IT’s Reputation Problem
I don’t give a damn ’bout my bad reputation
You’re living in the past it’s a new generation
~Joan Jett, Bad Reputation
IT apparently has a reputation problem. You’re aloof, overpaid and you don’t do enough. Or so says a post in The Tech Republic that suggests 10 reasons why you’re underappreciated and, well so sorry to say it, not very well liked or even respected inside your organization.
I’m not sure I agree with many of these reasons or even that it’s true. Blanket statements tend to be just that, and while they make good blog posts (something I know a thing or two about) and generate some page views, and might even ring true; they certainly don’t apply to all companies at all times.
But let’s start with the premise that you have a less than stellar status in your company. Have you have stopped to consider why?
A little introspection never hurt anyone, right? Could it be that you’re seen as an obstructionist when it comes to new projects? Say, I’m a manager. I know I need some sort of technological solution to help my department. I do some reading and I find what I consider to be a good approach. I go to you and you shoot it down…every time.
There’s a security issue. It’s not compatible with the XYZ system. The lawyers won’t approve it or you’re just not familiar with it and you don’t want to learn another new system to satisfy the whims of yet another manager who did a little reading.
The trouble with this attitude today, is that there are ways around you. You are not the center of the company technology universe anymore. You are consultants working with other teams to solve the high-level technological problems. If you just say no all the time, nobody’s going to consult with you. They will just find a way to do it alone.
And as you know, there are plenty of ways to go it alone. Unless you plan to shut down the Internet at your company, you might as well face the inevitable. And before you think that’s a good idea, remember if it didn’t work for Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring uprising in Egypt, chances are it will backfire on you too.
As Mubarak learned the hard way, when you shut down Internet access, dammit, it hurts your business.
So maybe it’s time to take that reputation problem to heart. Maybe you need to be a little more cooperative and leave the old-school protectionist issues behind. Decide what is truly important and why, and then work with business owners to set up reasonable guidelines everyone can follow.
Nobody said it was going to be easy, but if you want to shed that bad reputation, it’s going to take some work — and two-way communication.
Photo by moonhouse on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.