Editorial

The Neowin guide to working in IT: Part 2, Why IT can suck

Before I start, I’d like to apologise. To both the readers, who read part one and thought that part two would be a good read and have been made to wait for part two, and my Neowin colleagues for taking a while to get this part to print. Confidence has been the main reason I’ve held off this long in writing this piece and putting it, and myself in this instance, out there. So thank you anyone and everyone for your patience.

I’d also like to thank the readers that commented on part one, I appreciate the feedback and I am glad so many of you liked what I was trying to get across.

My experiences

In one of my jobs, I had a clipping from one of the daily rags pinned to the wall by my desk. It was an article about how the IT industry contained the highest number of staff suffering from stress and/or depression and would go onto commit suicide. It was something that I had displayed for the best part of 3 years and, for the most part, viewed it as an amusing article as I loved my work and wasn't phased by it at all. That was until I myself ended up becoming stressed and depressed.

I’d like to point out, I’m not looking for sympathy here, nor am I looking to hear the naysayers that simply say to people in my situation “suck it up,” because frankly it’s just not that simple. So, what was it that drove me to feel so low, and what did I do to combat the issues I was faced with?

Over two and a half years I went between five different roles, each of them causing me to question my place in the world, let alone working in IT. Between a mixture of boredom, restricted from performing my job, being put down, being overworked and being outright ridiculed across the positions (not all in each, just to be clear), I didn’t think IT was for me anymore. I was very low, and looked to other professions, including becoming a driving instructor! But eventually my love for for IT was reborn when I got handed a broken App-V implementation and I was asked to fix it. I did and from there, I didn't look back. I found the best job I’ve ever had a few months after that.

That was in May 2011, and I’m still in the same job. I am enjoying my work, love the company of the people I work with, get to learn new technologies and for the most part am good at what I do. I have the odd off day, but from talking it over with my wife and some of my work colleagues, I know that the position I’m in is one I could see myself finishing my working days in.

I know I didn’t have it bad, not really, but circumstances forced my situation and made me hate what I was doing both daily and for a living. But I stuck at things, took up photography and started to eat healthier and exercise more, and I am getting to a place both physically and emotional I want to be. Spare a little thought for the people who chronicle their experiences on Tales from the Trenches, or this piece from IGN on working in the games industry; I do, and I would have hated to be in their shoes, even during my best days.

But is IT really that stressful? Having had time to think about it, definitely. It’s only my humble opinion, but here’s why I think it is.

Technology moves very, almost too, quickly

I know hardware and software vendors have to make their money, but most of the time a product has only just matured enough to be classed as a serious and viable solution before it is superseded by the latest version. This can have both a positive and negative affect. The positives are:

  • A product that improves on the previous version
  • New features that can prove beneficial to the end user
  • Easier and less admin for the IT staff due to stability and functionality improvements

But the negatives can be:

  • More costs in upgrading
  • Is the new software able to integrate, where necessary, with your current solution
  • IT staff and the end user may need training

While a positive should always outweigh a negative, it’s only natural that people will become frustrated with a constant upgrade cycle or familiarising themselves with a product that might never be fully implemented within the business. The best example of this I can give is Windows 8. While not much different to Windows 7, changes under the hood make the performance and battery improvements a delight for the end user. But major changes to the interface will cause headaches for the same users, prompting the possible need to retrain some staff.

Employers expect more from their staff and their IT because they’ve been spoiled with the newest features and the performance improvements that advancing technology brings. At the end of the day, we as people all boil at different temperatures. We don’t all pick up new technology or understand the features the same way. Some people need time, and time nowadays costs money apparently and money apparently makes the world go round. Ultimately money is something that some businesses can’t afford to lose.

You can’t leave your work at home anymore

With technology moving on, the advent of the Blackberry and more recently the smartphone, there is no such thing as leaving your work in the workplace. Okay, there is the argument that you can simply turn your phone off, but is that really going to satisfy your ‘boss’ if he needs to speak to you at 10:30 at night?

What did we do before email, mobile phones and VOIP became the normal communication techniques for any business? We made phone calls. And if the people weren’t there, we either left a message on an answering machine or with someone. It wasn’t uncommon to wait a full day before you got a call back, and even that could have been about an urgent issue. Now, people wonder why you haven’t replied to an email after an hour of it being sent. Now, people expect you to be able to answer your work phone, if you have been provided with one, whenever it rings.

And what of mobile computing and remote access. You could do exactly what is required of you during your contracted working hours, but if you take a work issued device home with you, there is going to be an element of “you can work from home, can’t you?” While sometimes there is a necessity to work out of hours in IT, for downtime to servers and systems, getting asked to do above and beyond what you already do is becoming more and more commonplace, and sometimes for free.

Everyone who owns a computer knows how to do your job

It’s perfectly natural that as technology has moved forward, even your granny and her granny has at some point gone on the internet to book a flight or look at the latest needle work. Technology has become more accessible than ever. But what of the people that think they know computers, just from using them and learning certain admin and troubleshooting techniques?

We all do it, we all either know less that we let on and bluff our way through situations, or chime in when we’re neither wanted or needed. But every now and then, one of these situations will arise that will rattle your cage, usually at the worst possible moment. In these situations, manager Bob (made up, obviously) thinks because they successfully can install software on their computer and sometimes solve basic problems, with the help of Google, he can attempt to “help you do your job.” That’s something I got told once when someone was trying to help. Didn’t need it, nor did I want it; I was in the zone, sorting the problem and you just pulled me right out by offering to “help.

The worst time is when you’re troubleshooting a problem during a meeting of a senior management team, and one of them comes and hovers over your shoulder telling you what buttons to press and what to click and try next. It’s even worse when people in the room can see you get more and more frustrated with this “help” and do nothing to aid you. But you do end up getting praised for keeping calm and not absolutely going off on one at the offending helper, no matter who they were. True story.

What’s your point?

I know these are just three ways that IT can be a very frustrating career choice, there are loads more – overbearing bosses, job roles changing, lack of opportunities, staff members not accepting you or being willing to help you; the list goes on. And I am more than sure that it’s not just IT workers that will encounter these issues in their career. Any and all jobs have their problems, it’s how you deal with them that will ultimately make or break you whatever role you’re in.

In fact, if you do a quick search on Google you’ll actually find that IT is neither stressful nor a relaxing career to have. But from a lot of people that work in the industry, they will peg it as one or the other, but never neither.

I love the fact that technology has moved on in leaps and bounds. It was in 1994 that I got my first computer, with an Intel 50MHz SX2 processor, 4MB of RAM and 500MB hard disk it was a beast at running Windows 3.11. I upgraded it to 12MB of RAM and Windows 95 and didn’t look back. If you compare the past 19 years to now, in terms of technology as a whole (not talking Moore’s Law or anything), we are doing things now that were only a pipe dream in 1995. If car engines had moved at the same rate as computing, we should all be driving cars that consume just a thimble of fuel and run on an engine the size of a credit card.

I also love that more and more people are using computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones to get on with their daily lives. It’s amazing that a grandmother will use a computer to keep in touch with family around the world using an application like Skype or online services like Gmail or Outlook.

I’ll repeat a phrase again here; we all boil at different temperatures. What one person finds as stress, another will thrive in. Ultimately it’s up to you and your employer to work through any difficult times (within reason of course) and get the best out of you and your role. When that happens, it will do wonders for your state of mind.

So my advice to anyone who has been offered a role, ask to pop into the offices for an hour, meet the people you’ll be working with, see the work they’re doing and the technologies their dealing with, see the facilities and the environment first hand. The existing staff will be able to brief you on what work they are doing, you’ll get to see the facilities and the tools for performing the role and you’ll get to see the job for what it is, outside of the interview process where employers do have the opportunity to talk up a role beyond what it might be. All this will help you decide whether it’s the right role, place and choice for you.

And when you’re in the role? Take a deep breath, count to 10 and get up from your desk and take a walk around the office for 5 minutes. Go have a smoke. Grab a Snickers from the vending machine. Anything to detach yourself from the situation, even if only for a moment. And when you return, any problem will be a hell of a lot easier to resolve, both with systems and with people.

On a final note, I owe a lot to my current employers, the Neowin community, my friends, but most importantly my wife and family. Just knowing that I had support, and that other people were in similar situations, helped me through my tough times and made me realise I wasn't alone and I implore anyone to tap into any similar resources I had access to and just talk through any issues with your friends, family and, to an extent, your work colleagues. Each day may be a struggle, so just take it one at a time and you’ll get there eventually. I know I am.

Join us for part 3 where I will lift the shroud of doom and gloom of part 2 and talk about the good, no, GREAT things about working in IT and how sometimes you are doing more for your community and society than you may realise.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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39 Comments

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So very true... glad to see that so many more people feel the same about the industry. Key points for me were stress and pointing out the fact that people nowadays feel as they can do your job, it almost feels offensive in a way.

Thanks for sharing this, Andrew.

If you allow to keep something depressing in your surroundings or thoughts, I think, it's inevitable to get depressed in the end.

Great quote from Reddit recently, basically sums it up.

"If people in IT hate being in IT so much, why don't they change careers? I swear, getting an IT certification automatically comes with some sort of martyr complex."

"Because people in IT thought they would take care of computers, and they realized when they started to work that they have to take care of people."

Great article, but I would have added a bit more about the different jobs in IT. Mabye that is still to come in part 3? :-)

Anyway, judging from the comments above, most people seem to think that there isn't that much variation in IT. You couldn't be more wrong. There are so many different positions in the IT world, that name doesn't eve do it justice.

First of all, you have to make the big differentiation on whether you are a contractor working as an external for a company, whether you are working at the company's location on a permanent basis as a contractor, whether you are a permanent staff with a contract (until you retire) or whether you simply work on a project to get something done and someone else takes it over when finished.
This in itself, based on my experience, makes a huge difference. At my last job the running joke was "The only people who work are the externals". True, to some extent. In each team (usually about 5-10 people) there were about 2-4 internals. I worked in 3 different teams at that company and it really was true, the internal guys hardly did any work, and when they did, it was badly done and the externals had to fix everything again. In projects they would come up with the dumbest ideas that had to be implemented, even though all externals were against.
So, it really depends in what situation you are in. I now have a permanent contract with a company, as everyone in my team does, and the environment is great, as are the people. No belittling the externals, no passing off jobs because you can't be asked, and no rushing jobs that other people need fixing. You do it the way you think it should be.

As to the jobs, there are tons of different ones in IT. Starting with the HelpDesk, which everyone calls about their problems. These guys are usually on the phone and nothing else and have limited time to fix the issue. If the time is up, this then gets passed on to the 2nd level. They try to do a bit more research and visit the user to fix the issue on site, if required. Then you have the backend IT guys, managing the network, servers, and investigating other generic issues. In big companies or corporations, you also have additional teams, eg. project work (developing new systems, introducing them and handing over), you might have separate teams that only deal with storage, network, virtual environment, backups, software programming, developing, etc... Oh yes, and let's not forget the most boring of all (at least to me), if you work according to ITIL, you need tons of documentation, so you might be stuck in a team developing processes of how things should be done, meaning you spend your time writing documentation about systems, about workflows, etc...

All these positions can be in-house or outsourced. In my experience over the past 7 years, working as an external but being placed at the company, you always get discriminated and you don't really count, because in the end you are an external after all. You might have the best ideas on how to do things, but if you have someone with no clue on how things should be done and he tells you this is how I want it, then you will be fighting with yourself on whether you just shut up and do it or not. You need a mindset of your own. I myself cannot keep quiet in situations like these, I give my opinion when I think things are wrong and don't keep quiet. In the end, after some years there, I realized that the only way to survive there is if you do as you're told, shut up about things and become a mindless slave. I've seen other people there like that, and that wasn't for me. So I looked for a new job. After 8 months I found a permanent position as an SCCM admin (again, had done that in the past), I was lucky and am getting well payed, and I'm loving my job. This is a job I could see myself in for the next 10 years or more.

Oh, let's not forget the pay. As a contractor you might get well payed, but are often subject to the will and instructions of others. As an external in a helpdesk, as many companies outsource these positions, you mostly get screwed by your own company. Where they ask for tons of money from the employer, you yourself hardly get anything. At my last job I found out that my company was asking for 140k€ to put someone in a certain position, while the person doing the job barely got 50k€, and he had to fight for every cent and training in a year. The company you work at doesn't value you as an external, you own company doesn't either as you are the cash-cow for them bringing in the money. If you make too many waves, they simply replace you with someone else. Plenty of people out there. And even better, they can pay the new guy less that they were paying you.

Anyway, some people like working as externals, some like working as permanent staff, other just like working for as long as a project lasts. It all depends on what you like.

So, what I wanted to say, in the end, is that there are many many different IT positions out there, in various combinations of salary and employment status. If you like working in IT, try finding the right combination for you. It isn't always easy, but once you have found it, you'll be happy.

Forgot to mention one thing, which is a given: If you work in IT, you can expect your family and friends calling you all the time about any related IT problem they have. From "where is my folder" to "my PC doesn't turn on" to "my mouse doesn't work". ;-)

When people say they 'work in IT' I get the lingering feeling that the vast majority of them are help-desk support which says two things:

1) You don't really work in IT, you work in customer service.
2) Your opinion on IT - as a whole - doesn't matter as it's invalidated.

Don't get me wrong though, nothing against IT Support, but I dislike the generalizations.

I work in IT. I'm a solutions architect reporting to the director. I maintain the servers (I installed, configured and maintain), code the large management systems (I designed and maintain), and implement all the ideas (I came up with). There are support elements to my job - for the managers - but I don't really deal with the low-level users.

I love my Job. People treat me with respect. The hours are long sure, but it's a rewarding Job. There is nothing quite like getting some code to run perfectly after a refactoring session, or suggesting an idea that saves the company a year of your pay.

It's amazing.

I think some of the frustrations come down to:

Being asked to do more with less
Not having the funds to build a solution properly
Hand over from project to operations - usually an absolute pain in the proverbial
Working on solutions designed to make people redundant
Unrealistic timeframes and expectations

I still love IT and I've been doing it for 17 years in various capacities. I've done phone support, desktop, team leading, Wintel engineering, app packaging and OS deployment , virtualisation and now currently working on mass scale XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructure design and build.

Sure I have bad days, but doesn't everyone in every profession? I always look at everything as a challenge and an opportunity.

IT doesn't have to suck, I think a lot of people also suffer from the "care too much problem". These days if a call is made to do something I don't agree with, I'll voice my concern, and in the end just roll with what has been asked.

I got interested in computers when I was younger so going into IT was natural and I loved it at first but I do feel burned out now. It just seemed a lot more fun and rewarding when I first started back in 2005.

I pretty much cringe when I have to desktop level stuff now which I use to not mind at all. At least it doesn't happen too often.

Edited by matt4pack, Apr 10 2013, 7:10pm :

IT jobs are most underestimated jobs but the reality is opposite it's one of the most complex job you can do and IT job is something you can't do without being passionate about. In hardware I think networking can be one of the most frustrating jobs.

As a developer I found that working with someone else's code without proper documentation(I mean complete mess) can be really frustrating sometimes I feel that I could have wrote entire code from scratch instead of working with others code.

What sucks is when you tell your company what you need to get a project working and they give you **** equipment to do it with and expect it to run like you proposed. And when it doesn't, they wonder why.

I was in IT for a while, and most of the time it felt I was trying to whip a bunch of monkeys into shape.

When something went wrong it was ALWAYS your fault, no matter what happended behind their keyboard. In the end I got fed up with the whole thing and left IT, despite the fact I love IT tech.....

Long hours, badly treated, badly payed.... That's IT mostly, especially in the smaller places.

I wish i read this article a month a go...

I just took a job in the IT field... and wow how do i regret it!
I used to work for a company where no one bothered me, i had some things to do that were routine through-out the day like cleaning product images and updating the website etc... but the thing that led me to changing job was the fact that i knew i had reached my peak at that employer.

So i was offered an IT job and decided why not? Should be fun dealing with servers and switches etc...

Well not really! I rarely get to deal with anything like that... i get to drive all over the city and deal with traffic all day. My car is getting alot of tear and wear, even though mileage is paid, and is it ever depressing and boring having to deal wtih people who have no idea how to use PC's.

I wish i could go back to my previous job, it wasn't the best, and the pay was a bit less... but at least i worked 9-5 and that's it.

Now it takes me over 1 hour on a good day to get to work, and i never know when i finish because i never know where i'll be or what stupid issue i need to solve...

I am in a role now that I love, but I (informally) blame my last job for a period of stress, anxiety and eventually depression. I worked for HTFR, a UK based DJ hardware and vinyl retailer. I singlehandedly rebuilt their existing website into an eCommerce platform - but every single tiny decision was micromanaged by a boss who didn't know his arse from his elbow, had fleeting snap decisions and then denied ever saying as much when they failed. He ran the company like a despot, inventing reasons to pull people up so that everyone was on 1 warning, so he could let anyone go on a whim. I could list all the illegal/fraudulant things he did, but in fairness I'm not bitter enough anymore, I have now moved onto a role where I am massively appreciated, treated with respect and allowed to use best practises to design amazing web applications.

But suffice it to say that the nonsense I put up with for 3 years destroyed my sense of worth for a while. Thankfully now I see that he was the paranoid idiot, and not me

As someone that used to work in IT (started as help desk moved on to networks). I can tell you it sucks. I moved on to software development and that is much better for me. Developing apps for iPads and web applications kept me in IT but not the IT where you are bothered by people that don't know how to navigate their computers.

I'm in IT, and I consider it a job that I love to hate. I will complain about users (not to their face, obviously) problems with management, the state of our migration, even how that "2 second job" took 15 minutes and now my coffee is cold.

But could I see myself anywhere else? Not at all. I love computers, I get personal satisfaction from helping users and solving tricky problems, and occasionally they may choose to thank me for the work.

I work in IT and I'd tell anyone to avoid it at all costs.

+ No recognition
+ Not brilliant pay
+ Contract worries (could be out of a job)
+ No love of PC's outside of work (last thing I want to do is go on a PC again at home)
+ Can be crappy hours (though I'm lucky in my current job)
+ After a while you don't care about peoples problems (but could be any job I suppose)
+ Cardboard boxes & Packaging (you begin to hate the sight of these, especially after a large rollout, there's SO MUCH POLSTERINE(sp?))

Thats about it

I'm commenting from work. I have 15 years of software development experience recently got a Masters in Software Engineering, still work with people who don't have a clue and they make the decisions. IT can really suck. Well it sucks for me but pays the bills.

Shaun you have it wrong. You are being too narrow minded, let me try to shed some light on to the subject.

The simple thing is that if something has a plug or runs on batteries, it is in IT's relm to support and fix the issue...If the fridge's light is out, get IT to change the light bulb they know what they are doing...when the radio blows a fuse, IT will fix it... if the phone has an issue dialing, give it to IT they will fix it...if the remote to the projector stops working, call in IT they will fix it....when the toaster stops toasting, call IT they will fix it.

I somewhat joke stating that we have a big toilet rim above the ceiling tiles and management just sits on the pot and takes a massive dump on us whenever they are feeling that they need to belittle a group. But it is the simple fact that we take care of everything.....even when the "experts" who think they know something about something because they have soooo much experience with computers and how to power them on can't figure it out. Like hitting the button that says power on the remote to the projector.

You know it ... if it looks vaguely electrical whether analog or digital and it isn't working right who ya gonna call!!!!! IT Busters that's who (sing this to the ghost busters tune)

I am a Software Developer - Contractor, and this is why IT suck

Before I start, the Salary is Good, that is the only reason.

Anyway,

- If the manager is not happy they may let you go.
- You can develop the most complex banking application, you will get so many thank you, and if you are a contractor, they will still let you go and send the support to India.
- Your job will get outsourced (not may get outsourced, it will get outsourced, it is just a matter of time), my last contract was delivered and the support was outsourced to India.

The above is ok if you can develop the way you feel good, but in reality, there are tons, literally tons of stupidity out there (frameworks, procedures, you name it is has been invented)

You may feel that a simple application should be developed using simple procedures, in a way to produce a simple and easy to read code, and an easily managed application, but there is always someone with a stupid idea in charge that is following some outdated policy that he does not understand and you must follow it.

Working as a software developer use to be the beauty of writing instructions to make something happen, today it is no different than being a painter that was asked to paint a wall with damn ugly colors, and you must smile and keep telling them yes, the colors are beautiful Sir.

In todays IT it is either one of two options: to develop something you love, and you are maybe the next Google or Facebook but you will be with no income for long, or to develop something that you don't like, and you will make money, and the more people don't like a technology the more money you will make (examples, custom BizTalk, SharePoint code), and make sure to eat food to make you less depressed.

All of this depends on the customer/company you work for.
Right now there are so many jobs available you can pretty much pick the company you want to work for.
I always go for the small companies. Less rules, more fun.
Outsourcing has slowed down a lot in the last 5 years.
My last 2 jobs required me to take all development back to europe.

i think people need to get out of their heads that working in IT is limited to the likes of installing routers, and setting up servers. I know it's in there, but it really is quite low level stuff..

I work in IT, but i have other people to do that **** for me, I spend my time interacting with clients face to face and understanding their problems.. you don't have to be a code monkey, you don't have to be a server jockey... (both of which i am capable of)

BGM said,
i think people need to get out of their heads that working in IT is limited to the likes of installing routers, and setting up servers. I know it's in there, but it really is quite low level stuff..

I work in IT, but i have other people to do that **** for me, I spend my time interacting with clients face to face and understanding their problems.. you don't have to be a code monkey, you don't have to be a server jockey... (both of which i am capable of)

Umm I think you will find it is quite the opposite. I don't give a flying crap about what customers want, I just care about the systems being online and doing what I have told them do. Please try and tell me how setting up an IBM UNIX based mainframe/supercomputer is in anyway low level. I think you will find that the fun stuff is happening out back, you are missing out if you think interacting with clients is the fun stuff... IT is not about all this crap about people and management its about the science, the skill set you develop the stuff you can do that others can't. Anyone can tell other people what to do and do "resource management" and "customer relations" but not everyone can run a ODB with 1TB of RAM and millions of dollars riding on the functionality of that server rack/farm.

ingramator said,

Umm I think you will find it is quite the opposite. I don't give a flying crap about what customers want, I just care about the systems being online and doing what I have told them do. Please try and tell me how setting up an IBM UNIX based mainframe/supercomputer is in anyway low level. I think you will find that the fun stuff is happening out back, you are missing out if you think interacting with clients is the fun stuff... IT is not about all this crap about people and management its about the science, the skill set you develop the stuff you can do that others can't. Anyone can tell other people what to do and do "resource management" and "customer relations" but not everyone can run a ODB with 1TB of RAM and millions of dollars riding on the functionality of that server rack/farm.

Well, you only get to do that because a customer is willing to pay for it (indirectly, of course). There is no less important job in a company. All jobs are important to make it work.
Other thing, not everyone has the skills to become a "manager" or "customer relations", and both have a lot of science involved, albeit a different type of science.

Disclaimer: I am Software Performance Engineer.

When you have to work with actual customers (ie. not co-workers), it's a very thankless job. I am lucky to hear "thank you" once a freakin' week. It's usually much less polite LOL. And if it takes one second longer than I tell them, oh man, it's the end of the world ROFL.

The bad part about IT is most of your day is fixing stupid problems. Things like replacing toner or helping change a font in word. Don't expect Most of your day to consist or fixing switches and routers .

You might be lucky enough to do the heavy lifting in a huge company but in most small and medium companies the IT guy does everything.

The cool things like routers, switches and servers, or only a once and a while thing.

heck I am even in charge of the phone system . Usually telling people over and over again how to program their away message.

Sounds like a permy job to me You need to get into the contracting game mate with some pro skills. Servers, switches, fibre, hotwiring racks, tape panels, UNIX mainframes, ethical hacking, data centre ground 0, managers cursing when a database table is overwritten by some overprivileged n00b.. etc. You don't know what you're missing out on!

Sounds like you're in the wrong part of IT -.- That sounds more like a help desk to me...

The pension and 5 week paid vacation also sounds like the man who used to sit behind me when I worked for the state as a government employee... Enjoying his time watching youtube videos while waiting for the staff to call in with their stupid annoying computer problems... That's very low level annoying work if you ask me.

Like ingramator said... contracting is where it's at. We just finished setting up an entire network for a company from the ground up... now my guys are in there taking care of the stupid bull**** support while I was worried about getting the servers online and configured properly, as well as maintaining and updating them constantly. It's much more fun and interesting sticking it to the man and investing in your own startup in the real world all on your own than it is to sit at a desk all day in a stuffy office with 5 other people tending to the staff's needs.

It promotes an entirely different attitude when it comes to contracting too, as the client/customer is more happy and understanding of the service more often then in the corporate environment where the service is expected and not paid for by the staff or any of the departments. Of course... if you suck at your job, the customer is never happy and always hates having to call you. If you're in that scenario, you're probably not doing something right.

not saying will go for support as a whole. maybe walk around re-image pcs, remote terminal, look at new products, monitoring networks too etc.
But not touching switch and routers.

majortom1981 said,
The bad part about IT is most of your day is fixing stupid problems. Things like replacing toner or helping change a font in word. Don't expect Most of your day to consist or fixing switches and routers .

You might be lucky enough to do the heavy lifting in a huge company but in most small and medium companies the IT guy does everything.

The cool things like routers, switches and servers, or only a once and a while thing.

heck I am even in charge of the phone system . Usually telling people over and over again how to program their away message.

I do this and software installation all day.
GOD i hate those printers.