The Director of IT job has evolved dramatically compared to, say, 5-10 years ago. Most technology systems are hosted, cloud-based, and there are a myriad of new devices to support. While it has always been challenging, I’m surprised that apparently being Director of IT is the most hated job according to this Yahoo article.
I have first-hand experience being IT Director for a number of years and here’s what the experience taught me:
It’s (or IT’s) a thankless job
IT is supposed to work. All the time. Never mind that wireless networks are not reliable, Internet connections drop, hardware dies, software license expires, and users continuously download unsafe stuff from the Internet. IT has to work. And when IT doesn’t, it’s your fault (I’m looking at you, Mr. IT Director).
Everyone’s a tech
All users think they’re technophile, techies, technologists because a) they use Facebook/Twitter/Foursquare/latest social media or mobile fad; b) they have ‘super fast’ connection at home and have every device at home connected to the Internet; c) they read TechCrunch and can recite every new acronym and shiny device’s specification.
Nothing to deliver
If you’re a developer, you have your code and working system to show. If you’re in sales, new accounts. If you’re IT, what? Not even 5 9′s uptime is enough (What, NOT 100%?!?). And even this were true, I’m sure your Network and System Administrators would take credit for it :)
So while the above are grim, I do not think it is that bad to be labeled the ‘most hated’. There’s always a delicate balance between maintaining a stable system versus keeping employees happy, and maintaining a healthy balance is one of IT’s bigger challenges. In IT (and being the Director, at that), you have the choice of creating and implementing policies that you think would best keep that balance. You need to be involved in all things technology — and these days, that’s pretty much everything — and keep abreast of changes. I think that’s exciting!
The job also requires certain personality to thrive in. If you’re the person who needs constant taps-in-the-back, this is not the job for you (“Hey look, I was able to connect everyone remotely and securely via this elaborate tunnel I created!”). If you’re happy being in the background, admiring the constant hum of a working system, plus being able to be calm when things don’t work, IT’s not that bad.