10 Ways IT Staff are Different

Baseline has an interesting slideshow on the subject, but here are the reasons in brief. Apologies to those who are offended by the term “geek.” Also, I think I understand why I like working in IT so much.

  1. Geeks are a self-selected group.
  2. The nature of geek work is different (requires creativity).
  3. Power is useless on geeks.
  4. Geeks are more attached to the technology than they are to you.
  5. Geeks are judgmental.
  6. Geeks are introverted.
  7. Failure is normal to geeks.
  8. Geeks at the keyboard know more about the technology than their managers do.
  9. Geeks are goal oriented, not task oriented.
  10. IT creativity springs from the environment, not incentives.

2 Responses to “10 Ways IT Staff are Different”

  1. Kyle said:

    Jun 26, 08 at 7:38 am

    “IT creativity springs from the environment, not incentives.”

    This one really hits home for me, especially since I really just manage the geeks now. ‘-) My predecessor apparently did “anything” she could to keep staff, which has led to title inflation, salary inflation, and some cases where people just plain old got promoted years before they should have.

    While I’m trying to clean up the mess I’m also focusing on the environment. If I can make this a place where people have room to stretch (and fail) as well as get good support and professional development, then I feel like we’ll be making progress.

    People who come wanting more money and better titles have one foot out the door already, and I’m not really going to spend time bribing them to stay.

  2. admin said:

    Jun 26, 08 at 7:41 pm

    I agree. In higher ed, the one thing you can possibly create and sell to staff is a good work environment. Sadly, though, I really see such an environment in action. It’s not about foosball and cartoons, either. 🙂

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