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Ask Slashdot: Old Dogs vs. New Technology?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the tips-from-an-all-star dept.

IT 515

xTrashcat writes "I am 22 years of age and have been working in the IT field for over a year. I try to learn as much about technology as my cranium can handle; I even earned the nickname 'Google' because of the amount of time I spend attempting to pack my brain with new information. Being 22, it is, I speculate, needless to say that I am the youngest of my coworkers. If there is a piece of software, hardware, a technique, etc., I want to know everything about it. On the contrary, nearly all of my coworkers resent it and refuse to even acknowledge it, let alone learn about it. For example, we just started buying boxes from a different vendor that are licensed for Win7. A few months later, we decide that a computer lab was going to get an XP image instead of Win7. After several days worth of attempts, none of our XP images, even our base, would work, and it left everyone scratching their heads. We were on the verge of returning thousands of dollars worth of machines because they were 'defective.' I was not satisfied. I wanted to know why they weren't working instead of just simply returning them, so I jumped into the project. After almost 30 seconds of fishing around in BIOS, I noticed that UEFI was enabled. Switched it to legacy, and boom; problem solved. My coworkers grunted and moaned because they didn't have to do that before, and still to this day, they hate our new boxes. So in closing, I have three questions: What is the average age of your workplace? How easily do your coworkers accept and absorb new technology? Are most IT environments like this, where people refuse to learn anything about new technology they don't like, or did I just get stuck with a batch of stubborn case-screws?"

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515 comments

Try to get First Post on Slashdot (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569649)

That will prove you are qualified.

The question paints the asker in a pretty light (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569651)

I just hope it's deserved

Lucky (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569661)

I would say no, in general they aren't. However, I will say that you got lucky. Why they weren't looking into the bios from the get go is beyond me.

Re:Lucky (5, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | about 2 years ago | (#40570171)

There are idiots in every profession, certainly. However, in IT, and this may be just my perception because of my familiarity with the industry, they seem to coagulate in certain locations much more than any other industry.

Possibly the good ones, especially the ones with the rational type "anti-idiocy" personality types, quit and move on when they've got to deal with idiots on a daily basis, so the business hires someone to replace him. This continues until the business' IT dept is staffed by nothing but idiots.

In short, xTrashcat shouldn't plan on getting too comfortable in this job, because dealing with this style of coworker continually might just drive him off the deep end.

The fact that they were trying a standard, existing image on entirely new hardware tells me that they're not paddling with all oars to begin with. This is usually a recipe for a BSOD, and even if you can get it working, you've got a bunch of old driver cruft, which slows down the machine.

Age (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569683)

You sound 22.

Re:Age (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569801)

Agreed. Drop the attitude, and focus on doing your job. If you're truly better than everyone else then it will show. If you run around with your nose in the air telling everybody else how great you are then you'll be kicking rocks down the road in no time flat. In other words, grow up and worry about yourself.

Re:Age (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569929)

Hahaha, pot meet kettle.

Re:Age (4, Insightful)

xTrashcat (2677843) | about 2 years ago | (#40570083)

Actually, I am very quiet about the work that I do. I was not trying to sound sarcastic, snarky or otherwise arrogant; those were honest questions. My willingness and motivation to achieve come from me, and not a need to feel better than others.

Re:Age (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570157)

I'd rather have you work for me... most people here are idiots. They don't give two shits about the work they do. I love my job. I'm also the boss and CEO though! GOD I hated the 2 month Internship I did at a company I liked. All because they were umm fucking idiots working there who couldn't get jack shit accomplished. The company is gone now.... and well... I'm doing what they should have done. We are the success and they well... failed.

Re:Age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570187)

Disagreed. Just because you're 22 doesn't mean you have to be as judgmental is he comes across. And I wouldn't accept the word of a judgmental 45 year-old unless I knew he possessed sound judgment in the arena in question.

Characterizing all of any group is a good way to say that you just don't fit in there, or you aren't really trying...

Re:Age (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#40570175)

Exactly.

From TFA:

After almost 30 seconds of fishing around in BIOS, I noticed that UEFI was enabled. Switched it to legacy, and boom; problem solved.

But do you know WHY that setting was that important?

The best admins learn that tweaking individual machines is a fast way to burn out. Standardization is best. Even if it means that some systems are considered "defective" because they don't meet the standard.

Re:Age (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570205)

Exactly. If you don't loathe special cases yet, you still have much to learn. "Finding the trick to make it work" isn't your job. Your job is to make decisions that don't involve tricks (now or later on) or to help someone make these decisions.

Re:Age (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570239)

Seriously. I'll bet they call him Google because he thinks he knows everything.

Are most IT environments like this? No (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569689)

Whatever, your work place is like, the answer is "No." Different workplaces are different. If your workplace is terrible and you can't make it work for you, leave. But be warned, your new place might be worse, maybe a lot worse.

Is it real or is it memorex? (1)

PrimalChrome (186162) | about 2 years ago | (#40570089)

Perhaps his next environment will be the same...and the one after that....and perhaps the fourth as well.... Maybe by the fifth he'll wonder if the issue isn't the workplace or culture, but more between the ears of the viewer.

I'm not saying he's not a brilliant, young up-and-comer that can do no wrong and has to fight the righteous fight against the entrenched evil old men that are ruining the world around him.... But I would say that sounds a lot like half the movies coming out of Hollywood. If he's that good...and his shop that bad....he should have *PLENTY* of contemporaries in other companies that could get him into a healthier IT culture.

Good for you. (5, Insightful)

jdastrup (1075795) | about 2 years ago | (#40569707)

So you learned the 80/20 rule and you happen to be in the minority. Your questions are all irrelevant. Word of advice - if you want to stay employed, stop showing off, because your bosses will probably be in the 80%.

Re:Good for you. (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40569845)

Horrid advice.

Re:Good for you. (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40569895)

So he managed to twiddle with a BIOS. Big fat hairy deal. There's nothing "new" about that. It's just a basic systems integration issue. It's nothing that anyone that has built boxes or installed an OS hasn't already seen before.

It's not really that special and neither is the annoying twit.

Beyond this kid being obnoxious, age doesn't seem to be the issue here.

Re:Good for you. (5, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 2 years ago | (#40570035)

You're really missing the point. He's not patting himself on the back (much). He's wondering why nobody he works with seems even to want to adapt to changing tech. He KNOWS it was an easy fix, and the fact that nobody else could get it is boggling his brain.

Re:Good for you. (4, Insightful)

Kenshin (43036) | about 2 years ago | (#40570139)

Not only could no one else get it, they all moaned and complained "we never had to do that before" after he showed them.

So not only are they unwilling to adapt on their own, they seem to take umbrage at being shown something new.

Re:Good for you. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569925)

Hard work and figuring something out that other people were too lazy or apathetic to figure out is NOT - I repeat, NOT - a bad thing, and anyplace you work that indicates otherwise is unworthy of your efforts. You may lose a job or 2 along the way for "showing off" (or as I'd refer to it, doing your damned job). Get some time in there, get some more "real world" experience, and then go somewhere else. May take a while to find someplace that appreciates you, but those places are out there.

Avg age here, in IT - I would guess upper 30's, lo 40's. Non IT coworkers HATE new technology, unless it's what is in their pocket. IT folks (here at least) are usually bleeding edge at home, but corporate we're not much ahead of the end users systems. Most folks here aren't too bad, but there are some stubborn people in every company that refuse to learn ANYTHING new.

I wish like hell there were more of you and less of "them" out there.

Re:Good for you. (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 2 years ago | (#40570015)

So you learned the 80/20 rule and you happen to be in the minority. Your questions are all irrelevant. Word of advice - if you want to stay employed, stop showing off, because your bosses will probably be in the 80%.

Agree and disagree with this. The bosses will probably love the OP, want to keep that person around. You're not going to have many friends though. The 20%ers seldom do.

With that, I'll add this note: Don't lose your passion for your job, but don't invest too much into the interpersonal side of office culture either. You're a natural workaholic so keep that up. But have balance. Find a reasonable place to draw the line and live for your weekends. (unless you truly think your bosses take such a shining to you that it could lead to rapid career advancement. [Problem is, you often need a ton of charisma.])

Re:Good for you. (2)

chronoglass (1353185) | about 2 years ago | (#40570147)

dunno anything bout this 80/20 rule, but I can say, I went from dumb ass it job to dumb ass it job watching the people that wanted to learn the tech out pace those that wanted to "do their job".

When i started at the last of those jobs, on my second day I was handed a "new" tablet pc and asked if i could "make it work" with our image. I said I'd give it a shot. A few years later that same manager hired me to do technology research for his team. I'm pretty happy with it.

Be there, do what you can, and don't write checks you can't cash. If it's good, someone will pick up on it.

Learning new stuff is hard (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569709)

When the older guys have kids and a family, spending all their energy on work can be hard. Older people should have experience, younger people should have drive. Working together, you can get amazing things done.

Re:Learning new stuff is hard (2)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 2 years ago | (#40570129)

If a seasoned tech can't fiddle with the settings on a PC to determine that there's a setting which can get the thing to boot WinXP, they're (to be frank) worthless. This sounds not so much like a knowledge issue, and more like some "techs" who have poor problem-solving skills and go by the book for their "troubleshooting".

Not just age (5, Insightful)

jdavidb (449077) | about 2 years ago | (#40569725)

There are lots of people who do not perform well in their jobs, for various reasons. Age may be a red herring, as I've seen the behavior you describe in both old people and young people. (I was 19 when I started my career, so it is not "needless to say" that you are the youngest in your office. I am 34 now.)

I recommend that you not waste time psychoanalyzing your coworkers for underperforming. Instead, I recommend you take exploit your willingness to get to the bottom of things and simply earn a reputation for being the guy who can actually fix things. This will pay off in $$$, or should, if you handle it right. Alternatively, blaming your coworkers' failure to do this on age, or even fixating on that issue at all, is likely to earn you a reputation for being a cocky and arrogant young jerk that nobody wants to work with. Remember, I was 19. Don't do it. :)

If you have this level of attention to detail, one thing you might want to watch out for later on is a perfectionism that might cause you to obsess about investigating things even when there is no payoff. Watch out for letting yourself get trapped into jobs that don't have a payoff, whether that payoff be in monetary or in some other type of satisfaction. It's okay to work for a reward besides money; it's not okay to let yourself obsess and waste time that could be spent doing something you like better or that brings you better rewards.

A book I recommend for you is Leadership and Self-deception. The format is "business parable," which always comes off as silly and preachy, but the concepts in it are sound and useful as you discover and deal with mental blocks on the job, in others and also in yourself.

Re:Not just age (1)

peragrin (659227) | about 2 years ago | (#40569969)

I agree and disagree. Same age and also at age 19 started working my ass off. However sometimes psychoanalyzing your coworkers can spot other things.

I have one worker roughly the same age who always seems to struggle with certian tasks. eventually I figured out while he has some education and vocabulary he can't read very well. So he can read a simple document without noticeable delay if you give him a list of part numbers and quantities he struggles massively with it even if it is relatively straight forward.

Now being a coworker I also find him an arrogant and prideful asshole. So I refuse to mention my findings as he will merely go off on me in a verbally abusive manner. (I am leaving the company because of him and the fact he is a VP's friend)

Re:Not just age (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#40570037)

Call it what it is: the guy is ageist.

This is textbook ageism. Coworkers are douchbags and all older than him, so he assumes it is *because* they are older since that is the stereotype. Then he extrapolates that to be a sign that all older people are dinosaurs and obsolete.

I'm 32, by the way. Old enough to be discriminated against?

Re:Not just age (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570189)

that all older people are dinosaurs and obsolete

All? No. Just a majority of them. It's not that they can't handle it, it's that they resent having to. People middle aged and older tend to have this attitude of "I've paid my dues and now I deserve to be served by somebody else." It gets absurd. They might be able to do $SOMETASK themselves in 5 minutes but they'd rather wait on hold or stand in line for 20 minutes to get some handholding or to get somebody else to do it entirely.

Go to your nearest grocery store that has a butcher department. Look at the butcher's counter. You will almost never see anyone there under the age of 45. The young people would rather grab something they like off the shelves. The old people would rather make someone prepare something for them on the spot even if it ends up identical to what's on the shelf.

If you ever worked retail esp electronics you will find one annoying tendency. Old people tend to ask you (and not usually politely) where something is when they're actually standing right in front of it. They don't think to look around even slightly before demanding assistance. They can spot a nametag from 2000 yards away but they can't notice a huge display containing what they're looking for that's 6 feet away. Again it is not because they are stupid or incompetent. It is because they feel entitled to someone else's labor.

Re:Not just age (2)

Siddly (675342) | about 2 years ago | (#40570119)

Definitely not just age. I was around 50 years of age when I started using Linux as my only computing platform. I saw its possibilities from the first kernel that Linus put up for ftp and I started experimenting with it on an old 2 floppy drive Toshiba laptop the company then issued. When I eventually switched to using Linux for all my computing needs both at work and at home I got lots of criticism from colleagues far younger. My company manufactured mainframe and SPARC hardware, supported IBM and Solaris operating systems and associated peripherals so we were positioned at the high end of the computing ecosystem, the pinnacle of the industry, yet very short sighted. My task to build a Linux mail server on a Sun E4500 eventually got terminated, though they began to take notice and tried to sell my services to customers already running Linux on mainframes but those customers were well ahead of our company and could support themselves. I was once introduced to a customer who wanted to install Linux on his mainframe as a Linux bigot. When the corporation eventually saw merit in Linux long after I did, at least my technical director had the humility to admit that when I was using Linux to do everything the job required, they thought I was crazy and gave me credit for my foresight.

You can only know so much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569731)

Once you've gained enough experience, you realize that you can't know everything. So, you only bother to learn the things you deem important to you and your career. Most new technologies just aren't that important.

This isn't normal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569733)

Most people who are working in information technology are in IT because they genuinely love working with new things. And unfortunately, a significant minority get into IT because they think it's an easy way to make good money. It sounds like you have the misfortune of working with an entire office full of the latter type of people. Get out before their inflexible attitudes infect you.

Woof (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569735)

I am 37 years of age. I, evidently (and spuriously) enjoy the usage of too much extraneous, needless, and unnecessary punctuation; however, I'd like to relate a little story to you.

My co-worker, not much older than you, has absolutely no idea how to use the command line. He doesn't know what Perl is, or Bash. To his credit, he can write a little SQL, but we worked together on something recently that took us an hour to fix after he'd banged his head against it for a couple of days. It's okay, it takes time to learn shit.

You solved a problem your coworkers didn't. Good for you! You deserve a pat on the head for a job well done. IT is a field where all colleagues benefit from sharing and learning from one another. It's not an age thing. The sooner you learn that, the sooner you can appreciate it.

Average age is 45 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569741)

And we have a group of about 6 people, the biggest problem there is just too much tech to keep track off. So a lot of skills are divided around the group where as the intention is that we are eachothers counterparts, which is true except for the different skillsets. And even if you know something, you forget about it because there is so much to keep track of.

OOH, Ageism from the kid! (1)

bellers (254327) | about 2 years ago | (#40569745)

Age is a protected status in the US. You're going to get fired by HR if any of the old guys here you talking about how they suck because they're old.

Re:OOH, Ageism from the kid! (3, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40569999)

Old age is a protected status in the US.

FTFY.

As someone who has, many times, been told I was turned down for a position because I was "just too young," I can promise you that people under 65 enjoy no such protection.


FTR, I'm still under 30.

Re:OOH, Ageism from the kid! (5, Funny)

bellers (254327) | about 2 years ago | (#40570131)

As someone who has, many times, been told I was turned down for a position because I was "just too young," I can promise you that people under 65 enjoy no such protection.

FTR, I'm still under 30.

That means you lack experience, not that you're too young.

Now go refill this coffee. No cream, no sugar.

Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569747)

I am 30 now and I'm like your co-workers.

I used to be just like you when I was your age.

The reason why I don't like keeping up to every single little thing, trying out new operating systems, etc. is that it has gotten to the point where it's boring. Now this stuff is just same shit different wrapping, learning how a different wrapping work is simply boring, and I prefer to avoid it when I can, and learn new and interesting stuff instead.

Re:Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569807)

Let me clarify a bit. I like it when stuff just works. I know what I have to do, and I prefer to get to the goal with the least amount of work, if I can get to the goal with the stuff that I already know, it's much better than having to learn new boring stuff to do it. It's not that I don't like learning new stuff, it's that when you know how to do something, but you have to learn some new boring details about the name of parameters, decided by some dude at Microsoft or whatever, it's just not that interesting to do when you are doing it for the n-th time.

Re:Boring (1, Troll)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#40569877)

Exactly; there's a lot of reinvention of the wheel going on, especially in the computer world, such as people coming up with yet another new programming language because they didn't like the other ones for some reason. Obligatory XKCD [xkcd.com]. It's fun learning something that's truly new and interesting and actually useful. It's not fun learning some stupid half-assed new shit that someone make up because they had too much time on their hands and wanted to make a name for themselves; a good example of this is GNOME 3.

Re:Boring (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#40570109)

I am 30 now and I'm like your co-workers.

I used to be just like you when I was your age.

Yea; me too.

That's why I'm almost 30 and still stuck in bullshit, entry-level type positions: not because I lack the qualifications or knowhow to do more complex work, but rather that having such an exhuberantly curious personality and powerful urge to get shit done tends to alienate management types, who subsequently take it out on you by making sure you go nowhere in that company (management types are usually threatened by intellect and strong work ethic, as they often lack both qualities themselves).


The best advice I can give you: If you're looking for financial success, keep your smarts and curiosity to yourself. Do just good enough work to be better than the guy next to you, but not good enough to draw the attention (and subsequent ire) of the less-intelligent Philistines who decide your fate. If you do end up coming up with something quite clever, work on it on your own time so the company can't try and lay claim to your work, and get yourself out of the corporate wage-enslavement loop.


Yes, Virginia, the business world really is that fucked up.

Your place is weird (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 2 years ago | (#40569749)

My office loves to tinker, and loves to solve mysteries of why stuff is broken, or kludge together temporary and permanent solutions to new problems. Whether it's salvaging a dead server by splicing it with spare parts from a distant relative, or cobbling together a visual basic script to run a strange setting on 300 workstations all at once, or figuring out that we need to turn the coffee pot back on to refill the water tank before brewing the next pot (my own discovery which still earns me accolades from my boss), we all enjoy new challenges. The average age of my office is about 30, skewed a bit by the small numbers, the owner and manager, and myself, but further balanced out by the part time college kids.

google (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569755)

Actually, they call you Google because we have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to the relevant data when you speak.

(That summary was 3 times as long as necessary.)

The Workplace (1)

mikew03 (186778) | about 2 years ago | (#40569763)

Some perspective, anyone much older than the poster who is working in IT since they were 22 has had to deal with a VAST array of technology changes. Most people in the business are as eager as you are to stay on top of the latest technologies but you will find as you have a family and other life commitments that you won't have quite as much time to learn *everything*.

Sure some workplaces can be bad, I agree with other posters that if you don't fit in move along and find someplace you like better. But overall, I would guess you are not assessing your situation very clearly at the moment. Give it and your coworkers a little more time, I bet they know more than you think.

Be disruptive, sure, but be polite about it (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 2 years ago | (#40569765)

I have always been the disruptive influence, everywhere I've worked. I don't like answers like, "that's just the way we've always done it", they've never gone over well with me.

That said, you have to learn how to do it politely. You are still going to annoy people, but generally people feel good doing the best job they can. The folks that really don't like you...well, they aren't worth worrying about.

Sounds about right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569791)

I'm 32. I work for the provincial government for a province in Canada. I work for the education system dealing with technology and projects including wireless networks for all of the schools, providing laptops to every teacher and netbooks to certain grades of students as the project expands. We deal with smart boards, projector systems, frontrow sound systems and senteo systems.

Sounds about right to me. I created the imagine lab we use to deploy thousands of machines using F.O.G. When the project first started we had been using ghost, ya ya, I know... Once vista and win7 rolled around we had to make a choice, buy the newest version of ghost to support them, or find a new imaging system, because our version of ghost would simply fry any vista/win7 image you tried to deploy, you had to repair each machine from the dvd individually.

I was the only one who bothered to find out why, and built the fog system around our needs, for free. Most of the people I work with know only what they need to know to get their specific task done. I'm far from 22 at this point, but I'm still the young guy here, most everyone is closer to 40 or beyond, and with the exception of a few, they simply don't keep up. I tear down and examine everything that comes into my warehouse, I want to know what it is, how it works, and most importantly, how to fix it or utilize it best.

Average age in my IT department is ..... (1)

weiserfireman (917228) | about 2 years ago | (#40569793)

46 years old

We are all extremely curious and have great google fu. Of course, we are halfway through our Windows 7 rollout, so we wouldn't have put an XP image on that machine. We would have used a new Win7 image.

I am the manager and only employee in the department. Pretty easy to calculate that average (46/1)

My experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569795)

Computers is a sucky field because everything you know is wrong every couple years. The vendors want to constantly remake everything so they can sell new product, and IT professionals wish they'd leave something alone long enough to get it working. I've know many IT guys who eventually became scared of new tech and kept their company behind the times on purpose. This, of course, creates as many problems as it solves. All I can say is let the needs of the business direct how much work you do, but always stay informed.

It's not age that matters - it's adaptability. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569797)

I'm one of the OLDEST in my department, yet I'm the one who learns new tech the quickest. In a previous job, it was invariably the older/experienced techs in the department that could pick up new stuff quickly, simply because they've been "picking up new stuff quickly" for a couple decades, whereas the recent high school/college gratuate whose first computer at age 4 was more powerful than my first computer post-college never had to learn arcane things, they've always been 'easy'.

Yet yes, there were/are young 'uns who are perfectly adaptable.

Age DOESN'T matter. It's just that most of the 'adaptable' older IT workers have 'adapted out' of front-line IT by now, so it's the less-adaptable ones you young 'uns see in the front lines.

You reek of fresh awesomesness. (5, Funny)

ip_freely_2000 (577249) | about 2 years ago | (#40569805)

Just keep doing what you're doing. Your coworkers will appreciate all of the amazing talents you bring to their table. You'll be the toast of your workgroup and your team will celebrate your successes. That or you'll never be asked to come along to the after work beer.

Re:You reek of fresh awesomesness. (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40570009)

Who wants to have a beer with those people?
I prefer beer with people who are actually interesting.

Answers: (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40569809)

"What is the average age of your workplace?' 45
"How easily do your coworkers accept and absorb new technology?" Most absorb and implement it very quickly.

Are most IT environments like this, where people refuse to learn anything about new technology they don't like, or did I just get stuck with a batch of stubborn case-screws?" Depends on the organizations culture.

You seem bright, eager to learn and motivated. So I suggest:
Finding work where that is celebrated, or go to a company that is in what field you want, and after a year start your own business.

Anything else will be a waste for you.

productivity is always low in IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569813)

I worked for my (engineering) college's IT department on a small team full of students all no older than 24.

We got stoned and fixed stuff all day. Including the things we broke.

Are we to take this seriously? (4, Informative)

BenJeremy (181303) | about 2 years ago | (#40569821)

There seems so much wrong with your post.... the first thing this "old dog" would have checked is if these new boxes had a standard BIOS or running UEFI. Sounds like you have a lot of incompetent people working in your shop. I probably would have questioned the move back to XP in the first place... why? Was it a legacy software issue? Was it something that could not be solved by using compatibility mode or re-compiling the software? Did anybody bother to do a proper business case, and perform a risk assessment, including the possibility that the newer hardware may not have suitable drivers, for example?

Also, at 22, perhaps you still don't understand how stupid you sound when you make sweeping generalizations about "old dogs" and their ability to cope with new technology.

Your office also sucks. If that is what passes for IT, I'd suggest HR purge them and hire former Geek Squad employees, as they are probably better at the work (and I say that seriously, though I am loathe to ever let them touch a PC of a friend or family).

People get lazier as they get older (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569823)

I'm in my early 30's. Most of my co-workers are at least 10 years older. I'm the youngest now because everyone younger then me quit (or transfered) and I believe this issue was at least a partial cause. And this is a bigger problem than any one cares to admit openly. People get set in their ways and then when they have issues just expect the younger guys to help them figure out their problems. But at my company, it could cause an HR Incident to even acknowledge this ("you're just being age-ist!"). I think all we can do is learn from this experience and hope that it doesn't happen to us. I actually think it might have something to do with the pre/post internet generation gap. Maybe future generations won't have this issue.

Another perspective (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40569829)

Here's the thing - in a large enterprise, if you have to touch *every* box to make a change, that's a significant time sink and not a good use of personnel. What did you do, throw the switch, see it worked and immediately go to the pointy-haired boss to tell him?

Are your co-workers really groaning because they won't learn something new? Given we're talking about BIOS settings, that seems unlikely. It's possible you just have a bunch of lazy, disgruntled co-workers; but it's also possible they know stuff about your workplace that you don't. If we're talking about a large enterprise - if the boxes you guys ordered don't work with the setup you want to use, something went wrong. Either the order itself was incorrectly filled, or the person choosing the hardware didn't actually take into account every factor he should have.

I learned a whole heck of a lot in college; but I quickly found out most of the stuff I needed to know for work couldn't be learned anywhere but on the job. Don't assume you know everything.

Sounds very conservative (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569831)

That work place sounds decidedly on the conservative side. I've been fortunate to work with an older group (most 50-60) that's still very adaptable to changes and willing to accept new approaches. Granted it sometimes takes a little prodding and persistence, but it's nothing I can't live with. Hence I'd say it depends on the type of people you work with.

I'm old (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569839)

I'm in my 50s, have been hacking since I was 12, and have had the good fortune never to have worked in a place like you describe. I always go after the right answer. I've worked with people of all ages, throughout all my own ages. I don't think it's about age.

You should be looking to leave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569843)

What is the average age of your workplace?

I'm in my 40s. I've been working with computers/networks for something close to 30 years now. My current team is 3 people in their 40s and one guy in his 20s.

How easily do your coworkers accept and absorb new technology?

Everyone learns and teaches what they know without hesitation, this is how it should be. If you aren't working with people who have this sort of hacker mentality (figure it out, teach what you learned) then you should look for somewhere else to be. We are always looking for better solutions and while we don't like to put 'bleeding edge' tech in production environments we do constantly strive to be current and keep pushing for upgrades to grow the business.

Are most IT environments like this, where people refuse to learn anything about new technology they don't like, or did I just get stuck with a batch of stubborn case-screws?

No, they aren't, and if I was you I'd be looking to get out. Then again I've been pretty lucky to work with really good people for the most part. Look for these people, learn from them and teach what you might know that they don't, and keep in touch. When you find yourself looking for a job, or if you need to hire someone down the line, its good to have a list of known reliable talented people to hit up.

It's them, not you. (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#40569851)

If you're in a place that's buying new computers and loading Windows XP on them, you're not the problem. The final date for new Windows XP OEM installs was October 22, 2010. There are still people running Windows XP, but you shouldn't be installing it on new hardware at this late date.

Old dogs vs new tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569855)

Im 60 and learn something new every day. the other members of the team are 52, 47&35. Well are on the leading edge of technology and have to stay there to keep our jobs. We need to know Linux, Cisco IOS, Ciscos blade servers, VMware, netapp. Google is our friend as traing budgets are small. We are self supported for hardware. We are not IT but support an R&D computer facility. Knowledge is power. Life is hard, harder if you are stupid.

Yeah whatever, bro. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569865)

I even earned the nickname 'Google' because of the amount of time I spend attempting to pack my brain with new information.

Or it's because you're annoying as hell.

Oh to be young ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569879)

IT is not immune from idiots posing at competent tech. people. Especially after speaking w/ India today (f*#$ing proprietary DB interface). What I've found, working at a University, that most fresh faces in tech. support are rather arrogant for their age, given the supposed time they have under their belt. Granted, I'm posting this at 33 with 13 years on my resume, but cutting my teeth on PC's at the turn of the millenium, the shops I was in was about information and knowledge sharing. Overall personalities were more of interest in everything tech related than what I'm reading in your post. In our shops it was hands on learn as you go, everyone assisted everyone. The Internet as a resource then, was not what it is today.

The short of it? Don't worry about the lazy folk. Yes they are everywhere, even in IT. You have energy, and what sounds like the will to learn, so use it. When you're the only one in the shop that has the answers for the problems no one else can solve, you'll either be recognized for it by your superiors and peers as the go-to-guy, or get wise and move on to something else that warrants your interest and compensation.

Not age, attitude (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 2 years ago | (#40569889)

It's not a matter of age. I know a lot of 20-something engineers who're the same way, they aren't interested in knowing anything about what's under the hood. Myself, I'm pushing 50 and want to know all the details and pick up the newest stuff (even if it's not useful, it's helpful to know it so I can provide solid examples to managers of why it's not useful). Some people like to learn and experiment and investigate, some don't.

I'm also guilty of the same attitude at times. I treat my Windows 7 work desktop as a tool: it exists to run Visual Studio and various other development tools and the Cygwin environment and PuTTY that give me access to the Unix boxes. IT (supposedly) owns the system, IT (supposedly) manages it, I keep my fingers out of all of it outside the tools I work with. If it breaks I don't mess with it, I call IT and let them sort it out. I'll experiment all day on my home machines, but the work desktop's IT's turf and I'm not going mucking about with it making a mess they'll have to clean up. (Although oddly enough the development tools and related stuff like SQL Server and IIS, the bits I do mess with, are the things that rarely if ever have problems. It's usually the parts IT maintains that go pear-shaped.)

Re:Not age, attitude (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 2 years ago | (#40570181)

Myself, I'm pushing 50 and want to know all the details and pick up the newest stuff...

Back when I was your age, I got a job doing tech support for a small ISP. As time went on, I gradually turned myself into a Windows Internals guru because it helped me fix whatever was ailing our customer's computers without their having to re-install Windows. At the same time, most of our techs, who were at most half my age, were content to do nothing more than follow whatever cheat-sheets they were given and hope that they'd picked the right one. As you say, it's not age, it's attitude. I wanted to do the best job I could and learned whatever was needed; most of the other techs were just there to put in their time and collect their paychecks.

There are things you don't understand (2)

larko (665714) | about 2 years ago | (#40569891)

It could be that your coworkers don't want to spend time learning new things. It could also be that they understand the magnitude of effort required to change systems more than you do. It sounds like, in the case of the new computers, you solved a problem they didn't solve - good job! In general, there may be circumstances in which it does not make business sense to invest in new systems.

When you write things like "after almost 30 seconds I fixed the problem" you sound cocky. When you say things like "I'm young and learn stuff and old people don't learn stuff, what's up with that?" you sound cocky and naive. You could be RIGHT... but I recommend you work on your communication skills.

A number of reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569907)

There are a number of reasons why people may not want to investigate stuff:

1) Learning new stuff may have no pay off. I spent the better part of a semester of college learning about some hot new CPU technologies. By the time I graduated a year and a half later, they were already off the market and nobody used them. It was basically a complete waste of time.

2) People in different positions than you have different work and life priorities. A manager or senior engineer probably makes a lot more money than you, so their time is worth more. It's more cost effective for the company to give them work they can finish and have someone lower-paid (like you) do the things that will take a long time to figure out. Plus, you need on-the-job training.

3) You were lucky this time that you quickly solved the problem. What happens when it takes you longer or you don't solve the problem? You've now wasted time and money instead of saving it.

Not limited to age. (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 2 years ago | (#40569935)

I'm 50. I've worked in a lot of different shops, as well as for myself. Not all shops are like you describe, but some of them are. Most are a mixture of different personalities. There are some people who are like your co-workers. They find a comfort zone and stay with it. Age doesn't necessarily have anything to do with it. I am one of the older people in my shop, but like you I want to dig into things and solve problems. There are younger members in my shop who just plain don't seem to understand how information systems work, either at a hardware or software level. Even now I can see younger coders getting too comfortable in their particular environments and unwilling to learn new things. It's frustrating, I know.

Some day you may get a chance to work on your own. Take it.

Humility and Perspective (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569937)

I was like you when I started working in IT (oddly enough at the age of 22), I'm 35 now and the best advice I can give you is do amazing things with humility and always try to see things from others point of view before jumping into action. And yes, it's not easy because at the core most geeks tend to want to act on problems right away.

I ripped into everything, always trying to show that "things could get done if you put your mind to it". The trouble is you start to learn that some battles aren't worth the effort no matter how interesting because you will eventually have more important things to do. If I got a load of servers out of the box that didn't work I'd send 'em back for alternatives that did, not because I can't spend the time to figure out why they don't work but because I got bigger things to worry about.

From a social perspective you may start to put barriers in front of yourself by working around people instead of with them, solve problems right but careful of stepping on toes. Having people resent you is way worse than busted hardware!

Do you really have a question... (1)

robi5 (1261542) | about 2 years ago | (#40569941)

... or is it an attempt at some self-congratulatory celebration that just needs more spectactors?
(my question is a bit recursive...)

What a biased and egoistic worldview.

fear and pride (1)

Nite_Hawk (1304) | about 2 years ago | (#40569955)

There are a lot of places like that. There are other places where nearly every individual thinks they know everything because they know a thing or two about a given subject (be it computers, physics, law, etc). I'm about 10 years older than you. After working at a couple of different places my take away has been:

1) Try new things and don't be afraid to fail.
2) Don't be afraid to stop and re-evaluate if you are doing it wrong.
3) Be humble.

To answer your questions:

1) Probably somewhere around 35.
2) Very easily (Maybe sometimes too easily.)
3) Some people (and some companies) are more like that than others.

You might want to work for a startup if you want a more hands-on culture.

Age is irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569957)

Age is irrelevant. It is the individual and the culture of the workplace that lead to these issues. Most of us think we know everything when we are young. Some of us never grow out of that. Regardless, you need to learn to fit into the culture or you need to move on. I don't care what anyone says, you cannot change the culture of a workplace unless you are the leader.

Sad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569963)

Frankly, soulskill, your colleague's problem is their attitudes, not their age.

Your problem is your abject lack of maturity and extreme level of hubris.

My age is 51 (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#40569971)

I am 51. You know the old dog that sits right across where you sit. Now get back to work, you will be lucky if you still have a job on Monday. You better have that task done when I come in on Monday morning. Work all week-end if needed. I won't wait until next Thursday as per your inflated estimates.

In your case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40569979)

... it was just that many older people didn't want to keep up. I notice that as I've gotten older my tolerance for 'finding out exactly' what the problem is has fallen off a cliff due to lack of time. When you are young you have enormous amounts of time, when you are old you want to use time wisely because you have tonnes of other things to do.

When I was young I could spend endless hours hammering away at a problem, as you get older you make trade offs. Some people are just stupid but for many it's just a lack of time and energy one used to have when one was young. Since what was fun and stimulating to learn is old-hat and increasingly tedious when you have other important things to do.

Depends on your work and business (1)

gotpaint32 (728082) | about 2 years ago | (#40570001)

Some businesses are conservative and rightly so, momentum is slow and precise, changes are incremental and measured. Think mainframes churning through Cobol from the 60's. Bleeding edge things come and go and so do the problems they bring, but what works for years will generally keep working if left to its own devices. As for your company, there may be a business case to build a lab with XP (say most of your customers have XP). It doesn't excuse why your coworkers didn't take the initiative of figuring out why it didn't work but not everything new is awesome and not everything old is bad, you'll learn that after a few years of experience.
Furthermore you will probably soon learn that IT is there to support business not the other way around, unless you are company's goal is to produce IT products, chances are you are there to support your business unit or another company's business. You sound like you are enamored with the technology and want to play with technology for technology's sake, most veterans I've talked with are more concerned about things like uptime, scalability, change management, security, etc... Cool factor plays a part but that's a pretty poor indicator of professional skill, I've known plenty of "nerds" that love playing with new technology but couldn't design and coordinate a real IT project without all sorts of issues (thats the problem with cowboys). The best IT professionals will always keep the lights on, that's your primary goal.

I am 37. (1)

drolli (522659) | about 2 years ago | (#40570017)

Well. I am 37. Formally I am not really an IT guy (PhD in physics). I am not the youngest and there are a lot of people who are younger than me and are less open to learning something new (on IT or otherwise). My priorities changed a little since i was 22.

1) You have to accept that you are doing things which must be maintained by your coworkers. The number of skills involved in maintainign somthing decreases the chance that it will be maintained exponentially.

2) There is a reason for sending back a batch of PCs which dont perform as specified (If i order machines which run XP from a computer store, i expect that they solve the problem). Otherwise I leave it to the 22year old in the group. i am not interested in learning about the incpomatibilities of XP and they (22j olds) seem to be good in remembering senseless shit, probably obsolete with the next SP of windows (or the next version).

3) I know a lot of programming languages, however i can tell you that focusing one one or twowill be a good thing for you. it is not up to me to judge if its good or bad (i dont like it), but you can earn a lot of reputation by having something where you are better than anybody else around. There are two reasons for this: a) a lot of people will exchnage their ideas with you, since your skill may touch their topic b) combine your skill with other experts and your team will easily outperform the team of generalists. (a am in such a situation. I am a matlab expert and work together with a database expert on a joint project and we are doing things and demonstrations in timescales and quality unimaginable for generalists).

4) Being the girl or boy for everything will get you recognition in a good team, but in a bad team it maybe does not pay off. Be careful.

Don't be a dick (4, Insightful)

spiffmastercow (1001386) | about 2 years ago | (#40570025)

There are two ways to get ahead in your career: a.) know your shit, and b.) don't be a dick. Either one will let you keep a job, and maybe even advance, but if you really want to get ahead in this world, you need to master both skills. Like most 22 year-olds, you appear to have focused your entire life around column a, and haven't put any effort into column b.

And for fuck's sake cut the old guys some slack. They probably know all kinds of obscure shit about making boot disks, compiling the OS from source, mainframe backups, configuring zfs, or whatever new and exciting knowledge there was to glean for IT workers back when they were 22.

Our prayers have been answered! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570031)

Lead us to the promised land, smartypants!

Yes (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 2 years ago | (#40570039)

It's the same everywhere. Nothing is universally true, but I would say it works out like this:

80% of young guys (sub-30) are interested in learning new tech, 20% aren't

80% of guys over 30 have no interest - they have an established family and home life and are done "learning". 20% are still interested.

RS-232 (1)

Nethead (1563) | about 2 years ago | (#40570041)

Learn the ins-and-outs of RS-232 serial communication. I'm in my 50s and had a contract job a bit over a year ago at Clearwire bringing on-line new data centers. We were sent to various cities and instructed to bring up dozens of pieces of new equipment freshly installed. The first way you're going to talk to most of this data center stuff is via serial console, at least enough to get it talking IP. Because I had spent many years supporting terminal applications (where terminal means VT100 or a Wyse dumb terminal) I was the go-to guy for serial questions.

First get to know a good terminal program for your OS. I happen to like minicom for BSD/Linux boxes. It reminds me of the old telex program for my DOS days. Learn how to use a volt meter or a break-out-box to figure out which pins are sending and receiving. Google/wiki up the pin-outs for 9 and 25 pin connectors. Learn what the difference between software and hardware handshaking is (hint, XON and XOFF are ASCII control symbols.) Learn the difference between IEEE-232 (old RS-232C, +-12VDC swing) voltage levels and "TTL" (+5/ground swing) levels, and how to build a box to convert them.

Serial communication is the POTS line of data center work. Second is to learn basic phone (POTS) wiring standards. Those old technologies are still used as systems of last resort.

"Nearly all?" (1)

tambo (310170) | about 2 years ago | (#40570051)

> If there is a piece of software, hardware, a technique, etc., I want to know everything about it. On the contrary, nearly all of my coworkers resent it and refuse to even acknowledge it, let alone learn about it.

I doubt that they resent *your* interest in learning about new technology. There's nothing wrong with that in isolation, and it's difficult to imagine your colleagues resenting your enthusiasm by itself.

Also, you mention "nearly all of my coworkers" - that implies many people. In any social conflict of one vs. many, what are the odds that all of the many are wrong?

I'd like to suggest three alternative explanations that seem more plausible:

  • (1) Because of your interest, your colleagues must raise their research or risk looking inadequate by comparison. In other words, your interest is pushing them to put more into their jobs than before - probably without additional compensation or even recognition by their employer.
  • (2) Your efforts to bring fresh tech into the area are creating additional work (e.g., transitioning to new hardware or software to achieve the same task) and/or causing problems (e.g., switching to bleeding-edge technology before learning of its flaws, whereas tried-and-true methods would have worked fine).
  • (3) Your enthusiasm comes with some attitudes that the (many?) others find unpleasant.

The bad news is that all of these problems are not simply "their resentment," but real effects of your behavior. The good news is that when your behavior is the problem, the solution is simply changing your behavior. It's fully within your control. You can evaluate the adverse effects of your actions and find alternative behaviors with less adverse effects.

Credibilty question (1)

Drunkulus (920976) | about 2 years ago | (#40570069)

It does not seem believable to me that an IT staff with any level of experience or knowledge would not google 'computer model' +winxp, which is the sum total of effort that should be required.

Pace yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570099)

42. Not very. No.

But answering your questions isn't really very helpful. Here'ssome advice that takes a longer view:

It's lovely to be young and keen, and to see every new piece of whizzy technology as fun, interesting and different. It's also exhausting. There's so much new stuff coming out all the time, and of course everything is ground-breaking, paradigm shifting and all that malarkey. Except usually it isn't. It's practically the same as the old stuff only with a new set of buzzwords to learn. You end up constantly having to relearn far too much non-useful stuff without ever getting on to new practical programming skills. To do well in this industry long-term you need deeper knowledge plus some buzzword compliant stuff on top as a sort of garnish.

After you've been round the cycle a few times you'll start seeing new stuff invented by keen young things in their mid-20s, and from your newly-found 30-something's wisdom you'll start to appreciate just how often the wheel gets reinvented in the IT industry. I'm not saying don't learn new stuff; do, it's vital. You'll have a portfolio of interesting CV-friendly buzzwords and that can make a big difference to the types of roles you can get and how much you can get paid. But for god's sake don't be dazzled by the latest and greatest. The stuff that people complain 'will not die' today will probably still be around in another 20-30 years and more; make sure your skills portfolio includes old standbys like Perl, C or C++, Java, as well as the cool buzzwordy stuff. Pace yourself. Don't try to learn every new piece of new technology because most of them do fizzle out to a much lower base level after about 5 years. Be more selective. Get a superficial knowledge of every last thing, if you enjoy that, and try to develop a nose for which tools will still be in use in 5, 10, 15 years' time, and learn those in greater depth. Otherwise you'll burn yourself out, which sounds like what's happened to your workmates. Or maybe they were just too lazy in the first place. Cultivate a mild level of cynicism now and then try to keep it at a low level for the rest of your career. Because if you don't do that as a self-defence mechanism, you risk becoming "disgruntled, disenchanted with things we used to really get a kick out of, foul tempered, hard-drinking, heavy-smoking, overworked, with no real social life to speak of." And I don't need a PFY at the moment, so that would be a waste.

Experience teaches... (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 years ago | (#40570105)

...many things, one of which is that your time is better spent on problems of importance. While you should be commended for solving the UEFI problem, sending the units back and getting new ones costs relatively little, and allows your coworkers to spend their time on better uses than trying to solve a problem that can apparently be solved by a fresh 22 year old. It's important to distinguish between things that matter and things that don't, and while new tech can be interesting and you would be wise to keep yourself relevant by staying up with it, you need to determine how much time it's worth spending on learning new tech versus mastering the stuff you're dealing with on a daily basis. If you spend too much time on the newest stuff, you'll have plenty of breadth, but lack for depth.

Not just because of age (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#40570115)

I'm well into my 40's, and it's the opposite around here. The young guys here have no patience (or deeper understanding) for technology and are the ones that are ready to kick something to the curb when they can't get it to work, but I'm willing to take the time to figure out why it's not working. When our KVM switch failed and smoked, I was the one to pull out a multimeter and discovered that the power supply had failed, and I was the one that took a PC power supply and wired it up as a replacement. They are too used to the disposable economy where everything that breaks is unfixable and needs to be replaced.

It's well past the time when I can debug a PC using an oscilloscope "hey, look, something is is generating an IRQ conflict - are you sure the DIP switches are set correctly on that new board?!", but my EE background still helps me troubleshoot hardware problems - and my background in software development (from back before frameworks and libraries took care of the heavy lifting) helps troubleshoot software problems. Things like "I don't get it, we moved it from a quad core machine to a 16 core machine, but the app is just as slow as it was before!" are much easier to explain when you know the difference between a single-threaded and multi-threaded app. We're hiring guys fresh out of school that barely know what a compiler is, but when I was in school, we had to write a compiler (and assembler). Then again, they are much more adept at programming with modern libraries and frameworks than I am.

The funny thing is that I'm a "manager", and haven't been doing hands-on sys admin for quite some time, but I'm still the go-to guy for weird problems that no one else can solve.

Age is media perpetuated myth factor in this field (2)

X86Daddy (446356) | about 2 years ago | (#40570123)

I've worked with tons of people in my IT career (roughly 15 years now, mostly with a Fortune 100). The cross-section of "elite" people who had the knack and enthusiasm for tech wizardry and learning were all ages, all genders, all races, etc... and pretty even distribution at that. Those who couldn't handle tech and learning well were also evenly distributed. Trying to correlate various factors and put people in categorical boxes is not only a nasty, frowned-upon behavior, but it leads to fewer friends, fewer opportunities, and greater inaccuracy in all things. I like to appreciate or dislike people for exactly who they are. :-)

Check your demeanor in how you deliver answers and solutions... everyone has their own sense of pride and don't like to hear condescension... negative reactions to your solutions may really be negative reactions to smugness. Also, "new" is not always "better." If something new actually sucks, commiserate with your coworkers about how MS Ribbon is Fischer Price crap, etc... and it will help build rapport. You'll be seen less as the new-stuff-addict and more as truly a source of tech-wisdom.

If you're truly the tech badass in your team, that means you can participate in sharing and mutual bettering with the office-politics-badass and the communication-badass and the customer-relations-badass, etc... If you're missing/wanting to get into great discussions and mutual knowledge sharing on cutting edge stuff, check out your local 2600, Makers, Hackerspace, programming language user groups, etc...

Yup. (1)

man_ls (248470) | about 2 years ago | (#40570153)

You badly need an attitude adjustment. IT is a team effort, and it sounds like you've managed to rub your colleagues the wrong way by being something of a smug know-it-all. Unfortunately, this attitude is all too common in young technology professionals across the board.

It ain't easy being green. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570161)

We have watched the buzz words come and go and you will too, most things new and shiny are just the old things re-branded. Outwardly showing that you are too eager can be annoying.

I congratulate you on your keen mind (1)

idontgno (624372) | about 2 years ago | (#40570169)

and passion for learning and doing the Right Thing.

Now I urge you to be cautious, not of hatred and backstabbing from those less brilliant and energized than you... but of becoming arrogant. Arrogance blinds.

I am more than twice your age. I was like you, at your age... and other than age, I still am.

If I had been in your crowd of co-workers, would you have assumed I would have opposed your "unorthodox" answer because I'm old and decrepit?

Of course, I wouldn't have been "badmouthing" the idea; I would have been over in the corner poking with the system's boot options and eventually would have uncovered the same thing. Maybe before you.

"[Age] matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my [age], do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not."

--Yoda, or at least he should have. After all, he was 900 years old!

Anyway, arrogance. It leads you to underestimate, and makes you enemies, some of which you really can't afford to underestimate. And it's completely unnecessary. Humble self-assured competence is enough. Arrogance detracts.

So. Not all of us old crusties are beyond seeing the wonder and potential of modern technology, so don't assume all of are. Furthermore, look around at your age peers. A lot of them aren't interested in the deep magic of technology; they just want an appliance to check Facebook. Preferably one with the logo of a piece of fruit with a bit taken out, because that's what the herd likes nowadays.

It's not age. It's the nerd spark; some have it, some don't and actions are the only real proof.

Yeah not an age issue... (1)

end15 (607595) | about 2 years ago | (#40570197)

I work in a very mixed IT environment. We have young & old of both genders. At current our top desktop support person (who would have handled the issue you just mentioned) must be in his mid 40's. He's awesome, and does very fast, detailed research. As well we have younger members who always want the answers handed to them and wont approach an issue unless the boss hands them a "how to". I think there is a level of burnout that occurs (I get sick of looking at a computer screen all day myself), but usually if it's an interesting problem the neurons go to work.

That said I would like to have some Augmented Reality at an affordable price point so I can get away from sitting and staring at a screen.

no christmas bonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570203)

So we have expensive win7 boxes we are going to load winxp when we could have got off lease winxp stations for way less. Now we have to keep them cause you showed that xp would load on them cost the company undue money and messed up Christmas bonuses... Kudos.

Generational differences (1)

Jim Hall (2985) | about 2 years ago | (#40570211)

Welcome to generational differences. I hope you enjoy your stay. And yes, this exists pretty much everywhere - although maybe not to the point you describe here. Depends on the people you hire, too. But speaking generally, it's a generational thing.

Every generation approaches their work in a different way. I spoke about this a few years ago at Penguicon in my Linux in the Enterprise (Powerpoint) [freedos.org] talk. Although my slides don't have a lot of text on them, so you may not get much benefit by looking at the slides on their own. You can also find more on my blog [umn.edu].

In my Penguicon talk, it was about how to pitch Linux to the higher-ups. I mentioned 3 generations that might be your manager. In your case, you are likely experiencing only 2 of these groups:

  1. My generation (the "Star Wars generation") in their 30's and 40's
  2. The "boomer generation" in their 50's and 60's

Folks in their 30's and 40's tend to be very conservative. I don't mean to say politically conservative but conservative in their actions. Other slashdotters who are about my age likely saw one of their parents get laid off from their jobs while we were growing up. If your parents weren't laid off, I'm sure one or more of your friends' parents were. And while we may not recognize it, that caused many of my generation to think conservatively. We don't want to see that happen to us. So we tend to view things in terms of risk. Many in my generation are risk-averse, so you really need to be careful in how you introduce new technology and new concepts to them. Approach it as a way to reduce risk or to make things easier. Don't just jump in and expect them to follow, because they're waiting to see what you'll make of it before they touch it. Will this be something that "sticks" or will it be another flash-in-the-pan that goes away after a little while, so a waste of time to learn?

The boomer generation is different. That generation is often motivated by societal change. Witness the societal upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s. And they definitely didn't grow up with technology, they probably "fell into it" and got their start working on mainframes. If they are honest, they may tell you they're more interested in society and social networks (this the generation that Classmates.com was built for) and less motivated by technology. Since they didn't grow up with technology, the boomer generation may not always be comfortable with the rate of change in technology - even those who work in technology. In general, don't expect boomers to share your enthusiasm for new technology. You may need to walk these folks through it. Draw parallels for them, show how this new thing is basically like this other older thing, but with a few improvements.

If you look at your coworkers' behaviors as a symptom of generational differences, you'll be pretty far along.

Your generation, by the way, is often very self-motivated to go search stuff out on their own. (You mentioned this in your post.) Kids in your generation don't often stop to bring other people into what they are doing, they just do their own research. (Sound familiar?) And your generation typically is not interested in going through the same "levels" that previous generations were content to follow. So while you didn't mention this in your post, I'll give it as a caution: if you find that your boss's boss is an expert in some area that you're working on, you probably will just send an email to pick his/her brain on the topic. You wouldn't think anything of it; that's the expert, so you asked. Your boss's boss will probably answer you, too, because that person is probably a boomer - and remember, boomers tend to be motivated by social networking. So your boss's boss will find it hard to resist having that dialogue with you.

And in doing so, you will have pissed off your immediate boss (at a guess, probably 30s or 40s - that's my generation, remember) who views what you just did as jumping over their head to a higher level in the organization. Even though that was probably the right thing for you to do, your "Star Wars generation" secretly-conservative boss will feel somewhat exposed because he/she didn't have a role in that process.

Co-Workers don't like smug .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40570225)

I don't think YOUR issue with your co-workers doesn't have anything to do with age per-se. I would venture to say it's more an issue with your attitude. I can just see you running around *fishing* for validation and trying to "prove" yourself to your colleges ... or worse ... running around trying to make them look bad to their superiors.

When you grow a bit older you will realize that nobody really cares how much you know, or how much energy you have, unless they actually LIKE to work with you. If you check out the top people in any organization, they will have all something in common, and it's not energy ... it's that people like to work with them (for the most part).

So, if you want to get anywhere at your current job I would suggest you start to be more "like-able" ... and that starts with seeing people as people with strenghts and weaknesses. You also may wish to refrain from viewing people through "age colored" glasses ... or any colored glasses for that matter.

Not an age thing. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 years ago | (#40570229)

I am 49 and I too have been called "Google" many times. I have OCD which manifests itself in the need to know everything. Most people do not have that drive. They work with what they know and only gain the knowledge they need to get the job done. The issue with that is that one does not know what to look for if one does not know it is there. Perhaps they never looked in the BIOS because it never crossed their mind that there could be new parameters in the newer BIOS. If one is not aware that UEFI exists then why look for it?

In this instance the main issue is subtlety. I bet the other techs thought that XP "should" be able to be installed on a machine that install win7 without screwing around with the bios. The presence of one poorly documented bios attribute causing such trouble is very annoying. The fact that the bios is almost the same is frustrating because most of what one knows is valid but one never knows what changed until the change is run into as in this case.

Perhaps your coworkers are grousing about the following;
1. The stupid decision to use an old OS on a computer that was designed for a newer OS.
2. The presences of yet another poorly documented BIOS switch that has major effects on procedures.
3. Now a there are two different procedures for a new piece of hardware; one for an box without UEFI and one for a box with UEFI and little indication of which one is being worked with. How many times have you heard "Crap, I didn't realize this was a 'new' box. I hate these new boxes'.
4. The possibility that more issues will crop up in the future due to the stupid decision. How many times will we have some user or tech who thinks he knows what to do reset the bios and XP will no longer work? What other bios "features" will screw up the XP installation in the future?

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