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Reality IT: An Open Letter to Your Users

Everyone needs to vent now and then, and IT staff members are no exception. During a recent airing of grievances, one staffer observed that the technological components they care for--the hardware, operating systems, applications and so on--tend to work well. There are exceptions, of course, but in general, once you get a piece of gear up and running, it goes about its job with a minimum of fuss.

The real problem, in his opinion, is end users. Whether through ignorance, blatant disregard for corporate policy or sheer, unwarranted self-confidence, users have a boundless ingenuity for screwing things up.

Having come up through the ranks myself, I understand the frustration. Like other IT professionals, I have horror stories of user-induced mishaps. Of course, I've also caused a few problems, and it stings my pride when I have to concede defeat and take my laptop to the IT support staff for a fix. Imagine a Nascar driver taking his minivan to the shop. I know my staff snickers (albeit discretely) when I ask for help.

But though we might want to laugh in users' faces or whack them on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, I reminded my staff to be unfailingly polite. After all, they are professionals, and a major part of their jobs is to babysit--I mean support--these people.

Meanwhile, I wrote this open letter to our users. We can't actually send it for obvious reasons, but at least it'll make my crew members feel better the next time they help someone out of his or her latest self-inflicted jam. Maybe your IT team will appreciate it, too.

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