Attitude of Gratitude

Opinion: If you have a positive IT experience, be sure to give thanks.

I hope everyone out there had a great Thanksgiving, a holiday that has always been one of my favorites.

I like Thanksgiving so much because it doesnt demand that we go out and buy gifts or flowers or candy or anything like that.

Your main obligations are simply to make and consume a fantastic spread of food and drink (not that I need a holiday to do that), and be thankful.

Hopefully, you were able to be thankful this past week for lots of great things in your life—really important things, such as family, friends and health.

But what about the other stuff? You know—your job and the IT projects that are part of it?

There must be some good things in IT to give thanks for, no matter how infrequently most of us may experience them.

If you actually have any of the following projects, situations or products, you should be thankful—very thankful—because many of your peers are dealing with the exact opposites.

Projects designed to prevent problems rather than fix them after they occur.

These projects are so unusual and rarely seen that we might as well refer to them as the Nessies of IT.

Most companies choose to take the chance that a security breach or disaster wont affect them, rather than take the steps necessary to keep the problem from striking.

In the short term, this can look good on the books: "See? We saved $50,000 by not implementing this preventive system."

Of course, this doesnt look quite as good if the problem does strike and costs the company millions of dollars (and saddles the IT department with blame and lots of extra work putting out fires).

So, if youre lucky enough to have management that greenlights implementation of technology designed to prevent problems, you should give thanks.

Products actually suited to the projects they are used for.

As pretty much any IT worker can attest, this is another good candidate for the IT version of "In Search Of." In most projects, IT staffers often end up doing the equivalent of plumbing with carpentry tools.

This is usually due to one of two things: either a decision by management to make do with the products and tools that are already in place, or a shortsighted policy that mandates using products from only one vendor or that run on only one platform.

Of course, neither results in a satisfactory end product—instead producing results that leave no one happy and that create more problems than they solve.

So, if you work somewhere where you can actually choose the best products for achieving your IT needs, give thanks.

Having the right people to do the job.

OK, this one is now so rare—actually, unseen—that I may have to call it the dodo bird of IT in that it may not even actually exist anymore.

There are signs that IT hiring is picking up, but most IT projects are woefully understaffed and/or improperly staffed.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more from Jim Rapoza about IT hiring.

This leads to running an IT project with only a small percentage of the necessary people, which will almost always lead to bugs and missed deadlines. And the staffers you do have are probably unhappy—doing the job because theyre afraid of losing their positions and not because of the excitement and experience of the job itself. Again, not the best recipe for quality results.

So, if you work at a business where IT projects are properly staffed and where work that should be done in-house is done in-house rather than improperly outsourced simply because management thinks thats what its supposed to do, give thanks.

What about me? What do I give thanks for? Well, theres the really important stuff—like my wonderful wife; my family and friends; my decent health; and, of course, my two dogs.

On the job, I give thanks for the companies, developers and open-source groups that are still innovating and creating the products that make my job interesting.

I give thanks for my fantastic co-workers, who always work to produce the best content imaginable.

And then there are my readers, who keep me on my toes and push me to do my best.


Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at

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