Does the IT dept usually help with office IT in a software company?
February 19, 2018 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Does the IT dept usually help with office IT in a software company?

I work in a large software company. I had to change offices today (same building), so I unplugged everything, loaded it on to carts, took it to another floor, moved desks, etc., and was left with a jumble of cables to reconnect. So I asked the IT admins to hook things up.

The IT guy did it, but he acted like it was my job and talked down to me for not doing it myself. The last large software company I worked for (very similar workforce, etc.) handled all that stuff as a matter of routine. So now I'm wondering which is closer to typical?
posted by pracowity to Work & Money (19 answers total)
They should have a dedicated "Help desk" whose job it is to hook things up. In my experience there are also people whose job it is to handle the entire move for you including re-hooking everything, for liability reasons. So it sounds like if you just asked some guy, it might not have been his job. Or maybe it was his job and he was just being kind of a jerk about it. The only way to find out is to ask around. Maybe start with HR.
posted by bleep at 9:58 AM on February 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

In a large company, i'd think Facilities would do it. Like you'd box things and make things movable, they'd unhook your computer, move it, move your phone number, re-hook up your computer and move your boxes. Then you unbox and get back to work.

Probably just a surly IT person.
posted by cmm at 10:00 AM on February 19, 2018

Depends. How'd you ask, who was the person (IT admin is pretty broad -- network admin, server admin, DB admin, etc). Add in, if it's a big software company, there's probably an expectation of self-serve for something like plugging cables in.

(on preview, what cmm said. Facilities might be a POC esp for getting power/network jacks up. As someone with 20 years in IT, I have always moved my own office, but I get the cart to do it from facilities ;)
posted by k5.user at 10:04 AM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

From your question it sounds like you got part way through a DIY office move and then flagged down a passing admin when it came to re-assembling everything. Maybe they had no idea your move was happening, and so were unprepared to help?

At my large s/w company employer, office moves and internal IT are all handled centrally. The processes for that stuff are slow, so sometimes it's better to route around them. In that case, I'd probably expect to follow through and finish the job myself if I've decided to go off piste.
posted by rd45 at 10:07 AM on February 19, 2018

Either an unprofessional IT guy annoyed that you're making him do his job, or an unprofessional IT guy annoyed that you're making him do someone else's job.

Sometimes there's a general technical department (which may be called IT) that includes everybody from the people who plug in monitors to the people who run data centers. If you asked a data center guy to plug in your monitor, he might be reasonably be a bit, "WTF, this isn't my job, and well below my pay grade besides."

But the polite, professional way to handle that would be to say, "I think you're looking for the desktop support / help desk / tech support people. Try this email / telephone number / website."
posted by d. z. wang at 10:10 AM on February 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you’re a developer or otherwise involved in software engineering you may be read as a computer person and the expectation would be that computer people sort out the cables and set up their computers themselves.
posted by meijusa at 10:15 AM on February 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

I work in IT as desktop support at a largish not-software company and it is part of my job to set up office equipment for new employees and office moves. I get a little surly if a move isn't scheduled and suddenly gets dropped on my lap as a high priority item.

Call your Helpdesk Hotline or speak with HR. Someone is probably responsible for setting up equipment for new hires and it wouldn't surprise me if they also handled office moves.
posted by Diskeater at 10:18 AM on February 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

In both the software companies I've worked for, IT would have responsibility for this. That said, they also have responsibility for a lot of other (more important) stuff, too. Especially if your company is larger, your IT department will probably specialize, so that one guy will handle desktop support, another guy will do network stuff, etc. Few, no matter how specialized, will see themselves as the "plug a rando's cables back in" guy, especially if they're working on a bigger project at the time. Both companies I've been at always coordinated office moves around such projects, to avoid distracting the IT guys with secondary responsibilities. You didn't say anything about coordination, so maybe you pulled him away from something important to do something that, realistically, you could've done yourself. Ultimately, if you start a DIY move, you should be prepared to finish it DIY, or finish it on someone else's terms. In this case, your IT Guy's terms were gruffness. Not how I would have responded personally, but if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you can't expect "computer people" to have interpersonal skills.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:35 AM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe the IT guy wishes he were a developer and wants to feel superior because you can't set up your own equipment.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:03 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I worked at a large software company, it was expected that employees could do their own hardware setup, up to and including installing our own graphics cards when we got an upgrade once.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 12:06 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I worked for a huge IT services corp, software engineer. For intra-building moves, we moved all of our own stuff, IT's job is only to make sure the place you're going has the appropriate power and cable hookups. But we didn't even have help desk on site. It is expected that a person can plug in their monitor cable and network.

It made sense to me as everyone's hardware/software configuration is going to be different. Many of us have more than one computer, or have specialized hardware that needs to be set up differently. Even things like how we want our monitors arranged is something that people care about and making a long list of weird requirements (big monitor on the left, small monitor tilted 90 degrees on the right, USB cable coming out from the right side, etc) seems like a waste of everybody's time. And what do you do with the random knick-nacks that people accumulate?

Also moved buildings twice, once was handled by facilities (put your stuff in a box, label it and your heavy stuff with your new desk location) and once we just did it ourselves (put your stuff in your trunk, bring it tomorrow).
posted by meowzilla at 12:10 PM on February 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Yeah, having done IT work that included desk moves before, we preferred to handle the move fully end-to-end. The moves were scheduled in advance, and we handled the disconnect and move steps too. I would totally have been annoyed to be brought in part way through a self-move, especially if it involved a jumble (tangle?) of cables that weren’t tied up correctly at disconnect. You start it, you finish it, y’know?

That said, taking it out on the customer is pretty unprofessional. I may have felt annoyed, but people make mistakes. The most I might have done is said “btw, here’s the right process for next time”.

No idea if your company has a similar system. But I will say, advance notice to the people you’ll need help from is always welcome. :) And surprises are most often UNwelcome.
posted by fencerjimmy at 12:12 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Agreeing that absent a truly formal policy in which IT employees are explicitly forbidden from doing their own hardware setups, it's generally expected that you just DIY. That's been my experience.

Regardless- Nthing others who have said, your help desk/IT service center should be the place to start with the basic question about expectations.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:27 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

and was left with a jumble of cables to reconnect. So I asked the IT admins to hook things up.

I can kinda understand the IT guy being annoyed, even if it's the IT department's job to set up new work stations. He might have been unprofessional about it but if you can unplug a cable you can plug it back in, I'm not sure why you didn't - from what you've written it certainly sounds like you saw the mess of cables - that you made - and couldn't be bothered to sort it out. You wouldn't make a mess in the kitchen and just leave it for the cleaners, would you?

I think most likely, IT doesn't do moves at all, or they do the whole job - including disconnecting and neatly arranging the cables so when they get to the other end, its easy to get everything back the way it was and the irk comes from the fact that you started the job yourself then gave up and expected them to clean up the mess
posted by missmagenta at 1:11 PM on February 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Different places that I've worked handled things differently. My current employer which is a 200 person software division of a large hospital system only has one desktop support person for our whole site so mostly things are up to the individual to handle. We also periodically (like every six months) do a giant desk reshuffle where everyone has to move at the same time so there's no way that IT could handle that.
posted by octothorpe at 3:57 PM on February 19, 2018

I work at a software development company, and any time that anyone else has moved and reconnected my hardware that wasn't me, they'd invariably screw it up and I'd need to reconnect it all myself anyway. I've only had such a service performed when the move was part of an orchestrated office move involving multiple people. Any time that I've self-moved (disconnect, load on a cart, reconnect) I did it myself.
posted by Aleyn at 4:03 PM on February 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, wow, I totally misread the part where you said you unplugged everything. I thought you unplugged your personal stuff, like your desk fan or iPod charger or whatever. And then you took your personal stuff to your new desk and found that IT had not finished setting it up.

If you were the person who unplugged all the cables that "were left" in a jumble on your desk, then probably a bit more grovelling would have been in order. I imagine the IT guy was giving you a hard time because, from his perspective, you bit off more than you could chew and called him in to finish the job as if your poor planning were his emergency. Usually the expectation is that you know what you're doing, or else you let the IT people do it right from the start.

If you can figure out which IT guy you flagged down, it might be a good idea to send him a quick email tomorrow saying, "Hey, thanks for helping me out. I misunderstood the process. Sorry, it won't happen again."
posted by d. z. wang at 6:25 PM on February 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

I’ve worked for a large tech company for many years. 20 years ago a specific IT group did all setups , Now your new computer gets delivered to you and you are expected to get it hooked up, loaded with what you need and on the network yourself. They do give you a set of instructions and a usb to help though. They are normally out of date and you spend a day finding the one person who knows how to get the right instructions and files.
posted by ReiFlinx at 6:34 PM on February 19, 2018

As you can tell from the answers, it depends. I work for a giant marketing company that has a giant developer section. I sit near the developers, although I support sales in a knowledge management capacity. No one in my office (including any of the developers) has to move their desks beyond putting things in crates. When a move is scheduled, crates get dropped off at your desk, you dump your personal stuff in (excepting your monitor, desk phone, etc.) and the facilities people come and whisk it away to your new location. Everything, including your laptop dock, monitor setup, etc., is set up, and you are left to empty your crates. I moved all my own stuff the last time when I was moving a few rows down, but I had a neighbor crawl under my desk for cables as I have a bad knee—I could have had facilities do it, but I was impatient. The key word here, though, is scheduled. We have 800 people between two buildings. If they didn't schedule stuff they'd drown. So if you moved your stuff, then out of the blue contacted someone for help, that might have been why the surly attitude.
posted by clone boulevard at 3:34 PM on February 20, 2018

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