Great daydream…won’t happen…

Posted by joy

Mike McBride linked to this article proposing a “Total Computing Initiative” for your workplace.

While it’s a great idea in theory, it just won’t work. I’ve been on the frontlines, just trust me, it won’t work. Why? Well, it’s mostly because of two factors, the precedence that one’s organization places on Information Technology skills and the median skills and interest of joe and jane employee.

Suffice it to say that during my previous employment, I actually worked at a place that considered IT like number 9 out of a list of 10 priorities. It was of no coincidence that this organization was a professional organization (healthcare, but it often happens in legal and financial circles too), thusly, our Human Resources folks put a bit more precedence on, say, a physician’s clinical ability rather than his ability to use Word. While this may seem abhorrent to some IT folks, that is just the way it is. As a young, doe eyed tech at the time, my then-boss broke it out this way…clinical personnel make at least double what you do, so we don’t want them wasting time on something you could do cheaper. Yes, it’s crass, and yes, it was oh so true. And let’s not get into the politics of training personnel for a changeover to different technology. I’ll bet there isn’t one person reading this who has not run into the longtime employee who doesn’t want to learn something new.

Secondly, as an instructor, I taught adults computer skills for almost 7 years. I have taught students who really wanted to learn and those who were in class because they needed new job skills Even though most of the self selected students were older (my average student was a middle aged female) and of that generation which did not have computers when they were in school, most of the individuals who were there because for job skills were actually my age and younger. These younger students understood the concept of a computer, but didn’t understand (and honestly, didn’t hold an interest above what they needed to accomplish for their jobs) the specific steps to accomplish a particular task. Their interest in “how a computer worked” parallels mine in “how I understand the inner workings of my Jeep”. As long as it worked “ok”, we’re good to go.

In other words, unless IT becomes a priority in your organization, you (Mr. or Mrs. IT tech.) get to bear the brunt of the higher levels folks who want your IT solution to “just work”. Training, having your HR department carefully and consistently (ha ha) screen for computer skills before your fellow employees get in the door are measures which will help, but I honestly believe that unless a large number of people have an interest in learning and keeping up with technology, the IT department will still have to deal with “itdiots”.

One Response to “Great daydream…won’t happen…”

  1. bill Says:

    Couldn’t have said it better joy, you hit the nail on the head as the saying goes :)

    You interested in polls Joy? Let me know. Free for BETA Testers :)