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IT Managers Are Aloof Says Psychologist and Your Co-Workers

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the I-have-people-skills;-I-am-good-at-dealing-with-people dept.

Businesses 378

dcblogs writes "IT managers see themselves as 'reigning supreme,' in an organization, and are seen by non-IT workers as difficult to get along with, says organizational psychologist Billie Blair. If IT managers changed their ways, they could have a major impact in an organization. 'So much of their life is hidden under a bushel because they don't discuss things, they don't divulge what they know, and the innovation that comes from that process doesn't happen, therefore, in the organization,' says Blair."

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and you wonder.. (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521330)

And you still wonder why everybody hates them!!!

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521456)

Yeah, we're just afraid you'll all find out our dirty dirty secret that networks and computers really ARE magic.

Repairo Catfiveo!

Re:and you wonder.. (4, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521526)

Linus Tarvoldo!
Yes, all magic incantations end in "o", but you must put a semicolon at the end for it to work... unless its vbscript.

Re:and you wonder.. (1, Insightful)

datavirtue (1104259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521748)

I think there needs to be a ban on non-C block languages. I hate it when a language has to be implicit with its blocks, so childish. Just use C style blocks and end the damn expression with a semi-colon. We have to learn so many languages it is crap to have to reprogram your mind to deal with someone's "smart" constructs that diverge from a well known style that has no learning curve and with no real reason. VBScript is a pain in the ass; why? Maybe they were trying to hang with the impossible crap you have to deal with in a batch file.

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521908)

Given the article, does your attitude qualify as irony?

Re:and you wonder.. (2)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522226)

My kingdom for a mod point!!

Re:and you wonder.. (1)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521552)

btw it's light under a bushel -not life (I didn't read the article, but I am assuming that the mistake is by the /. editor and not the doc)

it's from the Bible and it is a metaphor for letting one's talents shine rather than covering them up

and yes -IT managers should be evangelizing the work their department does and explaining what the real benefits of their various initiatives will be for their users OR the organization.

-I'm just sayin'

Re:and you wonder.. (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521860)

Shush! we don't want the Muggles finding out :)

Re:and you wonder.. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521506)

I like me.
-Caboose

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521568)

Boohoo.

"We must find more ways to break down the defensive walls of IT. You know, the ones they built for themselves by spending their whole lives learning, instead of just exploiting the hell out of people around them and casting them aside. Once that's done, we can kick them around like your average receptionist (we call them customer service reps, to give the illusion of respect). We want swappable cogs we can throw away whenever we want! We 'productivity specialists' are sure that's how you foster, 'innovation'."

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Informative)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521800)

because managers often don't have a clue how computers work, IT can bullshit their way out of any disaster and create a level of job security for themselves that many other professions can only dream of.
if you can't beat them, join them.

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521874)

There is a flip side to that coin.

I walk around a good portion of my day talking to users and seeing how things are going. I am the opposite of aloof and quite approachable. However, I have been told on many occasions, "Why do you have to make things so complicated?". Drives me nuts.

They literally cannot tell the difference between bullshit and the truth. Both makes their eyes gloss over and they stop listening.

Do you think doctors are bullshitting you? Do you expect them to explain things to you in technical terms as if they were talking to another doctor?

So why IT?

That's the problem. Everyone expects computers to not be that complicated and that we are just overrated janitors. They have no idea just how complicated it can be, and no real appreciation either.

We are damned if we do, and damned if we don't as far as explanations go, and nobody wants to take any responsibility.

How about the famous line, "But you touched it last?!"

Re:and you wonder.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522046)

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!
~ Some Movie

Not a great pick-up line unless you own a Ferrari? (5, Insightful)

linatux (63153) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522074)

(Where'd my mod points go!?)

Any conversation with someone you've just met will eventually get onto the subject:

Q: What do you do for a crust?
A: I work in IT
Q: Oh - I need another drink, be back soon (yeah right)

Nobody outside the field understands it. They don't care (& why would they) unless their poxy PC has problems.
Of course IT are going to be somewhat insular.

Re:and you wonder.. (5, Interesting)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522098)

everyone WANTS computers to be easy, but I don't think they EXPECT it. in fact, they often expect that things will go wrong at every upgrade. the IT department is always at the receiving end of a long list of expletives from all and sundry, so to man the trenches of IT you have to be hardy enough to brush off the insults and realize that it isn't really you personally that they are swearing at, but the system itself (hardware, software, procedures, etc). a lot of people hate being dependent on an IT department, particularly if they are a little savvy and reckon they could fix the problem themselves in half the time, but most people also realize that an IT department is a necessary evil. in many companies there is a mystique about the IT people; many don't even know what IT people do on a daily basis. ask some people and they would be convinced that they look at porn or play solitaire all day (especially if they haven't heard of UT or Battlefield). to a lot of people computers are to be feared, holding them at ransom, a threatening menace that will destroy them should they do something wrong, or that they will get dragged off to prison if they trigger an "illegal exception".
the only other profession that comes close to IT in its ability to baffle the common folk would be the various fields of professional engineering, with all their respective hodge-podge of numbers and symbols.

Re:and you wonder.. (2)

Clived (106409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522216)

Well said. In my experience as a IT manager, I found most of the users to be clueless and not really interested in the processes on the network that they worked on.
I got tired of being saddled with by people who seemed to want to bitch and whine, rather than doing their jobs with the tools provided,.

Subsequently I am no longer an IT manager

My two bits.

Simple Answer: (5, Funny)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521362)

"They despise stupidity wherever they see it, and they see it everywhere."
Kryten 2X4B-523P

Re:Simple Answer: (5, Funny)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521700)

If God forks the Universe every time you roll a die, he'd better have a damned good memory.

That's why he created git.

Re:Simple Answer: (3, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521886)

If God forks the Universe every time you roll a die, he'd better have a damned good memory.

That's why he created git.

Linus may prefer you to capitalize the 'H.'

Not surprised. (5, Insightful)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521370)

Worked in the IT field for over 30 years. Seen things and learned things about people I REALLY didn't want to know. But the not sharing of information from IT management to direct reports is very common. Even worse in government IT. But gossip does exist in IT. It is just not as useful. Most of the gossip is personal stuff and not what is going on in the organization. But then again, most organizations never share information with IT (maybe distrust?). So IT is the last to know about changes happening.

Re:Not surprised. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522034)

Take up smoking. It's amazing what you can learn from your fellow outcasts.

LOL... (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522082)

Yup, I am a smoker. And yes that helps to some degree, but less as the years pass and the taxes on the cigs goes up here. over 6 bucks a pack now, so we share lot.

What ever happened to.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521374)

those highly skilled business types that taken the bonuses in the good times and the parachutes in the bad. Didn't they have the management and people skills. And now its the IT managers fault now, that psychologist must be a consultant.

Ha - "aloof" (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521386)

"Aloof" in this case is a euphemism meaning, "obedient, emotionally-stunted lapdoggies who got whatever they wanted and were never subject to discipline as kids, and think they can play with their subordinates like they played alone with their G.I. Joes."

When baby doesn't want to share his knowledge and is difficult with people, then he should not be allowed to supervise others and even the most ignorant of HR screeners should have prevented this.

Re:Ha - "aloof" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521444)

Most people can fake being nice for a few hours...

Many people are mean bickering backstabing jerks. Many have no clue they are either. Bitching about what others are doing and doing it themselves.

Re:Ha - "aloof" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521492)

>Many people are mean bickering backstabing jerks. Many have no clue they are either. Bitching about what others are doing and doing it themselves.

and the rest of us live outside the USA

Re:Ha - "aloof" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521666)

'fork' you, like people in the USA are somehow *different* in behavior than everyone everywhere else. Rest assured your shit country donated tens of thousands (or more) of US citizens and their descendants.

Re:Ha - "aloof" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521836)

I can assure you they are. Why do you think we sent them to America?

Re:Ha - "aloof" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521926)

No one can be stupid enough to think that immigration is typically a result of a country "sending" their citizens to another country. Can they? Can a person be so stupid while simultaneously existing long enough to learn how to walk and talk?

Re:Ha - "aloof" (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521842)

"Donated" implies that the country altruistically decided to give them up. Truth is, the citizens probably fled in search of a life that didn't include squalor and filth.

Re:Ha - "aloof" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522106)

Most people can fake being nice for a few hours...

Hell, even my wife managed to do that. If she could do it, almost anyone could...

Re:Ha - "aloof" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521604)

"Aloof" in this case is a euphemism meaning, "obedient, emotionally-stunted lapdoggies who got whatever they wanted and were never subject to discipline as kids, and think they can play with their subordinates like they played alone with their G.I. Joes."

When baby doesn't want to share his knowledge and is difficult with people, then he should not be allowed to supervise others and even the most ignorant of HR screeners should have prevented this.

Does punching you in the dick and then explaining in detail as I delete your user account count as "sharing knowledge"?

Re:Ha - "aloof" (-1, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521730)

It's not my fault your wife fucked another man in the bathroom at the Christmas party. But, speaking of "sharing knowledge," thanks for letting us know that you just now found out weeks later by poking through our e-mails.

From what I heard(and from what we all "heard" as "it" was happening), she's planning a divorce.

Re:Ha - "aloof" (0)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521858)

Does anyone else remember when posts like this were immediately downvoted to oblivion at Slashdot? It wasn't that long ago. Are posts like this more common now because Digg has failed due to their moronic userbase? Why are these people incapable of learning from their mistakes?

Re:Ha - "aloof" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522054)

"Aloof" in this case is a euphemism meaning, "obedient, emotionally-stunted lapdoggies who got whatever they wanted and were never subject to discipline as kids, and think they can play with their subordinates like they played alone with their G.I. Joes."

When baby doesn't want to share his knowledge and is difficult with people, then he should not be allowed to supervise others and even the most ignorant of HR screeners should have prevented this.

Il prepared and Un ready.

This is not just for IT managers. (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522152)

I have been around since the 50's, and have observed management styles change like fashion.

It struck me hard in in Aerospace, when management went to "training seminars" and came back all holier than thou. I was more concerned with stability of phase-locked loops at the time, and I became very concerned over the lack of concern our managers seemed to express about our products. Everything became "the bottom line". Cost centers. Profit centers. Presentation. What is the minimum amount of effort that will result in getting paid. Suddenly, "Pride of Workmanship" became a bad thing as it was an inefficient use of manpower.

Well, we banged around for a few more years riding on the reputation the guys before us earned.

As we "redefined the organization", our clients re-evaluated what our name meant.

Things dried up.

Being one of the noisier ones bemoaning the micromanagement I had to take, I was one of the first dismissed..

Yes, I have studied "Obedience to Authority" by Stanley Milgram. I would urge everyone to read his book. Its tiny. Its a research paper by Stanley Milgram of Yale University, a psychology major, doing a thesis on what got into the German people to do the things they did to the Jews.

I found the book very shocking. What he did was set himself up as an "authority figure" by wearing a white lab coat, and he would see just how far people would go in obeying him. People would actually electrocute others they did not even know once they had shifted responsibility of their act to someone else. Stanley called this state of obedience as "agentic", as being an "agent" for someone else, who was - as you know - Stanley himself.

Some of us have a moral compass that will not let us do such things. Stanley noted that. There were a few that simply would not obey when they were ordered, no matter what he did. He did not label them "not a team player", but I am sure today's "leadership types" would.

This crap even got into my church.

I have pontificated on slashdot long ago on my spiritual beliefs, why I believe there is a creator, and my frustration with religion.

I sat through one "leadership" lesson, and was told things like "if you need them, you can't lead them".

That goes against everything in me. I have got to make those under me feel worthless and dependent so they will follow me? I call bullshit.

If they are going to follow me, they will do so if they believe I know how to do it and have all of our best interests at heart. More down the line of the of the leader of Terra-Nova. Not because I threaten them with bad performance reviews and layoffs. I've been there. No way I want to inflict this bullshit on anyone else. This kind of crap is for the kids who like to pull the legs off of bugs. The worst leaders I have worked under were the ones who placed great value on "being the leader", not "doing the work". I work best with those whose prime ambition is "doing the work".

This new stuff sounds like some greedy industrialist trying to staff a 1800's style sweatshop with the cheapest possible labor, Its the form of capitalism that gives the whole concept a bad name.

Everyone knows the type (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521416)

This specific breed of people, for some weird reason very often low level developers or administrators, who take every pityful little chance they can to assert power due to being socially inept and incapable of relating to other human beings. The type who prefers to spend a minute racking down on someone asking for help instead of spending 20 seconds actually being friendly and helpful. The diametrical opposite of a "people's person". It's a vicious circle.

Most People are Uninterested (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521442)

Speaking for myself, when I try to describe IT projects that I find really cool to non-technical people (say 75% of the organization), they're just not interested. Not saying they're too stupid to get it, not saying they're too stupid to understand its significance, but they've been conditioned to think of IT as something that other people do. There is a problem on both sides of the culture divide. I don't know, nor do I particularly care which side "started" it, but to overcome it, IT people are going to have to share, and non-IT people are going to have to be more willing to engage.

Re:Most People are Uninterested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521522)

Start with asking them like: Wouldn't it be cool if you won't need to add up numbers from couple of reports separately? or it is possible to have this prepared just couple of clicks, wouldn't you like it?

Then they will start to be interested. Nobody, even me sometimes, care about performance, data mining etc. etc.

Re:Most People are Uninterested (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521670)

Nobody caring about data mining?!

Walk into a marketing department sometimes and mention data mining and watch them all cream their pants.

Re:Most People are Uninterested (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521774)

Part of the problem is not describing what the project means for the non-technical person. For example, we have a problem with storage space for email. The only info we got was "we can't do it and you're not getting any more storage space". One evening I managed to get one of the guys alone and he explained the issue to me in quite some technical detail. I suggested that people would be less frustrated if this was explained and he said that nobody understands it. This is at least partially true, because I had to spend some time trying to nut out the technical details (I'm not a tech and have no background in it, but also have a burning desire to understand "why" :) ) But in a nutshell it boiled down to some architectural problems they need to solve before they can add the space, and this is a project that is in progress but will take some time to implement.

What is needed is someone who can take the tech explanation and convert it into something simple that the non-technical user can understand. Sometimes that person is in the IT department, but sometimes I think the guys need to look outside the group for someone to help with this information sharing.

well, let me tell you about my awesome accounting (3, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521840)

project. its really , really, cool... you see we take the general account ledger, and we balance it based on the length of time the charge has been on the current report, whereas before we were simply going line by line ,

im sorry, .. are you ok? it almost looked like you fell asleep there. my brother in law has narcolepsy -- horrible disease. did you know that the first person to discover narcolepsy was sinus grimbald in 1823, when he happened upon a lemur collector in guernsey.. .

Re:Most People are Uninterested (2)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521920)

Do you care about the goings on in other sectors of your company?

Re:Most People are Uninterested (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521952)

People worry about their job being automated out from under them.

If you are going to remove >30% of their daily responsibilities then you'll need to work with leadership to help them understand how it allows the affected group to make the company more money with the same work (which will positively impact their bonuses).

Still people dislike change or learning new things so some set of people are going to react badly to any change to the current methodology.

Who actually ever sees their IT colleagues? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521466)

I'm a software developer in a company with a six-figure-ish headcount and in almost twenty years of working here, I have never met anyone from IT.

Flip Side (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521474)

Flip Side -- we need to be proactive about communicating with the retards who break our system. How many times have you pushed a patch that breaks something, intentionally? Usually a security threat. You've got the power, send an email to all that explains why you're fixing something, and what liability the company has if it's not fixed. This is called propoganda, and it's good. Also, send out good propaganda when you can. The fucking marketing drones didn't sell anything. Your website sold $300M of product. Make IT look like a profit center, and you look like a god. Make it look like a bunch of dick-bags and you'll be an easy cost center to target.

Re:Flip Side (5, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521964)

we need to be proactive about communicating with the retards who break our system.

Nope. Nobody would ever think somebody who says shit like this is aloof, insular, or difficult to get along with.

Re:Flip Side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522062)

I don't know, it worked for Steve Jobs. It's called spin, and any manager/businessperson worth their salt does it and does it well.

It's difficult to discuss things (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521482)

...with people whose eyes glaze over the second they realize you're talking about computers.

I don't know anyone who didn't start out as an ever helpful enthusiastic talkative person, and they all become jaded over time. People just don't want to hear about it. They have their job, they expect you to do yours without bothering them about it.

Re:It's difficult to discuss things (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521998)

Well ...

When their eyes glaze over, that's when you get out the nails and hammer. If you stick it to their forehead, they'll never forget. The only annoying part is the screaming, but you get used to it after the first three or four, and people really do remember after the first few examples.

Explains the Predator Drone Base Hack (1)

pkinetics (549289) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521490)

Sums it all up perfectly. Why the base was hacked, and why the base commanders did not find out until after it was published in Wired.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521512)

The fact that this claim is coming from a "psychologist" should be enough for any reasonable person to automatically disregard whatever he's saying. It's barely even a pseudoscience - why the hell would a company employ an "organizational" psychologist? Is there really such a huge need for people to be told that all their problems come from their subconscious repressed sexuality or whatever flavor-of-the-week bullshit is being spewed out these days?

Fucking cretins, the lot of them.

Re:Bullshit (0)

lexsird (1208192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521944)

Obviously your education in the mater is sorely lacking, but sadly it doesn't stop you from expressing an opinion. My guess is you harbor some issues with the system due to a personal experience with it. Perhaps you got a lousy therapist, or perhaps you just need one desperately and are in denial. Perhaps you are trying to take a stab at elevating yourself at someone expense.

Society deems it a science. A psychologist can sign you into a hospital for evaluation, the cops will bag you up like you are wild life on Wild Kingdom, and put you in a padded room. For a "pseudoscience" that is a lot of power. Of course that is moot, right? Instead of arguing the point, you just attack the person. They have names for that tactic, "argumentum ad hominem" is the Latin term for it. Obviously it's been around for a while, and frankly it was boring back then even.

To try to breed some substance into this conversation, I will inject that I seriously doubt they were going on about "sexual repression". I can see a company hiring an organizational shrink to help smooth out stress in the job and to enhance performance of the people by helping them interact properly. If you have an element not interfacing with the others, and it happens not with just individuals, but as part of behavior of a certain job/skill set, it needs exploring.

Let me break it down simply. If Bob in IT is a dickhead, it's a personal thing with Bob and firing him can cure the problem. But if everyone in that department shows symptoms of "dickheadedness" no matter who you hire or fire, then there is something to be gleaned from the situation. I know IT attracts dickheads. I have known plenty of them when I worked as IT.

But IT is one of those "shade tree mechanic" jobs that about any dickhead can break into with enough self study. I have had "friends" that I grew up with get into it, and they were the worse kinds of people to be attracted to the field. They only liked it for some perceived status it gave them. They loved rubbing things they knew and nobody else did in people's faces. Myself, I am immune to IT arrogance, because there is little about it that intimidates me. I have done my own IT work for years, and did it when nobody around where I lived had a clue about it. I got several of those working their own IT companies into it. One out of working with me, and another who was jealous and copycatted out of ego. What I don't know is either a Google search away or a phone call to a friend capable of anything I can imagine in IT. (Redhat Certified IT Pro)

But I understand people's grief with poor IT. The college I attend has the worse IT I have ever seen. If they worked for me, I would have to take the entire lot of them out in the country and put a .22 short in the thin of their skulls due to the fact they shouldn't be allowed to pass their stupidity on to other generations. There isn't one damn thing intelligent about our computer network at school. Not to mention, they take it down right when we need the thing constantly. You couldn't count on it for real work.

Lastly, I can understand why IT gets an attitude. Some competent IT people operate at extremely high levels of expertise and for them to be answering questions about your email is a slap in their face. It's like asking the award winning brain surgeon to go down to the clinic and take splinters out of some crackhead's big toe. What every IT department of any size needs is at least one "human interface" person to deal with the mundane things and the "idiots". Someone has to gear down their brain out of IT mode and translate things to "normal" people. Not everyone can do that without wanting to snap and take a claw hammer to people's faces.

When the Internet was younger and so was I, I worked an ISP help desk and had to deal with fixing Windows 95 issues with the Internet over the phone with people who barely understood how to turn the computer on. That's a process that will let you know if you have the patience and people skills for working with "noobs" in IT. If you haven't screamed bloody obscenities into the phone and threatened to kill a customer within the first hour, you will probably make it. Once you have logged a 60 hour week in of that madness, you are rock steady IT material, able to field countless noobs without breaking a sweat.

If you aren't making money working in IT, it might be your people skills not your computer skills. The world doesn't want or need another arrogant IT worker with a "I'm smarter than you because I admin this network" chip on their shoulders. And people wonder why we outsource to India.

Re:Bullshit (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522048)

Society deems it a science. A psychologist can sign you into a hospital for evaluation, the cops will bag you up like you are wild life on Wild Kingdom, and put you in a padded room. For a "pseudoscience" that is a lot of power.

A pseudoscience with a lot of power is still pseudoscience (sorry L. Ron). Since you mentioned fallacies, that's the "Argumentum ad Baculum".

Re:Bullshit (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522164)

I/O psych is huge and much of it is about improvement efficiency and workplace conditions for employees. This guy might be going beyond the studies a bit, especially in extrapolating intent from behavior, but if what he says is based on research then he's not talking about all IT managers, but the tendency for IT managers to be that way.

Of course, if you don't like the science, you're feel to take the creationist's path over it and be all butthurt. That works, too.

Re:Bullshit (1)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522250)

Org-psych is closer to science than individual psych. One reason being, the data from which to investigate group behavioral theories in an organizational setting is very easy to obtain in sample sizes adequate for scientific analysis, due to the nature of the settings, which are more uniform than with individuals.

But you still have to watch out for the hacks. If they start trying to teach you organizational psychology concepts, instead of just administering their tests and gathering their metrics and taking the results away for analysis, you are probably dealing with a hack. Note, however, just because you think a survey or group "team building" activity is "summer camp" lame, does not mean that it is quackery -- as long as the org psych person is gathering lots of data from the activity and then applying theory to it, they are likely professional.

bossy control freaks (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521542)

Present a better idea and it doesn't get a fair hearing. Get brain-dead unappealable policy decisions because the system is geared to the lowest common denominator. Being TOLD what the best UI is.

You end up serving the fucking data, rather than the data serving you.

Garbage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521582)

Read TFA. Another ComputerWorld consultant trying to pass themselves off as an "IT expert/journalist" so they can be hired by some gullible executive who doesn't care to invest the time to listen to their own IT staff.

Wrong People Always Get Promoted (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521596)

IT Managers Are Aloof Says Psychologist and Your Co-Workers

The wrong people always get promoted. This is not news for nerds. This is reality.

Give me a story where somebody intelligent and thoughtful gets into management and this would be news. Even on Slashdot, you've got a lot of Managers getting up-moderated [slashdot.org] for basically telling people that they only promote hard working people [slashdot.org] (I think we all know this is a lie). Of course Managers and supervisors think of themselves as fair and intelligent, and as rational as Adam Smith's invisible hand. If only they knew!

References:
http://ask.slashdot.org/story/11/12/28/0058250/ask-slashdot-handing-over-personal-work-without-compensation [slashdot.org]
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2593454&cid=38510268 [slashdot.org]
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2593454&cid=38510098 [slashdot.org]

ayup (0)

cdcoulon (1979848) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521598)

yep, i can vouch. in my world they see you as requiring the minimum amount of information that they can possibly provide - no matter what your experience level. they respond only to people who have the power to fire them, and everyone else is ignored. requests that are in any way perceived as impinging on their territory, or that they don't want to deal with, are treated smugly or ignored. No project matters to them unless they have ownership of it, and if they have ownership or a project, then no-one can possibly provide any information or support or input, as all non-IT people are ancillary to the goal of keeping everything under the gnostic control of the IT people. If they include others in their important business, it is only to require them to regression test their work. The worst part is that all this private, petty knowledge and control allows them to develop a sense of supreme superiority over their co-workers - they are gods, lords of all they survey, and you are a peasant. And indeed, it is quite easy for a competent IT manager to block whatever project isn't in their best interest, if the administrators have no clue what is going on.

So F*CK those controlling bastards, is all I'm saying.

i say all this with respect for certain IT people. My workplace however, is particularly dysfunctional and has fallen under the control of IT contractors. So to that particular IT bureaucrat: being in the "IT" crowd doesn't mean you automatically know more than everyone else, it makes you a smug ass who will eventually get theirs.

Re:ayup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522174)

If I were someone on the IT side of the fence, I would probably feel the same way about interacting with you. You seem like a passive-aggressive and vindictive asshole who is just looking for the slightest problem to blow out of proportion.

Er, no. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521600)

Wow, what a ridiculous pile of pseudo science. I've been in IT for 20 years now, and worked with three or four organizations in very different industries. Each time I start out with a really positive attitude, a "this time it will be different" approach. I'm going to be interested, and helpful, and friendly, and communicative. After about a year I can't do it anymore. It's not for lack of interest or trying, it's because the average user approaches the technology they must interact with daily as either a black box or an inconvenience or both. How a person can know the intricacies of double entry bookkeeping but fail to understand why opening every single attachment they receive is verboten is beyond me. Learn a little - just a little - about the tools you need to do your job and then pay attention to what you're doing. Your computer is not that complex to use, and essential to your job. You know the rules for arbitrating a marital dispute in Iowa, but you can't remember not to Save As the document you insist on using as a template?

If I had wanted to be a cat herder or a kindergarten teacher, I would have pursued those options. I went into a field where I had assumed I would be dealing with adults who even if they didn't understand exactly what they were doing they would at least take responsibility for their actions. You can only endure "I didn't click anything" or "I know you've told me before, but how do I...?" so many times. Eventually you really start feeling like you're not being listened to or appreciated, and then you start wondering why you bother talking at all. Nobody I know in this business wants to keep secrets or appear aloof, but when it becomes apparent that nobody is listening to you when you talk, why bother sharing at all?

She needs to tell us about the people ,,, (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521612)

... who ask for utterly stupid things. For example the secretary that called IT for support because she was required to change her password and it wouldn't let her change it to the same one she had been using for the past year. Please, Billie Blair, why is it that WE IT people have to deal with such stupidity.

Re:She needs to tell us about the people ,,, (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521684)

Be glad they are stupid. Their stupid is paying your bills.

Re:She needs to tell us about the people ,,, (1)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522010)

Because their IT department is not doing their job and explaining to them why it's stupid.

It's not intuitive. It's obvious to you, who has extensive training. The technicalities behind IT are unimportant to everyone else. They make more money and perform more important actions. The company hires IT to mop up after them and provide some extra tools that could be beneficial to their job. Chances are, you have little to no knowledge whatsoever about their job. Other chances are, they're not posting on forums about how stupid you are because of it.

This is why everyone hates IT.

Nowhere was the question "Are they justified... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521614)

to that aloofness?"

In other words, this whole article biatched about IT workers, but never even bothered to look for one moment at the other side of the coin: the users who habitually refuse to change habits, who blame IT for every mistake they make, make demands on the IT guys and girls that are not reasonable, and then wonder why IT sees themselves as beleaguered and under siege.

Instead, she boasts that she knew how to tame IT when she was a dean by bullying them with her position---exactly the reason why IT people see themselves as abused and reviled.

Re:Nowhere was the question "Are they justified... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522044)

to that aloofness?"

In other words, this whole article biatched about IT workers, but never even bothered to look for one moment at the other side of the coin: the users who habitually refuse to change habits, who blame IT for every mistake they make, make demands on the IT guys and girls that are not reasonable, and then wonder why IT sees themselves as beleaguered and under siege.

Instead, she boasts that she knew how to tame IT when she was a dean by bullying them with her position---exactly the reason why IT people see themselves as abused and reviled.

Guy at my last job is your classic IT person. Hates doing support, acts like a jerk to people he deems to not be on his level. But he also manages most of the internal servers, the NAS, backups, what have you, and if something goes down - because he's an ass to everybody when everything's working 99.99999% of the time, they come down hard on him the 0.00001% of the time it doesn't. And it drives him bananas because he doesn't understand that you get what you give. I called the customer service manager from this guy's desk phone once and had just about the coldest reception I've ever gotten on a phone call because she saw his name show up on her phone. Shocked the hell out of me because I'd never heard her act that way before in all the years I'd worked with her.

The only reason he's even still employed is because the department manager would rather run interference at the managerial meetings than waste time and money training somebody else.

And you can tell none of the rest of us in the department have problems... the "lusers" (as some of you knuckleheads call them) will actually talk to the rest of us at the Christmas party! Imagine that, conversation with a human being, all because I didn't roll my eyes when the billing software spit out an exception.

Bottom line, it's all chicken-and-egg stuff. Maybe you're an ass because you're the least popular person in the building... maybe you're the least popular person in the building because you're an ass. But who the fuck cares. You can change that real easy. You don't need to grovel or kiss anyone's ass, just say please and thank you. Don't lean on the "I'm in the IT department, and this is how it is" crutch.

That's not submitting to bullying... that's doing the stupid shit your parents taught (or should have taught) you that you threw out the window 3 weeks into your first internet tech support job.

And go do something unrelated to your job off the clock (on-call hours permitting, obviously). Go get laid. Go take a liberal arts class at the local community college. Just do something that takes you away from whatever it is you already do 10-12 hours a day. A little balance goes a long way.

Signed,
Somebody in IT who isn't at war with the rest of his company.

key logging (3, Insightful)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521634)

How but they install all the same monitoring and key logging software they install on the worker bee employees computers onto the it managers computer then they will be able to see exactly what he/she does or doesn't do.

Or perhaps... (4, Insightful)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521642)

IT subordinates don't like the business decisions passed down from non-IT workers and non-IT workers don't understand the technical implications of the business decisions they make. The IT Manager sits right in the middle of this clusterfuck.

Re:Or perhaps... (4, Interesting)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521708)

Perhaps, but more often than not the IT manager is not directly involved in either the day-to-day operations of the IT department or the said business decisions. It's all budget planning, vendor relationships and issue escalations for them... and thus the disconnect between the business decision makers and IT grunts having to live with them.

Re:Or perhaps... (2)

cultiv8 (1660093) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521764)

Great job of defining a clusterfuck.

Not unique to IT (5, Insightful)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521652)

In a large organization, I see other folks behaving the same or worse as IT managers:
- Human Resources, ever try to reason with one of them that their policy needs to reviewed or does not help in attracting talent?
- Finance; yes, once I have the PR, the sole source agreement, the market analysis, I'll get a PO and the invoice will be paid in six months after the vendors berates and tells me that they'll never do business with us again
- Legal or Privacy department; seriously, never ever try to disagree with them or propose a different point of view
- Researchers; full of primadonnas; the leadership is even worse ...

The article is BS; most of the items could apply to any other area or field

Responsibility without power (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521672)

The IT (in US terms, not technical professions in general) guys are there to enable everyone else to interact. They aren't given much power - only what is minimally needed to give everyone else what they want.

I can empathize with your typical IT guy attitude - you strive to help every day, and do help a lot of people - but end up seeing the same self-inflicted wounds over and over again. At some point, the only way to meaningfully care for people is to take a zen attitude, point them to resources, and accept that most will refuse to take even the simplest steps towards understanding how things break as they misuse them.

And you have to rely on humor over time. The net appearance may be 'aloof' - but it's difficult to help the sometimes aggressively and willfully ignorant often looking to place blame and not end up with the eyebrow-raised incredulous look coming up.

It would be lovely if we could all have a Carl Sagan friendly sage look about us in every difficulty - but we won't. Even Carl Sagan probably looked perturbed and sarcastic at some points along the way - same with Gandhi and Mother Theresa too.

Better aloof than full on BOFH.

Ryan Fenton

But I like the BOFH! (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521902)

And from time to the users have earned that ALOOF or BOFH response. (not really saying that I would kill anyone or cause major injury). But what I have done is gone to management, with documented proof of violations of policy attached to the policy and asked what action they would like me to take. **I only do that for termination offences. Where I work IT can have someone fired. And I have accomplished that task on more than one occasion. Management knows I will take action "only in defensive measures". Most of the time, when I ask management (note non IT management) what action they would like me to take, the response is first silence followed by - "I will make sure this doesn't happen again". But.. then I am labled aloof or not a team player. It wears off after a while, and the older management respects me for defending IT and the policies THEY set. Do they pay me enough for that? HELL no. Am I aloof, not at all! But if it's going to be me fired for something they did... I am not going down alone.

Phasers on kill (5, Insightful)

bogidu (300637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521726)

I am not someone who is offended easily. That said, the author of this article and the 'subject matter expert' that was interviewed have offended me greatly.

Three pages of stereotype. Here, let me summarize and save you wasting 5 minutes of your life. . . . . . "IT people are not the best communicators." oh, wait, this comment was made by someone with an advanced degree in in psychology, I guess it must be legit.

Here is the rest of the article in a nutshell -

IT managers are aloof, technical people with a skillset that an organization cannot do without. They have been 'gifted' since childhood with a technical mindset and they believe that the world is against them. They want people to bow to them as the come into the room (direct quote) and it is difficult to get anything out of them.

I had to laugh when the sme stated that as a dean she could "force them off their high horse". From experience, when managers "force" technical people to do something or provide something, the end result is a piece of garbage that doesn't work right, upsets the customers, makes the IT department look bad and does the "forcer" get blamed for the poor results? No, the IT department loses credibility in the end.

This person doesn't get that most of the reasons IT folks "don't communicate" with those outside of IT is for a very basic reason . . . . . we start talking and we get BLANK STARES as a response!

I love her definition of 'c-level' folks.

The final straw in this article is the last paragraph. Steve Jobs was a BUSINESS MANAGER, not an IT professional. He ran a company and and 'forced' the technical people to dance for him.

Re:Phasers on kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522008)

Sounds like this Billie chick needs a good dicking

The reason we don't share is you will misunderstand 95% of what we tell you and then use your misinformed "understanding" of things to make poor assumptions and decisions. It's like when I work on someone's computer and they turn around 3 days later and say "I got a error on my screen that says my printer is out of ink, it never did that before, what did you break?"

And because of things like that, we in IT learn to never expose you to the "magic" of computing. No good deed goes unpunished. I could explain to you why the new SQL server upgrade is going to make the accounting software 25% faster on many operations, but then the next time you have a problem inputting a PO or printing an invoice, you'll blame the SQL server upgrade, even though you probably missed the part about the SQL server upgrade taking place 3 months from now...

Fuck non-IT people. It's magic. Let's leave it at that.

Re:Phasers on kill (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522140)

If his comments are based on research, then he's talking in tendencies, in statistical averages, not saying each and every IT manager is a dick.

Re:Phasers on kill (4, Insightful)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522210)

Three pages of stereotype. Here, let me summarize and save you wasting 5 minutes of your life. . . . . . "IT people are not the best communicators." [. . .] From experience, when managers "force" technical people to do something or provide something, the end result is a piece of garbage [. . .] This person doesn't get that most of the reasons IT folks "don't communicate" with those outside of IT is for a very basic reason . . . . . we start talking and we get BLANK STARES

Isn't this a perfect example of the problem?

Not all stereotypes are accurate, and they are certainly unfair to just blanket apply to all members of a particular group, virtually guaranteeing whatever accuracy they may have had has been diluted to nothing. At the same time, they do not tend to appear out of the ether. A stereotype exists for a reason.

Take your response as an example, an attempt to deny and refute the article. Let me do the same to your quotes above as you did to the article: "IT people do not communicate with others because when they do the others don't understand and every time somebody else tries to get involved they fuck it up and produce garbage!" Isn't that exactly the attitude the article you're dismissing refers to? "This is my fiefdom and I don't want you involved because you clearly can't do it right" is a pretty damn strong case for saying that IT managers are aloof and poor communicators.

Let me give you the perspective of the dean and other upper-level management folks: If you try to talk to them and you get blank stares in return, you are doing it wrong. If an IT manager is a highly technically competent person, that is an amazing advantage -- but they are, first and foremost, a manager. If their primary function was getting into the nuts and bolts, their position would not exist or at best would be called a "team leader." This person is a manager, and part of that is the ability to talk to those above them in terms that they understand. They do not need a boatload of technical details, they need a business case for what you are proposing. Why do we have to spend more on System A than System B? If it is physical interoperability, just say so. They do not need the specifics, and they will certainly understand "we need this set of features to talk to the systems we already have in place." Understand that they are not technical people, that is why they hired you, but that that does not mean they are not capable or should not be kept involved in the process. They like fancy charts and powerpoint presentations, not technical specification sheets.

If the IT managers are not willing or capable of filling that role as a go-between between upper level management and ground-level workers, they are in the wrong position. That happens a lot, particularly since a lot of organizations see a managerial position as something you promote a good worker into as a reward for that work. That does not make them good managers, not by a long shot. Luckily, it also does not take a lot of effort to figure out how to talk to non-technical people such that they understand what is going on and are involved in the process. A lot of IT workers want IT to remain a mysterious black hole that nobody quite understands in some attempt at job security, but the reality is that if they do not see the value in what you do you're going to be the first ones out the door if times get tough. Possibly to their great detriment, but that is of small consolation to a swath of suddenly unemployed workers.

A great IT manager is a good manager and a good technical person, able to liason between those two groups. A good IT manager is a good manager who isn't great with IT -- somebody able to keep upper management happy and, more importantly, off his workers' backs but who might not be technical enough to avoid his staff putting one over on him. A bad IT manager is somebody who can't manage worth a shit but is good with technology; they just end up micromanaging and getting in the way of the people actually hired to do the work, helping neither side at all.

Let me explain the opposite... (5, Interesting)

bertok (226922) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521732)

It might help to understand where the "typical IT manager" goes wrong by seeing how it can be done right.

One of the first IT jobs I ever had was working for an IT manager of a ~150 user organisation. He was relatively new himself, which wasn't unusual because all of his predecessors were fired one after another. They just couldn't get along with management, couldn't make their needs understood, etc...

This new guy is still there, over a decade later. Why? Because he talked to managers in their own language. Instead of turning up to monthly board meetings in jeans and saying some buzzword-laden crap, he'd turn up in an expensive suit, put on a gorgeous powerpoint presentation which very clearly showed simple charts and graphs of things like "this is going to hit zero in a month, and that's bad because it'll stop our business". Half the time, he didn't even explain that it was disk-space he was talking about, or put numbers on the graph axes. Every month, he'd turn up with nice consistent reports full of simple charts printed in colour onto glossy paper, ending with a simple multiple-choice business decisions with dollar figures and pros and cons.

In the eyes of senior management, he turned IT from a dark pit where money is burned into a clearly separated set of projects and ongoing expenses that made sense to them. Yes, we have twice as many people now, so we're going to need twice as much storage. Obvious if stated right, not so obvious to someone who doesn't even know what "storage" really represents, why it runs out, and who uses it for what.

Here's the thing though: He couldn't solve a computer problem to save his life. That didn't matter, because he just hired competent underlings to do that work.

Re:Let me explain the opposite... (1)

bogidu (300637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521782)

I love it! I'm going to try it. :)

Re:Let me explain the opposite... (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522002)

One of the first IT jobs I ever had was working for an IT manager ... He couldn't solve a computer problem to save his life. That didn't matter, because he just hired competent underlings to do that work.

And that is the EXACT purpose of a manager. One of my recent managers was very similar to this guy - and probably the best manager I have ever worked for. He didn't know didly squat about the technologies we use, couldn't write a SQL statement to select 1 from dual, but he freely admitted to it on day one. He went to all the senior management meetings as prepared as he could be. If he didn't have an answer, he asked us after the meeting and then followed up with our recommendations. The senior management team loved his work because they were getting real answers and our team worked very efficiently. We enjoyed working within his team because he was always on top of things, had a well organized plan for our work - but most of all because he interjected himself between any business user and us when they came bearing work or requests.

Our teams profile rose greatly because we were able to provide a LOT more work to the rest of them due to this single manager. Sadly for us though, he has moved on to bigger and better things (though good for him) and our team is now being led by three managers who combined are no-where near as good as him. Shame really.

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Re:Let me explain the opposite... (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522036)

Great post.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521742)

No sh*t says I. They ought to put this on weekend update!

Genius vs Greatness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521812)

Every job description has a jargon/meme base and many share a common experience.

That's why you can tell the sales guy from the IT guy, "generally speaking".

Different values inherent to the job description.

Some people just clean latrines better than others.

The question is, does the job make them that way, or does the job attract people like that?

Blame it on women (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521814)

If more women would sleep with us, we'd be nicer people!

Pretty straightforward (at least, anecdotally) (2)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521876)

I used to work in IT back before I went to college. Without fail, every single coworker I ever had had some sort of weird fetish with being "in charge" of everyone else's data. Regular venting is normal of course, but I found myself constantly having to remind people that we existed only as janitors to support and digitally clean up after everyone else. It seemed to just be some huge inferiority complex.

Like we care... (2)

hawks5999 (588198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521906)

...what our co-workers think.

Give them an inch... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521912)

It's called scope creep. IT isn't all that much smarter than most of the workers in an organization, they're just a lot smarter than management. Management, for some odd reason, are the stupidest people in most companies. I think it must take a special kind of idiot to "go along" with upper management, so the best idiots get the best management positions. You mention to an idiot that it's "possible" to get their most favorite software onto a smartphone and the next thing you know you're the project lead on the next doomsday project: "In Q2 everything will change!!!" And you curse yourself for ever opening your mouth as you hear the iceberg scraping down the side of your career.

This quote states it best... (1)

pickin_grinnin (2541302) | more than 2 years ago | (#38521922)

(from the article): "They view the world in terms of "us against them" and see others in an organization as pests or threats to their IT universe" I have seen this attitude over and over again, both from IT managers and regular IT staff. More of them need to learn to think of non-IT employees as customers. Patience, basic customer service, kindness, and an ability to teach are important traits to have when working in an IT department. NEVER make the end-user feel stupid.

Re:This quote states it best... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522078)

>NEVER make the end-user feel stupid.

But this is impossible. The glassy stare cuts in about 30 seconds to a minute into any conversation dealing with IT or computers in general.

Try convincing someone that "IE is not the Internet"

It took me /months/ to break someone of that habit.

--
BMO

Sorry, I try but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38521966)

I can't be bothered anymore to focus more than a tiny bit of my brain on users. As soon as I would do so to try and educate them even a little about the machines and software they work with inevitably I can see the circuit breaker cut out usually in less than 30 seconds, and I consider myself fairly skilled at talking at their level.

Two things I hate: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522004)

Two things I hate: Computers and people. This is why I'm an IT manager in an ISP.

Another armchair admin (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522020)

He'd change his tune pretty fast if he ever had to work a single day in IT.

A "cooperative" IT guy can bring down the whole company if "cooperative" means letting jane and joe install software and attach devices to the network willy-nilly, and this is what "cooperative" means to non-IT people.

"What do you mean I can't play angry-birds?"

At one point, the company I worked for had to blackhole nfl.com and associated fantasy-football stuff because fantasy-football was eating up productivity when people should have been working.

Fuck them.

--
BMO

Organisational Psychologist Study (4, Funny)

ferrisoxide.com (1935296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522052)

Research confirms what IT managers have long suspected, organisational psychologists are perceived as "manipulative" and "self serving".

"I really don't like talking to them," says 20-year IT veteran Charles ("Heap Space") Edwards. "They always seem to have some agenda on their mind, but they can never tell you what it is short of wooly motherhood statements. I want precision, but I've never seen a decent spec come out of the OrgPsy team".

According to the report, 9 out of 10 IT managers "wouldn't piss on an organisational psychologists if their keyboard was on fire".

Re:Organisational Psychologist Study (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522112)

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

--
BMO

We all start off trying to explain ourselves (0)

DeadTOm (671865) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522182)

After twelve years in the IT industry, working for four different companies, three large and now one small business, the most important thing I've learned is this:

Users don't listen and they don't want to learn.

Sure, the idea of educating users and management about what we do sounds great and we all start off trying to do just that but after a year or so it becomes clear that 99% of your users don't listen to you. They find it boring, they don't think they should have to learn because it's not their job to know that crap, it's my job to know that crap. It's not their job to learn to fix their computer, it's mine. Trying to explain to them that there are very simple things they can do to prevent their computers from needing to be fixed is a waste of time, they don't want to hear it. They say they do, they might even mean it when they say it, but when it comes down to actually doing it, they won't. They never do.

The company I work for now does only IT and we do it for more than one hundred businesses. All of them are the same as I've described above. ALL OF THEM. So it's best for us to explain as little as possible, just enough to placate them, do what we can behind the scenes, restrict as much as we can get away with so they have less ways to hurt themselves and present everything in the form of dollar signs.

"Here is how much money you spent with us this year. Here are the disasters we averted/fixed. Here is how much money it would have cost you if we hadn't done our job or will cost you if we don't do it."

That's something they do understand.

The Real Purpose of the Article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522204)

It is possible that the real purpose of the article is to do a psychological study on how IT people respond to a baseless attack / criticism. Or not. :)

Badly structured (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38522232)

A badly structured IT department will end up being a bad IT department. A typical scenario is that nobody knows what exactly the IT department does and ignores it until it explodes. Then they rain fire upon the heads of IT. How many IT people have done the heroic all night'er putting out some huge fire because the company was basically non functional while some system was down. These IT departments then become highly risk adverse and become the "Department-Of-NO!!!" This is a reasonable reaction to this structure.

The problem with this reaction is that you end up with IT departments that get locked into IE6 and other legacy problems that only increase the risk and effort required to make the leap into the modern age. Also you end up with the staff doing end runs around the IT department such as outsourcing their own solutions. I have witnessed a situation where a local cable internet connection was secretly brought in on a weekend as the Internet policies were so completely bonkers.

The solution is actually quite easy. The IT department needs to realize that they aren't management. They are a utility. Thus they need to provide a basic set of services such as internet and working machines. Like a real ISP the assumption must be that the customers are going to screw up as much as they can. Thus you create a bulletproof internet connection/email system/whatever common systems available where the individuals can't ruin the whole system. Then when a department wants to switch to Apple products you tell them that they won't be able to turn to the IT department for help as IT doesn't know Apple. The department will make this decision themselves. If a department wants to install a new accounting system the IT department should give advice and maybe a quote if the system is going to be say difficult to back up. If the department doesn't like your quote then they might make a different decision or decide to proceed anyway. That is why companies hire people to run other departments; the company trusted them. Companies don't hire the IT staff to run the company they hire it to run IT.

A great example of this sort of paternalistic crap is why RIMM is dying. I was using a CEO's blackberry the other day. I clicked on twitter to see how the app worked but it said that that I needed to ask permission from my administrator to run this app. Holy crap this was the CEO's phone. I can see IT departments loving RIMM if it allows them to reach their power tripping right out into people's pockets. I can also see why people want iPhones for work to replace their Blackberries. Freedom.

What's with all the threads crapping on IT people? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38522268)

Seriously Slashdot, it's like the site's been taken over by someone who had their dog kicked by an IT person.

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