Hug your helpdesk

Take a moment today and thank your IT people, because it’s a thankless job. The ideal of an IT Support person is to be invisible. If you never notice them because nothing ever goes wrong with the computers at your office, they are doing their jobs perfectly.

But, of course, that rarely happens.

Disclosure: I work in IT, and have, off and on, for two decades. We don’t get accolades. Even at our best, we’re a cost center, not a profit center. We bring no new money into the company. Our job is to make sure you don’t have to spend any more than you have to in order to remain competitive. It’s a game of attrition.

And when things do go bad, no one cheers us on for the work we’re doing. If a problem drags out over hours, even days, the users typically don’t think, “wow, that must be a tough problem, or they’d have it fixed by now.” Instead, they’re more likely to think, “those stupid geeks can’t do anything right!”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I don’t like having the CFO breathing down my neck, fretting over the money we’re losing while some crucial system is down. If I could get it fixed any faster, I would. We’re doing the best we can, and we know you can’t do your job until we finish ours. Reminding us of that every five minutes only slows us down further.

But here’s the catch of working IT Support. Even if you’re amazing at your job and you do keep the trains running on time, it’s not enough. Then they wonder why they’re paying you so much, when they never see you do anything. Couldn’t they just replace you with someone off the street for half as much?

So keep in mind that your IT Support folks work their asses off every day just to remain invisible. Thank them for their efforts and tell them how much you appreciate it. Trust me, they never hear it.

2 thoughts on “Hug your helpdesk”

  1. Hear, hear! Although I do have to say in my particular job as a Systems Analyst, I do get plenty of accolades. Of course, I work for a Catholic health system and BSHSI actively encourages everyone to thank each other for the jobs they do and people really do! But this is probably the exception rather than the rule. When I worked as a Network Engineer in the Navy, accolades where few and far between while gripes were aplenty! Oh yeah, I got more than my fair share of awards and medals for my work at the end, but they didn’t come from my users!

    Hug your friendly neighbourhood IT gal or guy! It’s mainly a thankless job, but you couldn’t do your job without us!

  2. I understand this problem. I have it as a mom, too – not so much from the girls, who do in fact occasionally take time to thank me (now that they’re grown enough to reckanize), but from the outside world.

    If your kids do something stupid, or get in trouble, or show up on anyone’s radar in a negative capacity, the parental unit gets the looks and the headshakes and the ‘why didn’t you…?’ But if your kids do everything right and make good grades and become successful, the world does not applaud the parents.

    Many jobs are primarily invisible and thankless. Hug also your teachers, your parents, your trash men, your careful-driving neighbors, your animal control officer, etc etc etc.

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