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Yawn

1/10/2007

I did have something to write about today. It was very funny, I laughed about it for hours when it happened and I even spent a good deal of time composing a post in my head about it.

Then work happened. I have NO idea what it was I was going to write about today. Skippy couldn't help me, when I asked him what he did yesterday he said, "waked up" and I'm not even sure it was him I was laughing at. Doesn't matter I guess.

I can say that one of the coolest things I get to do is to be the fly on the wall at other companies staff meetings. I worked as an IT drone for twelve years, in very big companies and very small companies and even middle size companies. I was a contractor and on staff. I've done desktop support, server support, projects and engineering. And all I can say is, you know why IT jobs suck? Because IT management sucks.

Seriously.

There are three main types of IT managers. Each has some smaller subgroups, but the main types are:

1) The Ball Breaker: I got an MBA and a computer and I can break balls. Bring your pager on vacation with you.

2)The Lucky Man Been there forever, started fixing copiers. Got into IT when he was the guy the CEO's Admin Assistant asked to plug in her brand new IBM PC and Dot Matrix printer. Now he runs the shop because he knows who has all the porn in their user directory. Plays Quake, hates meetings. Never in the office. Don't expect your review finished before March.

3) The Geek Reads the manuals, remembers the manuals. Dings you on your review if you aren't certified. #1 hates him because he talks too much and #2 tolerates him because he'll open ports on the firewall for you if you're cool with him. Obsessed with metrics.

A rule of thumb is #1 does projects, may run the Help Desk, #2 does application and desktops, and #3 does development, DBA's and transport.

You can have combinations of these three, of course. You might have a #1 who's also a #3, or a #2 who's a #3, but you'll never have a #1 who's a #2. Doesn't happen. Reason is because #2 makes decisions, or probably just can't be bothered to question the decisions of the people who work for him while #1 can't make up his mind because he doesn't trust anyone who works under him, he's a micromanager. #3 just goes along with whatever vendor was in there last, I LOVE #3's. I hate #1's and if a #2 has a #1 working for him, all bets are off, 'cause this guy will lock on to something and never let go.

Incidentally, I'm sure that's how Linux on the desktop got out into the Enterprise. A #1 with a bit of #3 in him working for a #2 got pissed at Microsoft and BAM! Everyone's writing their resume in Open Office.

I was just in a meeting with an organization that has all three of these types running a project that is being enforced by Federal regulation. This project has been going on for almost two years, in fact, it was one of the first things I worked on when I moved to the Dark Side. During the meeting the #3 manager even pulled out his notes from that first meeting. Now I realize that that doesn't sound too bad, but remember, most of the people who work for your company are there to make the company money, most of the managers are there to maximize revenue. IT managers are there to make sure no one spends any money. And if they have to spend money, they spend as little as possible. In fact, the best place to find future IT management talent is managing public school cafeterias. Therefore, the longer a project is in the planning stage, the better. No resources are being taken off of other projects, support is not affected, and let's face it, the longer you use legacy systems, the better they work. You've got a guy on staff who practically wrote the damn thing making 50k a year, why should you pay 200k just for support on the new stuff?

I'm running out of time here, so let me just end with a non-sequitor.

Perfect Strangers by Deep Purple is a great albumn. If by great you mean imparts a severe nostalgia for a couple of nights in 1984 when you were absolutely sure that dry toast was the greatest food ever invented. Aside from that and being extremely paranoid, you were having a great time.

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