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Warning: This blog post is about work! September 10, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Web, Weblog, WordPress.
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If you have not already read about people who have lost their jobs over what they wrote on their blogs, then read this article that chronicles several cases of ‘blog firings.’

Now, knowing the risk of blogging about work let me share with you my thoughts and feelings about my staff.

First, let me provide some background. I am an I.T. manager responsible for pretty much all technology in the organization. My department is responsible for everything from the ID system that is used for physical access control to the cable TV system that is used for education and entertainment to all of the traditional computer technologies including all of the computer based services required to run the organization. To do that, I have a group of I.T. professionals to actually do all of the real work.

On Friday I had to work late because I have been appointed to serve on a committee that is strategically important to the success of the organization. The kick-off meeting was a dinner meeting after work. That made for a really long day, though I don’t resent being part of this important project. After that meeting ended I went back to my office to take care of some office work that simply had to be done before I began my weekend. An hour or two later, after working all day and then attending a kick-off meeting for a project that will consume some of my extra time, and after working a couple of more hours, I finally headed home.

As I drove home I began to think about my week. It had been a long week. I am in the process of filling three open positions in my department. So, I have been conducting a lot of interviews. In fact, over the course of one week I interviewed six people. With all of the other things going on, that was really difficult to fit into my schedule. Now, I have the difficult task of deciding who is best for the various jobs and who to recruit to bring onto staff. It is especially difficult because there have been some every qualified people applying for these jobs and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so it’s not easy comparing the candidates. But, that’s not what I want to write about. What I want to write about is the group of people who are already on staff and working in my department.

While I considered how I would convince new people to join my department in spite of relatively low pay (it’s possible to make a more money working at a for-profit company) I began to ponder the quality of my current staff members. To be honest, I feel terribly blessed to have the quality of people working with me and for me and the institution we serve. Each one of them is a top performer who really cares about doing a good job. Every one of them gives all that they can, and then some more. They each take ownership of their job and have the best possible attitude about the high demands that are placed on them by me and our end users. They work well together and they respect each other. And, when they disagree and debate things at work, it’s over how we can do our best and provide the best possible service and meet the growing technology needs of the larger organization. They leave their egos at home and they have a good sense of ‘being in this together’ so everyone pulls their weight.

All of those thoughts were going through my head as I drove home Friday night. I felt a deep sense of gratitude for each and every person who works in my department, as I would not be able to easily replace them. And, knowing that they won’t be working in my department forever, I do not take lightly the incredible gift of having them work in my department for this season of their life.

I am truly blessed and can’t adequately express how grateful I am and how undeserving I am to have such a great staff. Yes, there is a lot of work to do and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. And, yes, we are all underappreciated because much of I.T. work is behind the scenes and most people we serve never know what we have done, though they would care if we didn’t do it (i.e. things they care about would stop working). But, at the end of the day, I can’t do most of the things my staff does and nothing would get done without them doing it. They make all the difference in the world and I can never repay them for that.

I can’t take credit for all of the people who have made sacrifices to be on my staff. I can’t take credit for their sense of responsibility and excellence at work. They each do more than is expected and truly care about the people they serve and that really comes through.

After my meeting Friday evening several faculty members and some of the support staff that were there took time to seek me out just to express how much my staff has done for them and how much they appreciated all my department does to support their work. Hearing that I felt a great sense of pride, not for myself, but for my staff. I also felt pride in being part of such a great group of people. I do not take that for granted. I am very blessed.

If you are an I.T. manager, take a minute to consider how blessed you are to have those few I.T. professionals working for you who really care about their work and do more than is expected. Stop to count your blessings. And, if all of your I.T. staff members fall in that rare category, then you know exactly how I feel as that is what I have.

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