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IT Management Always Blames the Worker Bees 266

An anonymous reader writes "A refreshing dose of sanity, It Management Fail: Always Blame the Worker Bees counters Security fail: When trusted IT people go bad, which advocates the usual reactive and punitive Big Brother measures for keeping those icky, untrustworthy IT staffers in line. Management really needs to look in the mirror when IT screws up."
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IT Management Always Blames the Worker Bees

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  • ...that IT folks do the job they're paid to do without stealing!

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Desler ( 1608317 )

      But it's not stealing. It's copyright infringment!!! Well, at least as long as it's not a GPLed piece of software because then it's stealing!!!

      • I'm pretty sure bandwidth, equipment, and credit card numbers don't fall under the GPL in most cases.

    • Re:God forbid... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:23PM (#34921896)

      Sure they might do that.. If they were well paid and treated with respect instead of treated like a replaceable nameless cog in a giant machine.

      Silly... i know... But hey.. If you want respect and loyality from the worker... You have to show them some yourself.

      The workers are learning the lesson business is teaching them. Get whatever you can by any means. The only thing that matters is the bottom line.

      • nice, I wish I could mod you +6 Insightful.
      • by jc42 ( 318812 )

        The workers are learning the lesson business is teaching them. Get whatever you can by any means. The only thing that matters is the bottom line.

        It's not just business that teaches that lesson. Anyone who's been reading /. for long has read the claims here that profit is the only legitimate business goal. Some have even claimed that corporate management can be sued for doing things that interfere with making a profit. I've occasionally that they cite cases where such prosecution has happened, and gotten no reply, but people keep saying such things, and asserting that this is how a business should behave.

        The idea that it's proper to do anything yo

      • Re:God forbid... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @09:43PM (#34923124)

        You treat me like something you can squeeze work from and throw away when there's nothing left, so I treat you like something I can squeeze money from and throw away when there's nothing left.

        The prisoner's dilemma optimal solution applies. I cooperate and adapt. You cooperate, so will I. You defect, so will I.

      • by MrMarkie ( 1079197 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @04:37AM (#34925078)

        Agreed, I'm pretty well paid and treated like a real person at my workplace, hence I hardly ever steal and keep my illegal porn operation small enough to not tax the company servers way to much.

    • Hey, no where in my contract with the company did I sign "I will not set up a porn server on the network".

      • I'm pretty sure that would fall under misuse (or personal use) of company assets...

        • by Cwix ( 1671282 )

          I think the CEO shoulda just asked for a cut.

        • by jc42 ( 318812 )

          I'm pretty sure [running a porn server] would fall under misuse (or personal use) of company assets...

          Only if you take all the profits yourself, and don't share them with management.

  • by countSudoku() ( 1047544 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:16PM (#34921832) Homepage

    I blame God for this. It's clear who fucked up in all cases. If this were a perfect universe, I might let him slide, but NO MORE!!1!

  • Chase links, please. Anybody doesn't blame the admin that article refers to is insane.
    • I have a little sympathy for "Sally". What she did was wrong and I don't condone it, but the article (clearly written from a management perspective), is rather cavalier about the company just essentially eliminating their IT department. Cost cutting is as cost cutting does, and I don't know the whole story (it may have really been a necessary measure), but the whole thing is treated kinda like "Oh well she was just a little upset because she was being let go." As opposed to "She was rightfully pretty damn

      • by jthill ( 303417 )

        Sally gets no sympathy for her response just as her management gets no sympathy for what produced it. But yeah, if it was just hers I might not have posted. Other cases presented (as real, bs-meters didn't twitch) ... flat criminals, given no-oversight keys to core business systems.

        So I also don't agree with your summary of the takeaway. You've got an organization that large, you're obligated to protect it. You're admin'ing a large server, do you turn off security because having it on is insulting? N

        • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @11:25PM (#34923664) Homepage

          I don't agree with her response, just think she is more sympathetic than the others. My problem with the way the whole tale was presented was that the company's actions, which in my opinion were very nearly as bad as "Sally's" are glossed over as perfectly reasonable. Of course you outsource the entire department. Of course you don't tell anyone till the last possible moment. Of course you don't provide counseling or job search assistance.

          While their points about escalation of privileged and job separation are perfectly valid, their most "valuable" piece of advice for this one appeared to be "Watch your employees close when you're about to screw them, the sneaky bastard probably figured it out." They didn't even bother to mention being open and honest with your staff, providing transition services or any of the other things the company could have to done to prevent or cushion the proximal cause of the employee anger.

          Sure, watch people, especially people under stress. Sure, don't give people access to systems they don't need access too. Sure, make sure you know who has what keys. Also treat people with a bit of respect and don't fuck with them any more than you have to at a bad time.

  • by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:18PM (#34921852)
    If you do your job correctly, then everything runs smoothly and you don't get any attention (or credit) at all. But as soon as something goes wrong, it's obviously because YOU FUCKED UP, and you get LOTS of attention! Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in IT?
    • Protip: every job is like that. IT pays well, but attracts a lot of folks who seem to have an unwarranted sense of self importance.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @09:33PM (#34923050)
        Protip: every job is like that.

        Be a cop. If you do your job perfectly and nothing happens, no one cares. But if you do your job even averagely and something interesting happens, you'll likely get a commendation for doing your job. And if you screw up and manage to shoot an innocent person (or beat someone because they mouthed off), everyone else in your organization, including management, won't point the finger at you and sell you out like IT. They start throwing around words like "justified" and "resisting arrest" and "danger to himself and others" even if you tase some kid just for asking questions and saying "don't tase me bro."

        The great thing about your absolute assertions is that I only need prove one wrong to show your statement is 100% invalid. There are plenty of jobs out there where just doing your job will earn you accolades and not doing your job will get people to defend you, rather than hang you out to dry. IT may be a bit overpaid for an office admin position, but that's how most people see it. If you file everything perfectly, you'll get ignored. But file one thing wrong, and you'll get in trouble. IT is a high paid secretarial-level position. It's a waste of money, an expense that will never earn anything for the company, and they wish they could just replace you with a computer or something. But there are hundreds of other types of jobs out there, and they treat people much differently in them.
        • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
          Um, no, in my IT job I automate business processes. I am acknowledged and happy. They cannot replace me with a computer, until I program that computer to replace me. And, when I do, I will have other jobs to program the computer to replace, so they will keep me. Win, win, win.
    • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:23PM (#34921894) Journal

      ...the fact that you can read and/or modify anyone's email at whim can be used to create an underlying fear in your co-workers?

      I dunno... I got into the biz for the beer and the chicks. It's evident that I was lied to, but hey - at least I can still play with the neat tech toys as they arrive...

    • That is simple: programming is my passion. Some people have music, some people have numbers, but for me, I feel like a zen master when I program. I have tried doing other things with my life, but it comes back to programming. I wish I could explain it, but I could care less about recognition, as it is not about that. Life is about doing what you love, and I love programming. Simple
      • To many people, like is about recognition. many, many people.
        So you actually are lucky. Being happy with what you have and of what you do, it's a blessing

      • Then why work corporate IT? Work in academic IT areas. I'm back to school after 10 years out, working on a PhD. I've put in some time in IT, and I love programming. Now, I'm working on computer modeling. I'm doing more of the science than the programming, but there's still a fair bit of programming to be done. We have a guy in our research group who is pure IT/programming. He sets up our clusters, scripts up the tricky stuff, works on web interfaces for things - pretty much has free reign to do awesome.

    • Why would anybody want to work in INDUSTRY? If you do your job correctly, then everything runs smoothly, and you don't get any attention (or credit) at all. But as soon as something goes wrong, it's obviously because YOU FUCKED UP, and you get LOTS of attention! Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in INDUSTRY?

      This statement remains equally true when replacing "INDUSTRY" with any line of work you care to name.

      Why does this appear to be a revelation to you?

      • It's not as true with Industry as it is in IT. Exceptional Industry activity shows a direct increased productivity. Either more stuff gets produced, or waste is minimized, etc etc.

        Exceptional IT work basically means you are as un-noticable as possible. Nothing ever goes wrong, things never seem slow. Ideally you wouldn't even have to see them, they could probably fix your problem remotely in minutes.

        There are far more tangible stuff in Industry that you can see instead of IT. When IT does well, everyone els

    • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:47PM (#34922072) Journal

      Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in IT?

      Holy cow, did you even read TFA? The upside to working in IT is that you get to sell your own company pirated software, running a giant porn server from the company network, and stealing customer credit card numbers! Why WOULDN'T you work in IT?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's not my job to run the train, the whistle I can't blow.

      It's not for me to say how far the train's allowed to go.

      I'm not allowed to blow off steam, nor even clang the bell.

      But let the damn thing jump the tracks....and see who catches hell!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If you do your job correctly, then everything runs smoothly and you don't get any attention (or credit) at all. But as soon as something goes wrong, it's obviously because YOU FUCKED UP, and you get LOTS of attention! Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in IT?

      Like they say, you can always spot the extrovert in the IT department. He's the guy who stares at your shoes when he talks to you.

      The thing I like most about IT is that I get to play with cool toys, solve neat problems, and beyon

    • Sometimes it actually feels good to provide a smoothly running system to customers.

      It isn't all bad stuff...

    • not sure if money is all that good in IT anymore

    • by syousef ( 465911 )

      If you do your job correctly, then everything runs smoothly and you don't get any attention (or credit) at all. But as soon as something goes wrong, it's obviously because YOU FUCKED UP, and you get LOTS of attention! Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in IT?

      If you can't answer that question yourself, and your circumstances allow, perhaps you should look into a career change.

      Every job has it's downs. That's why it's a job not a hobby, and people get paid to do it. But if you can't find ANYTHING you like about your job a career change before it's too late might be the answer. Once you've got a family, the idea of changing and leaving your family without an income (esp. if you're the only bread winner) becomes less feasible.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      You get to play with cool new gear and you get respect from the guys that remember when systems were down for two or three days at a time before you started.
    • > Other than money, can anyone cite an upside to working in IT?

      The chicks, man. The chicks.

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      Alcoholism? Broken marriages? Dysfunctional children?

      Sorry, I may have missed a couple.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:18PM (#34921858) Journal

    No, seriously. It won't. If you think Management is going to own up to a fault (especially a massive one) of their making, and risk losing job, career, etc? Heh... good luck with working under that assumption.

    The best counter you can have against such a manager (especially one who consistently screws up) is to make sure you get a paper trail and project management chart all set - and get his signature on it! Then, be double-plus careful to note all changes and deviations, again with supporting evidence. It won't prevent an asshat from blaming you and/or your team anyway, but it will make fixing that blame much harder to do.

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      Just be careful that the screw up manager doesn't realize what you are doing, and replace you on his schedule for someone that isn't going to create a problem for him later. Honestly, if you have a boss that is going to sink you, you are doomed at that job anyway. The only hope at that employer is if you are just cya'ing yourself until you can either get transferred to another department, or the manager leaves the company. Think carefully about whether those are realistic possibilities or not.

      I am soo
    • The best counter you can have against such a manager (especially one who consistently screws up) is to make sure you get a paper trail and project management chart all set - and get his signature on it!

      Heh. Many managers become very skilled at trying to avoid being nailed down by paper trails. One of the tactics is to try and get things done by phone where it's your word against theirs and they try and convince you that certain things have been agreed when you know fine well they haven't. I've had experience of this recently, and I've become equally adept at not answering the phone to her and only agreeing things via a collaboration system that copies in all interested parties (that's where e-mail is good

  • by Stregano ( 1285764 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:29PM (#34921932)
    ...throw employees under the bus. My boss told me I had X number of days to get a project done (X = I don't remember the days). The code needs to go through a senior developer before it hits QA. Here is the kicker: I was given this project because a senior developer did not have time to get it done. Now you may be thinking, "Well if the senior developer did not have enough time to do it, wouldn't that mean that he would not have time to go through the code?" If that is your question, the answer is, you are correct. The senior developer did not have time to look this over. What happened was that this sat at the senior developer for about 3 days with my boss yelling and getting snarky at me. I told him where the code was. No changes were required for the code. What happened was that this manager was looking to get rid of me (there are reasons that there is no need to bring up, but let me just say he pulled me into some office politics and I had never been in the situation and did not know how to handle it). and since this was a new manager, he thought he needed to fire somebody so that everybody knew who was boss (I seriously had confirmation of this with people I have kept in touch with from the company). Also, the senior developer the boss really liked. Even though the senior developer took 3 days and found nothing, I got fired from it.

    What does this have to do with anything? My boss really liked the other person and did not want to tell people in a business meeting that the project was late due to him taking too long. I got thrown under the bus since according to my boss, "if it was going to take that long for the senior developer, I should have gotten my portion done in 4 days instead of the 7 I took".

    Some IT managers will blame everything on the "worker bees" (even if it was the manager himself who pulled in an unrealistic due date when he personally knew how busy the senior developer was). He knew that the senior developer could not get the project done in time and needed a scape goat or whatever it is called, so it was all pinned on me. I will not say all of them, because I have had some incredible IT managers as well.
    • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @08:58PM (#34922702)
      I see this happen all of the time. It really comes down to the fact that IT workers in the U.S. have no power and virtually little recourse of any kind. IT could benefit from unionizing but there is such a pervasive culture of fear that it would never happen. Unions can prevent petty situations like the story above by setting hard and fast contractual rules with the force of law not some arbitrary HR policy. We are treated at best as an expendable asset and at worst, an intangible liability. I am in the process of starting my own business and if and when I get big enough, I plan to start a new trend in which the "throwing under the bus" mentality will not be tolerated!
      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        The primary fear of unionizing IT in the US is not a fear of management, but a fear that the union turn out like every other union in the US.
        • By which you mean teamsters? It's not like that's the only way to run a union.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @11:20PM (#34923628)

          I agree with sibling. There are numerous ways to run a union. Furthermore, I'm of the opinion that unions have a bad rap because they piss off the top dogs in a company by demanding higher wages and healthy working conditions. And its these top dogs that then push this idea that unions are the root of all EVIL.

          For Joe Average, they're actually a godsend by ensuring workers have a voice. Are you really getting your money's worth by paying into union dues? Unless you've elected a dunce of a representative, of course you are! It ensures employees have a seat at the decision making table, rather than getting railroaded. (Ergo the bargaining table, not the 'employer (or employee) is 110% right' table)

          With IT making up such an important component of business now-a-days, there is no reason a worker should be treated like 80 hours per week, on-call weekends, cubicalized disposable refuse. Especially when you have CEO X crying out that they couldn't possibly afford unions, when he (and localized lackeys) still gets a massive end-of-year bonus.

          (Of course, in the hopes of not being fired/ever being hired, I'm posting as ac)

    • I have seen those tricks played firsthand.

      Some managers prefer to rule by fear. Unrealistic schedules allow them to arbitrarily assign blame; because everyone is behind schedule on paper, no one can effectively defend themselves to charges of slacking.

  • For want of a nail...

  • This is a fundamental flaw of top-down command and control, probably helped by a cover up culture.

  • by thewiz ( 24994 ) * on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:50PM (#34922100)

    There are a few things I've seen in work places that really contribute to the bashing:
    1. Suits who won't talk to IT staff
    2. IT staff that won't talk to suits
    3. Both sides bitch about the other behind closed doors and the grapevine still passes the scuttlebutt
    4. Both sides having a superiority complex

    I'd encourage the IT staffs to go and talk with your management. You'll be glad you did.

    • by jimicus ( 737525 )

      "Talk to" isn't the problem, I've yet to meet a manager who didn't like the sound of his own voice. "Listen to", however, is a totally different kettle of fish.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @07:52PM (#34922112)
    IT leadership in my company turns over about every 6 months to a year.

    For i until Bankrupt = 'yes'
              Huge problem happens...
              IT leadership is canned...
              New guy/girl comes in...
              BIG CHANGE!!!
              MASSIVE HIRING!!!
              BIG PROJECTS!!!
              Bill comes...
              VPs panic... there are charts and graphs depicting the panic in graphic detail...
              IT leadership is canned...
              Change canceled...
              Projects canceled...
              New IT leadership declares the "Restructuring" was a "Massive success"
    Next i
  • Nothing new... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stormthirst ( 66538 ) on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @08:17PM (#34922340)

    This is nothing new. Any industry is exactly the same. Blame it on whatever you like.

    I used to work in IT - management would screw over the staff at a moments notice for no readily apparent reason.
    I now work in Healthcare - where managed screw over the staff at a moments notice for no readily apparent reason.

    It's called Capitalism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, 2011 @08:34PM (#34922474)

    Reminds me of the programmer joke:

    A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he’s lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts to get directions, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"

    The man below says: "Yes. You're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."

    "You must work in Information Technology," says the balloonist.

    "I do" replies the man. "How did you know?"

    "Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but It's of no use to anyone."

    The man below replies, "You must work in management."

    "I do," replies the balloonist, "But how'd you know?"*

    "Well", says the man, "you don’t know where you are or where you’re going, but you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault."

  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @10:24AM (#34926970) Homepage

    Look at oldschool Russian communism. Anytime something went wrong, they'd tortue/interrogate/imprison anyone in order to extol the virtues of communism. In fact, they'd rather throw hundreds of people under the bus than admit that maybe they might possibly potentially be a problem. Sound familiar? Businesses are the same way.

    The people in charge will do absolutely anything to remain in charge. This includes cherry picking the most complacent and defeated workers, and even creating the most complacent and defeated workers through a long series of soul crushing punishments. Like punishing you with menial labor if you finish your assigned duties before the end date. Put in 110% once? Congratulations, that 110% is now your 100%. You'll miss that raise for not giving even more than that when someone else makes tiny but consistent improvements over a few years, even though you work twice as fast, more efficiently, etc.

    The end result is a crushed and defeated workforce. You can see this when people are too terrified to say hi to their supervisors or higher ups when they see them out in public. They instead avert their eyes in shame. Same thing in Russia, back in the day. You don't talk to a member of the Party because you might get interrogated.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.