There is always one guy and you know who he is (or her). When you work in a team environment, there is always one person who guards their technology knowledge like their life depends on it. On top of that, they act like they are better than you and everything they do is to protect their job security. Please don’t be that IT guy! No matter how much you think you know about a technology or process, it does you no good to keep it to yourself and put others down who need help. Unfortunately, there is always one in every group, so let’s focus on how to not be that IT guy.
1. Share, Share, Share
I am sure that most of us have heard the saying that “knowledge is power.” There is a lot of truth in that statement. Additionally, the saying “With great power comes great responsibility,” is also very true. Knowledge is power and power comes with responsibility. The responsibility is all about sharing your knowledge and not just keeping it to yourself in order to look good or ensure you have job security. There may be people on your team that do not have as much experience and knowledge as you do; look at this as an opportunity for their growth. Help others grow and make your team stronger by sharing your knowledge.
2. Don’t Judge – Mentor
Instead of judging someone with less knowledge or experience as you, become a mentor. Becoming a mentor is one of the great things one can do in the IT career field. There have been many individuals in my career that chose to judge others by their experience and skill set instead of helping them grow and flourish. On the other hand, there have been many mentors in my 20+ year career that have helped me to get where I am today. Consequently, there likely were many mentors in their lives, as well, that helped to position them to be a good mentor.
Some companies have mentorship programs where they link established employees with newer ones. Look for opportunities like this to volunteer and mentor someone in need. According to Forbes magazine, “Many companies have found that assigning a mentor to a new hire dramatically improves the time to productivity and the level of engagement of those joining their organization.”
3. Create or Help Edit a Wiki
Some organizations I have worked for in the past have kept a wiki on certain technologies used in the data center or team procedures and processes. If your team or company does not have a wiki where knowledge can be pooled and archived, take initiative and create one. There may be team members that have a good Linux skill set and can quickly set up a wiki with a full LAMP install and be up and running in a matter of hours. The wiki does not have to be super detailed or thought out, just get it up and then work on it over time to improve it.
There are many articles out on the web that describe how to set up a wiki and others that break down the reason for a wiki and how to get started. In the case where there is already an established wiki, be active and help edit it. The best use of a wiki in my experience is to document a break/fix situation and the process of troubleshooting it that lead to its resolution. Years later, when the same ugly issue rears its head, team members can go into the wiki and read the documentation surrounding the incident and manage it to resolution quickly.
Don’t Be That IT Guy
I have laid out some great ways to avoid being “that guy” in the IT career field. The problem with being “that guy” is that the IT career field (especially in the cleared space) can be a very small world. You will gain a reputation and people will not want to work with you. Think carefully about the kind of team member you want to be and how you can help foster a respectful and sharing environment for the benefit of everyone.