Only the Lonely Could Possibly Understand

By: Angela Gillaspie © January 2002

The other day a fellow programmer sent me an interesting British article titled, "IT Staff 'Less Popular Than Accountants'." It outlined a study sponsored by NETg that asked people whom they liked to sit next to at the office Christmas party, and that we in IT (Information Technology) failed the popularity test miserably. NETg speculated that the low ranking of IT professionals was due to fears that we would 'talk shop' all night, or we'd be too introverted to hold a conversation.

Accountants are more popular? No way! I thought we've been exceptionally popular, especially since the office went online a couple of years ago. Finally, our sickly white bodies are beginning to show some color because we were allowed out of the cold depths of the data center to mingle freely with the beautiful people of the office to give hands-on help and advice so they could actually use their computers.

We may occasionally balk at the constant whining about how slow the network is or how sales accounting accidentally deleted a device driver (again), but are we that introverted? Nah, you should see us yukking it up debating the Star Wars movies, I mean, there's no air in space, so there shouldn't be any sound in space, right? Ha ha! All accountants joke about is credit accruals depreciating during the fiscal year-end. Puh.

I think we have far better communication skills than we get credit. Sure we can't spell, but when you work with things like HTML, POP, SCSI, JCL, WYSIWYG, GUI, LAN, DOS, USB, and PCI, it doesn't matter - just as long as we consistently misspell - which we do. You should see our source code! We usually have megs of it downloaded on our handhelds, ready and eager to show users, but strangely enough, no one wants to see it.

Matter of fact, the only time anyone at the office talks to us is when programs break, hardware needs upgrading, and when so-and-so's personal assistant downloads a virus (again). Where's the love?

We computer scientists are exact and very scrupulous (see: 'Anal Retentive') about what we think, do, and talk about. We are precise creatures and go into intricate detail on all things - just ask us the definition of 'unthawed.' We'll be happy to outline why this actually means 'frozen' - just look! To 'thaw' means to change from a frozen solid to a liquid by gradual warming and to 'unthaw,' well that's the opposite, you know to un-change from frozen solid to liquid. Hah! Unthawing reminds me of this really funny loop-back test that we conducted back in March ... I would specify the particulars more here, but I'd like to keep the word count of this piece under 10,000 words.

Ah, I digress. The NETg study said that receptionists were the most popular office workers to sit by at the Christmas party probably because they kept up with gossip. I just don't understand. We are intimate with everyone's machines and know what games they have installed, who they send the most email to, plus which web sites they visit most often. A little friendship toward your local IT professional at the office Christmas party can help avoid the need for bribery later.

Of course, this study was conducted in Britain and I'm sure most IT professionals here in the states aren't as standoffish and nerdy as British IT professionals. Hmm, to prove this I think I'll write a Visual Basic parsing program to analyze this information, then break it down into a VSAM array easily accessed by a database retrieval executable - it'll be just the thing to discuss at the company Christmas party!

-30-

Angela Gillaspie, Copyright 2002 all rights bug free!

Thank you Dave W, Dave G, and Mark!

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