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How Do IT Guys Get Respect and Not Become BOFHs?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the keep-a-curled-upper-lip dept.


An anonymous reader writes "I work for a small software company (around 60 people) as the sole IT guy. It's my first time in a position like this and after about 1.5 years I'm starting to get a bit burned out. I try to be friendly, helpful, and responsive and I get no respect whatsoever. Users tend to be flat-out rude when they have a problem, violate our pretty liberal policies constantly, and expect complex projects to be finished immediately upon requesting them. My knee-jerk reaction is to be a bastard, although I've avoided it up to this point. It's getting harder. For those of you who have been doing this a lot longer, how do you get a reasonable level of respect from your users while not being a jerk?"

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lmgtfy (5, Funny)

beefsprocket (1152865) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275091)

I've sent a few of the tougher cases to http://lmgtfy.com/ [lmgtfy.com] Usually that smartens them up a bit without having to have too many words ;)

Re:lmgtfy (5, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275409)

And if they don't get the hint, try this [justfuckinggoogleit.com] less subtle one.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275093)

suck it bitches

Re:first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275197)

good advice. I have much more respect for IT guys who suck me off.

Be firm.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275095)

Be firm, but don't be a jerk. Be reasonable, and honest - justify and explain. In writing if it helps. Just don't promise more than you can deliver, and be explicitly clear about the complexity of solutions.

Time to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275097)

Move to a different company

Re:Move to a different company (5, Interesting)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275227)

worked in my case. IE when I switched companies a year ago, the people who had respect for me before, knew enough about PC's they still got by. Those without respect got to deal with your more typical corporate IT guy (not a total bastard, but at times). The guy who disliked me the most (actually accused me of sabotaging his win 95 box from the network, to our boss, just 18 months ago) publicly wished me back.

Try the slow down method (5, Interesting)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275101)

If they are not nice, delay the response.

Nice people get fast turn responses.

Just check with your boss first.

Re:Try the slow down method (4, Interesting)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275235)

No need to check with the boss, just make sure you prioritize first. Urgent requests get answered first, nice requests second and bastard requests... later. Direct everything through a helpdesk system, so when people are bastards you can inform their bosses that their behavior is making you uncomfortable. At my last job, we had a constant problem of new staff turning up on their first day and their bosses ringing us to say that they need a new user setup straight away. For one-off cases, this wasn't a problem*, but for those that didn't learn, we took a good few days to do it. Paying to have staff sitting there with nothing to do usually teaches them quickly. * we usually left it a day anyway, firstly because some of the aspects of the setup did take time, and secondly, to allow us to stall if they become repeat offenders.

Re:Try the slow down method (5, Insightful)

Marful (861873) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275451)

LOL @ Rush first...

I do estimating at my work (and also a little IT) and we used to have a system for "rush quotes" that people could submit. Over the course of a month, it turned out that every quote was a rush quote, which made the system pointless.

So, I'd be wary of instituting something with a "rush" system...


Re:Try the slow down method (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275497)

You just need to charge extra for RUSH service, just like the mail. Once they start paying exhorbitant rates, you will either make additional cash for your dept, or they will learn to order stuff through the normal channel and early enough for it to be ready when they need it.

Re:Try the slow down method (5, Interesting)

Eivind (15695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275565)

Oh, you just need to make it clear to them in a language they understand: Money.

We've got "rush-jobs", as in "drop whatever you're doing and do this NOW" jobs.

They are charged triple the normal rate. The intention is loud and clear: If it's not important enough that you're willing to pay triple to have it fixed right-now, then it's not a rush-job.

Works fine. I seldom get more than 2-3 rush-jobs in any given month.

Re:Try the slow down method (2, Funny)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275499)

Even easier, just tell them its under consideration (Meaning:I have lost the job details).

If they ask again its under active consideration.(I have started looking for the job details).

I mean seriously they are users, they get what I damn well want to give them and nothing else.

At least I dont have to deal with programmers and developers. If I did I would invest in axe, lime and old carpet shares.


Re:Try the slow down method (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275579)

I point it out directly, matter of factly. "That's not a very nice thing to say," or "that's not very respectful." Honestly, and not angrily. Then I wait. Awkward silence.........for them. In most cases they will get a goofy grin and say, "yeah" or something and then we are friends again. In some cases they storm out angrily, but that's their fault (what are they going to say, "he told me it wasn't a nice thing to say!!" is going to make HIM look bad, because you were just trying to help out), and suddenly there's less work for you.

If this doesn't work, it's probably because you're not respecting other people enough. Expect respect from everyone, but respect everyone as well (even if they don't deserve it).

How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (4, Funny)

robvangelder (472838) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275107)

finish complex projects immediately upon them requesting.

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (5, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275217)

No, that will result in you being taken for granted and labeled a failure when you dont produce the same level of results at the same speed next time.

Use the Scotty principal. Estimate the time needed as three times what you expect, then when it takes you twice as long you're a genius for finishing it early.

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (5, Funny)

TwistedPear (206347) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275495)

I find multiplying the time estimate by Pi gives a more realistic looking number... :)

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275231)

Either that or fuck the boss's hot 18-year-old daughter.

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (4, Funny)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275359)

Either that or fuck the boss's hot 18-year-old daughter.

Um... you must be new here. This is slashdot.

If I manage to stammer a coherent sentence to a hot daughter, it has never resulted in sex. ...just violence ..from her father.

I do manage to get some amusing facial expressions with the ew...yuck.

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (3, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275435)

Could be worse, it could have resulted in sex... from her father.

Re:How do I get a reasonable level of respect? (4, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275285)

I try to be friendly, helpful, and responsive

I think we found the problem here!

Don't avoid it! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275109)

Take pride in being the BOFH. Lusers need to be kept in check. Blog about how you've made their lives miserable.

Re:Don't avoid it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275187)

dammit typo modding

Patience! (5, Insightful)

KenCrandall (13860) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275121)

Unfortunately, IT is viewed a lot like the phones by most users. It's "invisible" when it does work, and is only a priority to them when it doesn't work (or they need something!)

I've found that the best way to make people happy is to effectively communicate with them -- especially when it comes to deadlines. Now I'm not saying to sandbag :-) but if you can over-deliver some things and/or get them done earlier than promised, then you set an expectation of success and partnership with your user base. As difficult as it is, sometimes, you MUST remain non-cranky or bitchy, or you will get stereotyped as the "grumpy IT guy" faster than you can think.

If it's really burning you out after only 1 1/2 years, then you should really look at (a) your workload (b) your choice of career and (c) your work/life balance.

Re:Patience! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275199)

If you want respect you're in the wrong job. Be firm, fair and friendly but don't look for love.
Be responsive and always close the circle by telling the user what you have done for him.
Tell people what their priority is and be prepared to negotiate. Remember every time you have to do more validates your free time when things are slack.
A special request today is business-as-usual tomorrow. You are only as good as your last result.

Re:Patience! (2, Insightful)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275509)

If it's really burning you out after only 1 1/2 years, then you should really look at (a) your workload (b) your choice of career and (c) your work/life balance.

These are things to consider, but it may just be a bad company. Usually it seems that folks who don't fit well within a certain company are the types of folks who don't fit well with ANY company, but sometimes it is not them. For example, the HR department at a company a friend worked for was especially inept, and kept hiring unqualified morons who did nothing but start trouble and create a bad atmosphere in the workplace. My friend has worked for two other companies in the same field that were completely tolerable, and I'm sure it was not just him. Maybe it's time to look for a new employer and move on to greener pastures? Giving a good honest effort and trying to be happy only goes so far, and one person should not feel obligated to tolerate or try to fix a company of 60 employees. Basically, say screw them, and go somewhere else.

Re:Patience! (4, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275545)

I agree as far as "They treat us like crap when everything is working perfectly." I've been in places where everything worked smoothly, and we were treated like garbage, and I've been in places where nothing worked, and we were treated like kings.

I don't find that communication helps much, but it may just be my situation. I miss deadlines constantly because I have a job that is (in theory) equal parts deadline-driven code generation, and crisis-driven maintenance and administration. When a crisis pops up, everything gets a little later, and thanks to cutbacks, I'm in charge of way more than 1 person can effectively maintain (5 years ago it was 8 people, now it's me), so there are always fires that need to be put out, and there is very little time for the original code which is technically still part of my job.

To add insult to injury, about 70% of my work is done remotely, so all the people who work where I happen to have my desk have this mistaken idea that I work for them and that, since they don't have any current problems, I should be working on their code requests.

I don't know. I'm on the edge of adopting world class BOFHdom in self-defense. Last week I dropped 40 hours (in 2 days) on a site that wasn't even technically mine because their me equivalent was in the hospital in critical condition, and they had had a massive systems crash at the same time.

The level of sniping and whining and posturing I put up with from the other whiney bitches at my other sites for their ridiculous bullshit problems almost drove me over the edge, despite the worshipful gratitude of the people I was helping.

You want the truth? (5, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275139)

If something was working yesterday and it isn't working today, you broke it.

For example, email. Why does email go down? Why? What's so hard about running a mail server? It was working yesterday, I come in this morning, it's not working.. what did you do? Don't say you did nothing, you did. It was working. You stuck your grubby little paws in there and messed with it, didn't you? Fix it.

You can't handle the truth.

Respect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275145)

What is this 'respect' of which you speak?

Fuck em (4, Informative)

Spit (23158) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275149)

You have to options: slap some reality into your users and put them in their place, or burn out. Your choice.

Re:Fuck em (0, Redundant)

Tigersmind (1549183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275455)

You have to options: slap some reality into your users and put them in their place, or burn out. Your choice.

I love everythiung about this. The wisdom of the post. The fact its scored as informative. The use of "Fuck Em". I am LMAO

I love slashdot :)

Re:Fuck em (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275557)

Something I find totally irritating is that a +5 Informative comment can't just stand on its own mountain of awesome, but some geek has to jump in and bask in its reflected glory, pointing out all the things that made the comment awesome (which were already obvious to the casual observer, Sherlock).

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275163)

I'm confused. You're the only guy in IT for a 60 person software company? What do the other 59 people do? Even with 20 sales people, 5 executives, 8 accountants and 3 janitors that still leaves 23 people unaccounted for...

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275179)

write software ?

Re:Huh? (4, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275293)

Software developers rarely manage their own machines. And that's not necessarily a bad thing... I got my degree in Computer Science. Great people to solve a hairy logic problem, not someone you'd want with admin access on any machine you have to support...

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275521)

I went to school for CS and while I was in school, I had a student sys admin job in one of the colleges on campus. Once in a while I'd run into some odd problem but most of it was easy. Now, the really tough jobs are the ones I come up with on my own computer.

You're right, anyone who actually knows anything about computers will only have problems that make no sense at all. Ignorant users are easy, savvy users are a nightmare....

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275299)

middle management.

Re:Huh? (3, Funny)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275513)

    What happens when "middle management" applies to everyone from the CEO down to the managers?

    Don't answer that. It was sarcastic. They'd fire me for it, but I was already fired. Now I have all the time in the world to work on my BOFH-isms. :)

    "Hello BSA? What's the payout on an anonymous tip these days?"

    "Hello DHS? What's the payout on an anonymous tip these days?"

    "Hello IRS? What's the payout on an anonymous tip these days?"

    "Hello FTC? What's the payout on an anonymous tip these days?"

    Ahhh, we see a running trend. And one previous employer was worried about direct retaliation, either through DoS attacks, or a sniper posted within a mile of their front door (the sniper being me). I had more fun doing absolutely NOTHING to them. They were so worried about what I *could* do that they drove themselves nuts looking for my back doors, monitoring for my attacks, and watching for me behind every corner. I didn't even know this first hand. Word got back to me from other people over the years. :)

    And for the record, I don't believe in back doors, because they could be a security hole while I'm there. A DoS attack just isn't worth my time. They'll always screw something up on their own, I don't have to help it along in the least. I don't believe in jail time either, so physical violence is out unless they provoke it. (i.e., show up to my house with a gun drawn, and see how long you last.)

    Sometimes the best revenge is to do absolutely nothing at all. It'll leave them wondering what I'll do for years to come. :)

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

TheBig1 (966884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275463)

IT != Software Development.

Face facts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275169)

slavery isnt dead its just now called the IT department.

Well.. (5, Interesting)

jessejay356 (625312) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275171)

I couldn't do it, I became a programmer and now am one of the annoying people bugging our IT guy.

Teach them! (5, Insightful)

xous (1009057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275175)


You need to to develop policies for handling requests and have your manager back them. You also need to make sure the employees know about these policies and understand them. You might want to see if your manager will sponsor a QA half-day with some free food so you and your users can get to know each other and understand their requirements and what you can and can't do for them.

If employee's aren't complying with these policies politely explain it to them and CC it to their manager. If they do it again reference the original email and explain the problem to the manager and remind them that you have reported this kind of activity before.

If someone asks you to skip then ahead in the queue or go against company ask them to submit the request in writing to your manager.

If you streamline the process that fits your policies and make sure they see that following the rules is faster they will be more inclined to do it.

If you can't get your manager to back you on this your SOL and should be looking for a new job.

There is a difference between being a BOFH and following company policy.

These changes will not make them respect you as these people are likely assholes to begin with and should be treated as such. I don't do favors for people that can't be bothered to show a little common courtesy and they don't end up very high on my TODO list.

Re:Teach them! (3, Insightful)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275381)

I agree - establish a process. It may seem counter productive - but if the grunts can come and pull you off a project, then something is broken.

Establish a ticketing system - Request Tracker comes to mind. If someone is having a problem, send it to the "help desk" instead of interrupting you from completing your tasks. This gives you the opportunity to do a few things:

1. Prioritize your workload. - The spam message the receptionist got last week and decided to mention today isn't worth interrupting your server build to review.

2. Display your queue at any given time to everyone so expectations can be honestly set. - Three servers are behind on patches, email storage is critical, and your database server has some issue with backups causing the transaction logs to fill. Yes, I know your DVD drive is broken - it's on my list, see?

3. Document a history of problem systems, processes, or people. - The web server is in serious need of retirement. Every time sales sends out their monthly newsletter, the traffic spikes cause a huge queue in storage and runs out of memory. And, yes, the CEO calls me directly every Monday when his Blackberry radio is automatically disabled because he let his battery die - and can't remember how to turn it on.

Document, track, and justify getting some help keeping the office humming.

Re:Teach them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275581)

Background: I work in the software department of a fairly tech-oriented company.

I agree with the 'teach them' sentiment, but in a different way. We have monthly (ish) department meetings which involve teams demoing / presenting recent work. If there's a way for your users to hear about things you're doing (in our case, new system for job distribution to the farm resulting in very impressive usage of resources), that could be a good way to get users to respect your work and take you seriously. Also, when dealing with IT, it reminds me to think well of them when they include details in their responses - if they're not assuming I'm a dumb user (maybe just one who overlooked relevant details), I'm less likely to assume they're dumb IT (just ones dealing with a complex and unruly system).

At a different job, I got a tour of the server farm, which was a chance both to drool over equipment and to befriend the main IT guy a bit. I didn't have much interaction with tech support generally, in that job, but knowing the people (unless they are in fact rude and useless) will likely make people more like colleagues and less like users.

You don't ... (4, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275181)

They treat you like crap because they can get away with it - that simple.

If the general behavior around your office is as you say, start keeping a clipboard with their project requests on it. They want something done, they get put on the list, and make sure they see that they're on the bottom of that list. Add a column to indicate estimated time required.

Essentially they're treating you like the janitor. They think everything's as simple as unclogging the toilet or getting more toilet paper. And your attitude seems to reinforce their perception of this.

You seem to show them that your time is worthless and that your job could be done by a trained monkey - why would you expect them to treat you differently?

Re:You don't ... (4, Insightful)

phoebe (196531) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275517)

Essentially they're treating you like the janitor. They think everything's as simple as unclogging the toilet or getting more toilet paper. And your attitude seems to reinforce their perception of this.

You seem to show them that your time is worthless and that your job could be done by a trained monkey - why would you expect them to treat you differently?

Being an IT person is being a computer janitor. If you are doing the job properly you are simply unclogging the tubes or restocking printer paper. Every machine should be imaged and locked down with something like Microsoft SteadyState, when a user has a problem it's either a reboot, re-image, or a hardware replacement.

The problem might stem from merging IS and IT jobs into the same position with no distinction being made. IS projects should be handled in a more formal manner than re-stocking a printer but because defining such an interaction is widely open to interpretation it has been taken to the users advantage. You need to take ownership of that interaction and make it clear the difference between such projects and cleaning the tubes.

Just be a bastard. (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275183)

Just be a bastard. With any luck at least a few of them will get the point and stop bothering you quite so much. If they can't be civil then return the same to them.

Re:Just be a bastard. (1)

Falconhell (1289630) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275551)

Yep, and remember the power of the 3 p's placed on a recalcitrant users hard disk.


I play and beat them at their game (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275185)

I happen to work for a company that is full of rules and policies. For those few that think they can push me around; i will be the biggest a$$ while still following company policy. Therefore most of the things they ask for i can deny with no problem...

There are many hats... (5, Insightful)

bol (152634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275193)

In technology there are a lot of roles, software developers, system administrators, network administrators, project managers with technology backgrounds, etc etc etc. You sound like you might be "your company's computer guy" also known as a workstation administrator. There are as many varied roles in the workplace as there are people. Make sure not to lump it all together.

In any career there are hurdles and IT is no exception. It's important to see the path ahead of you as difficult as it may be. Most people enter into IT with a passion for computers and technology. They want to learn more, they want to be able to build bigger and better infrastructure and to knock down all obstacles in their way. You need to find your niche. Some people are software development gurus and some people understand the intricate details that bind systems together. Do you spent your evenings learning new technology and figuring out the latest and greatest?

Try not to take things personally with dealing with others. It's important not to consider anybody just a "user." You have customers. Your customers want service and it's your job to provide that service to them. Most people in IT are very standoffish, anti-social and overly opinionated. It takes awhile to adapt and adjust to actually interfacing with people. The most important attribute of any employee is communication and nobody succeeds in a vacuum. Treat your customers well and you'll get respect in return. Itâ(TM)s fine to have a preference and its fine to have opinions. Just make sure you temper them with objective thinking, facts, and (at least) the appearance of an open mind.

If this is your first IT role you may want to consider why you got into it in the first place. What's your goal? How do you see your future? I've been a system administrator for over 10 years and have made the transition to being a system architect. My goal is to design infrastructure for the biggest installations on the planet. What's yours?

Here's what you do (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275205)

Get support from your Boss and Boss's boss for this, but:

1) Everything goes in a MS Project file. Large projects get their own file, and roll it up into the big one. Items are done FIFO.

2) The only thing which takes precedence are emergencies - and only if the thing is DEAD, on fire, or totally down. No pseudo-emergencies because this customer of the company is contributing $20 Million in sales this year (if that's the case, then get another body).

3) PUBLISH the project file - read only. Everyone knows what's in your pipeline, what you're working on. So long as you hit your targets, people will tend to leave you alone and get on the list. If you don't hit your targets, then they'll treat the thing as the bullshit that it is.

4) If you have two projects that come in at the same time, ask your boss to prioritize.

5) Make your boss and your boss' boss look good. Keep them appraised of situations that could do otherwise.

6) Don't fall prey to bimbos who hang their tits in your face, or people who bring you food. Stick to your project plan.

Eventually - you'll get help, and you'll be the Team Lead/Manager because YOU'RE the guy who created the project plan methodology that works. You may get picked to do the same to other departments... After you do a few of those, someone's going to ask you to be a real manager and you might have to get an MBA - get the company to pay for it....

And yeah, I know WTF I'm talking about - I'm living proof that this works...

Carrot and stick approach (3, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275219)

When they're nice to you, make an effort to fix their problem as quickly and offer suggestions. Be friendly and personable.

When they're not nice to you, everything takes twice as long. Get everything in writing. Do it all formally. REMAIN professional. Acting like a child will only make your own life stressful and miserable and ultimately get you fired.

Now there are exceptions. Anyone in a sufficiently high position is going to be able to have you fired if they think you're stalling. So do tread carefully.

The above advice might SEEM unprofessional - not always doing your best - but in the long run you're doing the business a favour. You'll be surprised how much more respect you get once your users learn that giving respects gets them the result they wanted. At which point everything runs more efficiently.

You'll never get anywhere in business by being seen as a doormat.

Re:Carrot and stick approach (1)

squidinkcalligraphy (558677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275439)

Anyone in a sufficiently high position is going to be able to have you fired if they think you're stalling. So do tread carefully.

Or just make sure you've installed enough archaic or secret information in the system that only you know how to keep it running. Consider it a form of insurance.

Re:Carrot and stick approach (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275573)

You are too nice. If they are nasty to you, do the work, but come in early and take a dump on their keyboard. I have found that nothing commands respect more than a good old dump on the keyboard.

Structure your business more effectively. (2, Insightful)

nailbu (1573451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275223)

This is a business level issue, not one specifically with your job.

I believe your best option would be to talk to your management about putting processes in place to allow you to more effectively handle your work load and communicate with the rest of the people in the office.

If the staff in the business have proper expectations set regarding how your function within the business is performed, by having procedures for both parties to follow, they'll then have to take up their issues with management, not you, as I would think should normally be the case.

Remember... (5, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275225)

Remember the other side of the equation. Users who have to sit for days doing nothing because their user accounts aren't set up right. Ridiculous security policies like being forced to change your password every month. Network configuration changes that break sofware they've been using for years. Pointless upgrades that add bloat and remove features.

It's tough being a user, seemingly toyed with by the IT guys.

Re:Remember... (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275311)

That's why I turned to telling the users in advance what's in for them. Often they even get to "vote" if a certain update should be done.

People want to have the feeling their opinion is valuable. Sure, I eventually get what I want, but they think they've "influenced" my decision when it's actually the other way around. It helps if you tell them what they need to know to make the choice that you already did. They're much more willing to support your choice if they think it was theirs.

Yes, that's not nice and that's not really user friendly. But it gets the job done and keeps the users happy.

Make them think you are really good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275229)

I am daily dealing with end users as I am doing computer support for a municipality. To get happy customers I usually a bit exaggregate how much time it goes for a project and describing the steps as complex. Then I am doing it faster than what I said.

I Set Expectations (1)

Green Salad (705185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275243)

Earn their respect. Use preemptive communication and most will give you respect.

Assume they don't know long a computer task takes and just set expectations. Example - Hmm...I'll need about 20 minutes to fix that for you.

I also follow the motto of Star Trek engineering officers...under-promise, over-deliver. If I said it will take me 20 minutes, it is because I believe I can do it in 5 minutes.

If I'm totally clueless and expect a lot of interrelated issues, I stroke my chin and say hmmm, This could be a big deal. Can you switch to using your laptop for a couple days?

My problem, as a manager, is to get technicians to respect me. This is despite the fact that I can delegate problems to them much faster than they can solve them!

Re:I Set Expectations (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275333)

A techie respecting a manager? Respecting someone who thinks a tie is a sign of civilisation, who thinks a blackberry is the pinnacle of technology? Gimme a break. :)

I've been in both positions. And I slowly get to see just why it was so hard as a "techie" to respect managers, now that I'm turned into one: The mindset and goals are vastly different.

I don't strive for a perfect solution anymore. A solution that works... no, not even that. I'm looking for a solution that doesn't break the budget, that I can "sell" to my higher ups without having to tear down walls of resistance (yes, that means "Windows good - big successful company behind it that has been in biz for years", "Linux bad - No company behind it, smells like some geek toy project"), that looks like it could get the job done and that can be administered without having to hire additional people.

Yes, I hate myself too, why're you asking?

Where's your ticket? (3, Insightful)

moxitek (744525) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275249)

After doing this type of work for a while, I've found that the best way to keep my sanity while keeping users happy was to implement rigorous policy regarding how and when users ask for help. It sounds like your outfit may be too small to have a dedicated "helpdesk" or front line support, but I would suggest at least setting up a helpdesk system or Sharepoint portal that is self service to allow users to send in issues.

This allows you to maintain visiblity into your workload, so you can show why something isn't getting done after the fifth time Joe User asks the status, plus is an easy sell to your management with the argument that it allows you to effectively prioritize without users in your face all day asking why such and such isn't done or that this or that is the most important thing in the world at the moment.

The best thing about a policy like this is that you can easily deflect to people that are rude or in your face. "Did you put in a ticket?" "Sorry, I'm super busy and I can't effectively prioritize this request until you submit it." "Oh, your an asshole and want to know the status every five minutes? Check the portal." Getting enforcment on this is your biggest battle. If you can't win that, then take your experience, dedication and hard work and start shopping around. There's no reason to be burnt out because of the user population if you can help it.

Can't get no respect! (5, Insightful)

zugmeister (1050414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275253)

One thing to keep in mind is that in their eyes you are on par with the plumber. Nobody really wants to call the plumber or have him around, OTOH you really need one when the fecal matter hits the rotary air impeller. When they give you attitude they are probably angry / frustrated at their machine / server / the situation and not necessarily you specifically. If they're being really uptight when you walk in the door remind them that you've had the last 15 seconds to fix it and you're on their side.
Depending on the political situation you may be able to interject something into a company meeting explaining what's going on and get people to consider your side.
All in all, remember to keep calm and be sure this is really the right thing for you to be doing. Maybe it's time for you to make a change?

Re:Can't get no respect! (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275389)

Could someone drop a few insightful mods on that guy? It's straight to the point.

You're essentially a repairman. Nobody wants to deal with one until whatever he can fix breaks down. And when it breaks down, people are usually anything but happy about it. Especially in today's offices, they can't do jack without their computers, so they're under heavy pressure when they call you: They can't work!

So they stand there, getting angrier by the minute because their deadlines aren't going to be pushed back just because that computer doesn't work. They maybe don't even blame it on you. But you're there and they're angry.

Once the machine works again, you've become obsolete. They don't need you anymore. But they need to catch up because they lost time.

I admire people who work in helpdesk, and I make sure they feel acknowledged and thanked when they fix a problem for me. I know well that they don't get that a lot, but they'd sure need it to balance out the abuse they have to deal with.

Get to know them. Show a genuine interest in them. (1)

GarryFre (886347) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275257)

Often the frustration and pressures they feel, often get translated into rash acts, but they are people and as with many people, they respond to those they sense have empathy for them. People tend to respect those who respect them, not as inferior but as co-workers. Cultivating such an attitude, will also make it less stressful on you in turn. Also, when I was in a similar situation, I made known to the some four folks who were giving work to me, of the work the others also were asking. As a result, one person was assigned to regulate and prioritize the work given me, so they all knew where they stood, and it made things a lot easier. I dearly miss working for that company after awhile and in the end, when it was taken over and shut down, I felt great sadness, to see that company of some 100 workers go. I was there some eight years, and I would wish for nothing better than to find a similar job but am yet to find other work. Make friends among your co-workers, care about them, watch them as they interact with the program you are maintaining, and come up with new ways to make their job easier, and you may also find, that its not you verses them any more, but a team now working to accomplish something worthy. Its a terrible time to be out of work, but I remember, that when I was the sole IT/Programmer there, I did not know the value of what I had and I wish I had it back. Treasure those times, its better than you think.

Get another line of work (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275263)

I'm not kidding. I was an IT guy in a previous life. It's a job where, if you do it right, no one notices, but if you screw up, that's another story. It sucks BY DEFINITION.

These days, I'm a software architect. Folks actually notice when I accomplish something. And my Tums budget has gone way down.

What is the sound of an IT guy working? (1)

gishzida (591028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275271)

From the description of your circumstances: Do not expect respect-- ever.
  Some people get it... if this is really a "software company" they should get it.

Do what you can do, deliver it on time, and within circumstance.
  That said, do not allow your self to be a doormat for the ignorant-- time to prepare your resume...

Talk to your manager. (3, Insightful)

subreality (157447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275273)

Have a frank discussion with your manager. Explain what your problems are. If he has a spine at all, he'll set reasonable expectations of you, and stand up to other managers who're complaining, thus isolating you from this BS and letting you do your job.

If you don't have a manager who can do this, you need to talk to the higher-ups about remedying this situation (which should be doable in a company that size), by either moving you under a competent manager, hiring one, and optionally firing the nonmanager who you currently report to. If that problem can't be fixed, you will soon have to choose between your sanity and your job. Protip: Choose sanity.

You also obviously need more people. If there are legitimate projects that are waiting because they're low priority in your deep stack, then it's a pretty easy case to make. I've been a single IT guy in a 60 person software company, and it's simply not sustainable long-term.

They need to learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275283)

They need to learn that their behaviour is not acceptable.
I have always told my techs that if someone swears or is rude to tell them their behaviour is unacceptable and to walk away and to not complete the job.
Once this occurs a few times they realise that their behaviour is the issue and take steps to correct it.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275291)

Without condescending, or blowing them off with jargon, explain why their problem may take some time to fix. Give them the best estimate of completion time you can. You can probably learn to do this. Many were surprised when I learned to do this!

You don't. (1)

wandazulu (265281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275305)

Sadly, I can say pretty safely that respect is not something you get in IT. Computers are strange, scary things that most people have not a clue how it works (see: series of tubes). People who *do* understand them are treated with a mixture of awe and mild disapproval that are reserved for magicians and artists. In a corporate environment IT is always seen as a "necessary evil" as if the only thing standing in everyone's way from getting work done were these dang-blast-it-computer-things.

The computer is unique among the tools we've created and used throughout history in that you can't actually see what it's doing; "chips" are magically doing "things" that somehow present pictures and words on a screen. Open a computer and you see no moving parts, nothing that translates to ordinary life. Nothing else comes close to this; people understand basically how cars work and could point to the engine and know that's what makes 'er go. People understand phones (though cell phones are basically computers now, so maybe the analogy doesn't apply anymore). When people don't "get it", they get scared. Scared you're pulling a fast one on 'em, and since you know how it works, you must be in on it.

Though all is not lost; you can still stand tall among your peers. Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson invented what I'd argue is the most important operating system in history, but 99.999% of the population could sit next to them on a bus and never know, nor care, what they did. But they rank pretty high up there in the annals of all things uber. Then there are the folks whose names scroll by in the credits for the latest Pixar movie; people who quite literally made those movies possible. Would you recognize any of them if they were sitting next to you? Probably not, but you can deeply appreciate the work they must have put in, everyone revels in the job they did, and they can say "I did that. That's me."

So forget it, ordinary folks will never understand. It's all magic and if everything is working the way it should, no one complains (a sad paradox: the most things work, the less users see the need for IT, because they're expensive and, hey, nothing goes wrong). At best you can create something that will give *you* the satisfaction of a job well done.

really? fuck you whiner (0, Flamebait)

minderaser (28934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275317)

Really? LIfe fucking really? Like SERIOUSLY fucking really?

I don't comment here much (check my user id and history) but I feel compelled to say:

YOU are the greatest example of whiny little bitches who think they deserve a good/great living just because their mommy paid for their education.

Hey! Here's a clue: go out into the REAL world, get a job, find out that YOU are not so more important than your neighbour.

In short: you are a whiny fuck. Therefore: shut the fuck up /me has never cared about karma

Be honest. Are you the problem? (4, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275329)

Be professional
Be confident in your expertise
Don't over explain the issue if there's no need to
Don't talk down to them
Don't assume just because they don't know how to fix something that they are lazy or stupid
Don't play that "give them exactly what they asked for to the letter". Be a human.
If you honestly have too much work, let it be known to your managers. Make sure your not slacking off if you do this.

If you do all of these things and they are still "unappreciative"

1) Are you sure it's not you? Are you warranting it? Or, are you being over sensitive.

2) Maybe you work for a shitty group of people. Most places I've worked, our IT people have gotten respect. I've seen a few who didn't, and honestly, I think it was their condescending attitude and/or blame delagation that made others combative.

3) Find a new field of work. Maybe this isn't what you're cut out for. Employees are your customers and you have issues with them. Get out of the service industry.

BOFH is a privelege (1)

Lobster Quadrille (965591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275335)

If you can pull it off, you deserve to be as BOFHy as possible.

unpopular answer (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275345)

I have an answer that's probably not going to be too popular around these parts, but I'm going to give it anyway: Learn to be political.

There's not a particular technique or trick. You're going to have to learn about the culture of the company you are, and observe who is getting treated decently and getting respect. Get in with one or more of those people, and that connection will help you. Learn what the "popular kids" have in common and make it your own. Experiment and learn how to complain productively, how to get what you want, how to persuade those who disagree with you, and how to defend yourself against attacks. It's strategy. It's war. It's the way of the weasel.

Now I'm not advocating that you actually lie, cheat, or do a bad job. Just understand that success takes more than doing a good job. Political savvy is a valid skill of its own.

I did IT for a software company (2, Insightful)

Alpha830RulZ (939527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275347)

It sucked. Software developers think they understand information systems and network admin better than you do, and they really don't. They're (hopefully) smart, well paid, probably arrogant, and often actually can do your job. That is, if they could be bothered with the administrivia that is necessary to do IT right, which they can't.

You won't get respect easily at a SW company in IT. If you aren't generally first tier skillz, hyper productive, and fun to be around, your life is just going to suck.

I would seek work at a non SW company. Non computer folk are much more appreciative.

Don't do what I did! (5, Funny)

deets101 (1290744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275349)

I found solace in drugs, booze and hookers. This worked out great for a while. After some time (about 10 hours) it started affecting my job and personal life. I have since been fired from job, so the stress is gone. The bad thing is that now I am addicted to drugs and it burns when I piss. Oh yeah, my left me and took our kids to her mothers.

My parents went to slashdot and all I got was this lousy sig!

Welcome to IT (1)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275357)

Where you are a glorified, certified, educated janitor.

Hell even some of our janitors are treated better. Honestly the best way to go about it is just keep doing your job and try to make friends with the people you are working with. Eventually they will come to treat you as equals, but it will take time and not everyone will.

White Board (5, Interesting)

Ozoner (1406169) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275361)

Here's what I did in that situation:

I put up a large white-board, and each time someone requested a job, I wrote it on a strip and put it at the bottom of the list.

When they complained about the delay, I pointed to the white-board and suggested that they negotiate with those above them for priority.

It worked well.........

Respect, LAMOStraight up (1)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275369)

Realities of IT: -You will only get true respect from other people down similar career paths. -How do you work for a software company that has only 1 IT staff member out of 60? -You "try to be friendly, helpful, bla bla bla" you mistake here is you try. Do what comes natural and beat the next person who pisses you off down to the ground. This will help you resolve your original respect issue. Real ways to get respect in the IT world: -Learn, read, break, tinker, read... read more... read till you hate reading. Then one day, you will find respect from other members of the IT community -Save your company money somehow and make it known. If we implement X solution vs. (some lame way your company does something) you will save X dollars. Your partners, chief officer, manger, director, president, types will respect you -End users love to feel special. When they feel special you will get respect. Try: -Make strict policies and enforce them. Create some justification. -Relax these polices for certain people that are "in with you". This works in two ways. One, these ppl will "respect you" simply because they don't want X feature disabled. Other people will respect you because they want X feature enabled -Which brings us to human nature. Reality check, most ppl don't get what you do, so they have no respect for what you do. Either find ways to relate to them (Save money, bring in new technology that changes their lives, or take power over them (strict polices) Lastly, shoot for making people happy about 25% of the time. Some ppl here are going to say that number is way too high. I'm so stupid burned out from yet another 14 hour day so I hope this all is coherent. Oh... about that... trust me when I tell your respect is probally the smallest problem your career choice will present you :)

Ticketing system (1)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275371)

I have your answer.

Users (PMs, middle management, and even developers) tend to value their own time significantly more than yours. Some (not all) often skip the step of putting thought and consideration into a request before submitting it. As you know this causes great stress on your part, but in the end stress on theirs as well.

You need a ticketing system. Spend an afternoon installing an open source one (though we use TeamTrack), and, over the course of a month or two, phase it in as the only way to provoke a reaction from you, except in cases of emergency. Be very clear about what an emergency is, and what kind of SLA you're willing to offer.

The benefit of this system is simple: it requires them to think before calling you to action. It requires a tiny but significant effort on their part. Roughly the same amount of effort as say... googling the answer, writing something down, or installing the software themselves.

The trick is selling it to them. Because let's face it - if they refuse to use it, you can either do no work at all (and risk termination), or abandon the system.

So sell it like this:

"Look - we're not a startup (anymore?). 60 people isn't an enterprise, but it also isn't a small group of people. You guys need an effective response from me, and frankly we have too many projects for me to keep in my head. It's not fair to you guys when I forget or badly prioritize something, right? (get them to nod). When I get a ticket, it's there in my queue until it's complete. I will not forget to do it. You can see my queue. You can see what's outstanding, and escalate if you need priority. Our projects will be well tracked, so nothing is left to chance."

.. and so on and so forth. Be diplomatic, but firm and confident. You're doing this for the good of the company - not just your own sake. And you really are. Because once you reach a tipping point (in my experience, around 100-150 employees) effective project management and communication become the #1 factor in company failings. More important than product quality. More important than marketing. If your people do not communicate, nothing else matters.

My $0.02.

Talk to them it's all about the bullshit. (1)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275383)

"Well there is your problem it looks like the BLT drive on your computer just went AWOL" says IT guy.
"Oh my is it serious, I never heard of a BLT drive" dumb anoying co-worker.
"Well see they only let the best trained guys work on them but I have special training so we won't have to send your computer away but it'll take some time."
"That's horrible I need my computer right now why can't you guys keep these things working?"
"Well we try but quatum thingamagigers from space are constanly making these thing break, it's all global warmings fault."
"That awefull I passed a guy driving a Hummer today, bastard."
"Trully terrible if everyone drove hybrids we wouldn't have this problem but its only going to get worse."
*huff* "So when is my BLT drive thingy gonna get fixed?"
"Well if I put in a little extra time tonight should have it ready for you by morning. The exhaut port on the BLT drive needs to be flushed, double enima should do but those BLT drives are tricky and if we have to send it away it might take two weeks. But don't worry i'm very good at what I do."
"You are such a hero, thank you so very much, can I get you a coffe or doughnut?"
Hey car mechanics have been getting away with it for years

Teach the users (1)

Heytunk (1559837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275397)

I like to teach my users to read the screen and also why something goes wrong.
Other than a select few users, a little bit of extra time spent with communication goes a long way towards stopping repeat 'offences'.
Also means I only really get called for major stuff now so I can actually focus on projects.

Also when I implement a restriction I make sure to point out why, and because of who it was implemented.
Offloads a lot of resentment that would be pointed at you towards the culprit ;)

Maybe you don't deserve any? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275403)

Last small software development company I worked at the so called IT group was far below the skill level of the developers. They were basically overhead to support the managers/executive/etc and to change the backup tapes every night, keep the phones working, etc.

Unfortunately they acted like total pricks since they had all the passwords.. Developer: Could you fixup the mail system please, it's just a little editing some sendmail config, here is how. IT: No way, bite me. (Translation: I'm scared of sendmail and I don't know what you just said)

Think of it this way, if I, as a developer, can do some random IT task in 10 mins and it takes the IT group days to accomplish it, then yes, they probably aren't getting any respect.

Just be thankful the developer group isn't actively working against you, running their own sekrit wireless, seperate mail servers, even a dedicated firewall box, with out you being aware of it.. Or are they?

Please Understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275405)

No matter what job you do or where you do it, the default is to be treated badly.

The reality is that - excepting only a very small number of enlightened places - people are not nice to you when (they think that) they are in a position to demand what they want from you regardless of whether they are polite or not.

Don't take it personally. Or, take it personally if you prefer. It doesn't matter to anyone else.

As for myself, I have a kind of nihilist-zen attitude that lets me cope with this reality. Not that I lack the will to change the status quo - just that challenging the status quo in much more important places than politeness needs my attention.

Take a Not from NotAlwaysRight.com (1)

Sabre Runner (1433057) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275407)

The angrier they get, the calmer you be and then they'll get angrier and it'll be a whole lot funnier.

Set limits (policies), stick to it. (1)

tinle (78894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275415)

Been there, experienced that... took me a long time to learn how to deal with it properly.

If you have not create one yet, do it now! I am talking about IT policies and a ticketing system.

Create a priority system, plenty of choices. My personal choice is a 5 priorities system. Keep it simple. Users won't read more than one paragraph anyway.

1 - very low priority, I get to it when there is nothing else to do.
2 - low priority, but need to be taken care of sometime this quarter
3 - normal priority, need to be taken care of within 5 business days
4 - high priority, to be resolve within a business day
5 - burning, must be dealt with now.

Then setup a helpdesk ticketing system. Again lots of choices. Personally I'd use opensource, currently using OTRS (also used Cerberus, which I like). Let that be your records if your users want to know what you've been doing. Set it to have all incoming request default go 3 (or 4).

At first your users will scream, make lots of noise, etc. Just stick to your policies. In the beginning there will be jerks who demanded they are taken care of first. Gently steer them to the helpdesk system, create their tickets for them. I've had people call me on the phone, IM me, badger me in the hall, while I am eating lunch, etc. Just tell them to open a ticket, or that you will open one for them when you are finish with what you are doing. Put up a web page that show your queue, what the priorities of those tickets are etc... Pretty soon it will be obvious who waste a lot of time, who always made their the highest, etc.

One of a few things will happen...

* all of your tickets will be 5 :-) tell them (and show them/your boss) and ask him/her to prioritize for you.
* people learn to do things for themselves and you'll have time to handle more urgent company matters
* you found another job

Tit For Tat (2, Interesting)

rainmaestro (996549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275429)

I'm in a similar position. Sole IT guys for a 70-ish person company (mostly engineers), though I have access to additional techs when something major breaks.

I've only been there a short time, but it has already become obvious to most employees that the nice guys get their requests finished sooner. The ones who ask, not demand, and show basic friendliness ("Please" and "Thank You" go a long way) get top priority from me. I'll do a two-day task for them before a 5-minute job for one of the "other guys" (they aren't exactly rude, but have that condescending nature that so many engineer-types fall into even when discussing something they know nothing about).

Engineers are temperamental at best, and often are at that level of tech competency to be dangerous. The ones who recognize when they are in over their head this can be great, as they give fantastic trouble reports. Those that don't just muck things up even worse.

Now, I've seen this same pattern since high school (scrawny white nerd at a magnet program located in the middle of the ghetto). Geeky types are picked on because they let themselves be picked on. IT guys get no respect because they allow themselves to be made into peons.

If you really want their respect, here's my suggestion:
***Confront them***
A lot of the time, jerks don't really understand how they are coming off. If you discuss it with them, it can help. Don't be sheepish, don't get angry, yell, make ad hominem attacks, etc. Stand up straight, look them in the eyes, and explain your issue *as* *an* *equal*.

Having said that, some guys are just assholes. They know it, and they don't really care. In those cases, the best you can do it avoid them as much as possible. Some people can't be won over. You catch more flies with honey, but some flies are best caught with a flyswatter.

And remember the advice of the immortal Scotty: always pad your time estimates by a factor of 3 if you want to look like a miracle worker.

Re:Tit For Tat (1)

rainmaestro (996549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275471)

Another possibility I forgot to include: find some way to interact with your coworkers outside work. IT is by nature invisible. They only see us when something breaks. Meeting up outside work (dinner, fantasy sports leagues, etc) can help them realize you are a living, breathing human being.

be assertive but friendly (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275433)

Be friendly , consequent and assertive :

Explain them in a friendly manner what the policies are for , and what would happen if they didn't follow them.
Also, policies , no matter how liberal , have to be enforced in a way to be effective . If breaking the rules has no consequences , the rules don't exist . So that should be straightend out first .

If users come to you with a complex project , explain them that it is complex , in a way they understand . Make a rough estimation on how much work it will be , and how much it wil cost . If they don't agree with it , don't start the project , but also be clear on it . And make your estimations large enough : it's always better to finish earlier than late .

Company Culture? (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275443)

Is being rude the general company culture? Are the top level management rude and unappreciative to those under them?

If so, you are an army of one up against quite a challenge. Changing company culture while not impossible, is very hard for one person with no authority to do.

You can try the "I'm ok, are you ok?" method. Force them to either admit you have done a good job or tell you what is wrong. Getting people to formulate what's bugging them may force them to realize they aren't really upset with you but rather the crappy meeting they just got out of. You can do it simply with "so is everything working ok and are you all set?" after fixing something or something like that.

If all else fails, I'd suggest changing companies if you can. I did because of a situation VERY similar to the one you are in and it was the single best career move I've ever made.

how to get some respect (1)

trelamenos (915558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275459)

Maybe they are the jerks and you have nothing to do with it if they are haters people dont expect to get respect, just fuck em dont believe that it is maybe only your fault, propably you are all good at your work... some times it is better to respect you, than to like you, show them some proffesionalism, show them that you dont look for friendship, only for complex projects to be done upon requesting

Tales from the front line... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28275519)

Been there, done that, got written warnings which then disappeared off the system.
My tips;
1) Have some old "ball" style mice around. Physcially re-wire them so the X/Y axis is swapped around. Replaced all mice on whinger users desks with these "upgraded" models.
2) Start content scanning the whingers home and local drives for material that should not be on either the network, or the company PC. Backup for your own collection, then delete theirs. When they query the missing data, email them a quickly made form asking for a legit business reason to restore each file, with each file listed by exact file name. Lack of exact details means lack of restore.
3) Go to the floor of whinging user, and have a merry old chat to someone halfway across the floor to the whinger. when they see you and come across to find out when they are getting serviced, politely inform them that its rude to interupt a conversation they have nothing to do with, and add 30 minutes to the response for each objection they raise.
4) Have a sign over your desk "Customer service depends on cutomer attitude. I respect your files the same way you respect me". One or two accidents is all it needs.
5) Quietly remind people you have no [b]LIVING[/b] enemies
6) Print out and pin up on your cube wall all the various articles from here, El Reg etc of disgruntled admins doing horrible things to users/systems/data.

If all else fails, have a roll of carpet, shovel, and bag of quicklime* in the corner labelled "User repair kit"

*acceptable substitutes: roll of chicken wire, weights, and a map of good crab/lobster/crayfish catching grounds in the local vicinity.

That's a rather huge question. (1)

E. Edward Grey (815075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275525)

Many religious and philosophical systems were invented because of the situation you're in. It's not a technician problem, it's a human problem, and it's pervasive (OK, maybe more pervasive with IT people). I promise you, no matter how you present this problem to your managers or try to alter the behavior of your end-users, it will not help. Only fixing yourself can help. My sincerest suggestion to you would be to learn how to meditate. The technique known as Anapanasati seems to work wonders for calming me down and keeping me focused.

1. Sit down. Sit straight up. Close your eyes.
2. Briefly do a mental check of all parts of your body to make sure there's no unnecessary muscle tension anywhere.
3. Take a few deep breaths.
4. Start breathing naturally, without trying, into your abdomen. Breathe the same way you would if you were sleeping. This takes patience.
5. When your breathing has gone on auto-pilot, move the focus of your mind to the rims of your nostrils, where you can feel the breath moving in and out. Just keep 100% of your attention on that feeling. You should only be thinking "breath moving in" and "breath moving out."
6. When your mind starts to wander, think to yourself, "hmm, I got distracted and started thinking about Scarlett Johannson" and return your attention to your breath.
7. When it's time to stop, don't just snap out of it. Slowly bring yourself out of it and open your eyes gradually.

Do this for maybe 15 or 20 minutes. It may sound tedious, and I know this might sound nuts, but I guarantee that you will be calmer and thinking more clearly by the time you're done. I've been doing it for 4 years now and I'm pretty sure I would have probably punched someone in the face by now if I didn't find some way to calm myself.

A little of column A, and a hint of B (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275537)

It's OK to be a little bit of a bastard. I've blamed sunspots for everything from corrupted code to ethernet problems. Just explain things in a manner that induces the idiot mode.

Coal shoveler analogy (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275539)

An older co-worker once told me that most Administration, Sales, Marketing etc. people still see people working in IT in a role similar to a person that shovels coal in a steam boat.

This made me modify my attitude towards work. Don't expect to get respect, people only expect you to keep shoveling fast enough so that the boat keeps running. If problems arise, it is because you are not shoveling fast enough in their understanding of your role.

As you gain experience, you will find how to diminish stress by focusing on your user perception. Just give them the impression that you shovel fast enough, that's all they expect. Retain yourself from doing all modifications that you know are good for the company unless it is asked by your users if you want to last long. Similarly, don't expect to be proud of your company configuration, do not be perfectionist unless you fulfill a specific customer Ticket.

Just keep giving your users the impression that you shovel fast enough, that's all they expect. This way you will conserve your energy and diminish your stress level so, you will last longer. In short, do like them, do your shift then go home not thinking about your work, do not try to achieve perfection, you will burn yourself out, guaranteed.

Be friendly, helpful and responsive (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275547)

Well, it sounds like you are already trying it, but without success. Sorry if my subject line sounds flippant; I have been through something similar to you, I think. What I found is that one of the cornerstones in good relations to non-technical staff is clear communication on THEIR terms - you have to remember that even if you strive to modest about it, you are in fact far cleverer than the rest of them, and they feel that keenly. It is a natural defence, I suppose, that they try to dismiss you as a nerd or something; so you have to avoid things that underlines this impression: no nerdy jokes and learn to explain things without jargon. Another good tip is to try to take a genuine interest in people's smalltalk; that one is particularly hard, I find.

The other thing about clear communication is that you should take control of people's expectations - try to avoid things like "Well, I'll try" or "I have a lot to do, but ...". Simply say no - or yes, as the case might be - or something like "I can do it when I have finished , which I expect will be on Monday". People implicitly want you to take leadership - even that bullying boss - so they will accept when you say "This is the way we will do it" better than "Do you think we should do like this?"

I hope you can use what I said - to me it has been gold, believe me.

Excuse me, did you say "not"? (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275587)

I must have it backwards then, I've spent my entire sysadmin career trying to be more BOFH-like. Still haven't quite gotten 'round to "replacing" the boss through a series of entirely coincidental yet unfortunate events, but that's mainly because he doesn't seem to mind that 15% of my day is spend administering to systems while the other 85% is divided evenly between light reading, Slashdot, and trips to the pub.

You need a new piece of paper (1)

asamad (658115) | more than 5 years ago | (#28275595)

get a gun license and tell every one at work about it.

Then get a gun

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