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Subject: Resistance is Monumental rss

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Ronster Zero
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So, after working in my old job for almost 14 years I got laid off. It happens, the economy sucks.

I got a new job about 4 months later doing almost the exact same job as I did before. Network admin, helps desk, and general IT guy.

The work is simpler than my last job and while the pay is less, there is WAY less stress and my commute was cut from 90 minutes down to 30. A big win if you ask me.

Now, the job is going fine, but I find one issue here and wondered if it is universal.

Being in IT, I want to use our IT systems to help the work flow be more effective. Especially when I find labor intensive (and frankly useless) repetitive work tasks. It seems whenever I try to introduce an automated way to alleviate some of the repetitive task (in Excel or just paperwork) I meet with a ton of resistance.

They tell me how it can't be done, or our systems can't do it, but its really just they do not know what the change will mean for them.
Since i'm new, I just kinda eat it and don't push too hard, but it really is deflating.

I think I just wanted to vent and see what you guys think? Does your IT try and solve problem or implement systems that would make your job easier?
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Steve B
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I noticed this while working IT at college, even though I was just a student worker. I'd see other people pitch ideas and get shot down although it would have saved hours of work every day.

What's the median age of the employees there?
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CHAPEL
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ronster0 wrote:
Does your IT try and solve problem or implement systems that would make your job easier?


We have an IT department?
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Ronster Zero
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I'd say that most are in their mid 30's, with management into their 40s.

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Key Locks
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I think this issue is broader than just IT. Whenever there is a move to automate some process in a company, it is met with resistance because someone fears that it will mean they will lose their job.

My dad is an engineer who designs assembly lines to make products. Every so often he has to go out to the floor with a clipboard and stopwatch and time how long it takes the line workers to do certain tasks on the assembly line, to see if there is any way the line could be redesigned to be made more efficient. It has nothing to do with hiring and firing, but the workers always hate it because they think their jobs are on the line.
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Ronster Zero
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MWChapel wrote:
ronster0 wrote:
Does your IT try and solve problem or implement systems that would make your job easier?


We have an IT department?


Spill water all over your computer, you'll find it if you have one or not.
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Steve B
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Leezer wrote:
I think this issue is broader than just IT. Whenever there is a move to automate some process in a company, it is met with resistance because someone fears that it will mean they will lose their job.

My dad is an engineer who designs assembly lines to make products. Every so often he has to go out to the floor with a clipboard and stopwatch and time how long it takes the line workers to do certain tasks on the assembly line, to see if there is any way the line could be redesigned to be made more efficient. It has nothing to do with hiring and firing, but the workers always hate it because they think their jobs are on the line.


Very true here.

I asked about age because older people are generally resistant to change! Not that that's a bad thing, by the way. Just how things go from what I've seen.
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Ronster Zero
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I was worried that they think I am trying to automate them out of a job, but I don't think it's the case (but that is my perception).

Generally I want to automate tasks that I would not want to do. If I had to do those things, I would find a way to make it easier.

Edit:

I've been on fire here and everybody loves my work. I've fixed a bunch of long standing issues with their servers and backups. Now, that everything is running smoothly, I want to go to the next level. Maybe I should just lay low.
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CHAPEL
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ronster0 wrote:
MWChapel wrote:
ronster0 wrote:
Does your IT try and solve problem or implement systems that would make your job easier?


We have an IT department?


Spill water all over your computer, you'll find it if you have one or not.


I did that once, but I could never find the sequence of numbers to get me to the right person that deals with spilled water on pc. After the 5th "please press X for Y" I assumed it was just fucking with me, and gave up and ordered a new laptop.
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Pieter
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All of that said, you should also understand the POV of the users. I am a computer geek (I have a PhD that says so) and have my own way of working. Every time the IT department forces a different way of working on me, I lose time and efficiency. Is the small gain in time that I would achieve for internalizing their different way of working offset by the loss of time I have to suffer for getting used to it? Usually the answer is no. Computers are there to help me do my job, and if they do so to my satisfaction, there is no need to introduce changes.

The big problem is the power of the IT department over all PCs on the network. Regularly, when I log on, suddenly I get confronted with my PC downloading and installing lots of stuff that I did not ask for, and that changes the setup of core parts of my system, which I then have to re-learn immediately. While I am in dire need of doing some important work and my PC responding to me the way I want it to.

Sure, I understand that the IT department has certain responsibilities and cannot go around asking every user what they want of their systems. But the IT department should understand that they often annoy the hell out of me, and that I much rather wish they would leave me alone.
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Chad
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I've got quite a bit of leeway when it comes to things that I can directly work with, especially within my group here (5 guys). But when it comes to the department as a whole we don't really use our resources to our disposal at all. We were just talking this morning about how we have some many projects going on but don't have a good handle on who is working on what or what the timelines are. If only there were some way to organize all of that.....whistle

But it's going to have to come from someone higher than me to gain any traction.
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Ronster Zero
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Quote:

I did that once, but I could never find the sequence of numbers to get me to the right person that deals with spilled water on pc. After the 5th "please press X for Y" I assumed it was just fucking with me, and gave up and ordered a new laptop.


Nice, the best way to a new computer
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Blorb Plorbst
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ronster0 wrote:
Generally I want to automate tasks that I would not want to do. If I had to do those things, I would find a way to make it easier.


This is why you're in IT and they are not.

The best thing to do is start building relationships and trust. Identify a task that you know can be automated with very little participation from the person doing it. Automate it and then show someone the result.

Remember though. As soon as you do this, you will be responsible for any problems related with that task. and as soon as someone doesn't like the output, you'll have to crank back through your process and show them that there was no error on your part.
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Ronster Zero
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Also, this is not some Draconian measure I am taking to make them use these systems. It's usually on a one on one basis to help them use their computer to enhance their work flow.

I try and introduce them as, hey, we could save you time and energy by trying to have the computer handle this part of the work flow.

I think all they hear is ....."CHANGE"
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Chad Burnett
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ronster0 wrote:
I think all they hear is ....."CHANGE"


Bingo!
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MWChapel wrote:
ronster0 wrote:
Spill water all over your computer, you'll find it if you have one or not.


I did that once, but I could never find the sequence of numbers to get me to the right person that deals with spilled water on pc. After the 5th "please press X for Y" I assumed it was just fucking with me, and gave up and ordered a new laptop.

I think this officially makes you the IT guy.
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CrankyPants wrote:
ronster0 wrote:
Generally I want to automate tasks that I would not want to do. If I had to do those things, I would find a way to make it easier.


This is why you're in IT and they are not.

The best thing to do is start building relationships and trust. Identify a task that you know can be automated with very little participation from the person doing it. Automate it and then show someone the result.

Remember though. As soon as you do this, you will be responsible for any problems related with that task. and as soon as someone doesn't like the output, you'll have to crank back through your process and show them that there was no error on your part.


This. Oh god, this. Before you meddle in a business process you have to be prepared to take ownership of it, and responsibility for it. I spent the first few months at my current job making a lot of people's work easier (at their request, I might add) and have spent everyday since proving to them that my work was solid and the problem exists between the chair and keyboard.
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Andrew Sweeney
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ronster0 wrote:
...I find one issue here and wondered if it is universal.

...It seems whenever I try to introduce an automated way to alleviate some of the repetitive task (in Excel or just paperwork) I meet with a ton of resistance.

They tell me how it can't be done, or our systems can't do it, but its really just they do not know what the change will mean for them.

Absolutely. This happens always and everywhere. In my 20s, I was involved with redesigning my department's workflows, then with modernising them from paper to computer. In both cases, even though I was the official, management-endorsed representative of the process, I met with continuous pessimism, politics and outright sabotage - especially from management, who endorsed me to carry out the process.

Welcome to the crazy world of change management.
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