38 seconds

Warning…rant ahead. Tread with caution.


Something I just don’t get lately. What’s up with the inability of people that work with technology to communicate.

With each other, with their “customers”, with their superiors, with anyone?

Were we always this way?

*** Disclaimer: I’m not talking about my staff here. So you call can chill. I’m speaking of IT as an industry. ***

Seriously though, for an industry that is supposed to facilitate communication, make people work more efficiently and collaborate better (why yes, I have been drinking the IT PR Kool Aid) why is it that communication is the last thing we do well?

Case in point. A situation at work necessitated that I send a rather annoyed (but professional) email to a group of people asking them politely (and did I mention professionally??) to get off their collective asses and remedy a problem that had been ongoing for weeks.

Not a simple issue either. An issue that was directly affecting users’ ability to work. So sort of important.

At the end of said email, I asked that someone get in touch with me to let me know the status of things and what the resolution plan was.

Simple request. Communicate with me.

Help me understand what is going on. What you are doing to remedy the issue. What is causing the problem. Anything. Just. Talk. To. Me.

Twenty four hours go by.


I had to send another email (still professional) asking, “Hey..um, hello? What’s going on?” Then finally, someone got back to me.

Communication. In the day of email, Twitter, instant message, and that thing called the phone, I got nothing. It takes 38 seconds to hit the reply button on an email, type out a short message saying something like, “Sorry for the issues. We are looking into it. We will contact you tomorrow with a follow up and more information”, and then hit the send button.

Thirty eight seconds. I timed it.

We in IT often times wonder why IT gets a bad rep. Why we aren’t respected more. Why, often times, management looks at IT as a necessary evil instead of a business asset.

Well folks, I’m here to tell you, it’s because we can’t take 38 seconds to send an email to communicate. I know we are all busy. Sometimes insanely so, but 38 seconds is nothing.

Maybe if we all spared 38 seconds more often, IT would be perceived as a customer-service focused business entity. Not just a group that spends money, complains about users asking stupid questions (that’s another post) and cant deliver on their promises.

Maybe we’d be looked at as a group that goes out of their way to help people. That is interested in making things better for the organization and the users.

Thirty eight seconds.

A missed opportunity to provide customer service. A missed chance to change the perception of a single person.

There’s a phrase I’m fond of; “Death by a thousand paper cuts.”

It unfortunately applies to IT far too often.


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