In the past, there have been times as a DBA when I’ve been annoyed by the clients submitting tickets to IT. I’m not sure if those incidents were more frustrating than the work I’ve done as a developer for customers, but both can be very annoying and stressful for an employee. I’ve probably acted poorly and said things I didn’t mean while I was upset. I hope I’ve learned to do better by now.
Things were worse earlier in my career, mostly because over time I developed a more perspective and empathy, both of which Tim Mitchell talks about in his post on perspective. I learned that no one was intentionally trying to be difficult. Each customer or client had their own tasks, and often it was technology that was slowing them down. The only reason they asked me to do some work was that they couldn’t get their work done.
Much like Tim, I learned that technology doesn’t exist for technology’s sake. If you just want cool technology handling a task, buy a Raspberry PI or Arduino, get some sensors, and build something amazing. However, if you want to be successful in Information Technology, and have people value your applications, systems, and services, learn that you need to solve problems. Learn how to make other people’s work easier.
I’ve had plenty of success in my career by following Tim’s advice. I’ve made myself part of the business and learned how I can address the problems and challenges faced by others after I’ve learned what those issues are. I’ve also learned that just asking a business person to tell me what to do often results in neither of us being successful.