Are IT Professionals different?

Yes. IT Professionals are different.

You knew that already, right?

But did you know the gap between the IT Professional of the last 20 years and the rest of the culture is closing?

Yeah. I’m pretty sure.

Here are the signs:

A non-IT friend of mine recommended that I watch the BBC sitcom “The IT Crowd.” She loves it. And she was right, so do I.

The New York Times is doing a series called “Your Brain on Computers.”

Their story, “Hooked on Gadgets, And Paying a Mental Price” was so long the first person in our IT Shop to note it and pass it on also said, “Caveat: This story may be too long for serious multi-taskers.”

And when I went to the interactive section where NYTimers did a panorama of Kord Campbell’s workspace, his 4 monitor, two laptop, one iPad and iPhone too, didn’t strike me as weird or excessive. Just the photo here. It might still be overkill to most of the American public …

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I’m worried. About my brain. About my writing style. I write this way, for pete’s sake, so that someone somewhere might take the time to read it. But I’m finding that I read this way too. If it’s not snappy and to the point: Fuggitaboutit.

Take where I am as I write this, just as an example. I’m at home relaxing on the couch. I’m facing a 42″ screen. On my right is my husband (profession: Network Admin). He’s using that 42″ screen to play COD (“Call of Duty” in case you’re the last person on the planet who doesn’t know that) on our XBox. To my left is one of our twins, Zach. He’s got a laptop too. His belongs to Dad’s employer and is a Mac. He’s at onemorelevel.com playing Monster Evolution. There are kittens lounging across the room on the back of an oak rocker. The other twin is yelling from the shower to make certain his brother hasn’t taken over his DSi game while he’s obliging his parents by cleaning up.

I may sound really hip to you. But I’m not. I think all of this is disturbing. I have to say weird things as a mother, like, “close the lid and look at me when I’m talking, thank you” or “when you’re talking to real people Zach, you look them in the eye.”

I am CERTAIN there was a time when children actually learned that from the example of all those people around them.

We had horrible thunder storms this past month. One knocked so many trees down in our neighborhood it took the power company 5 days to get our electricity back. During that time my children acted as though Rome were burning (and *I* can imagine what Rome burning might have been like). The first 4 hours were cool. FOUR HOURS. After that the only things from their lips were litanies of all the things they can not do without electricity. (Meanwhile I was remembering my rural childhood where we always filled the bathtubs, sinks and buckets when storms loomed so that we’d have water to flush toilets).

Without electricity 10 year olds can’t: watch tv, watch a DVD, play on Xbox, play on Wii, risk playing too much DSi since the batteries can’t be charged… the microwave is out… there’s nothing to do but sit around in the dark.

Their mother is thankful for city water and for a newer gas hot water heater whose pilot light and ignition system are not electronic. I am taking a shower, using my gas stove, still washing dishes (albeit by hand), still cooking on my gas stove, and getting all my laundry done in 2 hours instead of 2 days by using the local laundromat. What an incredible difference in perception.

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Back to our brains. That’s where I started when I began this illegitimately long blog post. The full article (and I do mean ‘full’) is over here at the NY Times.

It’s frightening to this particular IT PRofessional AND Mom of 10 year old twins.

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2 responses to “Are IT Professionals different?

  1. Oh… You might want to read the free sampler to Michael Lopp’s new book: Being Geek: The Software Developer’s Career Handbook.

  2. I went right to the page. Loved it. Thinking already about buying it. Thanks!

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