General Chat Thread, How to become detached from work and not care about being friends with everyone? in General; Everyone knows me as the nice IT guy but it's impossible to be that any more. I'm having to be ...
27th September 2010, 12:27 AM #1
How to become detached from work and not care about being friends with everyone?
Everyone knows me as the nice IT guy but it's impossible to be that any more. I'm having to be a "bad guy" because I can't keep everyone happy any more because the work load is too high and we're understaffed.
I need to learn to become more... "detached" from the other people, care more about prioritising and doing what needs to be done instead of trying to keep everyone happy. To be more professional and do my job to the best of my abilities instead of stopping things I'm in the middle of to help someone else because they are my friend.
Aragggahhh I can't do this easily. My head hurts.
Does anyone have any tips and tricks to keeping everyone happy while also having to learn to say "no" to those people who you've always been there to help even when it might not have been in your job description to help them...
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27th September 2010, 12:42 AM #2
This is a common problem in ICT and in my (humble) opinion the real danger is actually in moving too far away from being 'nice'. What normally happens is the you start off all eager to help and are slowly driven crazy by the demands of your users saying "and one more thing" until you burnout. Then you either quit altogether or you develop into the mean BOFH who goes around shouting "NO!". Personally I don't think I really suffer from this problem although I may be deluding myself but there are 2 books that provide some advice although you may just find they repeat basic common sense.
Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel: A ... - Google Books
OK the Dilbert book is intended to be Humorous so I really can't recommend it but HR people scarily really find this next book right on the money.
The Rules of Work - A Definitive Guide to Personal Success: Amazon.co.uk: Richard Templar: Books
Last edited by somabc; 27th September 2010 at 12:57 AM.
2 Thanks to somabc:
Sam_Brown (27th September 2010), SimpleSi (27th September 2010)
27th September 2010, 01:04 AM #3
Thanks to SimpleSi from:
Sam_Brown (27th September 2010)
27th September 2010, 09:10 AM #4
Yeah, I tend to agree that a help desk would help you sort this out. Just explain to your 'friends' at work when they request something, that all jobs now have to be logged and properly prioritised, and you will do it when it is due to be done.
27th September 2010, 09:12 AM #5
Apparently I was becoming the grumpy so and so 'til my boss "prioritised" and told all the staff I was far too busy and not to bother me. So the staff went to him instead. Now I'm back supporting the staff (for whatever reason, lack of speed to deliver on my part I guess) and an LA Platinum SLA being bought. If there is too much work that it's making you into someone that you don't want to be the solution found is not always what you want.
27th September 2010, 10:00 AM #6
Definitely fall back on the helpdesk. Also, can you go to your boss and explain - asking for help with prioritising? "More in sorrow than in anger" is my mantra - I can only do what I can do but I try to explain nicely why I can no longer do 'x' or 'y'. Problem is, when you have been a nice guy for so long and jumped when people have asked you to, they take this as the norm.
I agree with SimpleSi - you can still be the nice guy but not so quick to stop what you are doing and help others. Even if you have to shake your head, do it with a smile and a 'I will help you as soon as I can, but I am in the middle of doing something for xxxx and he/she will be a bit cross if I dont get it done' Or bring in the helpdesk or whatever
27th September 2010, 10:03 AM #7
- Rep Power
In terms of resolving issues that you are paid to do, I'd agree with the "get a helpdesk" advice. Everyone will report their issue as the most urgent but I try to use the principle of Urgent vs Important (Google it). For me that helps get things into some semblance of order. Report to your boss that this is what you're doing and that obviously you'll get stuff done as quickly as you can. Not only will it help, but you'll come across as being proactive and not just someone who complains but does nothing to help resolve the problem.
As for being asked to do things that aren't in your job desc, you have to explain firmly but honestly that you don't have the time. Most people will be understanding if you're honest with them and will respect you more for saying No than for saying Yes and failing/forgetting. If anyone does get humpy, tell them to speak to your boss who should back you up if you've kept him/her in the loop.
You don't have to stop being friendly to people, just let people know that you're busy. Oh, and don't forget your downtime at the end of the day/week. Helps to keep things in perspective.
27th September 2010, 10:04 AM #8
You dont need to say no, but you can say that it wont get done today. If you are busy tell people you're busy and that you wont be able to look at the problem until tomorrow. Generally this is enough for people to realise they cant expect you to drop everything and see them first. But as others have said, having a helpdesk can help.
27th September 2010, 10:11 AM #9
Your standard response to any request should be "Log it on the helpdesk or it wont get done"
That has worked for me for 2 years (out of the 4 that I have been here). I found that an FAQ section has cut down the number of calls I receive by almost 2/3.
Also you can see the trend in problems using a helpdesk. Once I found a trend, I held a class for the teachers on how to do something of that nature (be it archiving old emails because outlook is too slow, or learning how to use the VLP etc).
Staff are much more receptive if you teach them something they want to know, so also helps if you send an email around with a list of 5 things that are common on the helpdesk, and see which one they would want to learn how to resolve (make sure it doesnt require admin privileges or you could be in a whole heap of trouble then!)
27th September 2010, 10:19 AM #10
My helpdesk's really simple; a forum on MOODLE (or any other VLE I've seen would work fine, too) on which I edit the thread names to include ***DONE***, ***MORE INFO***, ***SOLUTION ATTACHED*** etc. at the beginning. normally, we will also try and help non urgent "walk-ins", but if we're busy, we refer staff to the issue log (helpdesk) instead. That lets them see how busy you are and once they see that they're usually perfectly happy to log stuff and think none the less of you. Leaving fixed stuff on there with solutions is a good idea too, as it means that if you're snowed under staff can sometimes find their own solution without adding to your workload, and they're surprisingly happy to add a reply to a thread saying "fixed it for myself" or something, so the issue's still logged if you need to check back at any point.
Thanks to BatchFile from:
SimpleSi (28th September 2010)
28th September 2010, 07:01 PM #11
When I first started at my current place I told myself that I was going to smile and be pleasent but never anyones friend. I won't add them to Facebook or be seen to be too pally with them. I do go on staff nights out though. I send out weekly updates on a friday explaining key issues, e.g. email being slow and what steps are taken to be done about it. I also say how many jobs are still open and what the response times are looking like. There is a strict rule, no call = no support at all times, there are no exceptions. Its worked out fine and everyone knows where they stand. I have a lot of calls in as my school has expanded and I am still flying solo! lol
Originally Posted by nephilim
28th September 2010, 07:44 PM #12
Ooh - simple - I like that
My helpdesk's really simple; a forum on MOODLE
Could you post a couple of screen shots of how it looks to teachers?
29th September 2010, 10:46 AM #13
This mindset takes a little time and effort to get into, and not everyone can manage it.
And the short answer is, take less to heart, and care less!
I've said it to students and teachers before, and it may sound harsh, but it's really not!
I don't really care about the students themselves, or even to a certain extent the teachers. Our jobs and main focus is that "Teaching" happens, and has the best tools possible to do that. And in reality, the percentage of students who get A-C, or whatever in the annual stats means nothing to me. Their GCSE scores do not affect my workload.
So do I care about X student and wheither they'll get a B or a C in some subject? Not really, it doesn't really affect my job. Equally, I don't really care if X teacher really wants to have itunes to sync with their ipod as their home PC isn't working or whatever. Their ability to listen to music in their spare time is not my concern.
I will go out of my way to help them, IF and only IF it does not affect my ability to do my main focus; my job relating to ICT, and keeping teaching going. Some might see this as selfish, but in reality they are probably just grumpy as they were planning on asking you to do something cheeky.
Most people will respect this, and it shows commitment and responsibility.
So use your helpdesk wisely. And where needed, either ask the people wanting favours to come back when it's more convenient, or take note of it, and offer to fix it when you can. Anything else, goes on the helpdesk.
29th September 2010, 10:53 AM #14
thanks for the quick look
29th September 2010, 02:48 PM #15
Hmmm disagree here I'm afraid! The school network is there to enable another goal to be met. If students aren't getting the right grades, then you have to ask where the lack of support is coming from.
Originally Posted by Rydra
In private sector work, the overall aim is making money and how you'd help the organisation achieve that through IT. In education, the aim is getting good grades for the students and how you'd help them achieve those grades through IT. It's all cogs and wheels and how they fit together, so that child who is struggling to get a C is a concern as far as your job goes. How can your network and IT support help them?
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