Sunday, March 20, 2011

Artful Heroics

Management tends to overlook the quiet heroes; this is especially true in Information Technology. When the hardware fails -- the server crashes hard -- the folks who patch everything up and get it working again get a slap or the back, accolades, and a nice mention in their performance review. But the guy that quietly monitors performance every day, cleans up the old files, optimizes indexes, and releases old record locks, goes completely unnoticed, even though his work keeps things running smoothly.

Naturally since I.T. folks are smart and recognize this, you tend to find that they decamp into two philosophical groups. The first group maximizes their perceived value by purposefully being lackadaisical in maintenance, all the while squirreling away the tricks they know for recovery. Then they can spring out of the phone booth in their Superman suit when the time is right to be the eventual heroes.

The second group though, the Artful Heroes, quietly and unselfishly keep plugging away, patching and making small unnoticed incremental improvements to keep things running smoothly. For they recognize their reward when they look into their manager's eyes and see the acknowledgment that their manager indeed knows their value overall.