Today upon arriving to work after the long holiday, I had to do something that I normally do not. This is not uncommon for IT professionals. In fact, it is our food.
First, some back-story: Before leaving my office last week, I locked my desk, securing my current projects. I added my desk key to my key ring and off I went. Upon returning this morning, I proudly produced the key and put it in the lock. Oh-oh–the key would not go more than a few millimeters into the lock!
The lock was not going to accept its key. I tried for more than an hour. I examined similar keys and similar locks and found no explanation or any clue about how to proceed. I examined the ID number stamped on both the key and the tumbler and confirmed it was a match. I called our Corporate Front Desk to describe my problem to Beth, our Administrative Professional, with hopes that she would offer a quick solution. No such luck. She would have me wait until another employee returned from vacation. I considered the set of tools that a colleague keeps in his truck and thought about falling back on my demolition skills learned from three years in construction.
Kat, the Dean of General Education said that when she had problems with the lock on her desk she called the IT guy and he fixed it right away. Hey! I am the IT guy! Armed with the knowledge that it could be done, I was emboldened to not give up just yet!
I recalled eyeing a single paperclip on my desk over the past hour and picked it up and unbent and tried it. Of course that didn’t work. Didn’t the thieves and heroes in movies use two paperclips? Yes! John, the Criminal Justice Dean had a second paperclip. I inserted both paperclips as seen on TV so many times and I turned. It felt soooo right. It was like they were in soft butter, the lock so willingly opened to my paperclips.
After my success, John shared with me that he thought I was going bonkers. Having been a chef, I know that it has been said that a chef is many things: plumber, nurse, restaurant security, and of course, cook. I hope that my recent demonstration only shows IT professionals are also so. We have the troubleshooting experience and the tenacity to get anything done by trying *everything*.
People may not understand us. They may think we are going bonkers sometimes, and sometimes we are. However, what people see is only happing outside of our minds. Inside, we are thinking, concentrating, and convincing ourselves that if any person can solve this problem, we can–if we just apply our knowledge, experience, and our problem-solving tools (which in this case included a pair of paperclips and the experience of many scenes from crime-fighting films).
IT professionals are problem solvers.