Austin, TX — Between capital budget cuts, staff reductions, outsourcing, offshoring and unrealistic expectations of “the cloud”, the only perk left to IT is vendor abuse.
John Realcid, an IT administrator for 23 years, recalls what it was like when he first started. “Man, those were the days. Computers were new and mysterious, and you had to do things like edit AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS. And God help you if you had an IRQ conflict with your SoundBlaster Pro and another device on your system, or you couldn’t get any sound. Normal people just didn’t understand how things worked, and they viewed us as strange, but they knew they needed us. And they knew they needed to pay us well to keep the productivity train going. Back then, companies were paying $26,000 for SparcStation 20’s for desktops for engineers. $26,000! For a fucking desktop! Vendors were always taking us out to lunch, to dinner, for drinks.. anything that would keep us recommending that we buy more gear. I know a dude who got a fucking black leather jacket with Java on the back of it. Man, that was some swag.”
But those days are gone. We are now only just above the janitorial staff on the food chain. Users who we used to toy with can scream, yell and belittle us, and all we can do is sit and take it. They howl with rage if they can’t pull up their favorite niche little text editor, and tell us how we are responsible for the downfall of productivity. They blame any little glitch (which is usually caused by something they did or did not do) on us and use it as justification for why they missed a deadline. They send us on endless quests for data to justify what we’ve said, and never offer any data if we ask for it to help debug. And we have to take it. Except when the vendors come knocking. We still look forward to them coming, but not for the same reason as before.”
“Oh sweet day when a vendor comes in for a customer review. That’s the time we get to pull out THEIR ticket metrics and complain about how long it takes THEM to fix things. Then WE get to howl with rage about how their product is unreliable and causes our customers downtime. Then WE get to be indignant and a little rude. And there’s nothing they can do about it! WE’RE the customer! We get to be right for a change!”. John stopped to catch his breath, his hands shaking in anticipation. Cooly, he continued, “which reminds me. Time to schedule our quarterly review with Dell. Excuse me.”
The Brewblog contacted a few of John’s vendors, who confirmed his account. They then smiled wryly and walked up to the bank to cash their latest commission check.