiser. Ask him to download a printer driver onto the new hire’s laptop and it’s like asking for one of his kidneys. The time that The Obstructor spends telling you exactly why the job in question can’t be done is approximately twice as long as it would take to actually do it. His favorite phrase is some variation on, “Now hold on a minute.” While profoundly annoying, however, The Obstructor is easily trolled for entertainment purposes. The Promiser and The Obstructor are two of the main reasons your department needs The Peace Negotiator.
4. The Sage
This person learned to program in FORTRAN and thought the people learning that fancy new “Cobol” were showoffs. She could pick a stray semicolon out of a page full of job control language at 20 paces and laughs to herself when she hears fresh-faced twentysomethings complain about how hard coding is. Your company probably has legacy systems held together by piano wire, chewing gum, and prayer, and when something goes wrong with one of them, The Sage is the only person who has any idea what to do. When The Sage takes a job elsewhere, your only choice is for the legacy systems she worked on to suffer an unfortunate tragedy, like accidentally being run over by a forklift six times, because starting over from scratch is going to be far easier than having someone else figure out what’s going on.
5. The Disillusioned Tech Support Drone
Brand new tech support workers are so cute. The ink is hardly dry on the pile of certs they bring to the table, and they’re eager to get to work and make the world safe for democracy. You look at them and the phrase “like lambs to the slaughter…” goes through your head. Within a couple of months, The Dissillusioned Tech Support Drone understands that in tech support, he’s going to disappoint most of the people he tries to help on a given day. Furthermore, whenever he does fix a problem, any further problems on that machine until the end of time will be blamed on “whatever you did to it that time.” Is it any wonder he spends every lunch hour playing GTA 5 after not cleaning the splatters from the inside of the microwave where he nuked yet another frozen beef stew entrée?
Tech support, like any other organization, wouldn’t work if it were staffed by a bunch of clones. Different workers bring different strengths, skills, and personality traits to the job, and it’s a good thing, because IT affects every aspect of running a business. When state-of-the-art ITSM software like Samanage has your back, you can concentrate on solving problems knowing that the tracking, knowledge base building, and integration with other office software is taken care of. And maybe that’ll give you time to take that new tech support kid out for lunch next payday.