Last week, I joined the IT support team at a school in Chingford. The third technician, a woman and with no experience whatsoever, I bring you the top then things I’ve learnt so far in this job.
1. A messy office is a busy office: is what my colleague assures me. I’m a little OCD so I’ve been finding it hard working in the messiest department ever to be found without clearing other peoples desks and offending them before they even get a chance to know me. There are cables everywhere, unknown monitors lying around and if you dare leave your phone on the table, it is likely to get buried alive.
However, it is an important part of being a technician and I see a bright and messy future ahead of me.
2. Act like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t: Confidence is key with this role. You have to go in a room full of people, not knowing what the problem is, diagnose it with a hundred eyes on your back and come up with a solution on your feet.
Mostly it’s acting like you know everything even when you don’t.
3. It’s a man’s department: It’s a rare occasion for you to get a woman sorting out your computer; we females just don’t have the technical minds and the ability to lift heavy-ass equipment up and down stairs. There’s not much gossiping in the IT department and football will always over-rule any other conversation. It’s refreshing to be in a manly environment – my inner tomboy embraces it.
4. Most wanted – IT Technicians: While I was shadowing the other IT Technicians, I quickly found that we could not walk down a corridor without being stopped by every person that saw us. Clinging to the shadows and hiding in the dark corners becomes your life. You are most wanted, everyone has a question, everyone needs instructions, you do not have a life anymore, you are a technical slave to the machines in the building.
5. It’s nothing like the IT crowd: For those of you who have watched that, we can’t wear junky, comfortable clothes, we don’t sit around all day and however much the situation calls for it, we can’t say “I’m sorry, are you from the past” to people.
For those who haven’t watched it, here is a link which will give you a bit of an idea of what I’m talking about.
6. Technician’s magic: It’s only been no more than seven days and so many times we have walked into a room where there previously was a technical problem. However, when we turn on the projector it works, when we print, the printer seems to be working fine, when we turn on the computer, the screen isn’t blank anymore. I’m sorry people, we know you aren’t lying when you hysterically call us, not knowing what’s wrong and then give us a defeated smile when we come to you and everything’s in top condition.
7. The phone doesn’t stop ringing: about ten thousand, three hundred and sixty-five calls come through in a day with messages on the answer phone that have no name, no idea where in the building to find them and a vague description of what the problem is. Grr.
8. Printers: They stop working for no apparent reason and after an effective bashing they start printing again. For the past three years I have fixed printers many times, never really finding out what the problem was.
9. The secret terms: We have:-
An Oracle – a lady who knows everything. I have been advised to see her if I have any questions about “IT, the school, or life in general”.
Gold Dust – Two-headed cables that are rarely found and that are treasured by the IT department.
The Bermuda Triangle – “Once you come in, you’re never seen again”, one of the staff members that work there said.
The Room That Doesn’t Exist – Nobody knows where it is, people don’t even know it exists. Can you find this room?
10. Caffeine will get you through the day: After being badgered about it several times, my techs in crime have finally given in to the fact that I will not, like them, have several cups of tea and coffee to get me through the day.
What I will have is several cans of Coke or Pepsi (whichever one is cheaper in Tesco).