Thursday, August 26, 2004

Dropping By

Okay - I'm going to get on my soapbox about something that many (if not most) IT people can relate to: drop-bys. By these, I mean those moments when people just drop by your office. They happen to anyone. A friend drops by and says 'hello,' talks about 'the big game' last night or how your weekend went, etc. They're a part of the office experience. Or maybe you just get an e-mail that says 'how's it going?' or an instant-message or something. Or even just a phone call.

Everybody gets them. Well, most everybody. The trouble is that when you work in the IT world, its seldom just a simple "drop-by" to say hello. No...90% of the time, there is an ulterior motive - usually one involving something that is broken, not working, confusing, or requires assistance. I can't tell you the number of times I've had someone drop by, chat for a minute, then say, "Hey! While I've got you here, there's this thing...."

Or worse...people insist on asking you office tech questions outside of the office. I'm always glad to help people (I help people so they'll like me, after all *grin*) in any way I can, but...I doubt anyone would really want me to ask them for medical, legal, meeting planning, etc. advice as part of every conversation, and I think I speak for most IT workers when I say...don't be strangers. IT people are just like you! Sure, some of us aren't necessarily well adjusted or normal, but...

All kidding aside, be nice to your IT person. Invite them to coffee. Ask them how they're doing. Feel free to be friendly. IT people have feelings, too. ;)

(Note: If you're curious what brought this on...yesterday, I had someone from the business office come into my office, chat me for almost exactly 60 seconds, then proceed to give me their laundry list of issues. I haven't seen this person for months, he's a remote user, and we sometimes talk hockey...and yet it was like all he needed was a requisite amount of chit-chat before he felt okay with asking me for something. In a word: boo.)

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