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Women, Blacks and Computer Programming

I wasn’t planning on writing another post on this blog, with the exception of my “Bye” post–and the only reason that hasn’t gone up yet is because I don’t know what to write (other than “bye”). But I want to write at least a little bit more than that for the, what, two readers I have.

Perhaps it is not so bad that “it’s so hard to say goodbye,” or else I wouldn’t be posting the following, which may be enlightening to some who are interested in the following topic. And here it is:

So, I haven’t written a lot about this while keeping this blog, but I am attempting to transition into a career as a programmer or software (or web) developer. I’ve taken a couple of online classes, but I am sick of the online route and feel that I need something that is faster and more structured, as well as more in depth. This has led me to do some research on what is out there that might fit me.

I ran across some bootcamp classes, which…bootcamp sounds great to me. Nobody I’ve talked to about it seems to like the idea of my going to bootcamp. In fact, some of them don’t like it for some of the reasons why I love it, i.e. you learn a lot in a short amount of time. And, obviously, there’s the cost of bootcamp.

Anyway…not the point. The thing about the bootcamps is every bootcamp pic is full of whites and Asians, most of them male. These bootcamps are always like, “Oh, 95% of our graduates get jobs as developers within a few months of completing bootcamp”…but…all of their grads lack melanin, which leaves me wondering whether or not I’d be able to get a job after bootcamp (if I actually went). It’s not like I’m just black or just a woman and have at least sex or at least race in my corner–I’m both. This led me to do some more research–this time about women and blacks in this field.

Every time I search on this topic, I find articles and blog posts that wonder why blacks aren’t attracted to programming or why women aren’t majoring in Computer Science anymore. And there’s a lot of discussion, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a–for lack of a better word–“correct” answer. So, I’m going to cut the bullschitt and tell you my truth.

Why didn’t I study Comp. Sci, and why do I think blacks don’t become programmers or developers?

1) Frankly? Every time I think of all of those whites and Asians in those bootcamp pics, especially the guys you could tell are super geeky, I seriously ask myself if I want to spend entire workdays–or even bootcamp–surrounded by a bunch of geeky whites and Asians with whom I have nothing in common but this one interest.

For one thing, I am not a geek. I’m a nerd. There’s a difference. I think people who are attracted to stuff like programming tend to be geeks. Geeks and nerds usually have different personalities and different interests. I think nerds have more of a mainstream quality to them, to the point where sometimes you have to get to know someone before you realize he/she is a nerd. I’m incredibly capable of fitting in with “average” people and having conversations that don’t go above everyone’s head about everyday things. When I tell jokes, they’re actually funny to “average” people. Stuff like that.

I’ve seen definitions that basically switch the meaning of “geek” and “nerd,” but this is based on my daily observations–I think nerds are basically just more intellectual (in a broad range of subjects) and more quiet than everyone else, but geeks flatout don’t make sense to other people, tend to specialize in their knowledge and look odd, to boot. Think Jessie Spano (nerd) vs Screech Powers (geek) from “Saved By the Bell.”

Now, some of the “reasoning” and guessing I’ve seen as to why women, for example, don’t head towards programming involves the perception that it’s “uncool” or “uncool” people work in programming. This is not what I’m saying, so don’t get it confused. I’m not cool, not interested in it. I don’t particularly believe women are looking for cool careers/co-workers, but I do think a lot of women want to feel comfortable at work…and there are many things I can see with programming that can lead to some discomfort. This is doubly true if you’re a black woman. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’ve socialized for a long time, have worked for a long time, around all kinds of people. It’s way too complicated for a blog post, so all I can tell you is that 1) I know enough to know that dropping a fairly normal black–or even white or Asian (but especially a black)–female into a geeky white-guy space is going to be kind of awkward for everyone involved, and 2) you’re going to have a hard time finding a black person or a woman who is truly an all-out geek or even truly a full-fledged nerd, which further exacerbates what would surely be an issue of cultural fit in the workplace. Let’s face it–if you went out geek profilin’, you’d be looking for white or Asian guys. You profile black men in a different way. There are reasons for this.

The thing about it is, as I’ve written time and time again, cultural fit makes or breaks you on the job. Nobody’s going to convince me otherwise–I believe hard/good work and skill level have ridiculously little to do with advancing on the job or being treated well/fairly–and I think this is something most people understand on some level. It can keep you from getting your foot in the door, which is what led to my questioning whether or not bootcamp post-employment would work for me quite the same way it allegedly works for white guys and Asian guys and a few token non-black women. And other times, you can get through the door but get treated differently than everyone else once you’re inside.

This is not to say that my concern is discrimination, per se. It really is more so thinking about the kind of people by which I’d be surrounded and the awkwardness of it due to my lack of geekiness, my race and my sex vs the geekiness, race and sex of others. Discrimination is mainly an issue, for me, in terms of even being able to get hired in the first place.

2) Um…I’m almost 33 years old. So…when I was in high school deciding what I might want to major in during college–and then when I went to college–I don’t really remember much in the way of computer programming being offered. Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t anything. But…you’ve got to admit, that kind of thing has gotten more popular, more mainstream, and it’s all thanks to the tech explosion. So, you had an exposure problem back then that doesn’t exist to the same degree anymore. Now with cell phones and cell phone apps everywhere, how can studying Comp. Sci or wanting to find out how to develop programs not cross anyone’s mind? Frankly, if it weren’t for Androids and the iPhone, I don’t think I’d be looking into programming or development. It still never really would have crossed my mind.

So why is it that the number of women majoring in Comp. Sci has actually dropped now? Beats me. I’m surprised women ever were majoring in it…or anyone else, for that matter. But more so women…which leads me to my next point…

3) It strikes me that, back in the day, if you ended up in programming, there had to be a way for you to learn about that field’s existence. It wasn’t like law or medicine or teaching, i.e. something that’s very visible, sexy and/or overly-discussed. Something had to make those people say, “Hey, how do I get into this?”

I think little boys get into things that make them ask that question more than little girls do. The best example I can think of is video games. And I’m not saying little girls don’t play video games. I played them, and I still do. Still, I’ve never been a “gamer” by any stretch of the imagination (I play sports games predominantly, which most gamers do not play). And “gamers” almost always are guys. Again, it’s like being a geek–there are female geeks, but they almost never completely capture the essence of being a geek the way so many guys do. Gaming is the same way.

My point is, if you play video games all the time and you love them, it’s your passion…eventually, you’re going to wonder about how to create a video game. Therefore, more little boys are going to wonder about it at some point and proceed to investigate how you can “create” games, programs, software.

Now, I think with the tech explosion and kids way too young to be having cell phones still having them…it’s going to be more of an equalizer for women and minorities, i.e. we’ll see more and more girls and young minorities grow up surrounded by and doing things that plant the programming seed. But when I was growing up? I don’t think that was the case.

The one thing I do still see is minority households–particularly black and Latino–seem to be less likely to have technology such as computers or cell phones in the home than everyone else. My sister, for example, has never had a computer with high-speed internet access in any of her homes (um, apartments). This means she has a 19-year old daughter who has never had a computer or laptop. She has kids who are even younger than that who have never had a computer or laptop. It’s unthinkable to me and probably to a lot of people. I actually grew up with computers, for the most part, and I don’t think most people my age can say that (I’m talking elementary school, we had a computer in the living room). It’s probably one of the reasons why I have been able to break into IT without a related degree or any certifications and perform as well as people who have Comp. Sci/IT-related degrees and certs. But kids like my sister’s kids? There’s no way in the hell they’re going to become programmers or for programming as a career to seriously cross their minds. Heck, I grew up with computers, and it never crossed my mind until the last few years.

4) One thing I will say [write]–and it has been flowing through this post without directly stating it–is that one thing people have to get over if they’re seriously going to discuss the lack of women/blacks in IT, including in programming…is that women are different from men and blacks are different from whites (and then, to go even further, black women different from white women and so on). The…end. I saw a blog post within the last week where the comments just kind of…[sighs]…got out of hand with this, “Well, women don’t have the brains for this…” and the “OMG, that’s ridiculous…” kind of stuff. I mean…I’m not even talking about brain chemistry. I’m talking about being raised a certain way, probably more than anything else, and then societal expectations/steering to some degree. I don’t have all the answers with that. I just think it’s a complicated, hard-to-explain thing, but if you’re going to talk about it or write about it you can’t ignore that there are just differences there. And the differences don’t just boil down to discrimination or mental capacity. I have articulated several of them.

5) Finally, one thing that keeps a lot of people from pursuing anything tech-related is the perception that it’s too hard to learn and some people just have some innate ability to “get” these things. But I think the best-kept secret is that technology is nowhere near as complicated as people act like it is. The geeks keep you well-fooled. They had me fooled for a while. Now I know that you don’t have to be a tech geek in order to understand some of this stuff and to do it for a living. The only thing that keeps jobs in the IT industry and IT people employed is people refusing to believe that and running to the nearest perceived tech geek for every little thing instead of figuring it out. I was one of the few people who would actually sit and figure stuff out, and google whatever I couldn’t (still do), and now I work in IT with a BA in psychology and a law degree. Now, some people aren’t smart enough to figure out anything tech-related, and that’s fine. But anybody who is pretty intelligent and who has the interest can get this stuff.

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Close To the End

Sometime last year, I believe it was, I intended to abandon my blog and even posted that I probably wouldn’t be adding posts. For some reason, I came back to it.

Now here we are again with the same thing–I’m thinking that I have a few more posts I want to put up, and then either I will continue blogging here privately, start anew somewhere else or stop altogether. I am leaning towards one of the latter two, as I am not feeling WordPress. I have started looking into other options a little bit.

There are probably two main reasons why I’m thinking of going private, somewhere else or stopping.

First of all…I’ve had at least two blogs before over the years, prior to this one…I have to say that blogging has changed quite a bit, not to mention the way people respond to blogs and what they expect from them has changed…and I liked it better the way it was before. I think WP, in particular, embodies some of my issues with it, and this is why I’d like to get away from WP. If there is something that fits me better and I find it, I might start up there. I find WP (or, more accurately, its culture) a little too–for lack of a better description–agenda-based and strategic. Blogs are becoming less about sharing or having a platform for expression, and more about making money, getting popular, starting/supporting a career or product/works…although some bloggers find their perfect combination of expression and money/popularity/career. It’s business-y. It’s increasingly impersonal. I understand using blogs as a marketing tool but just don’t like how it’s pushing other types of blogs to the bottom.

The other big thing in blogging is focusing on a particular topic, which I think often goes back more towards getting popular/hits. There’s not always anything wrong with this; one of the few blogs I read religiously is like this, even though the topic doesn’t quite apply to me (but the blogger personalizes it the majority of the time, and that’s what makes it interesting to me). But sometimes I feel like I’m in high school or a competition I didn’t intend to enter. It feels like the vast majority of “follows” I get are people trying to bring more attention to their blog. I might not have expected much interest when I started blogging and still really don’t, but I didn’t expect to be used, either…nor do I appreciate it. If I’m interested in what you’re selling (sometimes literally, selling), I will find you. My previous blogs were on Blogspot, albeit back in the day (over 5 years ago now since I abandoned the last one) when things were different, and/so I didn’t have the kind of issues there that I have with WP. But Blogspot has changed a ton–and not, in my opinion, for the better–as well.

For over a year now, I have often found myself wanting to read but not knowing what I want to read. Usually, I want a good book or something on my Kindle app. I used to love reading literature, reading about social issues…but I think those things have run their course with me. I think I’ve finally realized the problem is I am a little more interested in just reading about real people and real experiences. For a good book, I don’t know where to find that–there’s no genre called “People”…but there’s romance, business, finance, self-help, etc. I used to be able to find a good blog and find it in that, and it’s getting to the point where I can’t…at least not with the right combo of “good blog,” “good writing” and “not a teenager or might as well be a teenager” (i.e. often 25 or younger) with regular posts. There are online diaries and online journals, but those are usually very teenaged/might-as-well-be.

Second…since I am not one of those people who checks blog stats and visits, I am not sure who reads my blog. I feel confident that I have few regular visitors. That’s not the issue, but it does make it easy to feel okay with abandoning the blog or going private. The issue is that a long time ago I gave my link out to some people I know, back when I would have been perfectly fine with them reading it. I know almost for a fact some of them don’t read it–they are too into other things/people/self to ever stop by. It’s okay, because, at this point, I don’t want them to read it. But if it’s out there with the same url and public, they can read it any time they want to…so might as well not give them anything else to read. If I start a blog elsewhere, the link will not be posted here and I won’t be giving it to them. So, they can see stuff they theoretically already could have seen here, but nothing at the new spot or nothing privatized.

There are other people to whom I gave the link, and I don’t know if they read it and don’t want to know. I don’t want them to read it, either, at this point vs how I felt at the time, because I’ve put more thought into it and realized they have access to me in ways I don’t have access to them. I don’t mean in terms of how much I reveal so much as the fact that, possibly, I am even revealing anything to them vs what I get from them.

So, that’s that. I want to put up my last bit of advice on finding a job, so that will go up soon. There might be a couple more posts because there are things I’ve been thinking about posting. Then there will be the “Bye” post.

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Expressing Opinions

I want to touch on a topic spreading throughout WordPress. And first I want to make this clear–sometimes when people give their thoughts, the way they express them comes off as stating opinions or viewpoints as facts or 100% truth. Just about everything I write is my perspective, my observation, my viewpoint…even if stated as fact. The assumption might be that this goes without saying, but the tone still can be bothersome. It gets kind of know-it-all-ish or makes you seem close-minded even if you’re not trying to be, so I want to be sure to make it known the following is just how I see it.

A blogger here has started a project on opinions. The response to it seems to be good so far. I took a look at the template, and a couple of the questions stood out to me. The questions were about “the right to an opinion” and being “allowed an opinion”. I was at work, so I had to comment through my cell phone. Basically, I said those two questions don’t make sense to me, which they don’t. Unless you’re one of those power texters, you can’t really type much using a cell phone, and since I barely text I couldn’t really type much.

I haven’t read much else on or related to the project, though I read a few submissions posted on other blogs to see how other people addressed those questions about the right to an opinion. I did see where the blogger posted about a Saudi activist being punished for a blog or site he had to discuss religion, seemingly to voice some disagreement with Islam. The blogger says, “Opinion is still punished in much of the world! If you don’t believe that read the article.”

See, I don’t believe “opinion” is punished, although that may be the intent–maybe the Saudi court wanted to punish an actual opinion in an attempt to make it look wrong or make it disappear. But I believe what’s actually being punished is people, for expressing opinions or opening (or attempting to open) avenues to do so. And I think the article supports that. To me, the two things are different.

I think we all live in countries where the powers-that-be don’t want us to think certain ways, but our countries’ powers respond differently to that depending on the country. You might be in a country in Africa and start a blog advocating for gay rights when your people in power are fervently against it, and you might be arrested or face physical harm and have your blog taken down. But someone else in that same country might think the exact same things, just this person doesn’t have a blog or use any other means of expression. The person who hasn’t expressed an opinion is fine; the person who has is catching all the schitt. More than likely, both of these people are still going to have the same opinion, regardless of the government’s response to the blog. But the person without the blog gets to keep that opinion without consequence.

I believe “right” and allowance go with “expression.” “Opinion” is something that exists regardless of what anyone else wants, does or says, and no one can take it from you and it doesn’t have to be expressed. And it can only be changed if you want it to be or allow it to be. Punishment, consequences, censorship–those come when you open your mouth or put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. All of us, regardless of where we live, live that every day. I know I do. We lose jobs in America. We lose friends. Votes, media favor, record sales, fans, ratings. We get harassed and alienated. So we learn to say nothing or do it anonymously. A few of us say, “Fuck it, I’ll deal with the consequences” or “I’ll apologize later and pretend I didn’t mean it.” We see that last one play out every week in the media, especially when it comes to race and sexual orientation.

So, when I say the questions don’t make sense to me, I only mean they don’t make sense to me. Apparently, it made some sense to at least 30 people. A lot of schitt that makes sense to others doesn’t make sense to me, and vice versa. It’s a matter of perspective, interpretation, assumption, semantics…things like that.

Oh, and…one of the participants in the project responded that we are not born with rights; they are something people have fought to have. I don’t entirely agree. If I’m born after the fight and it was decided post-fight that everyone henceforth will have such fought-for right, then I am born with the right.

Just opinions, folks–all WP is full of is opinions anyways.

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The Cheerful vs The Sleepyheads: Saying Good Morning

[To learn 6 reasons why someone might not like to say “Good Morning,” feel free to skip down to the bold print]

I am not always particularly grouchy when I’m sick, but this time around I am. I have been an @ss this week at work, which is what keeping this blog is supposed to prevent. I am quite a bit more “leave me the hell alone”-ish than usual, which means I’m not going to bother acting with co-workers the way I normally do. One of the things I can’t begin to fake this week is all this “Good Morning” bullschitt.

I remember sitting in my sister’s house in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, whining to her and my mother about how I can’t stand all that “Good Morning,” “Good Morning,” “Good Morning” nonsense I face when I get to work. This was never really anything that annoyed me until I began my current job. I mean…my previous job, for example, was in a corporate environment. People would come in and go to their cubicles and maybe screw around for a bit before they actually started to work. A couple of people might say “Good Morning” to me, but not many. Because it was so few people, I could muster enough energy to at least nod.

My current job is at a big warehouse, where we work on all kinds of electronics. We work in sections…you know, you sit by the people who have the same manager as you. There are maybe 11 or 12 people in my section, and it’s not even just these people who want to say “Good Morning” and receive a response–it’s, like, almost every-fucking-person in the warehouse. Man, I can’t hang, and now “Good Morning” makes me want to pull my hair out.

Being sick, today I was basically like, “Fuck this schitt,” and ignored some people. Then, being sick, it’s not as if I feel like doing any work or am particularly scared of getting fired (because at least I can go get in the bed)…so I did what I always do when I get intellectually curious about a topic and whipped out the ole SG3 and googled people’s opinions on this “Good Morning” schitt.

Once again, I find a huge gap in understanding between people who aren’t into “Good Morning” and people who like to say it. You know me–I like to try and bridge these lack of understandings.

So, let’s talk about this discussion thread where, like, 90% of the responders are overreacting about people not saying “Good Morning” back to them. I’ll provide a few quotes and then respond.

Lately, it has apparently become OK to be really rude to coworkers, especially first thing in the mornings.
I have a few coworkers that won’t say a damn thing when I greet them in the morning. They’ll look right at me, and they definitely hear me, but they don’t say a word–not even a “go to hell” from them.
Am I getting worked up over nothing? I don’t have thin skin, and I’m not particularly a morning person myself. But I do think it’s common courtesy to be polite to folks.

Well, is it rude? Maybe. I’m sure I have greeted or acknowledged someone before and they didn’t respond or acted as if they didn’t see/know me, and I’m sure I felt the person was an @ss. But you know what? I just told myself not to greet/acknowledge that person again and shook it off. One of my mottos in life is to treat people the way they treat you. I take my cues from other people when it comes to social interaction, meaning I will do what they do to me only, which means I act different ways with different people and treat everyone differently. I read personalities. And I act and react accordingly.

So, basically, my thought is you don’t have to say “Good Morning” to everyone. If you like to say “Good Morning,” I think you should say it to the people who seem receptive to it and simply leave other people be without getting offended or too offended. It is simply a personality difference.

Along the same lines…

Just my opinion here, but i always feel a “Vibe” from people who are deliberately being rude. I would prefer to get along with everyone(Especially in a working envoirnment), but it’s just not realistic. There will always be people that are not happy no matter what. In this particular case, i wouldn’t say a word after they ignorned me. And i also wouldn’t say “Good morning” or much else to them unless it was required for a task at work. Shrug it off, and consider it one less “personality” to put up with.
It’s one of 2 things. Either they don’t hear you, which you stated you don’t think is the case. Or they don’t respect you enough to be polite. If i respect someone, i do my best to be polite even when i’m in a bad mood(Aka morning time).

There are a lot of comments in that thread where people talk about those who don’t respond or don’t respond “correctly” as being rude, miserable, grumpy, unhappy, disrespectful, hateful…or whatever. Not saying “Good Morning” doesn’t always have anything to do with these things. It doesn’t mean you can’t get along with this person. This person just doesn’t want to, for whatever reason, say “Good Morning.” I will provide several of my own reasons in a little bit. But a lot of these responses are people reading too much into someone’s lack of response, and reading incorrectly, might I add.

Look, I’m from the South, so I believe in good manners. But there’s a fine line between manners (or if you want to call it “polite”/”common courtesy”) and trying to force something on people, which is why I say to greet the people who are open to it and leave others alone. If you keep greeting people who never greet you with an expectation regarding behavior, then you are moving over from having good manners to trying to force someone to respond the way you want them to based on your thought processes…and you can’t force people to do anything. You might think everyone should say “Good Morning,” but not everyone believes that. I’m not going to go to New York and lecture people about how they need to do things us Southerners believe is right because it’s what we were taught growing up. Indeed, I adjusted to how people behaved in the Midwest when I lived there and didn’t get on the internet all offended because it wasn’t the case that 80% of all strangers were grinning in my face like they do in the South. My sister and I talked about it when we both lived in the Midwest, and she used to think people in the Midwest were rude. But after being there 10 years I think she has adjusted, as well.

In other words, what you might consider “common courtesy” is still an opinion and a belief system–it’s far from being American culture or the law. There will always be people who don’t subscribe to what you think is common. I wonder how these “Good Morning” people would feel if I said I think they are complete annoying morons for being so damn happy early in the morning, which is totally what I think. It wouldn’t be tolerated, even though they expect us to tolerate them and the opinions in that thread. Still, I’m not the one whose opinion when they say “Good Morning” makes me damn-near want to report them to my manager and never speak to them again. It’s crazy.

I dont like the grumpy morning people, but it seems like many people are grumpy in the morning. So i just let it slide.
Funny thing is, most of the grumpy people are NON-coffee drinkers.
Maybe they should try a 1/2 cup in the morning. hahaha

Yeah, no. It’s true, I don’t drink coffee…and I’m not about to. Coffee not only tastes bad, but it makes your breath stink. Yeah, I said (wrote) it. Your breath stinks, coffee guzzler. Plus, like I’m really about to start drinking nasty-@ss coffee to accommodate your need to hear “Good Morning” back from me. Get a life, because this is why I think you’re a moron–you want me to change to accommodate you. There are plenty of people willing to say “Good Morning” to you, so fuck off the ones who aren’t.

Boy, if that’s the biggest problem you have at work I’d say count your blessings and enjoy your good fortune…

I mean, seriously. And you people think I like to complain about nothing.

So, why don’t I want to say “Good Morning” to you?

1) First and foremost, there’s no such thing as a “good morning.” In other words, “I’m not a morning person.” But “there’s no such thing” is far more accurate, to me. There is absolutely nothing to be happy about at 7am, people. Fair point about being happy to see another day, but, then again, it’s not as if I’m life’s biggest fan, in case you couldn’t tell by the name of my blog.

Now, does not believing in good mornings make me a grumpy @sshole in general? Not really. You just need to wait to say “Good Morning” to me until, at the earliest, 10am. In fact, not only do I not want to say “Good Morning” to you as soon as I step foot in the door, I don’t want to say anything to you. I want to find a nice little four-wall enclosure and hide in it. Has nothing to do with not liking you, respect, or anything but not understanding why in the hell work starts so fucking early and lasts so fucking long. Baby, at 7, 8 and 9am, I am still mentally, vocally and emotionally asleep. Get over it.

2) I don’t have the energy. For one thing, it doesn’t matter what time I go to sleep, I am a night owl by nature…so I physically will not be “all there” in the mornings, no matter what. Add to that 50 million people wanting a greeting, and I really don’t have the energy.

This point about energy is especially important for the “just be polite and say it back” crowd. Anytime you’re being, doing, saying something you don’t mean, it takes more energy than being sincere. Being fake is a lot of work, and I should know because I don’t naturally fit any of the “supposed to”s when it comes to personality at work. I have to spend so much of my day pretending and talking when I don’t feel like it, and that’s already for the sake of what other people want from me since it matters so much in keeping your job nowadays. So, if you’re asking me to be a little more fake first thing in the morning, basically 30-45 minutes after I’ve woken up, put energy I don’t have into getting ready for and getting to work, and already not being a morning person…it’s not going to happen…especially not with the quantity of people expecting it.

3) I think there’s a difference here between people who like their job and people who don’t, or at least people who like the people at their job. If you wake up in the morning happy to go to work, you’re more likely to be a “Good Morning” person. If you wake up in the morning liking what you do, same thing. If you wake up knowing you’re about to interact with and have some laughs with this person or that person, same thing.

My personal philosophy is work is work; it’s nothing to like. I can’t deal with hating a job or a job that makes me physically ill, which is how my last two jobs were (migraines every day). But there’s never going to be anything that makes me want to get up in the morning and go to work, as far as a job. I would always rather get up and watch “Mike & Mike” and “The Herd” on ESPN–always. The closest I’ve gotten to hopping up out the bed happy in the morning to go to work is when I had a co-worker on whom I had a crush, and that was years ago. I have friends at work and everything, but I can so do without them. People who thrive on social interaction far more than I do will look forward to seeing their work friends more than I do. I wake up saying, “I can’t wait to come home”…and that’s before I even leave the house (or the bed). [Shrugs]

4) If you have a problem with people who don’t respond to “Good Morning,” think about how many people are at your job. I’ve mentioned quantity several times. If someone is like me, i.e. not outgoing or very sociable, or not into mornings, having several different people come by expecting you to talk to them gets so…annoying. As I mentioned, there’s only so much energy you can gather if you don’t have it. Speaking to 15 different people in the first hour or so of work is exhausting if it’s not naturally your thing. So remember, you’re not the only one coming at this person.

5) What I really don’t get and can’t stand is…I’m sure some of these people who are throwing a huge fit about people not responding to “Good Morning” are people who never speak to you otherwise throughout the day. In that case, I especially don’t feel I “owe” you any effort or speech in the morning. For me, people who work in my section are different from these other people who walk by throughout the day. My friends are different, and people who have been very nice or helpful to me since I’ve been at this place are different. I am far more likely to scrounge up the energy to say something to people in my section, my friends and people who have done something for me. I don’t fucking know all these other people, which is all the more reason for them to not throw a hissy fit. So, if you’re losing it over some very random person not acknowledging you, you really need to stop and smell the nasty-@ss coffee.

6) Almost forgot…this stuff about “common courtesy,” being rude or polite, etc…these same people whining, I’m sure, do plenty of things that others can consider rude and don’t do other things that people consider common courtesy–things that are probably more important than saying “Good Morning.” The most common thing I see people do, which I think is rude and inconsiderate, is linger in the way. Sometimes people look right in your face and then continue barely moving when you’re trying to get somewhere. When I was in school, students commonly hogged sidewalks and doorways and never thought anything of it all the while others are needing to get by. Today, one of those “Good Morning” b!tches did this, and in the mood I’m in this week I know I said out loud something like, “Gosh, get the fuck…out…of…the…way“…just don’t know if it was loud enough to be heard, as I had my earphones in my ears playing music.

Different strokes…she appreciates a “Good Morning” while I appreciate people moving their self-centered @sses when they see other people in need of the same space. That’s all.

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The About Pages

I’m off to jam before bed (I napped for a while, or else I’d just be going to bed right now), but just wanted to mention that I added a new “about” page concerning this blog, i.e. “About the Blog.” Important reading.

Also, for those who don’t know, there is an “about” page (“The Best Life Has To Offer”) that has links to my posts that seem to have gotten the most interest from people. It has been there for a while. I’m not one of those people who tracks page views and things like that, so it goes by likes and how many followers I got immediately after those posts.

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I Am Chronically Unacceptable

I don’t like talking about romantic relationships. I find it a particularly unpleasant, uncomfortable topic. I won’t talk to most of my friends most of the time about my relationships because I can sense they don’t care, or they care up to a point–i.e. the “how we met” kind of details vs the “I’m having problems/need advice/feel hurt” type of stuff. They don’t want to hear the latter, which is all I have to talk about 95% of the time when it comes to relationships. I won’t talk to them about my lack of relationships because I know that they will poo poo the negativity, i.e. the “I will never find anyone”s and the “love is bullschitt”s. And I don’t like talking or hearing about other people’s relationships, especially if they’re happy. That’s just the truth. Keep your happy coupledom over there.

Now that I have work friends–another female has joined the mix after she walked over to me and Clara last week, told us we’re having too much fun and that she wants in on it (the adult version of “can I be friends with you?”)–I am getting badgered about why I say I am never getting married and tortured hearing about Clara’s boyfriend. That started last week. And then this past weekend, I made the mistake of stumbling across all this schitt that underscored just how unlikely it is that I will ever get married.

Dating and relationships are tough all around. I am exposed enough to the straight world to know it’s tough for a lot of straight people. It’s just a tough thing. But think about what it must be like, first of all, for gays and lesbians, who are dealing with a limited pool with somewhere between 5 and 10% of the population being gay/lesbian. And then throw being black on top of it, especially a black woman–the population that has the toughest time dating. And now I am in, I’d say, the two toughest populations when it comes to dating.

If you ever do an internet search on black lesbians and dating, you’ll probably run across a few blogs. Two of them are just…maddening bullschitt. Not going to name names, put links or anything like that. Not trying to start trouble, and I don’t waste time arguing with narrowminded people because…you might as well just find a nice, sturdy wall and yell at it. Could be because it’s that time of the month, but they pissed me off when normally I don’t get pissed outside of sports. What pissed me off is in these two blogs, black lesbians bash black lesbians. What makes me laugh is then these two b!tches wonder why they have such a hard time finding the right woman. One of them actually claims to want a black lesbian while the other one seems caught between wanting a black lesbian and being, like, a lesbian Tiger Woods. But neither get why they can’t find that right black woman. Wait, that’s not quite right–they think they can’t find that right black woman because, essentially, 99% of black lesbians aren’t good enough for them.

I don’t spend time in the LGBT community, although I have tried to do that in the past. But one thing I’ve noticed is several black lesbians are a cross between men and straight black women when it comes to the way they talk about what they want in a mate and why they reject others. I often find straight black women as snobbish and unrealistic [for them, not for all women–but considering black women aren’t on an even playing field with other women due to society’s ignorance, yes, unfortunately, unrealistic for them] with their standards. That’s not to say everything on their list is snobbish or unrealistic, but some of it is and then they wonder why they can’t find the man they want. More on that in a second.

As far as the comparison to men, what’s most notable and, perhaps, most disappointing is just the way some black lesbians describe other black women/lesbians with the tone of “you don’t match what I’m looking for; therefore, something is wrong with you” vs simply “that’s not my thing.” I feel like men indirectly send messages to women that because they’re not this, that or the other, there’s something wrong with them. That’s where a lot of our sex/gender inequality and women’s low self-esteem compared to men has come from, and, yet, we have a group of women doing this same thing to women.

One thing I notice the more snobbish, “you’re not this way, so something’s wrong with you” black lesbians always love to do is proclaim how intelligent and/or educated they are. I…????? Like, so? These women, straight and lesbian, are always talking about how black women are looking for someone on their level but they’re going to have a hard time finding it in another black person. I graduated from top-ranked universities, got a professional degree. Let me tell you–intelligence and education don’t have to come from school. Just because I attended elite schools and earned a professional degree doesn’t mean I must only date someone who did the same thing. For years, the smartest person I knew aside from myself was someone who attended one of those acting/music schools for a while and then left and just worked jobs…then eventually went to school for audio recording, and then again went to school for acting. She has never been to a regular ole 4-year university. But philosophy, sociology, literature, politics–you name it, she could go from topic to topic for hours and give good conversation. “Intelligent” black women really have their heads up their @sses about this one, just thinking they’re too intelligent for every black person and assuming they’re the only ones who graduated from college or that it even matters whether or not they did.

Another thing–you can be intelligent and educated but still be an ignorant @ss. I am one, but I recognize it, unlike these other chicks. I know that I have some narrowminded thoughts in my head. You can also graduate from college nowadays riting lik dis. It doesn’t always mean you’re all that.

“I have my own everything.” Okay, great for you–in times like these, you’re lucky if you’re able to have everything despite the fact that you got your degree. Nowadays, degrees are more of a liability than an asset because they’re so damned costly and, yet, employers value work experience far more than that costly degree.

“Where are all the good-looking black lesbians? Most black lesbians are ugly.” Chica, hit the mirror. So many black women, both straight and lesbian, think they’re way hotter than they are. This is not to say black women can’t be hot. There are plenty of hot black women. But I don’t know what’s up with black women and black men–they’re the first to call someone ugly when they’re not all that themselves. Some of the more physically attractive black lesbians I have encountered have also been some of the more open-minded in terms of what’s beautiful.

But the worst one, other than all this “I’m educated, I’m educated, I’m educated” snobbery has got to be the weight hate. Weight hate is getting out of hand in general, but up until this past weekend in the LGBT community I thought only white gay guys needed their teeth knocked down their throats for being such @ssholes about people being overweight. Apparently, a lot of black lesbians need to be kicked up to Canada. And the thing about being a black lesbian but being a complete @ss about women being overweight is…um, the majority of black women are overweight. If an Asian guy is an @ss about overweight women, if a white guy is an @ss about it…I can kind of see that. Asian women are rarely fat, relatively speaking, and white women are not fat at the same kind of rate as black women are. But if you’re black, then overweight women should be at least somewhat normal to you. So, again, where is all this snobbish bullschitt coming from? Oh, you grew up predominantly around white people? You were brainwashed by the media shoving white women with eating disorders in your face? What is it?

In any case of events, being overweight is becoming the norm. More and more people are going to have to get over it or be single, whatever you might think about how healthy it is or isn’t or it showing they don’t take care of themselves or whatever bullschitt excuse you have for hating overweight people.

I could keep going, but I’ve got work in the morning…so two last points: I guess black lesbians think they can get away with trashing black lesbians because they are black women or black lesbians. But being a black lesbian doesn’t make it okay; it makes it worse. We already get trashed by everyone else; we don’t need black lesbians to do it bigger and “better” than everyone else does.

Also, Atlanta is just that–Atlanta. Just because most black lesbians in Atlanta seem to be a certain way doesn’t mean that’s a reflection of how black lesbians are everywhere else. If you think that’s the case, you need to take some of that money you make from your good job and your education and your own everything and go see the US, something I have had the luxury of somewhat doing. If one city in the US makes you quick to give up on or look down on black lesbians on the whole and assume they’re all uneducated, all have slept with men, all have kids out of wedlock, all have nothing in common with you, all are ghetto or lack refinement, then you’re not as cultured as you think you are and you’re just looking for any excuse to “prefer” non-black women.

Over the last 10 years, it has amazed me the schitt black men talk about black women because, from my life experiences, I’d say no one has more reason to “hate” black women than black women do. Black women treat each other like schitt, and the things I’ve read from some ignorant black lesbians would have proved it even if I didn’t live it. And yet, these black lesbians who clearly don’t think other black lesbians are good enough don’t even really have much to offer as to their problems with black women aside from the shallow and superficial. I could provide story after story of bullschitt I’ve experienced at the hands of black women, starting from elementary school going all the way to as recently as law school. No one has more reason to hate black women than I do, and, yet, I don’t.

So, why am I going to be single? Because, yes, I do prefer black women–and I mean “prefer” the way it’s meant to be used, not the incorrect way most people use it when it comes to race and dating–the very women for whom I’m not good enough for, inevitably, about 5 reasons on a 21-demands list. I like women of color, and never say never but I don’t think I’d date a white woman ever again. But I’m not going to be by myself because black women aren’t good enough for me, like some people. Instead, I’m always the one who is not good enough–not for whites, not for my ex-girlfriends, surely not for Asians and now not for black women. That’s not a plea for sympathy–that’s just telling it how it is.

The end of my Crimson Wave Rant (cookies for those who know what “crimson wave” is and where it came from).

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Manic Monday

Yesterday I gave notice at work, but I gave it to the agency that placed me since they’re technically my employer. Immediately–like the minute I emailed them my notice–they started calling and emailing me. I mean, I happened to glance at my cell phone, and saw my recruiter’s name and number on the screen while I was in the middle of something. It’s just ridiculous how they always try to call me. I answer phones for a living all day for a corporation, and they know this–they placed me in the position. Why on earth do they think I can just take their calls on my personal cell phone whenever they feel like it?

So, when I didn’t answer, my recruiter emailed me the next minute asking me to call him. Then the other recruiter emailed me asking me to call him. Then my recruiter emailed me again, asking where I got a job. Then he tried to call my co-worker New Tech, who didn’t answer but told me they were calling him. These recruiters have a habit of contacting one of their other placed employees whom they know works near the one they’re trying to reach when they can’t get a response from the one they’re trying to reach–they’ve contacted me before trying to reach both Lazy Tech and New Tech. So, we knew they were probably calling New Tech to find out where I was or if I could call them.

New Tech and I were just dying laughing at the whole thing. I knew the agency didn’t expect me to find a job that quickly, or at all. It was just last Monday when they told me they’d spoken to my supervisor and he wouldn’t let me go back to the position I liked at the company. I told them I would find something else, then. I know they didn’t believe it. In fact, they scheduled a follow-up discussion for next Monday. Turns out next Monday I’ll be at my new job. I know they couldn’t believe it and that they’d want to know just how on earth I was able to get another job that fast. That’s why it was especially funny to New Tech and me when they emailed asking where I got a job.

By the time I called these guys one of them had told my supervisor. My supervisor still hasn’t said anything to me about it, the @sshole. He acts like nothing is happening. But New Tech told me he saw one of the recruiters today in the lobby. I told him they are probably talking about hiring someone to replace me on tech support, which wouldn’t even be necessary if the kid they brought in a couple of weeks ago had just been placed on tech support to begin with.

Obviously, my recruiter did ask me all kinds of questions about where I was going, how I found the job, etc. Even about how much it pays.

I got a bit of a surprise, though, because he sounded irritated last week when I reiterated I wanted to leave the company where he placed me…

He told me, “I don’t blame you one bit.” The way he said it, too…with emphasis, hit the “one bit” part pretty clear.

He knows that situation with my supervisor doing everything he could to keep Lazy Tech and nothing to accommodate me was bullschitt. For the record, my recruiter is Asian. I have found that Asians don’t usually side with black people when it comes to anything with racial undertones or even racially overt things, but he’s Filipino and Filipinos tend to be a little bit more…racially aware and black-friendly. New Tech and I also talked about how they would have gotten rid of a black person who acted like Lazy Tech did without all of that bending over backwards to prevent it…in part because my mother asked me if I had warned him, basically. Like I wrote before, I can definitely see New Tech’s inadequacies getting more exposed without my being there to pick up after him, and he’s African. They’re not going to put up with some of the issues he has for too long. If he can’t find another job fast enough, I see him getting fired eventually.

And with it being official that I’m out the door, New Tech has really started trying to step up finding another job…to the point where over the last two days he has just come across as desperate to me. Now he’s wanting to get out of IT altogether, saying it’s not his passion. He was talking about wanting to move into IT management. He is not management material, I can tell you that. Sure, plenty of managers suck–mine does–but there’s a difference between being a bad manager and just not having a manager’s personality. My manager is the type of guy you disrespect behind his back; New Tech is the type of guy you’d disrespect to his face. I would be the same way, I think–I know I am not “leader” material.

Today, New Tech actually took off work early to go interview with an insurance company. Um. All you’re going to do at an insurance company is sell insurance. Probably won’t get paid if you don’t, either. That’s the kind of job I looked at way back when I first got out of school and wasn’t hearing schitt back from employers and was desperate, so I know what those “interviews” are like. He has a wife and kids–you need something very stable in that situation, something with a weekly or bi-weekly paycheck guaranteed.

He also sits at work and looks at our company’s internal job postings on a regular basis, only now he is looking in the customer service department. Customer service? While there’s a CS component to working many IT jobs, CS is at least a step down from doing anything in IT, or at least the positions he might qualify for would be. And with the more entry-level jobs, which I’m sure is all he could really get, you’re going to get paid like it’s at least a step down. Maybe he thinks those jobs would be easier to get or something, but I can tell from speaking to him that he has unrealistic ideas about how much he’d get paid.

Still, Belinda is a CS supervisor at our company…so I smiled (thinking about her tends to bring a smile to my face or make me nervous) and suggested he talk to her about the job openings they have. Dude, I cannot imagine having to report to Belinda (although I’d probably love going to work all of a sudden). But New Tech seriously went looking for her so that he could talk to her about it.

By the way…the Belinda thing. I realize that now that I’m leaving my job, in a sense I have nothing to lose by approaching Belinda. Knowing this is my last week and that I probably won’t see her again unless an effort is made to do so, I’m a little bit torn. But I’m just not ready for several reasons, not just because I feel I still need to move on more from everything that happened with my “ex.” Also, given that Belinda is never alone–today I saw her with, like, four or five other people–I wouldn’t even know how to approach her. Plus, I have never approached a woman before, at least not out of the blue. I always get approached.

And speaking of the “ex,” I thought she no longer read my blog but maybe she does, because I haven’t seen her on Yahoo! since I wrote about seeing her online and how it made me feel. I don’t know, I just thought it was interesting that she no longer shows up after that. I know there are ways to kind of find out if she still reads my blog–I work in IT, after all–but I’m not interested enough to see if she’s still following me. I just assumed she wasn’t because 95% of the time I feel like she doesn’t give a schitt about me, so why read my blog (intriguing topic, too–inspired me to do a little Google search; still not sure what the answer is)? Why would anyone read this, haha? I have actual friends who won’t even read this stuff! Plus, I’ve been through worrying about who sees what I write, and I am past that now. My blog is my friend.

Bottom line–Belinda is someone I’d love to get to know if given the opportunity, but now is just not a good time. Really, I should be coming home and continuing my studies on programming (I’ve gotten really lazy since my class ended–which I aced, by the way, and only missed two questions out of about 40 on the final exam!!!), not checking sports articles on Yahoo! (easier said than done since I am all about the majority of sports now and have even added the Tennis Channel to my obsessive sports channel surfing, what, with the French Open having ended a couple of weeks ago and now Wimbledon is on) or blogging or going out on dates. I should be figuring out how long I’m going to be with my parents vs moving out…and, to me, moving out is all about moving to another city/state, which would also complicate dating anyone where I am now. I’ve really been looking at what’s out there in Austin, TX, San Francisco, CA and Ann Arbor, MI–the latter because that’s where I’d love to be, the former two because those are more so IT hotbeds. Right now, career needs to come first, as it has for the past year+, so I can stop being quite as big a loser. 😉

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Response From the Service Desk: 12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!

I can’t believe I have been keeping this blog for over a year now. I was looking for something to read today during some of my downtime at work, and I just get the most random ideas for topics to search on the internet. Today was a particularly hell-ish day at work, so I felt inspired to do an internet search on what people expect from tech support. What I found inspired me write a post venting/explaining things people don’t understand about tech support-slash-help desk-slash-service desk-slash whatever else you want to call your IT people at work, similar to a post I wrote just over a year ago to vent/explain things about the hotel industry from a [formerly] insider’s perspective.

Here is the article I will reference, i.e. quote and respond to. It is called “12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!” posted by Stephen Mann but written by an anon customer who has obviously dealt with people like me at work. I would like to respond just based on the two places where I’ve worked tech support, and, hopefully, this will provide some insight for many others out there who have had to deal with IT or will have to in the future. Just as the post provided by Mann was from one customer’s standpoint, the response is from my standpoint, although I know there are customers and IT professionals who agree with both respective standpoints.

Old Skool IT Support Seemed To Work

First of all, there are still places that have one or two IT guys who go around and help everybody at their location. At some of the locations my company has worldwide, this is the case. My co-worker from my last post would be one of those “IT guys” at the location to which he’s trying to go, because he’d be working in some podunk city that has relatively few employees to support. Where I work, we not only support our headquarters, which is a huge building with four floors worth of people…we also support every location worldwide–including, ultimately, that podunk city. We’re the people the IT guys at Podunk call when they don’t know the answers…which seems to be several times a week.

The one thing I will say–well, three things, actually, but they boil down to one base–I have a problem with when it comes to having a “service desk” vs the IT guy: 1) IT guys and ladies at Podunk often don’t know schitt because they were placed in those positions without the proper background and/or the proper training; 2) When you have a big worldwide company with various locations, you can have techs at Podunks, but there is probably one location–often headquarters–where certain issues must be sent and only those IT people have what’s necessary to resolve them; 3) My company ranges from having “service desk” at headquarters to having absolutely nothing at other locations, not even an IT guy, which makes all those people have to rely on the “service desk.”

All three of those things are nonsense, to me, and it’s one of the reasons why tech support has gotten worse and more difficult for customers to deal with. Every company that calls itself having “IT” assistance needs to have it on site somehow, especially when you’re talking about a worldwide company. There’s no efficiency in my being in the Southern USA being the only support for people in Australia or Puerto Rico, but that’s precisely the way it is. That’s bad for so many reasons, from time zone differences to language barriers. It’s hard enough to assist customers, but then you throw in factors such as never really having support when you need it because our office hours are drastically different from Europe’s or Australia’s hours and native speakers of Asian languages or Spanish trying to communicate with me in their 2nd or 3rd language. These people all need their local IT guys and ladies, even the US Podunks. And those IT people need to know their schitt instead of being pulled from the Accounting department because they can tinker with computers a little bit. And they need to be able to do everything without us at headquarters having to be involved.

Obviously, part of the reason why there’s not just an IT guy everywhere now is due to money. But there are also now more service desks than IT guys at businesses because there’s more technology used in business now. It’s not just about web sites, email and desktop computers anymore. It’s everything from laptops and elaborate networks to iPads and cell phones. You really can’t just have one guy taking care of 50-100 people anymore. I can’t for the life of me understand why people at my company need a “company iPad,” but they rolled those suckers out to hundreds of thousands of people and now we have to support that schitt on top of laptops, desktops, cell phones, web sites, email, ftp, vpn, printers, software, servers, etc.

…all my colleagues and I want to know is “Why can’t I log into my email?” and “Can you fix it quickly, please?”

Oh, that’s “all”? Here’s why that’s not so simple:

1) Don’t implement strict procedures whereby you will only deal with issues that are submitted as a ticket and confined to the service desk.  Instead take in requests/incidents via every method of communication available to you and your customers – make yourself more widely accessible.

See, “service desk” doesn’t implement anything. That’s the problem. If we implemented things, your life probably would be easier. But no–we have managers, and our managers have managers. They are the ones who come up with the most convoluted bullschitt ever. We know we sound completely psychotic and roadblock-ish to you when we’re telling you the rules, but the sad truth is we don’t make them and we’re not about to risk getting yelled at or even fired to make life easier for you.

While we’re being truthful, truth is that our managers and their managers want to make people in IT less accessible to you. They want everything going through the service desk, despite the fact that service desk workers often can’t actually do schitt to resolve your problem. The guys who can resolve it don’t want to speak to you, though, and our managers don’t want them to speak to you. These people only want you to speak to us, the people who can’t help you 80% of the time. We at the service desk would be happily turning flips if we could just transfer you where you need to be instead of opening a ticket for the person who makes $90,000/yr to help you whenever he feels like it, but we can’t without eventually getting lectured about it by our manager and/or without the person who actually can help you getting pissy with us because we tried to make him do his job.

Convoluted, yes?

2) The customers’ problem may not be of high importance to the IT department but it’s important enough to the customer for them to have taken time out of their precious working day to seek advice and help.

This is not always true. I have people call me often and tell me it’s not important, they were just wondering or figured they’d ask, as if we have all day. There are just people who feel very comfortable picking up the phone to call “service desk” absolutely any time for absolutely anything, and I just don’t get it. Just the other day my co-worker and I were talking about this, and I told him that even if I weren’t in the IT industry I just can’t imagine ever calling IT unless it was one of those things that absolutely has to go through them.

I have a psychology degree and then I went to law school; I did not major in Computer Science or Information Technology or Management Information Systems. I know what I know about computers for two reasons: 1) When I had technical issues, I played around and figured out how to resolve them myself, and 2) When I had technical issues, I did [and still do] research to learn how to resolve them myself. But there are people who literally call me every…single…day. Sometimes the same person calls with one issue and emails with another issue on the same day. These people who contact us daily quite simply do not have urgent issues every single day. They just think we exist to serve only them, that’s all, i.e. they’re self-centered/self-important. The worst is when it’s one of the Podunks’ IT guys or ladies calling every day (and several of them do). They need to figure it out on their own the way I learned to do back in the 90s.

3) Nobody wants to hear the word “no” or “we can’t help.”

The one thing I liked about my previous “service desk” job is we were allowed to tell people “no” or “we can’t help.” They drew a line on what they’d assist people with. For the most part, we’re not allowed to do that where I work now. Because of that, sometimes I get stuck with issues that are above my head but don’t technically belong to one of the little sectors of the IT department, meaning there’s no correct person to hand it to for resolution. I also get stuck with issues that are going to be time-consuming to figure out, but no one who works service desk has time for time-consuming issues because issues are constantly coming from all directions. In these cases, you’re not going to get issues resolved quickly.

The truth is that we don’t know everything. There are also just some things that can’t be done for security reasons or just literally can’t be done because there’s no technical way to do it or because it’s a software/site that we don’t administrate, i.e. Google.

4) Don’t make a decision based solely on how it works for the IT department. You need to think about how it affects the people in the organization. Remember that if IT fails business people cannot do their job properly, and chances are these are the people making money for the business. Remember that they probably pay your wages – you are their overhead. Put yourself in their position in the context of IT and support.

Again–you need to talk to my dumbass manager and his manager. Also, if you can figure out the direct line to some of these lazy/anti-social $90,000+/yr IT guys, please give them a call about this one, as well.

5) Treat customers as human beings. Know who they are (including their names) and what their IT needs are.  Do not regard them simply as a “ticket number.”

I’ve got bad news for you–if we know who you are, that probably means we don’t like you because you’re one of those people I mentioned above who contacts us way too much. Either that, or when you contact us it’s always something crazy or hella-difficult. Nobody’s ever just a ticket number to me and they’re never treated that way, but most of the people I assist whose names I know very well are the people me and the other guys who work around me just groan, shake our heads and talk about how annoying they are. So, it might be at least a little bit better if we don’t really know you.

6) Help your customers understand life on the service desk. Maybe if your customers better understood the issues you are facing (and the larger corporate IT issues) they might be less inclined to complain about service and IT as a whole?

That’s what this post is for. Incidentally, I don’t really think any customer has ever complained about me–at least not to the point of going to my supervisor or even my co-workers. I actually get, “Thank God it’s you” or “I was hoping I’d get you” at times when I answer the phone, which surprises me, but I think it’s a customer-service thing more than anything else. I have gotten complaints about others, though. Obviously, those of you who know about my rude co-worker Lazy Tech know that’s a customer-service thing, as well. I don’t think our service desk as a whole receives complaints, just individuals.

7) You need to know how to say sorry for IT mistakes regardless of whether you caused them or not.

This is a big, big thing with me and one of the reasons I absolutely must get away from service desk jobs. I… cannot… stand… getting… blamed… for… schitt… not… my… fault! Well over 90% of issues are not service desk’s fault, but service desk is the face and voice of IT, which I think really just enables everyone else in IT to be lazy, to make mistakes and to not take ownership. I’ve had experience with this enabling factor, but we’re the ones who get harassed about the issues not being resolved, the issues reoccurring repeatedly and being told one thing when it’s not the case. I’m just not going to apologize for these people, to be honest with you, because we work harder, take more schitt and earn less money. Some of my co-workers and I spent 30 minutes after work one day just talking about all the people in our department who don’t do any work.

I didn’t realize so many people didn’t work until I actually started taking my full work breaks. When I started taking breaks, I started to see that there are quite a few people whom every time I’m on break they’re walking around the building, standing around talking or hanging out outside. A lot of people in other departments are like this, but a lot of these are IT guys, too. I started to understand why every time I go looking for one of these guys or try to call them at their desks they’re not there. I see the exact same people, regardless of when I take breaks. These people are just flatout not working. My previous service desk job was the same way. So, no…no apologies on their behalf. In fact, I’d like to throw them under the bus to you.

8) When a corporate machine wipes itself clean owing to a virus don’t tell the customer it’s their fault due to something they downloaded when corporate IT security has failed to do its job properly (I’m also sure I don’t have the rights to download stuff anyway).

Honestly, where I work, we’re not allowed to tell you it’s your fault. But a lot of the time it is. Just because you can’t see how it’s on you doesn’t mean it’s not. And IT security, whatever that is, can’t prevent everything. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be an anti-virus program, firewall, a guy who sits and monitors schitt all day every day or what (and if it’s supposed to be that guy, then, like I said, he’s too busy walking the building or smoking outside). But none of that schitt is 100%, kind of like a condom or birth control pills. Some of getting pregnant is still going to be on you, you know. It’s like wanting to put the blame back on the pills just because you forgot to take them one day.

9) Encourage and welcome suggestions on how you can improve IT support…

I really have nothing to do with IT improvement, unfortunately. Our dumb managers and their managers don’t even listen to our suggestions, which are probably similar to yours anyways. Had a co-worker get pissed about the fact that our manager encouraged suggestions and then got chewed out when he gave some to our manager. That actually started our 30-minute conversation about all the people who don’t do work at work.

10) Let your customers know what work has been done (and is being done) to improve IT service delivery and keep them informed of potential upcoming issues/downtime.

That’s not practical, most of the time. Now, if we know something is coming that affects a lot of specifically-identified groups, sure, someone needs to send an email blast. That happens sometimes; other times not. More often than not, when something is happening service desk is not even informed about it. That’s those guys who hardly work suddenly deciding they want to do work but still being too lazy to let anyone else know about it. We find out when you find out, honestly. And issues don’t wear signs that say, “I will be resolved in 30 minutes.” They just don’t. Plus, if we’re getting calls from 30 different people about an issue, we can’t keep 30 different people informed on top of everything else going on at service desk. Again, if it affects the entire organization or an entire location, an email blast can work or we can contact an IT guy/lady if you have one. Otherwise, no.

11) You need to appreciate that not everybody works in the same office as IT Support staff – you may have global offices or remote workers.  Informing external staff that you will “fix the issue when you are next in the office” is simply not good enough.

See my discussion near the beginning of this post about service desk vs IT guys. I will also add, though, that there’s a very real challenge to assisting people who have issues you can’t see or touch. This is especially the case when the customer is–sorry–a dumbass, computer illiterate or wants you to fix things with the least amount of information provided as possible (or inaccurate information). This is also why every location needs its own IT guys/ladies, and not someone from the Accounting department.

12) …putting machines into complete lockdown to the point where they probably need an admin password just to fire up Microsoft Office is not acceptable…

I completely agree. I think my company makes everything ridiculously hard to access, and it’s annoying and can cause tons of problems. But again, it’s not service desk’s doing. In fact, it’s something that really makes assisting customers unnecessarily difficult.

I am a CUSTOMER

Be that. Don’t be a brat, and don’t be unrealistic. A lot of IT fixes are not going to be quick and easy, and yelling or talking about how you need XYZ “right now” isn’t going to change that.

I also have to tell you this very important thing–you’d be surprised by how many people in IT range from not being good with people to not liking people at all. You shouldn’t be, though. I mean, what’s the stereotype of someone who is a tech geek? That he/she lacks social skills. Plus, IT is one of the first fields that comes up when someone asks for career suggestions for people who don’t want to deal with people. Unfortunately, if someone starts out on service desk, they have to deal with people. And just about every tech geek I know hates the “dealing with people” part of service desk, to some degree.

I admit readily and freely that I don’t like people. However, I come from a psychology background and an English background in college. So, I can communicate with people and communicate the right way with people. But most people in IT don’t come from backgrounds like mine.

IT Service Desk Management

There are times in the blog post when management is mentioned. I can’t really tell if service desk is being addressed, IT service desk managers are being addressed or if the two are being collapsed in the blog. Honestly, to me, my manager is not part of service desk at all. Maybe that’s something that needs to be understood by customers, too. The post needs to be addressed to IT managers, not the service desk.

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I Can’t Stand Her Emails

A few months ago I remember reading, I think, a blog post online somewhere, and the writer basically explained how she dumped this guy because he didn’t like to read. I don’t really remember thinking much one way or the other about the post. I read the comments, and there were people who understood where she was coming from. I don’t really remember anyone commenting that it was a ridiculous thing for her to do. Reading was very important to her, and she just couldn’t imagine being with someone who didn’t share the value of reading.

I like to read, too, but it’s not one of my deal breakers.

But apparently…being a bad writer is.

I know I mentioned in one of my last posts that I got this woman’s contact information and sent her an email. We emailed back and forth for a little bit–I think we exchanged three or so emails and never made it to the phone. Gawd, she just did every single thing I hate when it comes to writing.

I noticed with the first email she sent me, but I tried hard to overlook it. I wanted to give her a chance, but I also didn’t want to be ridiculous or snobby. It was a short email with a couple of spelling errors, a ton of grammar errors and “how r u” type of writing, as well as a couple of typical boring questions. I thought to myself, “Okay, maybe she wrote it on her cell phone…it’s hard to write well over those things.” That’s really what it reminded me of–either that or she was rushing. It couldn’t be that she was simply a writing-challenged moron–not after the way she talked and talked about looking for intelligence and good conversations, and about how educated she was.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I sit and “grade” what people send me, what I read on the internet or even what you leave in the comments section here. I also don’t want anyone to think that I view my own writing as perfect. Writing can’t be perfect all the time, so I can understand some misspelled words and some grammar errors. I really do hate short emails, though. It makes me feel as if the person writing me is not putting effort into the email or as if that person is disinterested. I am also one of those people who hates small talk, and…well, age/sex/location and variations thereof is just about the online equivalent of that. If you’re intelligent and like good conversations, why not demonstrate that, you know? And using letters in place of full words is never okay with me (with few exceptions, such as “OK”), not even when texting me.

In short, she didn’t come across as engaged or that intelligent, and it’s hard to respond to what appears to be a lack of engagement as it is. But with her not coming off as too bright, it made me not particularly want to respond because I only welcome intelligent people into my life. I can’t consider dating someone who is not very intelligent. So it wasn’t hard for me to wait a while before responding to her email.

Still, I did write her an engaged response that was longer than what she’d written to me (nothing like my blog posts, so don’t freak out!). But her next email to me was just like her first one, and I was just kind of like…”Okay…I don’t know if I can take this,” hahaha. I mean, for me, it’s as if she’s assaulting my eyeballs. And how can you date someone if reading her emails and texts is visually painful? For me, it’s just a sign that she is not as intelligent as she was bragging that she is.

I think it might have been the same for the woman who dumped her boyfriend who doesn’t like to read. A funny thing about that is one day I was at work last week…I was sitting in the dining area, and there was a woman sitting in one of the booths in front of me, reading. And this black chick walked by and said to the woman in the booth, “I don’t like to read.” OMG (see what I did there?), I was calling this b!tch all kinds of “dumb bitch”es in my head. I was partially upset that she was black and announced this to a white woman. I mean, people already think black people are stupid, and now you just let this white woman know that you are, indeed, stupid. And you know black people are not judged individually.

I tried to calm myself by telling myself that most people nowadays don’t like to read, to the point where that’s normal and liking to read is practically nerdy. That doesn’t mean they’re not a bunch of dumb fucks, though. You don’t like to read? Seriously, you have to read everywhere. It’s an essential part of life, much more so than math (and yes, I know you have to count out change), even if not a hobby. Plus, there are so many different types of subjects to read–how can there be nothing you like to read? That’s why saying you don’t like to read sounds dumb. Sorry if I’m offending anyone, but that’s seriously my viewpoint–people who don’t like to read, can’t read and/or can’t write are…dumb…fucks, if for no other reason than that a lot of them proudly announce that they don’t like to read. Don’t go around announcing that schitt to people.

And to be fair, it’s not as if I sit around reading novels or literary works every week. But it’s not because I don’t like to. I love to read and, in fact, have been wanting some good books to read for quite some time now. I’ve read a couple of things recently, but I don’t count those because they were so…well, let me put it this way about one of the “books” I read. I wrote a review on it, saying that if it were ever made into a movie it’d be a porno flick (I didn’t know this when I started reading the damn thing, I promise). I am just struggling to find a good read, in part because I am in the mood to read what, I do not quite know.

So, I suppose that maybe not liking to read could be a deal breaker for me after all, just like crappy writing is. It’s a reflection of the larger picture, I think, which is the ability to discuss any and all things with some knowledge…not to mention, as far as writing, what used to be required to actually earn a high school diploma (clearly it’s not required now, with as poorly as young Americans write today).

I must confess–I also had to ask myself if maybe I was eager to ditch this writing-challenged chick because I’m still not over my “ex.” And then I thought about all of my “friends” and how much writing has meant to me my whole life. I don’t have one friend who sucks at writing, even the ones whose intelligence I sometimes underestimate. Every single last one of them can put together an email that reflects their intelligence. I think all of my girlfriends have also been able to write fairly well, even the one I had who only had a high school education. Again, the good ole days when they used to teach kids how to write correctly in high school–she would now be about 33 years old, I think…although Email Chick was about 29. But she did attend a garbage high school in my area, so maybe that explains it.

I also thought about this conversation my “ex” and I had one time when this other chick was interested in her. She was one of those “how r u” type of chicks. My “ex,” more or less, said to me, “When I look at this chick’s texts, it reminds me of why I like you.” To be quite honest…ditto right now. But that’s still in the past, and I am accepting that. There are plenty of other chicks out there who know how to not torture the English language and the written word. I know that. But Email Chick is not one of them.

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My Second Job Offer

I actually got the job where my lazy former co-worker works–it sounds like in large part because he pushed very hard for me to get the position. Pending a background check, of course. Right now, it’s looking like I’m going to have to take it. I still haven’t gotten a start date for the place I’d rather work, and it doesn’t sound as if I’ll get one soon. I called last week to check for an update, and it didn’t sound like that company is in any rush–even though when I first spoke to someone about it months ago, he made it sound as if they were looking for a lot of people and were in a hurry to get people.

I checked with that same guy a few days ago, and he said he was frustrated about the standstill. I’m the one who should be frustrated, as should the other people they have holding on who are probably largely unemployed and really need work. It doesn’t make the company look good, either. I could have been out of my crappy job months ago, doing something I actually like. And now I’m not going to get that opportunity. My father suggested that I just take this less appealing job offer and then quit when the other job gives me a start date. I would lean towards not doing something like that, especially after everything my former co-worker went through to get me this job.

After speaking more with lazy tech, as well as the supervisor at this new job opportunity and some of the people at the staffing agency, and being at the place, I actually feel a lot better about the job than before. I just still would rather not have another job where I deal with people all day, and I also would rather not work 8am to 5pm. I did that at my current job when I first started and always felt like I spent too much of my waking day at work. When I started working 7am to 4pm, it made a big difference. It felt as if I had an extra hour in my day and more free time, which I technically do. I’m not a morning person, so it’s not as if I’m going to wake up early just to get that hour back. Personally, I prefer hours such as 6am to 2pm or 7am to 3pm and either not getting paid for lunch or not taking lunch at all on jobs that pay hourly. Or working overnight.

I’ve gotta tell ya–you drive up to this building, and it’s huge. It’s nice. You go inside, and it’s incredible. You really feel as if you’ve “arrived.” No wonder they pay so much money to do a ranky-dank job. I also was told after I was offered the job that we get big bonuses every six months. A lot of things I was told by lazy tech were confirmed by other people, so I don’t really feel that he was just lying to me to get me to this place. I also found out that they use a payment system that is almost like billable hours in big law firms, so it’s nearly impossible for lazy tech to not do work. The people at the agency told me this and explained the system, and the guy who would be my supervisor told me the same thing. The guy at the agency told me lazy tech has already gotten overtime pay because of this, which means lazy tech is really doing work and making a lot of money.

Lazy tech also admitted to me that he’s frustrated there because, being new, he gets issues he doesn’t know how to handle. This is the same thing I deal with where I currently work, except I have been where I work over half a year and still have that problem due to the way I was trained. Lazy tech is in a particularly bad position because he’s new there and doing the position by himself due to their firing someone. At least I wouldn’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, like I wrote before in the post to which I linked above, I can’t really justify staying where I currently work a job I hate when I can go somewhere else and do something similar and at least get paid much more for it. Those seem to be my only options right now. Lazy tech told me he likes it better there and that the clients are a lot different because they’re in-house clients, and the supervisor said the same thing. It also seems like I’d learn system admin skills, which I’m not particularly interested in but would definitely add to my resume and marketability should I stay in IT or look for another, higher-paying job in IT vs going deeper into sports journalism.

Speaking of sports journalism…I know I had written months ago that I was going to try to stick with my own blog instead of writing for other companies, unless it’s a major company (i.e. ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, etc). But I checked out this one site that seems to post quality material and suggests that they allow their writers to have a lot of freedom as far as content, how often they contribute, etc. They also make their best writers featured columnists, and their best material gets posted on major sites like the ones I mentioned. They hire the best writers on full time, as well, so I could end up with a good job with them that would allow me to get out of IT altogether (don’t get me wrong–still love technology…just don’t like that so many jobs involve dealing with people and that my favorite thing to do with tech is repair, which is low-paying and doesn’t allow me to make a living with big student loans). They have a sports radio show in which their writers sometimes participate, and I had kind of been interested in messing with that a little to see if I like it since I listen to so much sports radio.

The key for me with this, other than their reciprocating my interest (which I’m waiting to find out), is how much freedom I get as a writer in terms of content. If it’s something that will allow me to do my thing the way I do it, then it would be worth my time. I’m proud of the work I’m doing with my sports blog and will still keep the blog going, but I just don’t have the readership. I have built it up some, but I know with blogs from scratch it takes years. It’s a little frustrating, even knowing that, because I feel I’ve written all this great stuff. I write a lot of the same things major writers publish sometimes before they write it, and they get all the readers and ideas attributed to them.

Oh, forgot to mention–got a start date for this job with lazy tech, as well. This company really seems a lot more together than the one with the repair job, as well as probably the business for which I currently work. So, one way or the other, I’ll soon be starting a new job.

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