We love our technology, and when the stuff works, it’s amazing what it can do for us. But technology can and does take a nosedive from time to time, often when it’s least convenient, like when you’re trying to connect to an important online meeting and your router decides to slow to a crawl for no reason whatsoever. That’s when we call the IT department. The question of whose emergency gets responded to first, and who’s first in line for those ever-so-elusive equipment upgrades, can often seem a bit random. However, we have a simple plan to help tip the scales in your favor: Use IT appropriately, build good relationships with them, and your IT Department will love you. Let’s elaborate.
In some ways, IT is one of the most emergency-driven jobs in any company. It’s one of those jobs where everything is going well until it’s not, and then whatever’s wrong needs to be fixed now, now, NOW! Some people call IT with genuine emergencies, and some tend to make a mountain out of a molehill (my screensaver is DIFFERENT today! How soon can you get here?!). So, learn to do some basic computer & technology maintenance tasks. When you do need to contact IT, make sure they know it’s not an emergency, and give a timeline for when you’re hoping to have the repair done. If you’re not pushing the panic button every time you contact them, you’ll get more attention than the boy who cries wolf.
Oh, and as far as fixing your own problems: remember that turning it off & on again solves 90% of tech troubles.
The first rule of influencing others is to make it as easy as possible for them to do what you want. How does that apply to IT? Help them: when you contact them, provide all the relevant information you can. Offer details on steps you’ve already tried, and what the results were. Don’t say your “computer is down”, say your internet isn’t working, or email doesn’t work, or something specific. Don’t ask the impossible, like doing things on a $0 budget.
Remember, IT guys and gals generally like what they do, which means they have a mindset that enjoys fixing things and solving problems. So give them as much info as you can, and thank them. It’s often a thankless job, and for all you know they were in last night at 2am doing server maintenance and installing a new oscillation overthruster or solid gold Tesla coil or whatever.
Being on good terms with IT has an effect on how your boss perceives you. Having access to better equipment and resources is only going to make it easier for you to turn in great work. Working well with others and being able to persuade people to do what you ask are good traits to possess, and your boss notices that. And the flipside, where your boss has to spend his day smoothing the feathers of all the people you shouted at to try and convince them you had an emergency and everyone else should wait? Yeah, you want to avoid that.
A good working relationship with IT is a great asset during your career. Spending a little time working at it will pay big dividends. Remember, these guys LIKE fixing stuff, and like when you have the equipment you need. But like everyone else, they have more than needs doing than hours in the day, and more that needs buying than dollars in the budget. Using them only when needed, appreciating their help when you get it, and making their job as easy as possible is a giant leap toward making your IT department love you, and that’s exactly where you want to be.
Got any other tips on maintaining a blissful relationship with your IT department? Share them in the comments below!
*Image by: cibomahto