OK admit it, you really do resent those geeks in the IT department. They work whenever they want to, they dress funny, and they probably spend most of their “work” time playing video games and hacking into our systems to read our personal email. Sure, we’ve already burned one blog sharing ideas on how to goof with the IT department, but there are plenty more ideas left to explore. Ready to liven up their lives with some well-deserved pain? Let’s get started.
Don’t read the available “help” information
If you wanted to be in the IT department you would have grown a funny beard and bought a bunch of t-shirts with vague Star Trek references, right? You have a real job, and reading available instructions on how to operate software – or worse yet, how to deal with predictable and well-documented problems – is WAY outside your job description. You probably have an intranet full of helpful tidbits and answers to frequently-asked questions about the software you use. Ignore it. Better yet, delete it so no one else has to waste their valuable time reading it. If the problem is common enough that it generates a FAQ, then the IT department ought to figure out how to eliminate the issue altogether. Somebody has to doll out some tough love around here. May as well be you.
Don’t tell them the truth about your problem
Computers break. They lock up, quit working and generally just cause you nothing but pain unless they’re doing exactly what you want them to do. Naturally, you don’t call the IT department for help until you’ve uselessly clicked on the same button a few thousand times or (for you more advanced users) tried to open the same application in multiple windows so you can circumvent the real problem by ignoring it and plowing ahead. When IT finally does arrive on the scene, you know what they’re going to ask: “what were you doing just before this problem occurred?” Cheeky, presumptuous nerd-people! You didn’t break the computer, it broke itself, and their question is insulting and accusatory. Don’t tell them the truth – make up a story about what happened in the moments before the computer broke itself, and make sure that it insulates you from any responsibility or involvement. Chances are you didn’t even touch the computer before it broke itself, right? Let the IT guy do his own situational analysis. Let him feel blindly through the dark of what he’s dealing with and figure out for himself what you did. When he figures it out, deny it. Go get a cup of coffee and feign incredulity over the nerve of what sounds like an accusation. Harumpf.
Call them at the first sign of an issue
This is a different tack, but it can be just as effective. Sometimes you don’t get EXACTLY the output you were expecting from your computer. Many times it’s because you didn’t provide the proper input, but that’s simply a technicality. Any time you sense even the slightest possibility that the computer is misbehaving simply throw your hands in the air and fill out a service ticket. Stop all work. Wander around the office making sure that everyone else knows that your computer is broken and you can’t get any work done until the lazy and useless IT department shows up to fix it. If you use this strategy, it likely wasn’t long ago that you got to wander around whining about the same scenario. Make sure everyone knows that you’re sick and tired of the damn computer not cooperating. It’s high time we hired somebody in the IT section who actually knows what they’re doing. You’re just about fed up.
Create the same problem over and over
And over. This is the really fun stuff. The IT department is going to assume that when they show you how to fix a problem once, you will remember and apply that same fix if the problem ever arises again. Like hell you are! Your job isn’t to remember how to fix your own computer, and it sure isn’t to remember future fixes that you pay the IT department perfectly good money to deal with. If a geek forces you to sit through a series of instructions designed to show you what to do next time, just go to your mental happy place and think about what you are going to cook for dinner. Relive scenes from your favorite movie. Whatever it takes, but at all costs don’t pay attention to the instructions and try to learn something about the computer. I suggest you feign attention, and nod occasionally while paying absolutely no attention to what’s being said. If the problem ever happens again, you already know exactly what to do.
You ignore all available self-help resources, call the IT department at the first sign of trouble, and lie to them about any potentially helpful diagnostic facts. You’ll be the department’s least-favorite user in no time.
Business is tough. Hang in. If we can help you, just let us know.
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Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.