This year has been a real whirlwind, hasn’t it? On top of all the 2020 world craziness, I started a new job this year as a Head Geek at SolarWinds. Yes, that’s my real job title. This year sheds new light on IT Pro Day with the challenges we’ve had to overcome while somehow staying (mostly) sane. I never really celebrated IT Pro Day before this year. It wasn’t a big deal to me, and I celebrated in the same way as Pancake Day or National Ice Cream Day—no lead up excitement but fun on the day of. As a contractor, I never thought of myself of an IT pro but as an assistant to the real IT pros. That may seem silly, but I never thought of myself in the same way as all the phenomenal people I worked with who were my clients, compatriots, and companions through my work. My goal was optimizing, augmenting, and assisting those “real” IT pros’ jobs to save them as many crazy nights and weekends and headaches as possible. This year, thanks to my new role as a Head Geek, I’m looking at it a little differently.
As before, I see IT Pro Day as a day we use to celebrate our colleague’s hard work and successes, acknowledge the challenges, and commiserate on the failures. This year we can all commiserate on 2020 in general and the pandemic specifically. Let’s not forget to celebrate the incredible challenges IT pros all over the world have overcome. From working night and day to social distance offices to rolling out and supporting 100% remote classrooms, workforces, telehealth, etc., the world has seen the oft-ignored figures of IT in a new light. The spotlight has been on since shelter in place and quarantines started this year, and as IT pros always do—you rose to the occasion. Overcoming budget challenges, working through the nights and weekends, fighting the overwhelming stress of configuring and supporting completely new or expanded infrastructure—and that was just March!
I love to help people, and the past 10 years I have done so in IT. The opportunity I have now as a Head Geek is to expand that help and shine a light on all of those who make our world go around smoothly. Without IT, we would have no internet, no streaming services, no video games, no telehealth, no online learning opportunities, etc. This is our year. This year, many people have come to some realization about what IT means for their day-to-day lives. So, this year, let’s use the spotlight on IT to help our colleagues and friends get the recognition they deserve. Even though they deserve it every year, the microscope on IT to support the new world order, aka remote work, gives us all an opportunity to get some recognition. I’m sure some of you would rather remain in the shadows and just be “the guy in the chair.” That’s your prerogative, to be sure, but be sure to recognize those around you who would like for someone to say, “Hey, great job! I want to tell the world about the amazing work you’re doing.” This year we have something special to really acknowledge them—awards. So, make sure you nominate everyone you know who has worked hard in IT this year. Everyone can’t win, but I know I would have felt seen simply by being nominated in my past life.
We can all use a little positivity about now. I, for one, know many people who deserve recognition and I ensure I express my appreciation every chance I get. For example, the IT pro from my doctor’s office who implemented social distancing in the offices over a few nights AND implemented telehealth for those same five doctor’s offices. I applaud him, and I know him personally, so I was able to verbally celebrate and appreciate his hard work. That’s just one example off the top of my head. There are so many others, and they all deserve our appreciation, even if it is—just another Tuesday. Thank you, IT pros, for keeping my “normal” going as best as anyone can right now. I appreciate you from general IT support to DBAs to cloud gurus to any other of a million roles in IT. This IT Pro Day, September 15, let’s give each other a standing ovation.
Chrystal Taylor, SolarWinds Head Geek