Some people just don't care about IT

This was a doozy of a week at my job. Well, given the low morale spread throughout the entire company, from the office to the manufacturing employees, it always seems to be bad enough. However, things got worse yesterday. While most, (I won't deny, myself included) were just waiting for the day to end to collect our paychecks and head home for a nice weekend. But that didn't happen.

In the afternoon, one of the newly-bestowed 'supervisors' (and I use that term very loosely, as I don't think he's the right person for the job) gave one of the two IT technicians the pink slip. I don't know the reasons for termination, and I really don't care as it's none of my business, but it seems to have come out of the blue, without any single or even accumulative problems to back up the termination. With this, the other IT technician, already angry for other injustices he's witnessed personally from a management level, saw that as the straw that broke the camel's back, and immediately handed in his resignation. Two IT technicians on Friday morning, no one left afterwards.

As I said, I don't want to go into details into what happened. I'm a believer that things happen for a reason, and I'm sure both IT technicians, who were two of only four people I trust in that entire company, will get back on their feet, better than ever sooner rather than later. But 24 hours after the events took place, I'm still having a sinking feeling in my stomach about the way management has worked with this.

First off, while the main focus of the company I work for isn't directly associated with computers and electronics (we're mainly an electronics recycling company), it does play a major role in the company's growth. The company has a subsidiary to tell used computers and electronics as part of their recycling plan. As such, you'd expect that their IT department should be one of the highest-priority and highly-coveted departments they have.

If you read the beginning and noticed the amount of employees I mentioned above, you know that this isn't the case. As of Friday, the IT department consisted of the two technicians (the one who was fired was a part-timer, but not by choice), one guy who's being trained as we speak to do part of the technicians duties - testing computers, installing software, etc. - and one intern used to do the tedious testing of smaller parts like memory modules and hard drives. So in one fell swoop, half of the technicians - the actual trained ones - are gone.

While I'm mostly their lone programmer, I'm the only one around who knows how to work with the servers, a mix of Windows 2003 and Linux. Add in two supervisors thrown into the mix and are not fit for the job - one is actually the marketing director, the other more geared in working with industrial equipment rather than computers - and you'll find one very disorganized IT department. So much for being a highly-coveted department, don't you think?

From what I've read around the Internet, it seems like managers of all sorts of companies realize the importance IT plays in their overall strategy, but they fail to treat them as an important piece of the puzzle. And I'm witnessing this first hand. While the electronics recycling section is the bread and butter of my company, the sales of electronic equipment is what will take them to the next level. But things aren't being done to remedy the problems at hand.

Before both technicians left, there was basically one-and-a-half technicians doing the brunt of the work - not enough for the volume they want to move. With these people gone, I just know I'm going to be called to fill in while some other hapless soul walks into this mess of an IT department. The low volume, in turn, made management angry, using scare tactics such as saying that they're losing about $10,000 a month (which I think is bullshit - no one will withstand losing more than $100,000 a year in a company that probably doesn't make more that $1 million, probably, for two straight years) and stating that they're going to close the entire equipment testing operation, leaving them out of jobs. And they wonder why morale is so damn low.

While this is more of a personal piece geared at those who we lost at the company, the entire point is that if you have such great resources at your disposal, willing to get the company to reach new heights, as I personally know both technicians did, then treat them as such - an integral part of the business plan. You never know when your entire IT department just up and leaves.

Written by

Dennis Martinez

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