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Annual Exercise – Helpdesk Shift?

Today at work I was being helpful and covering the helpdesk for an hour so that our helpdesk folks could have a meeting with their manager. Being the always-on kind of guy, I posted to twitter from my phone about doing that and what it was like.

In fact, I mentioned that it was kind of like riding a bike, after a couple of phone calls, I fell right back into a groove with it, short-lived as it was.

Alas, that’s not why I am writing this post. The inspiration for this post came from a reply I got on Twitter, from Tony Hartsfield:

@mikemac29 Wonder if a help desk stint shouldn’t be a mandatory annual exercise.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought that might not be a bad idea, at least in some cases. Here’s why I think it could be, because not all IT jobs have direct user contact, and sometimes, without that, it’s easy to lose sight of why you are there.

Now, for myself, Lit Support has a ton of direct user contact, so I really don’t need the reminder, but I know plenty of networking folks, or software developers, etc. that don’t have much, if any, contact with end users. Sometimes that leads to seeing their role as something other than providing the technology support so that others can do their jobs. An occasional shift at the helpdesk would remind them that the core business of the organization isn’t to have a server room, or cool tech tools. Those tools exist to help the people who are at the core of the business. In many cases, IT isn’t there. It’s an important part, but it’s not the core.

Sometimes it helps to peek out of the server room and see how those tools are impacting the people who are out doing the organization’s business.

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  1. Happy to be an inspiration.

    The biggest misconception we IT people have is that what we do is about IT. It’s always about customer service.

    Help Desk folk know this; the rest of us tend to forget.

  2. I can think of two people who head IT departments who need the reality check a help desk shift would give them.

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