I wasn’t always just doing marketing, I usually fixed computers too
Speaking as a one of those unofficial IT guys, let me tell you it’s a welcome relief not to be on the hook for all the IT stuff at work.
Yep, these are confessions of the Office IT Guy
I didn’t mind, but sometimes it was a pain
I’ve been the person in school, in university, heck even as a job, who helps other people with their computers. For the most part I do enjoy helping people with their computers. I really enjoy a good challenge or learning something new that I think I might need later on. But…
It does get old.
As an unofficial IT person in the office, I really would like people to take notes and remember what I did to help. Oh I’d never tell you that, but I certainly thought it and wished it more than once.
I feel responsible to help
Once I started helping people in the office, I couldn’t stop. It becomes a sense of responsibility to make sure things are working and stay working. I never liked leaving people in the lurch, so even if it wasn’t really convenient to help…I still did.
And when things didn’t work after I fixed something, yes I feel bad. Even if it isn’t my fault…it bugs me. This is why in my non-work life I only help family and close friends. Even close friends, I often send to the Apple Store or elsewhere. Fixing someone’s computer is a big deal. There is a lot of stuff on there that can’t be replaced. Unless you’re family, I don’t like entangling myself with it. Always happy to make suggestions, but doing the fixing? I’ll take a pass.
I don’t know everything, I just use Google a lot
There is a misconception that techies know everything about computers, the Internet, and how everything works. That’s not entirely true. We do know a lot about all that stuff, but what we really know is how to use Google.
When I’m stumped by a problem (or can’t remember the solution) I go to Google and enter things like “wifi won’t connect on iphone” or “how to do a Word mail merge”. I look at the results and follow my nose. Yes, past experience helps me decide what the best tacks to take might be, but often…I’m just guessing too.
This is the not-so-secret part of IT and help desk. We rely on knowledge bases, forums, help docs, heck even manuals to fix things. We don’t know the answers, but we know where to look and what sounds logical (versus completely wrong and maybe more than a little dangerous).
Letting go is hard, but oh so wonderful
As much as I love helping people—and I still do—it’s great to be able to let go. When I can say, “I’m sorry I’m tied up with something, but ping the help desk and they’ll sort it out…” it’s a wonderful feeling.
As I’ve been working on marketing materials for the Managed Services team, I connected and empathized with the person in the office who wound up doing IT. Even when it wasn’t me being the unofficial IT, watching the folks who were IT, but desktop support wasn’t their job, struggle with getting things done was painful. This is the real confession.
Let me do the stuff I was hired to do
This is the most important part of this post. When I have to help people with their machines, I can’t get through all the marketing tasks that I need to focus on. Those high-powered programmers you hired to get your new web app working? They would much rather be working on that than resetting passwords or installing Office for people.
I love writing, marketing, and strategy much more than I like fixing machines. I’ll happily learn a new email marketing tool (and share what I’ve learned) so I can deploy a new tactic, but that’s my job. I’m paid to do these things, it just happens that I’m also techie enough to bend these tools to my will. My job is technical. I’m a techie, but I’m a marketer…and I need time to do that.
So when you’ve hit the point where you realize that the people you’ve hired to work on projects can’t get them done because they are also helping keep the office IT systems running…it’s time to think about bringing in some help.
This post originally appeared on the Microserve Blog.
Those unofficial IT people will thank you.