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I.T. Appreciation Day

Technology Workers Celebrated on November 13th
  [vote for,

This Fall November 13th 2003 is the first global I.T. Appreciation Day. Celebrate all the database engineers, the software programmers, the people at your helpdesk, the project managers, the VP's, the designers and testers. As a relatively new industry, the IT workers have made a huge impact on how the world works.

Please help spread the word. Working what can often be endless hours, sacrificing back problems and risking terrible injury, IT workers across the world deserve one day of appreciation.

How do IT employees get appreciated? Cookies, candies, money, free vacation days, cards, a warmth of some kind. Maybe an apology for venting frustrations from the past. Maybe a few extra hours of lunch or an early day off, a small bonus? A free apartment or car? A bike, or a lottery ticket? It's up to you.

Put Novermber 13th on your calendar.

Floppo, Oct 08 2003

System Administrator's day http://play.mp3.com...tem_Administrat.m3u
"July 25th has been declared System Administrator's Day by the dark cabal that controls us all" [yamahito, Oct 04 2004]

What to do when you call a helpdesk. http://web.tampabay...rchsr/happytech.htm
(Or, 'how to keep your tech happy.) [StarChaser, Oct 04 2004]


       "Put Novermber 13th on your calendar."
Hey! I just checked my calendar and Novermber 13th is already there! Prestige Press must have anticipated this idea....
phoenix, Oct 08 2003

       So when is National Engineer's Day? National CAD Designer's Day? National Construction Worker's Day? National 'worker-class-X-often-given-to-feel- sorry-for- themselves-because-they-work-in-a-sector-of-the- business-that-the-boss-doesn't- understand-and-they- always-have-to-deal-with-fixing- everybody-elses-crap' Day?
RayfordSteele, Oct 08 2003

       //"Put Novermber 13th on your calendar." Hey! I just checked my calendar and Novermber 13th is already there!// I've got a date that looks close. Mind you I don't have Decermber in my calendar either.
PeterSilly, Oct 09 2003

       if it has holes in it, it might be a colander
po, Oct 09 2003

       That's not to say I don't appreciate I.T. or this idea, but I'm only in the business for the free stuff.
phoenix, Oct 09 2003

       You want me to be nice to the idiots at the no-help desk? I don't think so.
ato_de, Oct 09 2003

       //IT workers across the world deserve one day of appreciation//   

       Have them submit an Appreciation Order, and we'll get right on it.
Amos Kito, Oct 09 2003

       People go into this job knowing that 99% of the cases they'll be dealing with are "dumb fucks" and "retards". If everyone was a smart as them, their positions wouldn't be needed.   

       If they hate it so much, they should do something else for a living.   

       Sorry Burns, I really hate that attitude. Rare is the IT person I've met and/or worked with that didn't have it (and presumably that's why this idea has gone down in flames). It seems to be a very unrewarding profession.
waugsqueke, Oct 09 2003

       While I've also met many completely technologically braindead people out there in management shoes, most of the IT people I've dealt with don't understand that there's something known as industry specialization, and that if the shoe were on the other foot and they had to be exposed to the company's business world, they'd be equally lost.
RayfordSteele, Oct 09 2003

       //2. People are often fearful of things they don't understand. The mystique built up around IT skills during the DOS and Win3.X era conditioned people to believe they are helpless without tech support.//   

       2b. Those that understand completely what they're doing, and what they want to do, and how they want to do it, can't, because the IT have to have have strict control over every aspect of the system. It's not the IT dept's fault, but it still makes people frustrated, like they're being patronised.   

       The trouble a lot of people around here have with the IT dept is that, well... this is a scientific organisation. But we're using software designed for a corporate environment. It's not so much the fault of the IT people, it's the fault of the people in charge. I'll stop myself going into a rant right now, because it's one that never stops...   

       I did work experience in IT for a week. The most memorable part was when I was shown around some part of the basement, where all the flashing lights and plugs and stuff were. About a minute later, we started getting dozens of calls from people who couldn't print. After a couple of minutes, we saw that my supervisor had stepped on the cord connecting the printer server and unplugged it.</slightly relevant, almost humorous, personal anecdote>
Detly, Oct 09 2003

       It's almost Halloween, so I guess it's appropriate to come back from the dead for this .   

       Hi, everybody...Mr Burns, I am the one that owns the site you linked to, and what called me from the grave.   

       UnaBubba, he's right; When you spend 15 minutes trying to get someone to doubleclick an icon clearly labled X and five times in a row they click Y and can't understand why that's not helpful, and YOU are the idiot, you develop Tech Support Nature.   

       Waugsqueke, it is a very unrewarding profession. You save a presentation that took someone six hours to make five minutes before they have to show it, and in appreciation you get 'click' as they hang up and a bad review because you weren't sufficiently impressed that they were an important person.   

       On the other hand, when you're not talking to an idiot, it can be. All the helpdesk people want is for you to describe the problem to the best of your ability, without spending ten minutes talking about the software that you used to have on the old computer that you sold two months ago, and when told to do something, to do JUST that something, acknowledge that you have done so, and report the results. We don't need to hear how you're disabled so you need access to the internet for porn, we don't want to hear about a football game, usually, we just want to fix the problem.   

       Rayford: On the other hand, some of us do. Which is why when I call someone like that, I don't automatically assume that they're an idiot. I recognize that I need help in something, and that I have called an expert for that help, and that questioning everything they do when I do not know anything about the details involved can be profoundly annoying.   

       Rods: YES. Very much so.   

       UnaBubba again: If you were a mechanic, say, and someone brought you a car and all the information you were given was 'It's broken', what would you do? And then if you ask questions to try and narrow the problem down a bit and are treated like an idiot because 'you're supposed to know what's wrong, that's what you're paid for'. I have an almost unbroken string, for six years, of surveys saying things like I am very good at explaining what's going on without making people feel dumb. But sometimes all you can say is 'that's how it is', because either the explanation would make no sense at all, or there really ISN'T one.   

       Detly, there are a lot of things that are not the IT dept's fault, and could pretty easily fix...if they were allowed. But the beancounters won't let them. I can't tell you how many times I've been physically threatened, as in 'I'm going to come down there and beat you up' because a lUser had done something stupid DAYS earlier and I didn't stop them. Why didn't I call and tell them not to delete all the things listed in the 'network' icon while they were cleaning their computer up? Why did I write the software so that if they hit 'delete' it deletes whatever is highlighted instead of turning it flashy purple on a green background which is what they wanted it to do? Why did I delete the files off their computer? <The non-networked, stand alone computer that was in a different state.>   

       ALL of the stuff you read on tech comedy sites is real. Tech support is an extremely stressful job, and when the first thing you do when you call is give us shit because you've done something dumb, you get the same thing back. If you realise that you've asked someone for help, and treat that person LIKE a person, you'll likely get a tech that will do anything for you. I've spent two hours groveling through temp files to find <A different lady's> Powerpoint presentation when Windows shit. She lost about four slides, and managed to make her meeting. She was nearly crying when she called, and she DID cry when I got it working again, sent a letter to my boss about how much good I had done and saved her job.   

       EVERY SINGLE THING in this post is a call I've taken, abuse I've taken, at one point or another. Not one bit of it is made up. I've taken the cupholder call. I've taken the foot pedal call. The dust cover on the mouse .The 'I can't move my mouse any farther to the right because I'm out of mousepad'.
StarChaser, Oct 10 2003

       Hi Star!   

       I can indentify with what Rods says too.
po, Oct 10 2003

       And sometimes it's really hard not to laugh. I've taken calls about "I've changed my text colour to green and all the text has disappeared." "What's the background colour?" "Green. Why?" and "How do I get 1,400 data entry fields on a screen?" "You can make it go over multiple screens." "No. I want 1,400 fields on one screen."   

       I'm so glad I'm out of the tech support loop now.
PeterSilly, Oct 10 2003

       Hey starch, good to see ya.
waugsqueke, Oct 10 2003

       I've been on both sides of the fence. Each one sucks.   

       Hiya Starchy!   

       : )
snarfyguy, Oct 10 2003

       No problem...someone bitching about techs will get back to me one way or another, and like mentioning Kibo's name, I will come.   

       I had the same call, re text and background colors being the same and so the text disappeared, but it was white. He wanted to save toner.   

       I also had someone who called in to complain about Word changing the spelling of words. It was my fault, why did I write the program to do that? <Note: I do not and have never worked for MS.> I explained autocorrect, and showed him where it was...and every single thing in there was a word he had told it to add. So he spelled it wrong, spellchecked it, set it to autocorrect...and later spelled it wrong, had it corrected, 'fixed' it back to what he wanted it...then ran a spellcheck which changed it back.   

       On gooberboy with the screen resolutions, why didn't you just hit alt-F4?
StarChaser, Oct 11 2003

       I'd settle for a raise, please.
lawpoop, Oct 11 2003

       I want to say that I have had, and have witnessed, what I would consider "good" tech support situations. I have known a couple of support people who did not have the "everybody's an idiot" complex and actually recognized the fact that the only time they're going to get called was when something was wrong, and it was their responsibility to fix it. They had what I considered the right attitude for the job. One fellow in particular enjoyed it - he liked helping people, as he put it. He didn't consider the people he helped to be stupid or retards, ever.   

       So I know this sort of person does exist.
waugsqueke, Oct 11 2003

       Waugsqueke, you know at least two, then. I know that people only call me when they need help. And as long as THEY know that, we get along fine.   

       UnaBubba: Heh.
StarChaser, Oct 11 2003

       Yes, arrogant, condescending assholes do exist. Your post is a very good example of one.   

       <note: this first sentence refers to someone who either deleted a post or deleted itself.>   

       Note that I am not at any point in this speaking TO any of the people I deal with at work. I do posess a sufficient mastery of my field to explain it to anyone, pretty much. Doesn't mean that they're not dumbasses anyway...When you tell someone in point-and-drool detail how to do something and they screw it up anyway...like the goof that was absolutely convinced that the power button on his computer was the eject button for the CD drive. I even had him point at all the buttons on the front one at a time and tell me what they looked like and what labels or symbols were next to them. He pointed at the power button and said 'power', I said push it...and he ejected the CD again.   

       I have only twice in six years hung up on anyone for being too stupid to own a computer, and both of them were after more than two hours of trying to do something simple. I told them that I could no longer help them and that they needed to contact their manager for further training.
StarChaser, Oct 12 2003

       I think everybody that does their job to the best of their ability deserves to be appreciated, and not just one day of the year. Pretty much boils down to courtesy & putting yourself in their position. The "do unto others" thing. It also wouldn't hurt if people listened when they're talked to either. Learn to follow simple instructions & so forth. And realize that not everybody knows everything about everything. Dumb it down but not to the point of making people feel stupid.   

       And as far as the IT people I turn to when life gets rough - I love 'em to bits & they know it. I tell them, feed them when I can, and tell their boss and darn well anybody else who'll listen & a few that won't. And I do this often. As far as the people I support, they tend to treat me pretty well & most of the time I feel appreciated. I could use a little more appreciation from the folks that are responsible for the size of my paycheque, but I think that goes for most everybody.   

       StarChaser - I like that "What to do when you call a helpdesk" link. So true. One of my stock comments is "If I/we/they meant to make your life a living hell, I/we/they would have done a much better job of it. It's a computer, it's not personal." If It's fixable, we'll fix it, if not, let's just deal with it & get on with what needs to be done.
BayRatt, Oct 12 2003

       Maybe I'm lucky but anytime I have had to call a Tech Support I've not had a problem.
sufc, Oct 12 2003

       Shame on you [Starchaser].
FarmerJohn, Oct 12 2003

       // Waugsqueke, you know at least two, then. //   

       Yes, I do. My point though, with all due respect, Star, is that those sorts of support people who have the right attitude about their jobs are not the sorts of support people who would maintain a web site about the idiots they've dealt with.
waugsqueke, Oct 12 2003

       Shift: Yeah, actually, it looked like you were.   

       FarmerJohn: Shame on me for what?   

       Waugsqueke: They are, actually. Why do you think there are so many of those sites out there? You can't yell at the person who is being stupid, so you bitch about it elsewhere. It's called 'venting'.
StarChaser, Oct 12 2003

       Starman... I thought this discussion would pull you in. Nice to see you.   

       Bottom line on my opinion: it's the 'information services' department, not the 'computer systems' department. Which means to me that if any part of the informational chain from user A to user B, which includes intelligent program ergonomics, user training, etc. is broken, then someone, like a chief information officer, cfo beancounter, or whatever, isn't doing their job.
RayfordSteele, Oct 12 2003

       its like the old days <sighs contentedly>
po, Oct 13 2003

       Glad to see you too, po and Rayford... Program ergonomics are the purview of the programmers and the designers, not in any way the tech department. WE just tell you how to get around the problems when you run into them. Same with user training. It's called 'information technology', but that's really a poor name just for that reason.   

       UnaBubba: He's saying that I don't have the right attitude about my job. This is incorrect. So I'd say his point is bent. EVERY line of work has its stories. People in the IT fields usually have the talent to put them on the internet where others of the same bent can read them and comisserate..."Yeah, I had one like that last week."   

       Next time you talk to a cop of any sort, ask him. I bet he's got exactly the same sort of stories, and they're shared around the department...for much the same reason, actually. High stress job, <and while it's unlikely I'll ever be shot at, I have on several occasions been threatened with being beaten up or shot because someone did something stupid and I didn't stop them before they did it.> and tends to see only the bad side of things. You need a way to vent that stress, and websites are a good and appropriate way for tech people to do it.   

       BTW, Floppo: You picked my birthday for the appreciation day. I knew it when I first read it, but got distracted in the first big post...
StarChaser, Oct 13 2003

       // I think [waugs] is making a fine point. //   

       Indeed. I'm glad at least one person received it.
waugsqueke, Oct 13 2003

       I hear ya too [waugs]. Every time I go downstairs to ask the firm's pet techies for help on something that I find truly baffling they roll their eyes and go "Oh, god. It's sooooo simple" and smirk at each other instead of just saying "You do it like this".   

       When, on the other hand, one of them was having problems with his fish tank I asked him what his maintenance routine was and explained where he'd gone wrong. Wrote him a new routine in plain language and gave him my number in case of emergencies. Did I tell him he was stupid? No. Did I become supercilious and abusive when he didn't understand a certain word? No. Did I take the piss out of him afterwards? No. Did we sort the problem out? Yes.   

       Knowledge is not the same as intelligence. At all.
squeak, Oct 13 2003

       & knowing your subject is not the same thing as being able to *teach* it. most of this advice is being done over the telephone and so a certain clarity of language is essential too, not to mention almost telepathic abilities on the part of the instructor. my IT support staff at the Town hall are excellent, their patience infinite and their sense of humour is boundless. it was their enthusiasm that set me on the route to internet/email addiction in the first place.
po, Oct 13 2003

       zackly [po].The ones who have not worked out the difference between intelligence/knowledge aren't gonna be much good at teaching. Even most of those who have are not suitable either. All the bitching/praise/complaining/advice given in the annos could be applied to any situation where an expert has to advise a non-expert. It takes a certain kind of person and those who get it right can be brilliant.   

       <aside>Some of the most difficult people to get an intelligable answer out of are university professors who were installed 40 years ago and don't believe in the world outside their subject. (great word for this in german "Fachidiot". lit. expert idiot).<aside>
squeak, Oct 13 2003

       back to the subject. 25% of the employees who work for my company are sales people, 2% markeeters, 30% work in supply chain, 40% work in manufacturing and 3% work in IT related roles.   

       Accordingly, most of the people that work with me have no IT background. They know how to do the things they need to do, but no more.   

       Ask them to explain a problem to the helpdesk and they will always say

"well, it just sorta ..."
"no idea! one minute it was ok and then..."
"yey, spose the grey cable is kinda not attached".

This is not their fault - they are, everyone of them, damned experts in their field but PC breakdown diagnosis is not their game.

       So, I take exception to [MrBurns] comments about luddite users ringing helpdesks. If your helpdesk staff were worth their pay, they would use questions to get to the bottom of the issue and interpret the initial drivel into something meaningful. Thats their job I believe.   

       Sales people sell, drivers drive and help desk staff help. We don't expect our IT department to talk salesspeak or know the ins and outs of logistics - why should all staff have a working knowledge of their computer. If they did, they'd fix it themselves and we'd have no need for helpdesks.   

       I say we should appreciate IT staff if they are good.   

       Phew... feel better now. Flame away if you disagree.
jonthegeologist, Oct 13 2003

       What I see in my line of work more often than not is a severe gap between the needs of the user and the support. Precisely where there should be someone sitting with the users to find out what the program design goals are, too often a database is simply thrown over the wall, with disastrous consequences that eat up extraordinary amounts of user time. In one extreme case, a fairly simple data-entry job that should've taken me a few hours to complete, ended up taking 2 weeks, simply because of the wait time for a browser to refresh, for nearly every column I entered. All because the company simply threw the database requirements over the wall.   

       In another example, a lack of proper filtering, enforcable description standardization, and lax user creation priveleges allowed a database of all of our part numbers and descriptions to balloon to enormous sizes, with many double entries everywhere. It quickly became impossible to sort through and find anything, which lead to losses in the millions for a relatively small company, because parts were tooled to the wrong rev level. It nearly emptied the place.
RayfordSteele, Oct 13 2003

       I think that there's a distinction to be made here between the IT people that make hardware, those that write software and those that service the hardware and software.

It used to be that hardware was a bit dodgy. I lost track of the number of components that I had to get replaced when I was a network supervisor. Hardware has improved though. Much more solid. Hurrah for the hardware people!

In simpler days, software used to be much more stable. Nowadays it's almost a full time job to keep up with the latest bug fixes and patches. Boo, hiss to the software manufacturers!

Support people come in three flavours, to my mind. Some are very good. Some are competent but uninspiring and others are utter shite. Just like in every other profession. If you find a good one, hang on to them for dear life and treat them nice every day, not just November 13th.
DrBob, Oct 14 2003

       How about a day just to celebrate Technology.
bewenched, Dec 03 2003

       // If you find a good one, hang on to them for dear life//
I just found a good one, a stunning one in fact. I think I may have proposed at some point in the call. She sorted out my trouble with a brand new blood analyser that I was totally unfamiliar with and steadfastly denied that any of my confusion and mistakes were stupid (most were). Unfortunately she is leaving for Antarctica. I have been sending bad vibes at the machine in an attempt to gain an excuse to call again but the bloody thing is solid.

       I would imagine that tech support departments have a high burnout rate. Keep in mind that these are people whose job is to listen to us at our worst.
Like [BayRatt] I often ask to talk to a supervisor to make sure praise is heard by those in charge. This often makes the tech sound nervous, I think they think I am going to moan but don't have the nuts to tell them.
stilgar, Nov 21 2004


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