Yesterday I wrote a post about IT Ops’ Rodney Dangerfield Syndrome. That’s right, you get no respect, but one reader pointed out it got worse. That’s because if you do your job well, executives begin to think that it must not be that hard so why should you be so highly paid.
What these suits fail to understand is that when things are quiet on the data center front, it’s because of a lot of hard work you did to make that happen. It takes planning and understanding of the monitoring tools you have in place.
In fact, it takes the knowledge to understand which monitoring tools to put in place, which applications you need to be monitoring and how to filter the alerts that matter from the noise that is inevitable across applications.
What people on the outside fail to understand is that if everything is going smoothly you should be given a raise because it takes a lot of work to make that happen. But it’s also just as important that people outside of IT understand that when things go wrong, in some cases you did everything you could and machines and humans are fallible.
That’s not to say that the IT Ops department is never at fault. Oh things go wrong and there are monumental screw-ups, and yes there are times when the finger of blame should be pointed firmly at you, but by the same token when things are going reasonably well, the reward shouldn’t be a budget cut for your group.
I look at it this way: If I’m well does my doctor get a pay cut because there is clearly no need for him or her? Of course not because it means he or she has done a reasonably good job taking care of me, but if I were to get sick, that’s not normally the doctor’s fault either. He or she is just monitoring my internal systems and reporting when something goes wrong.
And that’s all you’re doing too. You watch the systems and try to keep them on track and fix them when things start go awry.
Now doctors can screw up too and miss stuff, but if your doctor is competent, you are generally happy. Why isnt’ that case in IT Ops too?
Unfortunately, when the powers that be can’t see a direct return on investment, they often assume there isn’t one, rather than taking the tack that maybe these guys are doing a great job and our mission critical applications and our web site are continuing to flow. That means our business is operating smoothly and we are (probably) making money.
Conversely when these systems are not operating, the business is probably suffering because these applications and web sites are being monitored for a reason. They are critical to the operation of your business.
There is no easy way to prove your worth when it’s only apparent when things go wrong. And that’s a battle you’re always going to have to fight, whether you like it or not.