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How Much Respect Do You Get?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the praised-or-shunned dept.

Businesses 884

droidlev asks: "In our continually fluctuating economy I have seen a drastic change in the level of respect that I receive. As a technician I've grown accustomed to a heightened level of respect when I walk into a client's office. Not to say that I have a God complex, however, it feels good to walk into a room and be appreciated. I'm passionate for the computer work that I do; I'm 'GEEK' for it. People know that I'm there to help and solve their problems. There is good amount of value in this extra level of appreciation and respect. This is especially true when you are developing business relationships (and of course it never hurts to be liked). In recent times, however, I've been cast in a different light; actually more like a darkened shadow. I am now seen as a necessary evil instead of the 'all powerful technician.' So I ask what your experiences have been, either as a computer technician or another professional? Have you seen a change in the level of respect that you receive?""Businesses are trying to save every penny they have. Unless something significant goes wrong, they handle a situation themselves. This only compounds the severity of a problem. By the time I get there, everything has gone to hell and I get a look (the it's-all-your-fault look) from every cubicle and every office. In the past, exceptionally dedicated service translated to loyal clients that didn't mind paying a little bit more. Once I was the problem solver, now it seems I am yet another flame to burn their money."

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Respect (4, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103968)

I found I get more respect when I loudly shout "frist psot" as soon as I enter the room

Re:Respect (5, Funny)

justkarl (775856) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104042)

I found I get more respect when I loudly shout "frist psot" as soon as I enter the room

Or, at the very least, mod points.

Re:Respect (1)

crushman (872371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104152)

Have an issue? Grab a tissue

Yeeah, I don't buy it. (5, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103970)

Let me start by saying that, odds are, you get the respect you deserve. Please don't confuse this respect with mugging for compliments, expecting your coworkers/managers to thank you in their prayers or any of the BS that, reading between the lines of this topic, I get the sense the OP was *really* looking for. If you're looking for people to kiss your ass all day, go get an MBA and become a petty mid-level manager someplace.

Granted there are ups and downs in the industry at large and variations from employer to employer, but by far the most significant factor in determining the level of respect people show you at work is your own conduct. If you've noticed that the people at work suddenly seem to respect you less, IMO the first place you need to look is at your own conduct. Are you really working and behaving in a way that earns and demands respect? Overall, this shakes out into two basic keys:

1. Earn respect. Know your stuff, be willing to help people out and be someone that people can stand. Own your responsibilities. At the same time, don't try to be an expert in matters you don't really understand and don't try to force your big nose into other peoples' work. Be that guy that people want to work with and want on their team. It's perpetually amazing to me that such a high percentage of people in the professional world (not just geeks) fall down on one or more of these three and then act shocked when people hate dealing with them because they're either incompetent or impossible to work with (which amounts to more or less the same thing).

2. Demand respect. There are always going to be people who try to make you do something or bypass you or whatever by running over or around you. Don't stand for this -- be professional, be polite and (if it's someone up the foodchain from you) remember your place, but leave it crystal clear that in matters where you hold responsibility, you will not be cut out and you will not be strongarmed. This is an attitude, and it's not "respect mah authoritah!" attitude that I see a lot from geeks.

Competence and confidence are the keys to garnering and maintaining the respect of your coworkers. Really, they're the keys to success at life in general.

Re:Yeeah, I don't buy it. (5, Insightful)

CallFinalClass (801589) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104130)

Overall, I agree, but for #2 I tend to use "Command Respect" instead of "Demand Respect." The difference being is that any idiot can demand respect, even if they haven't earned it.

Respect... (4, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103971)

... is something you earn. If people are treating you like a dirtbag then work on improving your image.

exactly but (1)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104107)

I agree with the respect level but I don't think it's towards the person doing the fixing or helping out. It's two fold. First, the very negative light Microsoft is always being put in kinds of makes some people negative using their products. Then, there is the fact that stuff breaks all the time and you get tired of seeing the same face come fix it. You are tired of seeing that face cause it means your stuff is broke again.

It's more like politics (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104134)

To get respect in an organisation, ironically, often means shelving your self respect. Too often, the only way to plug in to the corporate ladder means selling out to a life of brown-nosing and playing the game.

Having to deal with techies and reality is an annoyance for managerial types. What seems more important is the power play on the corporate ladder.

To be part of the "in crowd" means playing the game. Brown nose, buzzwords and running a general line of bullshit. As a techie not interested in the corporate power chain, but rather in shipping good product and making a real profit, I find it hard to get a reasonable audience. Sure they'll usher me in the back door to fix a multi-million dollar problem then out the back door again when the job is done, but they won't listen as to how the problems can be fixed.... mostly because they're often process or political problems, and rule number one of the corporate power game is "don't step out of line".

We are now an expense. (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103973)

We lived threw a change in the way that IT is viewed. It changed rather quickly too. Back in the late 90s early 2000 IT and Techs were seen as the bringer of new and terrific stuff that is supposed to make their life better. Now that most everyone has got all this stuff that supposed to make there lives better they found out it only allowed them to do more and harder (So except spending a day typing out the pay role, you are now Printing the payroll and managing benefits.) work for the same pay. So you are no longer the guy who will bring a company tons of money threw web sales, but the guy who needs to make sure the now built website doesn't crash, and if it did then there is lost money. So you are now considered an expense, or as best a long term expense to lower TCO. We are no longer money makers. That is why some "Programmers" with High school degrees who said they knew HTML got these 100k a year jobs, making crappy web pages because these web pages were to make the company money so they saw these web developers as technical marketing department. But now after the infrastructure is set up and they realized they didn't need Joe Smo "HTML is Frontpage right?" we became an expense. It is not that we personally lost the respect of people. But we are no longer looked upon as money makers. But more like a power bill, or a maintenance crew.

Re:We are now an expense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104070)

As a real programmer almost right out of high school, I can say that I went from being the boy genius to being "staff" once I graduated college. It's a pisser, but oh well.

Re:We are now an expense. (1)

alecks (473298) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104086)

"So you are no longer the guy who will bring a company tons of money threw web sales, but the guy who needs to make sure the now built website doesn't crash, and if it did then there is lost money." You hit the nail on the head! mod parent up

Re:We are now an expense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104102)

IT has always been an expense and never made money for a company.

Re:We are now an expense. (1)

bob670 (645306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104120)

I wish I had mod points sir, because you get it. You hit multiple nails firmly on the head, etc...

Janitors/electricians of the 21st century (5, Insightful)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104135)

IT has changed from implementation to maintenence from the 90s to 2005. Not to be offensive, but when you're maintaining a system or installing updates, or making the network run smoothly, you're nothing more than a lowly technician, someone who has mastered a trade. Rather than bringing forth the unknown as technicians did in the 90s, they are just doing something that someone else doesn't want to spend time doing. When technology was new, there was a mystique in understanding how these computers run. But that mystique is long-gone. Just as in the early days of electricity, it seemed so new to commonfolk, and electricians were seen as magicians for knowing how it worked and how it can be fixed.

If you want more respect for what you do, do something beyond maintaining systems or technician work. Do something that requires intelligence to design the systems. Mystique fades quickly once everyone gets used to the technology and you're not the one propelling it forward.

"pay role"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104160)

You'd probably get more respect if you proofread your writing.

"We lived THROUGH"

"or AT best"

Respect or co-dependence? (4, Funny)

MurrayTodd (92102) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103974)

I can't say I get a lot of respect for being a Computer Ace. It certainly hasn't gotten me any dates recently. On the other hand family, friends, distant friends, ex-bosses, neighbors and friends of neighbors have no qualms about assuming I'm their free I.T. service. Respect? I don' t know. Co-dependence? Yeesh!

Re:Respect or co-dependence? (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104062)

Charge for that IT service, and you'll see their respect level go up, I bet. Or, at the very least, the requests will diminish. You win either way.

Re:Respect or co-dependence? (5, Funny)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104114)

Being tall helps, too.

Seriously... I'm 6'5", which means that I'm taller than a good 95% of the people that I meet. I think that something in the reptilian part of the brain tells people to be cautious of people/animals bigger than themselves. As much as I hate to admit it, it's a cultural advantage that I was born with.

But, if this alone doesn't get your respect, you can also hold tree branches above your head to appear taller to predators. This works great in an office setting, and most clients never expect it!

respect? (2, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103976)

I don't need respect, just obedience.

And no backtalk.

Re:respect? (1)

pchan- (118053) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104140)

"Let them hate, so long as they fear"
-- Lucius Accius

I sure don't feel any respect here at slashdot! (-1, Troll)

manifoldronin (827401) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103979)

Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.

In theory, everyone goes to work to add value (4, Insightful)

filmmaker (850359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103981)

The best thing a technical person can do for their employer, and hence for themselves both in terms of respect and gratitude and monetary compensation, is to do extra things that add value to the bottom line.

For instance, if you're not involved in the analysis and design phase of software, maybe watch the market more closely so as to know what suggestions to make in terms of features and design. If you're not a programmer, then look into ways to add value by improving the company website; maybe freshen up some content, add an RSS feed, or look for ways to improve the aesthetics and page copy of a conversion page (such as a point of purchase page, for example). Look for ways to improve conversions from affiliate lead sources.

I know how easy it is to go "down the rabbit hole" when writing code. You get lost in the code. You dream about it; it's the only thing you think about. And it pretty much has to be that way. I try and periodically take some time off from writing code for short intervals specifically to come up for air, so to speak.

But most significantly, realize that everyone arrives at work precisely to add value to the company's bottom line. Everyone arrives at work in order to solve the problems to which they are assigned. There is certainly nothing unique about IT in that manner.

However, if you're truly being treated like a pariah, I would ask, who is responsible for "casting" you in such a unfavorable light? It could be office politics. And of course, there's always the chance that you're too much like the IT guy in those Jimmy Fallon SNL sketches.

Re:In theory, everyone goes to work to add value (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104055)

bullcrap. All you end up doing is getting your employer to get used to you working 80 hour weeks, then they ultimately expect it all the time.

Re:In theory, everyone goes to work to add value (1)

filmmaker (850359) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104115)

That can be true.

However, my point is simply this: if you as a programmer do nothing but code up spec, well there's not very much value in that any more, in terms of what the market will bear. Mind you, I believe strongly in supporting American IT workers myself, but that means squat. I'm seeing so much work go to Russia and other former USSR hotspots, it's just insane.

None at all (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103986)

When I was a baby, my bathtub toys were a radio and a toaster.

Respect for a BOFH? (2, Funny)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103987)

BOFHs are to be feared, not respected...

Pull out yo gat (-1, Flamebait)

nate nice (672391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103989)

If them biatches don't give ya no respect, pull yo gat and straight fade those biatches.

DS (2, Funny)

FLAGGR (800770) | more than 9 years ago | (#12103996)

When I show people my custom code running on the nintendo DS, my respect++;

Big change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12103999)

Indeed. My boss recently changed my job title from "sunlight-deprived cubicle monkey" to "socially-inept code generator". No more will I be classified alongside those QA apes!

Hi Rodney! (2, Funny)

Rightcoast (807751) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104001)

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Is this Rodney Dangerfield reincarnated as "The IT Guy"?

Re:Hi Rodney! (5, Funny)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104073)

I can hear the standup routine now:

"The other day I was compiling a program. The compiler said there were 2 errors, 16 warnings, and 1 moron behind the keyboard. T'm telling you, I don't get no respect."

RIP Mr. Dangerfield.

Egoless professionalism (3, Insightful) (841806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104002)

To want "respect" means that you would like some other unspecified group to have _less_ "respect," at least compared to you.

Maybe it would be better just to do good, professional work that can itself withstand such comparison rather than seek the "I am better than the run-of-the mill-worker" kind of "respect."

Back in the day we called it egoless programming. It means to feel good about the whole team being productive. Groups like this share code, mentor each other constantly, prevent anyone from failing, and are fun to be around. Groups that worship individual "respect" get prima donnas, backstabbing and less overall productivity.

Let your good work speak for itself. If you need more respect, learn something additional about your craft and feel good about it yourself.

Re:Egoless professionalism (1)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104076)

I don't really believe in that concept.

IMO, respect is a very basic attribute of any human society. It's a method of identifying those people who can generally be relied on to do the right thing for the right reasons, which comes in handy when a raiding party shows up outside the gate and somebody has to figure out a solution.

This carries on into the professional world, just not in the way the OP thinks. See, he's looking at "respect" in terms of "come feed my ego with flattery and ass-kissing", which is probably why he's getting less and less respect as time goes on. Assuming I'm correct, the overall concept of "respect" continues to work by identifying him as someone who doesn't really deserve it.

Re:Egoless professionalism (4, Insightful)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104144)

You are stating that respect is a zero-sum thing where there is a finite amount of respect to go around. If I am respected by 0% of my customers, and you are respected by 100%, I don't need to diminish your level of respect to increase mine.

Also, regarding your comments about backstabbers: there is nothing wrong with looking out for yourself. You never really know who the backstabbers are until they 'strike' and when they do, those who are expecting it and have a counter are the ones who survive.

Your 'egoless programming' groups worked because you all respected each other, not because you gave up on the concept of respect.

What about outside the office? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104003)

How much do respect do you get OUTSIDE the office?

The sad thing is, you can save the day, but in the end, you're still a 'computer geek'

When the IT staff starts nailing hot secretaries and interns, instead of goldchain wearing middle managers, you'll impress us.

Re:What about outside the office? (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104158)

Ya know, many of the geeks I know are getting significantly cooler :)

Dunno when it happened, but for a significant portion of the geek world, geek and metrosexual have collided.

Of course, most of the metrosexual geeks have to keep 'games', 'networking' (the 100BaseTX kind), and the 'OS jihad', out of conversation, but I find that is best handled by being ambivalent/playing stupid when it is brought up by fellow geeks.

Not that I won't talk about it. I just won't talk about it in front of the three bored looking women I'm trying to charm :)

i get respect (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104006)

when i pull out the beeeg deeek and beat my girlfriends tonsils with it.

It's about cost (1)

mre5565 (305546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104007)

In the current economy, people are indeed cost sensitive, and vendor advice to solve issues usually adds up to higher cost, even if the advice isn't to buy more, but to say change a tunable parameter. Change has to be tested.

Take a shower? (4, Funny)

doormat (63648) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104008)

Seriously, people don't like other people who smell.


Of course (1)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104011)

I've been developing/maintaining a web tool for 3 years, and I was generally regarded as a also-run in the company.

However, since just last month, this tool has become the most contract-winning tool for my company, apparently every client wants it before giving us the business.

And now everybody in the company greets me on first name basis and the company's open to negotiation.

How much respect do you give the pizza guy? (5, Insightful)

SweetAndSourJesus (555410) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104013)

Really, the aura of godliness geeks had has been gone for years.

We're not really all that special, we never were.

It's just a job, man.

Almost none (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104017)

The more that people insist on doing stupid things to their machines, the less respect I get.

I support about 50 PCs, and when they're freshly set up I make sure to tell the workers who use them NOT to use IE. Ever. I make sure they know. I remind them of safe email practices. I ensure they KNOW what stupid things not to do.

Time and again they'll go all out of their way to install something on their machines, they'll find IE and start using it again, they'll email crud to themselves from home, or put it up online for download if they can't get past our email filters. "Yes I know you told me not to ever do this, but I thought it wouldn't hurt if I did"

And their machines end up infected again and again and again.

All my fault, apparently

Re:Almost none (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104100)

With your charming personality, I can't imagine why your coworkers aren't lining up to sing your praises.

Respect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104020)

Whats this "Respect" thing that you speak of ?

I work at a call center. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104021)

I'm as valuable as the "1 year of service" award they're going to give me in a few weeks.

Hats off! (1)

daedalus-prime (854575) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104029)

As an engineer, my family thinks I should know everything about computers and how to make them work. But I certainly know that just because I can design the hardware that goes into it, that doesn't mean I know how the first thing about how to make Windoze, or even Linux, do what I want it to. I'm smart enough to figure out pretty much anything I need, but it's so much easier to grab a technician friend and let him fix in 5 minutes what would take me hours....

Here's a question for you (3, Insightful)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104033)

How do you feel when you have to call a plumber in to your home, knowing that every hour they sit there scratching their ass will cost you $125? Like most people you probably dread it, and you try to DIY as much as possible. You probably even try to maintain your manlihood by trying to demonstrate to him what you know once he comes.

People don't like depending upon other people, and the sad reality, and it's amazing how few techs realized this, was that people were patronizing you in the past when they'd fawn over you. That wasn't that they respected you, but rather that they thought that they could get as much out of you as possible by pushing your ego buttons.

I caught onto that very early in my career, and no longer did coworkers and family talking about how I'm the smartest person they've ever met and boy do I know computers, ad nauseum, fool me into providing pro bono work.

Respect is a function of personal relationships.. (5, Insightful)

segfault_0 (181690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104037)

I found that the respect i get is a function of personal relationships with those individuals and not really a function of what i did. People who arent technical tend not to look at our craft as fondly as we tend to do, they dont see the things that we see in it, and therefore it often doesnt hold the same appeal or respect. Those who do show that respect often respect you as a person or have an affinity for technology and can appreciate what you do more than the norm. Either way, even if you sweep the floor, and you do it to the best of your ability and treat those around you with respect, youll tend to get it in return. And ask yourself, if you expect them to be in awe of you just for walking in the room, how much do you really respect them?

Who you work for makes a difference (1)

AT-SkyWalker (610033) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104038)

I work for a pretty well loved company by the technical community in general (we are not looked upon as an evil empire). I find that this makes a lot of difference; I'm not the evil consultant who walks in and gets paid obscene amounts of money.

On the other hand, people that work for companies that are looked upon as "evil" empires, i.e. M$, IBM global services, etc, usually get little respect from the people they attempt to help even if they are good technical consultants (I see this all the time at client sites). Their companies image really casts a dark shadow on how they are treated. My 0.2c....

It isn't that the level of respect has changed (1)

Zabu (589690) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104039)

You just have assholes for clients.

Thats why I don't work for end users (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104040)

That un-impeachable belief that end-users have that technicians are somehow supernatural in their abilities becomes a real liability when things go wrong. After years of working for end users and trying to educate them past their beliefs that the work I did was somehow voodoo or magical, I got a job working for a large company with a well-established IT group and I'm no longer responsible for end-user requests. My bosses and peers are all technical and if something goes wrong, its easy to explain why and deal with the problem. Believe me, the grass IS greener on this side.

It's more normal now, but getting better (1)

mark99 (459508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104041)

There was a period of time when geeks were in terribly short supply, and they were over appreciated. Now it is more like it was in the early-mid 90's and before.

Having said that, I noticed that dice has 69000+ jobs on offer now, down from 120k at the peak, and up from 23k at the trough.

If it goes over 80k, I would say that the god daz are coming back.

Maybe I'll ask for a raise :)

geeks only? techs only? (1)

JackBuckley (696547) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104043)

This question is rather vague. From the context, it seems as if the poster wants to know from /. readers how much respect the command if they are Ned the Company Computer Guy. What about the rest of the audience who are not? Is the poster interested in how much respect we all get? Or would he or she rather hear about how much respect we give to the techs in our workplaces?

Around my university, the respect we have for the techs is proportional to their ability and knowledge base, which is pretty slim for a lot (but not all) of them. A lot of them seem to think that their job is to install Windows-based software for people. Hiding in the depths of IT, however, I have encountered some very talented hardware folks.

Easy answer (1)

ufpdom (556704) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104047)


Respect? (1)

plj (673710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104050)

Posted by Cliff on Fri April 01, 0:01 (EET, aka UTC + 3 (DST))

Um, this "getting respect" thing must be the first of April fool jokes today?

Re:Respect? (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104145)

Only in your time zone....

Respect (2, Insightful)

HighwayStar (23834) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104054)

I've found that at my current job I seem to get more respect as time goes on. Part of that reason would be that I admit what I don't know, I treat my coworkers the way I hope to be treated, and I take care of any problems as well as my deliverables in a fast, efficient manner.

One of the other comments - 'A BOFH should be feared, not respected' - is perhaps, true, but unless you're in an extraordinarily IT-centric organization, that kind of attitude is much more likely to hurt rather than help.

Times are changing (3, Insightful)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104056)

Today, technicians are a dime a dozen, and it shows. With so many wannabe "technicians" flooding the market, it is only natural for people to base their opinion on what they see: A whole bunch of incompetent boobs claiming to be experts when they are nothing more than hobbiests with a screwdriver and a shit attitude.

Further to that, geek is now chic. This means there are many posers who are diluting the true meaning of the word, because they want to look hip and trendy.

Its sad, really. We are a victim of our own desires, to be accepted by society as a whole instead of relegated to the computer and AV rooms of the world.....

Here is the secret... (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104058)

If you want more respect as a "GEEK", you need to charge more money for your services. If you charge too little money, then people begin to wonder if your services truly are equate to being worthless.

So do it. All geeks earn $250 an hour, so we can all look like awesome forces to be reckoned alongside that other "GEEK" beknownst Bruce Perens.

Oh, and anticipate the same to happen with McDonalds and Taco Bell employees.

If you're getting a heightened level of respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104064)

...then you're not asking enough money. People despise plumbers, but they probably make more than most computer technicians.

like a plumber (4, Funny)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104066)

Nobody likes to call the plumber, electrician, etc... Nobody likes to call in a tech for most of the same reasons, although I do try to keep my buttcrack from showing.

Respect will continue to decline (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104069)

How respect do you give the guy who fixes your washing machine?

Computers are being viewed more and more as another applicance. A means to get things done. Not some mysterious and all-powerful machine. As this perception becomes more widespread, the respect given to people who repair them will approach that of people who fix other appliances.

The are no more Priests of the Temples of Syrinx (obscure Rush reference).

Bob didn't respect me... (2, Funny)

C_Kode (102755) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104071)

echo "\$0.75/hr" > /data/payroll/managment/IT/bob/payrate

The difference over time (5, Funny)

Brento (26177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104075)

I've noticed one big difference. When a geek asks me what I do, I've been able to give the same answer since 1998: "I work full time for a company maintaining their sites with ASP and SQL Server." Here's a chronology of the responses:

1998: "What's ASP?"

1999: "ASP sucks, man. It's too hard."

2000: "Wow, can I learn ASP? How hard is it? Because I've never done computer work, but I hear it makes a lot of money."

2001: "Ha! ASP? You suck, that's so old-school. You won't have a job in a couple of years. I got a job at making twice your salary, and I'm just a receptionist."

2002: "ASP sucks, man. It's all about .NET these days. Besides, you'll be laid off in a week just like me. And Oracle's the bomb, it's worth every penny."

2003: "ASP sucks, man. It's all about PHP these days. And MySQL's the bomb. It'll have stored procedures any day now." (Sorry, just had to throw that one in.)

2004: "ASP sucks, man. It's all about J2EE these days."

2005: "Wow, you have a full time job? Because I'm a programmer and I can't find a job to save my ass."

Re:The difference over time (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104132)

Setting aside my hatred for asp and the web services plafrom it runs on, I have to admit that this post made me laugh. You hit it straight on the head.

Not much, I guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104078)

I walked in this morning and my boss said "You'll find my nuts require extra attention today."

Yep... (1)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104079)

I find the same thing in Radio Engineering. Instead of being a valued mamber of the team, I'm now treated like a necessary expense, a necessary *evil* if you will. They don't have a clue as to what we do; all they know is that we cost them too much money doing it.

Just yesterday I was told by a General Manager in Boston that he had changed his mind about hiring a full time Chief Engineer. He claimed he doesn't NEED one, even though both stations he manages are about to move their transmitter sites, his new studios sit half built, and his AM station (stereo) has been broadcasting with right channel only for the past six months!

Pretty WILD, huh? *wink*

I think it's because tech. industries have been taken over by beancounters and sales types. who see selling tech. products the same as selling timeshares and real estate. The tend to ignore what they don't understand. I call it the ostrich theory.

I don't do it for respect (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104081)

I work the job for a paycheck, but you'll respect me when you see my mad skillz in counter strike.

Seriously, it's a job. If a job is that big of an issue to your selfworth maybe you need to seek help. If you're well balanced person and your job is so degrading it's effecting your selfworth then you need a new job. Granted we all want to do better and be better people but if your working a decent job and trying to advance yourself it shouldn't be an issue.

Spam & Viruses are to blame (1)

bwalling (195998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104082)

Computers had a brief glory period where you could set them up and let them work. Now, the average user is going to see their computer get abused like it's in a prison shower. They hate it, and they hate the fact that you can't make it stop for them without significant trade offs. Now, you are just a guy that can solve some of their problems instead of the guy who can make anything happen.

It doesn't really matter how much respect I get (1)

tdavie (872370) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104083)

If the people I repair PC's for don't give me respect, I've got the capability to walk away. Treat me like a human being, and I'll fix things. Treat me like a piece of shit and you can find someone else to slag. It's a philosophy that works well in the rest of life.... Tom

Of course you get respect (1)

retro128 (318602) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104085)

I don't think respect is really an issue, especially for paid consultants in a business environment. If you are a professional who fixes problems, no one is going to address you as "Hey, dumbass".

Even if you are a prick, most people will just grind their teeth about it rather than confront you. But it's unlikely that you'll be called back.

respect (1)

nuknuk (97188) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104091)


I'd say at my current place of employment (fairly small office, 200 employees, 4 branches) that I feel as though I have a lot of respect from those people that I support.

Certainly there is the air of mystery associated with that 'guy who just fixes stuff' and they don't have a clue how...I am a magician to them. However, they respect me not only for me enabling them to do their job more efficiently, but also for my friendly manner, my willingness to help out with even the most bizarre, difficult, or incredibly easy task, and my willingness to listen.

I feel as though easily half of my job is just making people feel better about the problems that they run into on a daily basis, and that their issues are important to me to fix, and that I understand their work and how the technology enables them to work. I wouldn't say that you aren't these things, (original poster) but perhaps someone in the position before you got there was a jerk, and so they look down on you because of that. Supporting customers in technology takes more than savvy and know how, you don't get respect, you earn it. Just my .02.

Not to pat myself on the back, but I recently recieved an award at my company (woo gift card time) for "Making changes happen", "Going the extra mile", having a "positive attitude",being "passionate", "delivering on promises" etc (quotes from the silly paper thing i got :) ) I think too often IT people just focus on making the problem go away, you have to have a wider focus. .02

Lots of low user IDs commenting (0, Offtopic)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104104)

Is it just me, or are there a remarkable number of low slashdot user ids commenting in this article? Kind of coincidental with the topic, eh?

Re:Lots of low user IDs commenting (0, Offtopic)

palpatine (94) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104166)

Did somebody mention low user ids?

Change of perception (1)

ectotherm (842918) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104105)

In the "Olden Days" of IT, an IT "Geek" had all the keys to the kingdom and was seen as a technology doctor. Nowadays, an IT "Geek" still has all the keys to the kingdom, but its viewed in more of a "janitorial" capacity. "Wow, big keyring Bob!" Old days: "Thank God, our "Geek" is here to save us. Have a brownie!" Now: "Yo, geek-boy, do something about the nasty hair clog in the router. And I want that web interface to sparkle!" I think it's partially due to computing becoming more mainstream. No one sees it as "magic" anymore... *SIGH*

A sign of the times... (1)

AnonymousJackass (849899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104109)

I'm sure it's nothing personal, and I'm sure you're not imagining it.

I think that the days are gone when people looked at a computer and thought "Wow! What an amazingly wonderful piece of equipment! It's so complicated -- no wonder it goes wrong so often! Good job we have that wonderful tech guy coming to fix it!".
Now, I think it's more like: "WTF?! Damn expensive piece of junk just crashed again! There goes another few hundred $$$'s calling out the tech guy!"

My point is, people understand computers more now -- a lot of the mystery is gone. So when one goes wrong it's seen as a huge irritation and an inconvenience, not to mention a costly bill.

Automobiles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104111)

Computers / Automobiles: the token comparison. []

Now, with that said, do you give your auto mechanic any respect? Personally I'm always watching to make sure they don't try and scam me. My guess is, most people feel the same way about IT guys.

hygeine (1)

calethix (537786) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104117)

Sudden lack of respect you say? Have you been forgetting to shower lately?

On a more serious note, it sounds like some of the companies you support are cheap and maybe not willing to pay up to really fix things. Whether it's from the company being stingy or incompetence, I can't really say but if you continuously show up to fix things when they break, people may start to get the impression that you're not completely fixing their problems.

IT is evil! (2, Insightful)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104119)

That business is afraid of technology is axiomatic. Most businesses loathe their IT departments. I've said this before, but the executives cringe every time their CIO says, "We have a problem." They grind their teeth as they sign off on the IT budget; as far as they're concerned, every cent of that is wasted. Business chugged along JUST FINE for 100 years before 1995 and now suddenly we have to dump millions every year into a department full of unwashed slobs who can't be taught to cut their hair or wear pants. For awhile, these types of people were making millions off computers and technology, and they didn't mind so much having that IT department. "I don't know what they do, but I bought Yahoo at $25/share and sold it a day later at $125. It MUST be good to have computer guys." Then it all ended, and they LOST millions, and now your IT people are once more a burden that the company carries, with its executives half convinced that IT is the nuclear missile of business - we don't REALLY have a legitimate use or need for it, but we have to have it because all the other big players have it, too. They don't even appreciate that you fix their computers because mostly don't want computers in the first place. They don't understand them. And you'll know when you bump into a member of that generation that does see the value. Anyway, I'm rambling here but if you're not getting "respect" at your job then you know what your options are. Change companies, change jobs, change expectations, change attitude, change something. But notice that I'm telling you to change, not them. You can't control what they do, you can only control your own decisions.

A lot more than you dweebs! (0, Flamebait)

GatesGhost (850912) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104123)

apparently the /. mods dont get any in real life so they take it out on people like me by giving me bad karma. go ahead and chip away at the points, it only confirms my theory.

Aftermath of "DOT-BOMB" (1)

thed00d (822393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104125)

After the fall-out affects of the dot-bomb era, I think the perception of us techies has truly changed, and not in a very positive way. What most people (and I mean the 70% who don't follow what's going on around them) fail to realize, is that the dot-bomb era was a cause of mis-management, bad ideas, and far too many people with the idea that if they "learned" computers, they would become the next Bill Gates. The paradigm shifted around 2001 from "Wow, you know how to program" to "Yeah, you programmers are a dime a dozen, be happy I gave YOU a job". I don't see the current perception changing for at least 2 years either. Anyway, food for thought...

Clearly... (1)

TheCubic (151533) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104127)

Clearly not enough.

What, you wanted me to actually quantify it?

Some people do, some people don't. Some people pretend to, but don't; some people pretend not to, but do.

I was watching a movie where the protagonist needs a bunch of data and gets 'access denied'. I loudly declared that was a huge reason to get on the good side of your sysadmin.

July 29th, 2005 -

None of my users observed it last year - if you want a quantification.

No change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104128)

Have you seen a change in the level of respect that you receive?

No, people laugh at me just as much as when I was a geek with no friends in high school.

heh yea (1)

speel3k (793160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104131)

dude dont flatter your self TOO much :)

The importance of walking around (4, Insightful)

lildogie (54998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104138)

I learned an important lession when I was providing 24x7 support for a network management center.

At my boss's advice, I visited the end customers each and every workday.

They began to associate me with the system while it was working. In contrast, some admins only showed up when their systems were broken. They were usually greeted with "Here comes trouble!"

My relationship was so good that, when the system broke in the middle of the night, the customers would do their best to get by until morning, even though I assured them that it was my duty to restore it during the night.

Being around to take credit for things running smoothly is indispensible.

Roll With The Punches (1)

micromuncher (171881) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104141)

Before dot bomb we all made tons of cash. We were affluent. We were special. Large numbers of people entered the field. Lots of 6 week courses to make you an instant object oriented programmer.

After dot bomb our salaries plummeted. Large companies figure out ways to make us irrelevant through outsourcing. Our peers undercut and underbid us because any work is better than no work. And if you were an employee, you got shuffled into the consultant column to join the growing number of disposable workers. Consultants are an expense after all to whom you do not owe benefits and the like, unlike an employee that is a liability.

Welcome to being a commodity. We are all interchangeable. My computer science degree is worth as much as a 6 week programming course through DeVry. And my exceptional architecture and design skills are worth less than someone that managed to hide away in a big corporation the last 15 years.

Your level of involvement in management dictates.. (4, Interesting)

csoto (220540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104148)

..the level of respect you get. I'm a "techie turned manager," and I can tell you for certain that when I was exclusively a "techie," I was a "genius" and "guru" and people loved me. Today, I'm a manager, and though lots of people still love me, they're also aware that I can affect the amount of pain or pleasure they experience from our IT services. It's a lot more responsibility, which comes with its own share of politics. People know this.

Anybody who manages geeks would be wise to keep that "geeks are our friends" culture going. It's never MY success, even if I was the one whose plan is being implemented, I chose the solutions, got the funding for it, etc. As far as our users are concerned, we just have a really great staff who always looks out for them, even if their manager is a jerk ;)

You should have been around in the 70's (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104154)

You work on computers, you must be really, really smart.

Cut to 80's. You work on computers? Can you put 640k of RAM in my PC?

Cut to 90's. You work on computers? Can you fix my sound card?

Cut to 00's. You work on computers? I think my machine has a virus, could you look at it?

Worse than Rodney Dangerfield...

Respect? Are you kidding??? (1)

alta (1263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104157)

I have a wife and two chilren. I get no respect. I get walked all over. My wife stays at home. She works hard at what she does. But obviously doesn't respect me or what I do because the moment I get home from the office. I have to take over her job.... So her hours are 8-5 while mine are 7-7...

I feel like Rodney Dangerfield.

Respect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104161)

Perhaps you have reached a new plateau in your career, it is a normal progression. When you are a young tech, the customer is happy that you can actually fix something and they give you praise for the work that you do. When you become a seasoned tech, the customer expects more from you and unfortunately, in many cases only let you know when you don't live up to the customers expectations. They just take for granted that you can do a great job.

Economic aspects as well (1)

whackco (599646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104162)

As you pointed out with the dotbombbust, companies put alot of time, money and effort into their IT/IS infrastructures, and lets face it: Are they paying off the huge ROI dividends as speculated in the begining. NO, not for 9 out of 10 they sure aren't. Instead companies have come to realize that (as you pointed out) people like you, and the technology you offer is a necessary evil. By installing Application X or Hardware Y, the projected ROI over 20 years was Z, however, they didn't forsee needing technicians a b and c to get there as well as crashes and worms and such m - t. Overall, technology DOES help companies, but I think they have come to see it as a 'necessary evil' because it really it, and not because of you personally. Just understanding your clients view of this might help you in not internalizing these sorts of issues.

Thats all.

Allow me to boost your ego (5, Interesting)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104165)

The 1980s through to today have been a spectacular time for American business. The stock markets have grown like never before. Business people, managers, and financial folk have been praised for being the backbone of a growing economy.

But there's a sad truth, evident to anyone who has dipped into that world... and that is, except for their brown-nosing skills and personal connections, business people, management, financial/accountants are mostly useless. It's questionable whether they have any real skills. And now society is starting to question whether these people have any value in the real sense of the word.

The modern satires (e.g. Dilbert) exist for a reason. It baffles people how the "flapping heads" or "PHBs" can be the ones in control, earnings the high salaries. You see, in the past few decades everyone wanted to become managers. And my personal belief is that the business world is starting to crumble because companies overweight in managers and associated staff lack tangible manpower, the power to get real business done.

So you technicians, engineers, and other professionals who can actually do real things... never you worry. Ultimately, you are the ones who have the skills to accomplish what society needs. The market of yesterday - for idiot managers, corrupt accountants - is coming to an end (though it may take some time).

I get no respect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104167)

I work in IT infrastructure for an Investment Bank and I get no respect at all - in fact I'm treated like dirt and considered expendable. Each day that I'm still employed and not outsourced is a bonus. I spend each day wanting out but knowing I would find it difficult to get another job. I never thought I'd end up in this situation....

As long as they keep paying me... (1)

Mori Chu (737710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104168)

They can put me in all the shadows they want.

I'm a developer, and I'm comfortable with my salary and benefits. I don't want attention or clout or respect. I'm happy to be relatively anonymous, come in and work hard, and leave quietly at the end of the day.

You are hardly noticed.... (1)

xv4n (639231) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104171)

...until the system you wrote starts to fail.

A slightly different metric (1)

rainmayun (842754) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104174)

I measure respect in dollars. And I don't derive my self-worth from my occupation. having said that, though, it IS nice for people to listen when I am trying to explain something to them. credibility is king!

Almost none (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12104175)

I used to work in an environment where two or three competing contractors had to "work together". I don't think one line of my code hasn't been replaced already, because of the other company's hard core NIH syndrome. Even if my company did good work, we got no credit, because the other company's manager's face was embedded in the project lead's ass.

No, no bitterness here

Respect is sometimes a game (1)

sisukapalli1 (471175) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104178)

I have seen it in one work place... There were these bunch of guys that would behave very rudely and often refuse to even say Hi to coworkers. These rude guys were in biz-dev and some alpha-male techies. Initially, people thought these guys were some bigshots. Later on, they realized that it is mainly posturing.

I am not saying that it is always the case. I belive it is a rare case where multiple a*holes ended up in a small group. But, the lesson to be taken is sometimes things are not what they seem.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (1)

chiapetofborg (726868) | more than 9 years ago | (#12104183)

I'm currently the lead developer at a company. I'm in charge of all the projects. I spend a few of minutes each day, seeing what it is people spend all of their time doing. On a number of occasions, I find people doing some meinal task, that a shell script could do just fine. Or, if the task is a little more complicated than that, I ask them how much they spend doing that. In a few of those cases, they spend a couple hours a day working on something that could be automated with a program that would take me a couple of hours to write (given the existing tools I've access to). So I write it for them, and save them tonz of time. Because I do this, A couple of my programs have been labeled names like "MagicWand" by the employees. People think of me rather highly in the office.
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