IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Are you disengaged from your job?

Posted by IT Pilgrim on August 4, 2008

Are you disengaged from your job? A recent Gallup study shows that only something like 19% of workers are actively engaged in their jobs. This means, knowing what your job is, knowing the expectations for your job, as well as knowing where you stand performance-wise and where your role fits into the company. Well, if only 19% of us have all that, one has to wonder where the problem is. Hang on, let me climb up on my soapbox here ….

OK, IT companies, here we go, here is how to fix this problem, drawing from personal experience and the experiences of those around me. If you want employees who actually care about their job, here’s your fix-it list.

  1. No one knows exactly what their job is. Job descriptions as usually all-encompassing, and on-boarding consists of a sheet of paper with your login on it. No one will ever tell you what your job is until you have not done it and it cost some manager their bonus. Flying by the seat of your pants, well, that wears out pants pretty quickly, and nerves as well.
  2. On-boarding is terrible. A sheet of paper with logins, really? That’s the best you can do? I have personally worked at some companies where one day, someone come up and starts yelling about something you have, or have not done. You let them finish, so you can ask, Who are you? Their answer being … “Your manager.” OK, noted. Here are some other sad examples (being a serial job hopper will give you lots of experience) In one job, I found out after two months that I had a desk, and co-workers. Ooh, nice job there manager. In another, I sat on the floor in a datacenter for 6 months, before moving on, never having worked my way up to say … a desk or a phone. IM anyone?
  3. Contractors are treated as a lesser form of pond scum, but we’re all contractors. Plenty of IT teams are fleshed out with all contractors so companies do not have to pay anyone benefits. That’s fine, it allows the employee more control over their work as well, but some companies have some real lovely rules for contractors, and if they on-board or train their employees, contractors get left out in the cold. Yet, 90 or 95% of a team may be contract, you do the math on the type of loyalty and quality work that will get you.
  4. Loyalty is Dead. Its time that the companies out there realize that its over. Asking an employee to have loyalty, when you are going to lay them off two months later? I think we’re all a little smarter than that. IT workers are often the cogs in the machine, and treated that way, but what happens when you can’t keep a cog for more than a month, with two month breaks in between? If you want to keep people, you first have to realize that you are running them off, and why. Otherwise you will never get the superstars, they will be warned off and you can resign yourself to the dregs of the techie barrel.
  5. Managers are just trumped up techies who never left. You cant stuff a techie with no social skills into a suit and expect him to be anything other than what he/she always was. Longevity does not a manager make. To many companies are just taking the last person they have left and making them the manager. If you want top talent, don’t manage them with the dregs.

These are just a top 5 here. There are many companies out there with some of these problems, some with all of them. Now, just for the record, I am not talking about small business, I am talking about fortune 500 companies, and companies who make their entire business from technology, but when it comes to the working environs, word gets around. That is the funny thing about technology workers, we tend to run into each other repeatedly, and just like a small town, we quickly all know who not to mess with. Now the real question is, will anyone ever do anything about it?

Photo by: swh via Flickr

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