Everyone isn’t Stupid, They’re Just Asking Questions About Stuff You’re Good At

I had a really interesting conversation with someone a few weeks back. Through this conversation I unearthed something really insightful: As a professional with very specific knowledge, we’re going to constantly run into people that don’t have that knowledge and will make decisions that are seemingly stupid (to you). This isn’t because they’re dumb, this is because they don’t have the industry specific knowledge that you have.

He was lamenting that even though he’s doing systems and networking, he’s still user facing and has to deal with users that are dumb and need help with the basics. I was explaining that nothing really changes when you work in larger organizations. Sure, the people and departments might be different, but the same stories play themselves out time and time again.

Help Desk → Users Feels like NetEng → SysEng

I typically work in organizations large enough to warrant an entire team of network engineers. The people that come to me with issues the most are typically system engineers and application admins. You’d think because they’re fellow IT people, I would be free from solving seemingly simple problems over and over, but that’s far from the case.

Most of the issues they come to me with are things that are easily solvable by anyone with basic networking knowledge. It’s often silly things like being plugged into the wrong port, and thus the wrong VLAN or getting the subnet mask wrong. It’s also extremely common for people to come to me with what they think is a network issue, but from my perspective, it’s very obvious that it is not.

This Doesn’t Mean You’re Better Than Them

It’s a common trap that a lot of IT fall into. It’s very easy to feel superior to your peers when they’re asking for help with things that seem trivial to you.

An easy way to solve this is to take the time to understand what makes your peers good at their job. When they’re always reaching out to you for help and not the other way around, it’s easy to forget that your peers are probably just as skilled, just not in your field of expertise. Ask yourself, would you fair any better in their field than they did yours?

Remember: We’re All Here to Work Together

We work in organizations to achieve a goal shared by all of us. You were hired into your organization because you bring a special set of skills that can be of benefit to the organization (and the people within it). It’s only natural that others in the organization would be reaching out to you for help with the things you excel in. We can all help each other with the things that we are good at, even though you specifically may never need help with what they excel in.

Thank you for checking this out. I hope you learned something new or enjoyed reading this. If you had any comments, questions, or just wanted to share your thoughts on this article, you can contact me at blog@e-mayhem.com

e-Mayhem helps companies successfully deliver business projects. We also help companies avoid losses associated with IT disruptions and security threats. You can learn more about our services at e-mayhem.com or by emailing sales@e-mayhem.com

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