This post by Meryl Yourish, called Yes, I am a Jew is really powerful stuff.
It also has left me feeling rather melancholy, and thoughtful today. (Scary isn’t it?) Not that I’m Jewish, nor have I ever dealt with people who hate me for no reason than my ethnicity. But it does have me wondering about how people hate things they don’t understand. Or are afraid of things they don’t understand. Plenty of people don’t understand computers, or the internet, and hate them based on that alone. I deal with people at work every day who are afraid of the PC sitting on their desk. Not only are they afraid of it, but they’re afraid of me, I think because I understand the thing sitting on their desk. I don’t consider myself to be a very unfriendly person, or intimidating in any way, yet I’m constantly being told to try and be less intimidating to people here. Yeah I’m not an outgoing, always smiling kind of guy, but I’m hardly intimidating. But I honestly think that by virtue of being the only IT person here, that no one really understands what I do and how I do it, so that’s scary to them. I could see why that would scare management, afterall if I go away, there’s quite a bit of knowledge that walks out with me, but they don’t appear conscious of that.
Throw in the fact that I am responsible for monitoring and enforcing our security policies, especially concerning internet access, which is an intimidating position to be in, I guess. But none of it explains why people are afraid to come and ask me a question. If I had a question about an issue with our members, I would go ask the people in Membership who know more about that than I do, the same with a communication issue or a legal question. And everyone does that with everyone else, too. There’s no shame in asking a question of someone who knows more than you do, but people don’t want to come and ask me. Apparently they’re afraid I’ll yell at them or something. For the record, I have never yelled at anyone, I have been short with some people on rare occasions, but there were good reasons for that, and most of those people don’t work here anymore! But I do demand that they get to the point when asking me something, and that they have thought about what they’re asking before they talk to me about it. (You’re not really in my office to ask how my day’s going, no one ever does that with me, so if I know you’re about to ask me something just get to it already!) Maybe being held accountable to that is scary to some people. Some have suggested that people are afraid because they don’t want to appear stupid, and since they don’t understand technology at all, they’d rather ask someone who won’t know how little they understand…?
Ok, I could buy that, but let’s get this straight co-workers, I already know how little you know and I don’t care! I don’t think you’re stupid because you don’t know as much about technology as I do. I don’t know as much about your job as you do, and I don’t think I’m stupid. 😉 Are there times that you do something stupid with technology that makes me have to work to fix it? Yeah, and they aggravate me. But I do it too! In fact, when I do it, it’s 10 times worse than when you do it because I have enough access to make grand fuck-ups that you can’t even imagine! You may have to call me when a folder sits on your keyboards ESC key and the computer keeps beeping at you, (and I’ll blog it and laugh at it, but I do that to mine too!) but have you ever had to restore the entire database from backups because you ran a modification script and put in the wrong variable, thus making the modifciation to every record instead of just a handful? I have. Have you ever spent a day dealing with a network server rebooting itself only to find that it was happening because you forgot to re-apply the service pack after setting up RAS? I have. Have you ever had to hand enter everyone’s user information back into a server because the Emergency Repair Disk you had was corrupt and you hadn’t checked it lately? I have.
The bottom line, take yourself a little less seriously, we all screw things up from time to time. Laugh at it, revel in it, it can all be fixed, even if I do get annoyed with you for it!
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