Yep it is true and you aren’t paranoid. At least not in the aliens-are-about-to-abduct-me-is-that-a-black-helicopter-Kennedy-was-assassinated-by-the-Mafia-or-was-it-LBJ kind of way.
No, your feelings of paranoia are really just your natural sense of self-preservation honed by many years of being everyone’s whipping boy and reacting to how the IT world really is. Let’s look at the sources of your paranoia:
1. Senior executives: they never start out to get you. They start out with what they think are reasonable requests (“Could we implement an enterprise-wide CRM system for our 10,000 users by next Tuesday?”), and when you try to explain politely why they obviously are operating in a different universe than the one you inhabit, they get mad.
The reason they get mad is they don’t understand what you’re saying. You could be reciting the Old Testament in Swahili for all they know or care, and the fact that you can’t make it any clearer feels to them like a hearty slap on the back when they have a sunburn.
2. Vendors: they only want your money. They throw around the word “solution” even though they have no real idea what your problem really is and wouldn’t care if they did.
3. Your users: they often sound like they have real problems, but let yourself get too sympathetic and too involved and your productive time will be sucked into the same black hole that the white elephant created.
You know users will lie, cheat and sell their grandmothers if they can either get you to do their work for them or blame you for not helping them get their work done. They will get anyone they can, and you’ll do nicely because all the senior executives obviously have it in for you anyway.
4. Telecomms providers: once they get you (and your money) you can forget about support or service unless you are willing to either spend significant portions of your life on hold or pony up lots of cash for an over-priced, over-complicated support contract.
5. All those people who want your job: it’s a tough economy out there and from where they’re sitting, they can’t see the senior execs, the users and the telecomms providers.
6. Everyone else: yep, there’s the government trying to regulate privacy and it is (of course) your problem, the tax man who seems to think you work for him, hackers who just want to ruin your life ’cause they can, and . . . well, everyone.
Yep, in IT it pays to be paranoid. Just be glad you’re not a columnist.