July 30, 2002 - <rant> I am getting sick of the superiority bullshit people keep dishing out. I always remember the line in Excalibur where Merlin is trying to catch the fish. Basically, there is always someone better that you at something so it is foolish to go around putting on airs of superiority.
IT, as a field, fits the points I want to make. First, it is often a very technocratic field to work in. This can be refreshing is you are a bright, sharp person who is passionate for the work. However, it can lead to people using their perceived ‘status’ in this artificial social structure to do just what I mentioned above – put on airs of superiority. The flip side to that ‘social structure’ is this. Having started learning about computers in general from a very early age (read: I played around on an IBM System 34). Now that is old school to some but ‘middle school’ to some others. I like to joke around about it and have had people mention using DEC PDP11 systems. Truly old school, IMO. However, it is seem more as a gauge of determining the muck you had to deal with in the past. I doubt anyone will actually get a job administering a PDP11 and, if there is such a job, I would be quite unqualified for it. Simply, the conversations where IT folk talk about the old technologies are war stories and not admissions of grand, arcane knowledge.
One thing that will humble the IT folk and nags them in the back of their minds is this: technology and the knowledge to use it is being created at such a rate that no one can hope to remotely keep up with it. Simply: if I want to be a coder (which I am not), I would be a newbie swimmer with floaties jumping in the ocean. Even in the networking field I work in, I often feel there are new technologies. I look at the N+I bag next to my desk (from 1999) and see technologies I know just a little about or have never used at all: DWDM, E-commerce, xDSL, IPv6, CORBA, and on and on. That was 3 years ago these were hot and new. Some related very much with my job, some don’t. There is just not enough time for me to hope to learn them all to anything close to an expert level.
The event that pissed me off was a comment from a co-worker I had heard was a pretty nice person. In a hall with three people from my department and one from her department, she is invited to join the group for lunch (in fact, we were going to meet people from two other departments at the restaurant). Instead of just POLITELY declining, she says something to the effect of lunch with the IT staff being something inconscionable to her. In other words, basically a ‘fuck off’ in nicer language.
Now, at the risk of sounding condescending, this department is really full of damned sharp people and I think if there were a brainbowl, we’d win hands down. But we don’t treat users with either a patronizing bullshit attitude or a condescending bullshit attitude. We tend to look at ourselves as part of the ‘team’. It seems everyone else here thinks are turds that won’t drop off. Fuck that. This is the same bullshit I see in people everyday so it shouldn’t be overly surprising. Women bitching about their loser boyfriends/husbands who can’t hold down a job and live off their paycheck. Again, whose fault is that? No one made them get involved with some white-trash, Jerry Springer guest-wannabe loser with the job prospects of a convicted crack dealer and the intelligence level that makes most people with Down’s Syndrome look like Stephen Hawking. Or the mindless guy who bitches about his girlfriend’s inability to finish a complete sentence because of brain damage brought on my excessive contact to hair care products and breathing in toxic fumes from every Beautyco on her side of town. Somehow, these people have such a distorted ego they feel it is acceptable to look down on others, regardless of the traits or personality of the person they do it to or their own faults.
I don’t know why I get so irritated by people like this. Maybe it is because I feel surrounded by them most places I go. And, it seems it is not a level of education that affects it. I have seen people with college degrees do it as much as the HS dropouts. Perhaps this is hell.