Usually Simple / Never Easy

If there is one statement that sums up my entire career as an IT Professional it’s the tag line, “IT problems are usually simple, but never easy”.  I have consistently found this to be true, no matter how much technology changes or what sector of the industry I find myself in.

When users have an problem, it can usually be stated quite simply:  “The computer does X and I want it to do Y”, “This error message keeps popping up!”, “The printer won’t print my document!”, etc.  They understand they have a problem, and they realize they do not possess the skills needed to solve the problem.  This is where we come in: guiding the user from problem to solution.  If IT problems were easy to solve the IT Professional would not be necessary. There would be no need for individuals who have been specially trained to troubleshoot and solve tech problems.  The fact that we exist proves the truth of the tag line, which is why I like it so much.

But how does all of this help you?  To answer this I must get to the point: your job is not easy, even if it comes easy to you.  Never underestimate your value in the division of labor.  You have a skill set that is not available to everyone.  Your ability to solve problems, even if it comes easy for you, is vital.  For much of the population, it doesn’t come easy.  Knowing this can elicit two different responses: 1) coasting on natural talent, or 2) cultivating that talent.

You see, I get it.  Your good at what you do, and it usually comes easy.  Great.  It does for me too, but that is no excuse for laziness.  Continue to work hard.  Continue to better your skills.  A vintner who inherits a family vineyard can reap the benefits of his father’s hard work for quite a while.  But there will come a day when, if he hasn’t continued to cultivate the vineyard, the grapes will fail.  Pests will infest, the weather will destroy, competitors will make a better vintage, etc.  One or all of these things will eventually happen, so it would be wise for that man to cultivate what he has now and not just coast on what he has been given.

IT problems may be simple for us, and we may have all the tools necessary to get by without much effort now. But, as time goes on this “usually simple / always easy” attitude will spoil our future by robbing us of the valuable lessons of the present.  Therefore, I encourage you to treat each problem you face as a simple problem with a hard solution.  If you do this faithfully the only “hard” IT problems you will face will be those “simple” ones that require a little “hard” work.  And as the saying goes, “a little hard work never hurt anyone”.

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