I was cruising around on the way-back machine today and found some old posts of mine. The first is this list of “10 Things Your IT Guy Wants You To Know”. I didn’t come up with this and I don’t know who came up with it originally. I modified them a bit, to better fit my current thinking, before I re-posted them here.
1. If you ask me technical questions please don’t argue with me because you don’t like my answer. If you think you know more about the topic, why ask? And if I’m arguing with you, it’s because I am positive that I am correct. Otherwise I’d just say, “I don’t know” or give you some tips on where to look it up.
2. Starting a conversation by insulting yourself, e.g. “I’m such an idiot.”, will not make me laugh or feel sorry for you. Trust me, you don’t want to start a call that way.
3. I am ok with you making mistakes. Fixing them is my job. I am not ok with you lying to me about a mistake you made. It makes it much harder to resolve and thus makes my job more difficult. Be honest and we can get the problem resolved and continue on with our business.
4. There is no magic “Fix it” button. Everything takes some amount of work to fix, and not everything is worth fixing or even possible to fix. If I say that you just need to re-do a document that you accidentally deleted 2 months ago, please don’t get mad at me. I’m not ignoring your problem, and it’s not that I don’t like you. I just can’t fix everything.
5. Not everything you ask me to do is urgent. In fact, by marking things as urgent every time, you almost ensure that I treat none of it as a priority.
6. You are not the only one who needs help, and you usually don’t have the most urgent issue. Give me some time to get to your problem, it will get fixed.
7. Emailing me several times about the same issue in the same day is not only unnecessary, it’s slightly annoying. Emails will stay until I delete them, I won’t delete them until I’m done with them. I will typically respond as soon as I have a useful update. If it is an urgent issue, let me know (please see number 5).
8. I prefer email over telephone calls. It has nothing to do with being friendly; it’s about efficiency. It is much faster and easier for me to list out a set of questions that I need you to answer than it is for me to call and ask you them one by one. You can find the answers at your leisure and while I’m waiting I can work on other problems.
9. I may seem blunt and rude. It’s not that I mean to, it’s just that I don’t have the time to sugarcoat things for you. I assume we are both adults and can handle the reality of a problem. If you did something wrong, I will tell you. I don’t care that it was a mistake, because it really makes no difference to me. Don’t take it personally.
10. And finally; I can read your email, I can see what web pages you look at while you are at work, I can access every file on your work computer, and I can tell if you are chatting with people on an instant messenger or chat room. But I don’t do it unless I’m asked. It’s unethical, I’m busy, and in all reality you aren’t all that interesting. So unless I am instructed to specifically monitor or investigate your actions, I don’t. There really are much more interesting things on the internet than you.