Face up to the real world, misfortune and all

I have a friend who suffered the misfortune of being named after a well-known Australian boxer. His father gave him exactly the same first and last name as the boxer with the expectation that the son would, one day, be a great Aussie brawler. But the sad reality is that my friend is as timid as a mouse.

In fact he is one of the most gentle men I have ever met. My friend is in a constant state of despair because he didn't live up to his father's expectations, and didn't live up to his famous name.

Even worse, his name is an endless reminder that he is not the tough man he was supposed to be, and a lifelong source of disappointment to his father.

This is a true story and before you feel sorry for my friend, remember that in the real world we have to accept that life isn't always as we would like it to be.

The challenge is to live with such shortcomings and make the most of our environment.

Thus, my friend, who just happens to be an IT manager, offers these helpful tips to those who work with technology.

1) Just face it; as the IT manager vendors see you as a depositary for all junkmail. Salespeople will forever bombard you with spam and unsolicited mail.

Learn to live with it.

2) Realise that end users are insatiable. Even with the best technology in the world and 100 percent uptime, end users are never satisfied. Remember the Rolling Stones tune, "I can't get no satisfaction?" Mick Jagger had end users in mind when he wrote that song.

3) Accept you know nothing about business. For heaven's sake you are a geek and have no idea when it comes to profit margins, strategy or KPIs.

Hell you are still grappling with ROIs. Business executives only refer to you when there is no one to blame for poor results or a failed project, that's when you step in to wear the flack.

4) Most people have a tough enough time using technology never mind understanding it. Therefore, realise most people are going to consider you either a magician or a mushroom. When the network is down you are a magician expected to wave a wand, say a few magic words and presto everything has to be up and working yesterday. For the rest of the time you are a mushroom.

5) Never rely on how-to guides, consultant reports and universal best practice checklists to be a success. While they are a principal source of education for sales people, for those of us in IT they have about as much value as a bumper sticker. Retrieve one of these inspirational motivators from your bin if you want to understand why salespeople are the way they are.

6) CEOs always know more than you do about technology. Humbly accept this. When they 'accidentally' delete files, misuse apps and lose laptops it is not their fault, they really do not know what they are doing. They are, in fact, testing you to see if you are doing your job correctly.

7) Everyone has a computer problem. Never admit at social events that you work in IT or you will be stuck in a corner solving everyone's IT problems for the duration of the party. As we all know those guys in IT just love to work 24x7.

Can you guess the rest? Tips 8, 9 and 10? E-mail your tips to sandra_rossi@idg.com.au

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