Will managers ever understand us Geeks?

This book is great!

I have not even read a single page, but I am already convinced of the superiority of this book.. genious.

Microsoft's FretDFire weblog alerted me to this title, and I can just imagine myself getting this book for an IT-managers birthday or something! lol!

But seriously.. the rift between managers and Geeks, is something I can really relate to, and something that kinda hits home with me.

My experiance with companies, and in paricular how they relate to their IT staff, has overall not been very good.

Though I am increasingly positive over the direction my  IT services company is taking, I am still very dissapointed in how they treat their own people, but I have run into this with client companies awell.
A lot of this has to do with the cultural gap that exists between managers and the average IT proffesional. Its just two very different worlds, and very different people, that dont seem to be able to relate to eachother.

Glen does a tremendous job of detailing the nature of IT personnel, and I certainly recognize myself in this list. They:

  • Are highly intellectual people who have been rewarded since a young age for individual achievements.
  • Value other persons of similar knowledge and can be intolerant of others not so.
  • Are attracted to this business solely by the technology and tend to work on technology for technology's sake, not necessarily for business’ sake.
  • Can tend to view data centers and networks as their own personal toy boxes and/or creations of their own artwork.
  • Are introverted by nature, choosing machines over humans and facing challenges in effective day-to-day formal and informal communications.
  • View the business world through what I call the Dilbert filter, which from a certain point of view is a sarcastic view of business, its objectives, drivers, and more importantly, the people who make up the business units.

IT stereotype: The geek The business IT supports
Is highly intellectual and intolerant of those who do not share the same knowledge. Does not share the same knowledge and requires tolerance.
Likes technology for technology's sake—Often views the technology as one's own artwork and toy box. Do not care. Has business needs that technology is to solve—accompanied by statements like, "Can't you just fix this thing?"
Is introverted by nature—a poor communicator. Is extroverted by nature—in desperate need of effective communication from IT.
Views the business through the Dilbert filter. Views the business through profits and losses—accompanied by statements like, "If we don't make any money, you don't have a toy box."

Read more at this great Techrepulbic acticle

What really gets me is that companies like the one I work for, try to mold their IT staff into something more marketable. My own personal manager likes seems to really want to push my own development of 'soft' -or 'people' skills. Now I feel I am not the most communicative person in the world, but I am certainly not the worst, so I am always willing to keep her happy, and go to communications training if she wants me to, but quite honestly, I really couln't care less. I really have no need to want to communicate with people better..  after all, I can communicate just fine with other geeks, sometimes you dont even need words, just the right T-shirt..  But these soft-skills are of course means to facilitate in communicating with the rest of the world.. managers, users, etc.

I have tried to explain geek culture to her, tried to explain that you cant really change the intrinsic nature of geeks, and tried to make her understand that culture gap, and how she must bare that in mind, always, when dealing with the average IT proffesional..  But she doesnt understand, its simply beyond her world view, and this applies to every other manager in our company.

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