Why are IT/Tech Support people freaks?

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Why are IT/Tech Support people freaks?

Post by Stravo » 2007-10-18 02:59pm

I've been dealing with a particularly loony bunch of tech support folks over the last few months at my office. As I am considered one of the more tech saavy guys (anyone that knows me here can chuckle at that idea) amongst the attorneys I get delegated with interacting with these assclowns on a daily basis because I grok their lingo and usually act as sort of a Universal Translator when they have to speak to the rest of us.

My experiences with tech support/IT guys and (very few) gals is that they're all freaks. Every single goddamn one of them is a certifiable loon that needs to take lessons in basic human interactions.

I know some of our denizens are IT tech support guys but let me tell you, at least in the legal profession my experience has been one kook after the another, whether it be making wildly inappropriate racial and sexual jokes in mixed company, speaking in pure technobabble speak and when asked to dumb it down literraly can't, even just having drinks with people after hours and coming off as an inept anti-social buffoon, speaking down to people who are your clients and ultimately your bosses, ignoring legal requirements in electronic document productions because technically it doesn't make sense, horrible and I do mean HORRIBLE Writing skills - reading an email from a tech person is either comedy gold or akin to a geneva convention violation for cruel and unusual punishment, etc. I've run the gamut of these people and I am so tired of them.

I have made a special request to be part of the interview process now on when we hire tech people and their manager who is a sweet heart of a woman (not a tech person though, she's a pure manager thus does not disprove my statement) warned me that we're seeing the freaks and geeks that get through her stringent screening process and when exposed to the full dysfunction of the IT/Tech Support hiring pool I would be stunned and amazed.

Just came from one of those interviews. I am indeed stunned and amazed. What is it about this tech support field that attracts sheer lunacy and socially inept people? If I insulted any of you, sorry, but DAMN you need to meet some of these people I've been exposed to over the years.
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Post by Bounty » 2007-10-18 03:10pm

I suppose the profession just attracts a certain sort of person who enjoys working with machines and doesn't feel the need to adapt to the humans who use them. It's not just you who noticed this, there are whole sitcoms about this phenomenon.

It's perhaps also a matter of being part of an artificial in-crowd: being able to fix things the "others" can't fix can give a person a misplaced sense of superiority or immunity from potential social repercussions. A carte blanche to be an asshole because they're vital to your work, if you will.

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Post by Xeriar » 2007-10-18 03:30pm

The ironic thing is, with a few exceptions, most of the best people are the most socially well-adjusted. Most of us are a bit odd by definition, but the worst of them were always the idiots. "It's impossible to edit a .pdf" "It's impossible to reset an NT password." *two Microshafties dork around for two days trying to get a server to work* "It's impossible." *they give the machine to me - the hard drive was disabled in the BIOS, that was all*

Have you had someone apply in a Star Trek uniform or put "Klingon" as a language on their resume?

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Post by General Zod » 2007-10-18 03:41pm

Xeriar wrote: Have you had someone apply in a Star Trek uniform or put "Klingon" as a language on their resume?
You know, I'm probably not the most socially inclined person in the world, but how fucking bad do you have to be to not wear at least business casual to an interview for anything that doesn't involve burger flipping or other forms of hard labor? :wtf:
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Post by Vendetta » 2007-10-18 03:57pm

Xeriar wrote:"It's impossible to reset an NT password."
That usually means "It's possible, but I'm not going to spend the next hour of my life talking you through it, because you don't understand the mysteries of the right hand mouse button, can't spot an "Advanced" button in a four inch square dialogue box, let alone cope with multiple dialogue tabs, and you shouldn't have forgotten the damn password anyway"

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Post by Turin » 2007-10-18 04:33pm

I have a rather unique position at my firm where I bridge the gap between IT and the architects, being responsible for our CAD software, so this is all from my "cross-training" perspective.
Vendetta wrote:That usually means "It's possible, but I'm not going to spend the next hour of my life talking you through it, because you don't understand the mysteries of the right hand mouse button, can't spot an "Advanced" button in a four inch square dialogue box, let alone cope with multiple dialogue tabs, and you shouldn't have forgotten the damn password anyway"
The problem with that attitude, of course, is that IT people seem to forget that they are generally in a support role to whatever the primary business is. Good IT people recognize that they're supposed to be helping the business do things more profitably. In fact, really good IT people help to lead the charge on IT innovation, instead of waiting for someone in management to think of some grand new idea and then spending all their effort poo-pooing this idea.

Instead, many IT people develop an us-vs-them attitude with their user base, which doesn't help their social skills much.

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Post by Master_Baerne » 2007-10-18 04:38pm

Not all IT people are bad. My father is one, and the Director of Technology at my school was actually quite likable. And no, I'm not an IT guy.

Maybe it has something to do with relative salaries? Well-paid people don't feel undervalued, and therefore don't feel compelled to ram their superiority down your throat with a hard drive?
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Post by Hotfoot » 2007-10-18 04:42pm

Christ, the us-or-them attitudes. Admittedly, I get a little annoyed when I have to trudge across the building to fix a problem that can easily be handled over the phone, but come ON.

I was in a mid-way position for a while in a Hospital, and the actions of some of the IT people shocked the hell out of me. No WONDER people were terrified when I came in and acted like technology was the devil. The IT staff was downright abusive in some cases! They couldn't comprehend that some people had trouble understanding the basic stuff.

Listen, these people get paid to do jobs that have nothing to do with computers, jobs that you're not doing because you don't know what the fuck to do. That they have trouble remembering all the shit YOU do is hardly their fault when a lot of them work 12 hour days in life and death situations. Make their lives easier, not harder.

</rant>

My guess is that these are the guys that got shit on in High School and got resentful forever after. Can't speak for home lives, but wow, seriously.
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Post by Ubiquitous » 2007-10-18 04:54pm

The thing that pisses me off about tech-support people is their illogical arrogance that they display towards the people they are supposed to be helping. So my 48 year old mother has had to phone up because she can't set up a router? Geeese, the audacity! Let's make fun of her to each other and complain bitterly about how dumb she is!
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Post by Zac Naloen » 2007-10-18 05:11pm

We're not all like that I promise.

I'm actually vaguely customer services trained and treat the people I help with respect, especially those who I know do a hard job. I can't be a salesperson I haven't got that knack they do (although they claim anyone can do it, which I believe is the same about my job).

I will make the occasional joke about the sales persons ineptitude which they actually play along with. Often I don't even need to, his/her colleagues will do it for me.

And if someone truly is an IT illiterate I actually have the utmost patience with them, especially the staff who are well past their 40's who find computers utterly perplexing at the best of times, let alone when citrix is telling them that an "I/O error has occured". Which translates to "Your network cable has come unplugged, can you check it for me? Thanks"
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Post by Ghost Rider » 2007-10-18 05:19pm

Like Hotfoot pointed, not all but there are quite a few IT people that literally have a disdainful attitude when helping. They are there as support and really, I hate to say it...at the behest of their clients. They should fucking at some points learn to deal with it.

And this is coming from someone who wonders what the fuck and why clients are bugging me, and to each I will put a smile and lead them as little or as much as they want me to. I will say this though, I have met a few who do lead with respect and cordiality and understand how to gauge a customer to understand what level of help is needed.

As for freaks, eh. I have met too many in real life to give that...most are somewhat weird, but really I've met more insane IRS agents.
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Post by Stark » 2007-10-18 05:21pm

The IT industry is one you can work in if you're a basement-dwelling retarded troll. Sure, some IT guys are smart, experienced and cranky about stupid users: from my experience far more are puddle-deep one-trick-ponys who couldn't do anything else and can only deal with the stress of communicating with humans by being wankers.

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Re: Why are IT/Tech Support people freaks?

Post by Starglider » 2007-10-18 05:22pm

Stravo wrote:I have made a special request to be part of the interview process now on when we hire tech people and their manager who is a sweet heart of a woman (not a tech person though, she's a pure manager thus does not disprove my statement) warned me that we're seeing the freaks and geeks that get through her stringent screening process and when exposed to the full dysfunction of the IT/Tech Support hiring pool I would be stunned and amazed.

Just came from one of those interviews. I am indeed stunned and amazed. What is it about this tech support field that attracts sheer lunacy and socially inept people? If I insulted any of you, sorry, but DAMN you need to meet some of these people I've been exposed to over the years.
Yeah, been there, done that. When you interview for programmers / software engineers you get some strange candidates, but they're generally basically able to communicate (if shy) and eccentric rather than genuinely nuts. But for sysadmin and support jobs so many of them come across as incoherent, depressed, sociopathic and/or plain nuts just in the interview.

I suppose the ironic thing is that the ones most likely to have a superior attitude about being 'geeks' or whatever are the ones who actually know the least about IT. They can put parts together, work software ok and probably have loads of trivia memorised, but they don't understand how computers actually work, and they tend to get all passive-agressive when it becomes obvious that you have a better idea of how to fix a problem than they do.

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Post by salm » 2007-10-18 05:48pm

General Zod wrote: You know, I'm probably not the most socially inclined person in the world, but how fucking bad do you have to be to not wear at least business casual to an interview for anything that doesn't involve burger flipping or other forms of hard labor? :wtf:
Easy. Just apply for a job whose title has the word "designer" in it or something similar artsy. I for one have never applied for a job in anything resembling business clothes, i´ve never applied for a burger job or something similar and up to now i got the job almost every time.

<edit>kicked out redundant words</edit>
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2007-10-18 05:57pm

Do most office IT guys look like this?:

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It would explain alot.
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Post by General Zod » 2007-10-18 05:57pm

salm wrote: Easy. Just apply for a job whose title has the word "designer" in it or something similar artsy. I for one have never applied for a job in anything resembling business clothes, i´ve never applied for a burger job or something similar and up to now i got the job allmost every time.
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It might work differently in Europe, but I've always been taught to dress appropriately for the type of interview. Which can mean anything from slacks/khakis and a collared shirt to a full blown suit depending on the work environment. :P
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Post by salm » 2007-10-18 06:09pm

General Zod wrote: It might work differently in Europe, but I've always been taught to dress appropriately for the type of interview. Which can mean anything from slacks/khakis and a collared shirt to a full blown suit depending on the work environment. :P
Interesting. It´s my impression that if you apply for an artsy job around here it´s even frowned upon if you dress business style because for an artsy job you´re expected to be hip, trendy, youthful and all that crap which outfit wise can translate to blue sneakers with bright orange stripes, khaki cargo pants, a bright blue adidas jacket and a black base cap.

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Post by Vendetta » 2007-10-18 07:10pm

Ubiquitous wrote:The thing that pisses me off about tech-support people is their illogical arrogance that they display towards the people they are supposed to be helping. So my 48 year old mother has had to phone up because she can't set up a router? Geeese, the audacity! Let's make fun of her to each other and complain bitterly about how dumb she is!
There's a difference between phoning up for support because you can't do something, with the realisation that you can't do it, being polite and following the instructions that come down the phone from the support people, and phoning up and giving the person who answers the phone attitude and abuse because you can't do something, and invariably ending up with some derivation of "I don't see why I should have to do this". And believe me, we get that a lot, because the salesman has convinced them to buy Shiny Product X that they didn't really think they needed, and it doesn't work first time, or isn't as simple as they expect it to be, so they want someone to take it out on.

Routers are a particular problem, because router interfaces are not designed for usability by non-geeks, but people buy them anyway and get annoyed when it turns out that they need to pay someone who knows how they work, because IT support isn't free.

This is especially fun if they have phoned the wrong number, again, because they haven't read the manual that has the correct support number in it. This is usually also the fault of whoever they have phoned, because they are being given "the runaround".

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Post by Xon » 2007-10-18 07:29pm

Basic IT/Tech Support is the burger flipping equivelent for the IT industry.

Really low entry requirements.
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Post by Kanastrous » 2007-10-18 09:18pm

salm wrote:Just apply for a job whose title has the word "designer" in it or something similar artsy.
Second that. I show up to interviews in clean clothes, but beyond that no one gives a damn how I'm dressed; they just want to see what I can do (or are hiring me on the strength of recommendations, and what I have already done).

I don't know if anyone here is a Daniel Keyes Moran fan (The Armageddon Blues, The Ring, Emerald Eyes, The Long Run, The Last Dancer) but he's something of an IT god, is a killer basketball player, a great dancer, and an all-around cool, suave, and debonair sort of guy.
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Post by Turin » 2007-10-18 10:16pm

Kanastrous wrote:
salm wrote:Just apply for a job whose title has the word "designer" in it or something similar artsy.
Second that. I show up to interviews in clean clothes, but beyond that no one gives a damn how I'm dressed; they just want to see what I can do (or are hiring me on the strength of recommendations, and what I have already done).
You don't have to interact with people outside your office as part of your job? Maybe I'm just used to a different type of artist/designer, but if you showed up to an interview at my firm not wearing a suit, you'd probably be SOL unless we were hiring you to work in the mail room or something.

Being able to present yourself professionally is as much a part of many jobs (i.e., jobs that don't involve the words "would you like fries with that?") as the actual technical skills involved.

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Post by Starglider » 2007-10-18 11:38pm

Turin wrote:Being able to present yourself professionally is as much a part of many jobs (i.e., jobs that don't involve the words "would you like fries with that?") as the actual technical skills involved.
Plus in most corporate situations, being dressed in a nice neat suit just gives you a psychological edge. Come performance review day, very few managers are immune to thinking 'hmm, give the raise to the professional, serious, competent guy in the suit, or that scruffy unprofessional unreliable guy who wears geek t-shirts' (at least on some subconscious level).

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Post by Edi » 2007-10-19 03:09am

Stravo, I don't know what kind of bottom feeder pool they do the IT support recruiting at your firm, but that's appalling. The sort of spazzed out fucks you're talking about wouldn't be given the time of the day here by most companies and the ones that do, well, those would be like that one shit-encrusted small ISP I worked at and who backstabbed me.

I work in an IT support call centre right now and almost everyone here is a well-adjusted, normal person. Anyone who is abusive to customers is going to have his hide tanned and nailed to the door as a warning to the rest, though what we say about the customers among each other is another thing entirely. Because some of them literally just don't get e.g. what the shift key is for even after repeated explanations. But that's phone tech support.

On-site support is a different thing, much easier to do since you can actually get hands on with the machines and do in five minutes what would take 40 over the phone and you can also show the people how to do some simple things. An IT support person who can't dumb things down and draw instructions in crayon for non-tech people is worthless. I've done on-site support, I'm currently doing phone support and I've written user documentation and for the most part the problems in doing any of that professionally are entirely in the mind and attitude of the person doing it. And the first rule is you never fucking open up on your customer unless given leave by your superior. Be cold day in hell when you do get that permission.

One recommendation I can give you is that never hire anyone who can't hack it in phone tech support behavior-wise. Your IT manager should also ruthlessly fire the worst fuckwits and make an example of them. They can always be replaced and once the fuckwits realize that they will summarily get the boot if they don't do things by the numbers, the assholery will stop.
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Re: Why are IT/Tech Support people freaks?

Post by Darth Wong » 2007-10-19 04:35am

Stravo wrote:I've been dealing with a particularly loony bunch of tech support folks over the last few months at my office. As I am considered one of the more tech saavy guys (anyone that knows me here can chuckle at that idea) amongst the attorneys I get delegated with interacting with these assclowns on a daily basis because I grok their lingo and usually act as sort of a Universal Translator when they have to speak to the rest of us.

My experiences with tech support/IT guys and (very few) gals is that they're all freaks. Every single goddamn one of them is a certifiable loon that needs to take lessons in basic human interactions.

I know some of our denizens are IT tech support guys but let me tell you, at least in the legal profession my experience has been one kook after the another, whether it be making wildly inappropriate racial and sexual jokes in mixed company, speaking in pure technobabble speak and when asked to dumb it down literraly can't, even just having drinks with people after hours and coming off as an inept anti-social buffoon, speaking down to people who are your clients and ultimately your bosses, ignoring legal requirements in electronic document productions because technically it doesn't make sense, horrible and I do mean HORRIBLE Writing skills - reading an email from a tech person is either comedy gold or akin to a geneva convention violation for cruel and unusual punishment, etc. I've run the gamut of these people and I am so tired of them.

I have made a special request to be part of the interview process now on when we hire tech people and their manager who is a sweet heart of a woman (not a tech person though, she's a pure manager thus does not disprove my statement) warned me that we're seeing the freaks and geeks that get through her stringent screening process and when exposed to the full dysfunction of the IT/Tech Support hiring pool I would be stunned and amazed.

Just came from one of those interviews. I am indeed stunned and amazed. What is it about this tech support field that attracts sheer lunacy and socially inept people? If I insulted any of you, sorry, but DAMN you need to meet some of these people I've been exposed to over the years.
Are your prospective IT hires university-educated? I've known lots of assholes like this but they were generally posers. The guys who took CompSci in the Math Department at UW were usually reasonable.
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Post by brianeyci » 2007-10-19 04:53am

Darth Wong wrote:Are your prospective IT hires university-educated? I've known lots of assholes like this but they were generally posers. The guys who took CompSci in the Math Department at UW were usually reasonable.
Reasonable ha. More like cream of the crop. I don't know about when you took it but now admission to UW computer science is highly coveted by any technodork in an Ontario high school.

I was thinking about how people spend their time and biology. Some people just end up doing more because they're smarter. So in general a person has a limited amount of time and gets certain returns for their time. Let's say a person studies ten hours and gets a certain return. But certain people can study two hours or an hour and understand the same material. It would explain why the median would be, people being good at one or the other but not great at both. So it's entirely possible that IT guys in general have less social skills, because IT is a demanding field. But when you take the top level of guys they have it all, social skills and high grades, but go further down and you get people who do less with the same time.

Even if there is no biological basis for my theory and the factors behind intelligence are entirely environmental, the core remains intact: some people just do more with less time.

Of course there's outliers like U235 who seems to have a social life and be a technodork.

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