Its taken several days to be able to process and get to a point where I am capable of writing…
It stings, but my time as an IT Specialist has come to an end. It lasted exactly a month, and it ended in the same conference room it began in – irony at its best. Though it isn’t fair, and I didn’t deserve to get let go, I’ve learned a few lessons here:
0. Getting let go sucks.
I just wanted to point this out. It’s not fun getting let go from a job you truly enjoy. If you’ve never experienced this, be thankful. I pray you’ll never have to.
1. Don’t shock the system
If you’re hired to build an IT infrastructure from scratch, which I was, it’s going to cost a lot. Hardware and software aren’t cheap and they won’t be…most small businesses know nothing about IT and the costs associated. Take spending slow at first, be conservative in the first budget you propose, and as the grow more comfortable with you and what you’re doing, I believe doors to spend ore on infrastructure will open. Don’t shock the system by going credit card crazy with no apparent justification. Justify everything.
2. Communicate often
I believe if there had been awesome communication between my department and “senior leadership”, I might still have a job. Again, most people don’t understand IT operations, so it needs to be communicated often. Even if you aren’t talking about what you’re doing, establish an amazing relationship with your leadership regardless of your opinion of them.
This goes both ways. Leadership should communicate down. If leadership has questions, they should ask. If you feel like something’s out of control, put it on hold, try to understand it, and after trying to understand what’s happening either allow it to continue or make it stop. It’s simple, and if you’re a leader you should have the strength to do this. If you can’t – you’re unseasoned, unprofessional, and don’t deserve to be in the position you’re in – not to mention, I won’t respect you.
3. Set and re-set expectations
People decide to bring IT in-house to save money. While this is very possible, the chance of first year savings is slim. In fact, the first year might cost more! Subsequent years will be cheaper and you’ll begin to save and see ROI then. Discuss expectations often, and put them in writing.
4. Put IT into “Plain English”
If you haven’t caught on yet, I don’t believe people understand IT operations, what it takes to build an infrastructure, or even what “infrastructure” means. Explain what you’re buying, why you’re buying it, and how it will benefit them…if you justify an immediate benefit, you’ll be even better. Translate that nerdy IT speak into understandable English. Think of it as explaining it to your grandmother or a 4 year old.
Next time a small business or a start up chooses to hire me to build an infrastructure from scratch, I intend to do all 4 of these things and even more to protect my job and my integrity…and you should probably do some of the same.