IT People are rare in the academic world due to the latest budget cuts. It isn’t that they aren’t necessary, but for some reason universities don’t have nearly enough of them. The presence of IT people is a Hamster World luxury that I greatly appreciate.
So, how do you deal with IT People? Well, for starters, IT People have a reputation for being eccentrics. I once briefly worked with an IT guy who showed up on the job wearing a dog collar. They will not look like you, nor will they act like you. They understand how much power they have since we are all dependent on computers, so they do not follow the same set of rules that you do.
For that reason, they might seem like rude slobs who don’t know what they are doing. That is not so. Treat them with respect, and thank them whenever they fix your computer or get you back online.
More after the jump! Image of a geeky rubber duck by powerbooktrance from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.
The role of an admin in the Hamster World is not to keep you organized. That luxury exists solely for the big boss. In many offices, it doesn’t exist at all. (I’ve had at least two jobs where there was no receptionist, and whoever was closest to the door or phone had to handle the situation. Woe to the person sitting closest to the door.)
The notion of everyone having a secretary, a la Mad Men, cracks me up. In the Hamster World, your administrator is named Microsoft Outlook, not Joan Holloway. Though you can probably create a curvaceous avatar to accompany your meeting reminders if you are so inclined.
People similar to the ones Arnold described do indeed exist. Here are the Hamster World counterparts to the Grad World Admins:
The Grad Administrator: That’s HR, master of “arcane rules.” You need these people because they make sure you have health insurance. Sometimes you need to vet your HR person and nag them to do important things. I worked with one person in HR who flat-out forgot to send in my health insurance form. But I’ve also worked with others who were amazing and genuinely concerned about the well-being of employees. Mileage may vary. Be nice to them, and don’t scream at them. Sometimes they are just the messenger when the bigwigs in the company decide to change health insurance or pet insurance or lay you off or whatever.
More after the jump! Image of man at work by Eugen Nosko from Deutsche Fotothek, on Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.