Hi there! I’m your IT professional, and I’m here to tell you what is so special about what I do. After all, isn’t it just a matter of clicking some buttons and occasionally rebooting? Not quite.
So let’s strip away all of the bullshit: Essentially, my job (for those that haven’t been paying attention, an IT Admin/Geek/Nerd/Whatevertheflavoristhisyear) is in what I know. Knowing what to click, when to click, what to enter…anyone that has the dedication to learn the information, could certainly do my job. Right?
You see, I’m what most people consider a “good” IT guy. I’m not intending to brag – I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert (frankly technology is moving too fast for me to keep up like I used to) – I mean I’m a “good” IT guy in that: I don’t make you feel stupid for not knowing how to rearrange your icons or change your signature file. I don’t treat you like you’re incompetent because you don’t know what the little thingy is that keeps popping up, but it’s annoying you (it’s probably a virus). I also try to explain in human terms [i]What the fuck is actually wrong with it?!?[/i] and why, no, it’s not your fault that there are malicious bastards out there.
I don’t make you feel like shit when your password doesn’t work (did you check your caps lock? How about your num lock if you’re on a laptop without a number pad?) or why your email isn’t necessarily “easy” to transfer from your iPhone to your shiney new Android (full disclosure: I pulled that one out of my ass).
I also understand why 16-bit software doesn’t run so hot on the newest dozen-core 64-bit processors.
I can pretty much figure anything out (except databases), regardless of how foreign it is (seriously, change your default language to Japanese and try to fix it without changing the language because the client insists that he be able to read what I’m doing).
I’m the guy strapped to his phone 24/7/365, phantom buzzes and all. I’m the guy that’s available (if you catch me before I go to sleep) to help out. The sleeping thing? Yeah, that’s true – after 8 years in this job I decided that I was too old to not need sleep. I start between my shower and my commute, and finish between brushing my teeth and climbing into bed.
I plan weekends that I won’t have cellular service long in advance, and inform my coworkers that I’ll be unavailable, just in case. Because I’m the IT guy. It’s not like I’m saving lives (usually), but it sure feels like it when your computer is misbehaving.
And this is all true (true enough, for a “usual” value of “true”).
But that’s not all you’re paying for.
You’re also paying me to be the guy that can access your system when you’ve locked yourself out and don’t have the Administrator password (Windows, Linux, [i]and[/i] Mac, thank you very much). I’m the guy that can (usually) recover the data from your disk that’s “been clicking for months, but I didn’t have time to contact you or deal with transferring my data”. I’m the guy that will disassemble your keyboard (or laptop) when you’ve spilled coffee or grapefruit juice on it, and get your keys unstuck. I’m the guy that can fix the solid bars that occur with some failed monitors. I’m the guy that’ll have your computer rebuilt by the end of the weekend, with all (or most) of your data in tact.
I’m also the guy that doesn’t “notice” when the websites you’ve got open at work (or hell, at home) are porn sites. I’m the guy that doesn’t “notice” the secondary and tertiary email account names on the post-it notes next to your computers (or on your monitors – and usually with the password, for my convenience). I’m not paying attention when I’m seeing the dating sites open (with a desktop background of your wife, no less), or online gaming forums that you’re constantly viewing at work.
You’re not paying me to be “the IT guy”. You can get that from the teenager across the street. You’re paying me to be an IT Professional who isn’t going to talk about everyone’s salary (even though I have to have access to that stuff to manage it). You’re paying me to give up the passwords and be available after I quit (or have been fired) to answer questions you didn’t think to ask beforehand.
You’re paying for honesty and professionalism, not just a fundamental grasp of machine logic.
But you thought about that when you set my salary, right?