Sunday, August 5, 2012

Hug Your IT - Entry #15

I have always had good relationships with IT staff.  Even though people on campus feel I can solve any technology problem I am always knocking at the IT office door pleading for assistance.  It can be something simple or more involved and complex, but no matter what situation I present to them I am always welcomed with a smile and a “let me take a look” attitude.  My most recent batch of notecards went to my campus’ IT threesome as well as a member of the somewhat imperceivable IT presence at the main Storrs Campus of the University.

Here is one of my patented terrible analogies—both times I have visited Paris the French have been very nice and accommodating.  They overlooked my pitiful language skills.  They were gracious.  They smiled.  My experiences were always positive.  The reasons—I wasn’t demanding, nor did I treat them as inferiors or with contempt or impatience.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  How many times have you been in a meeting or having a casual conversation with a colleague and as soon as the discussion turns to tech support an emptiness engulfs your space?  Nearby plants begin to wither.  Dogs begin to howl in the moonlight.  Think of the effect Dementors have on Harry Potter.  It’s almost an Olympic sport—the IT Dehumanization Clean and Jerk.  Why is this attitude so prevalent on our campuses (and probably in the corporate world as well)?  I’ve never figured that one out.  Maybe it’s a function of the frustrations we have with the ever-expanding technology in our work-day world.  “How do I mail merge this document?”  “I can’t open my flash drive!”  “I need this database up and running yesterday!!”  “The %#&!@ computer crashed…again!”  Technology, in all its faceless glory, has no identity except for the IT staff member with the big red target on their back.  All the irritation, annoyance and dissatisfaction now has somewhere to be redirected.  But we are talking about human beings with feelings and needs, people who want to be included as part of the team, not as an add-on contracted vendor.  I’ve always found IT personnel helpful and ready to assist.  My secret?  I don’t send off an arrogant or demanding email.  I use the telephone or my feet for an in-person visit.  I ask, nicely, for their assistance.   And, more times then not, voila, we are in sync and in business.

My notecards wanted to convey my thanks for all the assistance I have received during my time at the University.  Whether large, more involved projects or small, one-time fix-me-ups, my life as an administrator is that much easier because of the IT staff.  So, go out and hug an IT staff member today!  Tweet about it at @istudentaffairs.

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