Life in IT: Tech ideals meet user reality

Life in IT: Tech ideals meet user reality

IT pros share their real-life, on-the-job stories. Here's a look at memorable ones from the last year

Tips on implementing the latest in technology, how-tos for finding employment or contentment in a current job, analyses of "what's on the horizon" -- it's one thing to keep up with all the information out there. It's quite another to put it all into practice.

For technology, the place where the rubber meets the road is what Off the Record is all about: a blog written by InfoWorld readers that share stories of working in technology -- all under the Anonymous byline. The stories give a real-life glimpse into the complexities of varied personalities, workplace expectations, and tech implementation covered under the deceptively simple acronym of "IT."

[ Test your mettle where it really counts with the 2011 InfoWorld geek IQ test. | Follow Off the Record on Twitter for tech's war stories, career takes, and off-the-wall news. ]

Judging by what was on readers' minds in 2011, we present a smattering of stories from the last year -- and anticipate the twists and turns stories in 2012 will bring.

Hardware and environmentOff the Record stories frequently cover the tangible aspect of technology and how it draws in people's opinions. Hardware seems to invite interference, which can often lead to strange problems and hours of frantic troubleshooting.

The many hats of the "IT pro"There's been much debate about the role IT plays -- a department critical to a business's productivity, bottom line, security, and well, existence. But the shifting sands of modern tech and business needs add to the department's challenges. As these Off the Record stories show, users and managers pile on more expectations and demands on IT pros, blurring the job description.

Projects and upgradesIt's human nature to want to improve things and to tinker. That trait has served us well to some extent -- we have inventions ranging from the wheel to mobile devices, after all. But the drawbacks? Sometimes enough is enough. Other times one person's idea of perfection and how to achieve it collides with another's. Alternately, the complexities of technology can make it hard to cross all the t's and dot all the i's.

  • A rookie programmer's purchasing order system works perfectly -- until the new corporate managers start laying off employees. Turns out, people actually doing their jobs is crucial to keeping technology working.
  • Thinking he's smarter than his predecessor, an IT expert tries out an idea for configuring the company's file server. Instead, he confronts technical reality.
  • If it ain't broke, don't touch it! A data center operator spends spare time on the day shift trying to increase operational efficiency, and one day fiddles with a power off button in the data center.
  • Admins lavish attention on a critical database upgrade. But when the files disappear, it's obvious they missed crucial details.

This story, "Life in IT: Tech ideals meet user reality," was originally published at Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at For the latest business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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