In the old days, and also now, mechanics could bamboozle their clients with jargon and technicalities.  That’s why the Car Talk guys are so popular.  Now, we are all beholden to the tech guy.

The tech guy where I work is sort of a slob.  He has no process.  He has no system.  Requests have to be delivered in person if they are to be taken seriously.  Every time he sets up a new computer he fails to install the programs that our department consistently relies on.  Every time someone transfers to a new computer – usually because the last one crashed – he will migrate favorite bookmarks but nothing else.

When staff asks him for solutions to standard tech problems, he says there is none.  And then they go online and find the solution.  One employee has not been able to print to the network for years.

In 2008, my email account corrupted and died.  When he went to the back up tapes it turned out my account had corrupted months earlier so there was no clean copy.  Our system has crashed for more than 24 hours three times in the last six months.  This time the bounceback is indicating our email accounts do not exist.

Why is he employed?  Because the person supervising doesn’t know anything about IT and can’t hold him accountable.  But surely managers have to have the ability to supervise areas that are not their expertise?  We can’t have experience in everything.

A few years ago this disruption would have been frustrating for work, but limited to office hours.  Now that so many of us synch our calendars, contact lists etc., our personal life is also hampered.

And why do nonprofits, which have the scarcest resources and thinnest staffs, tolerate underperformers?

Why?  Can someone tell me why?

7 responses to “Why?”

  1. lane says:

    because you are culture.

    you are at the bottom end of the great collective mind of humanity.

    business at the top, medicine next, education in the middle, farming, and then you.

    you and your little exhibits.

    that’s why.

  2. Rachel says:

    Unfortunately, Lane, I think you overestimate the place of education.

    Stella, I feel your pain. On top of everything you said, my institution is openly hostile to Macs. It was months before I realized that people thought I was blowing off their meetings, when in fact my Mac version of Microsoft Entourage lacks Outlook, the calendar-synching part of the app. I had no idea. Big professional black hole. Boo.

  3. Dave says:

    business at the top, DEFENSE SPENDING, RESOURCE EXTRACTION, medicine next, education in the middle, farming, and then you.

    I am always amazed when I hear these tales of horrible IT — and the examples you cite are truly unacceptable. Get the guy fired, Stella. There’s a recession on, and it’s not too much to ask that your IT person should have technical knowledge, initiative, and enough interpersonal skills to realize when he’s not meeting your needs. I’m sure there are any number of unemployed IT specialists in your area who would do a much better job.

  4. lane says:

    sure defense and oil. i grouped that under the catch all of business. all the businesses, which includes farming really, and education.

    yeah rachel, i understand what you’re saying. but compare your woes in the english department and then check out the business school, probably less suffering there.

    but remember the art department, along with the music department and the dance department still rank lower than the english department.

    even business majors need to learn to write papers. they do not need to learn how to draw.

  5. A non-profiteer says:

    I, too, work at a non-profit rife with scandalous incompetence. IT is one of the worst areas at my job, too. The head of IT recently paid the equivalent of a few people’s salaries together for a new web-based database (of course, we’re always scrambling for funding, and constantly told that our jobs might not be around in a few months). In designing the new database, the head of IT did not consult (not even once) the staff who use it on a daily basis. At the big unveiling, the gaping holes in the new design were breathtaking, but he plowed on, acting as if all the staff were incompetent because they couldn’t conform to the tool. I don’t know, maybe good IT people just migrate to the profit sector, but it also seems to me that there is a culture of arrogance among the tech minded in positions of power. They guard their knowledge greedily because they worry that it is all that stands between them and insignificance.

  6. ScottyGee says:

    It’s the constant updating that really steams my clams!

  7. trixie says:

    mmmmm, clams.