Accidental IT Pro #2: Noodling Around At Yum Cha

How can noodles help your career? Our accidental IT pro columnist returns from another week of treading water in the deep end of IT sales.

Buns picture from Shutterstock

I’m still employed!

I’m also super-good at tracking orders now.

Here’s a thing I’ve learned: When people are assigned to projects they’re called “resources” instead of, well, “people”. That’s a bit weird isn’t it? If there’s one complaint I’ve heard from my co-workers about working in the IT industry it’s that companies tend to treat them as mindless automatons rather than the incredibly supportive, helpful, and knowledgeable people that I’ve gotten to know over the last few weeks.

There has been, of course, one exception. We recently got a call from a fairly large customer of ours asking for help with their emails. From what I overheard, a handful of their employees were having a bit of trouble retrieving emails. One of the engineers, let’s call him “Chris”, was sent out for a quick visit to see if he could fix the problem.

Apparently Chris, laser-focused on the task at hand, thought it would be a superb idea to reset the entire company’s email server at 1pm on a Tuesday to do a bit of maintenance. Not only that, but when he finally brought it back online, most of the inboxes had been completely wiped. I’ve only just learned what a packet is and even I knew that switching anything off during work hours probably wasn’t a great idea. That was the last we saw of Chris.

I’m finally beginning to get a handle on all these acronyms, keeping every single one I come across in a .txt file on my desktop called “The Acronomicon”. I’ve even managed to use a few of them in a sentences around my friendly engineer desk buddies. I did get a funny look when I first mentioned the company WAN, but I soon discovered my shirt was inside out so it may have had something to do with that.

I found myself in a nice little routine of training, chatting with IT people about IT, and doing menial tasks my boss had set me, which mostly involved trying to get grumpy disembodied voices in call centres to co-operate. In case you’d forgotten (I almost had), my role is in sales, and it was finally time for me to step up to the plate and start talking to some potential customers. My boss called me into his office first thing on Monday morning and told me that I needed to learn everything there was to know about our voice and data hardware, specifically the server I sat on top of on my first day. Apparently we had an important meeting with a massive customer that Thursday.

I scoured manuals and the internet for every bit of information I could find about the hardware, and by the time Thursday rolled around I knew more than any other human being needs to know about servers and phone handsets. Too many of us piled into my boss’s two-door Audi, and we drove to the restaurant where we were to have our meeting.

After we extracted ourselves from the tiny car, we had a quick chat about our roles for the meeting. My boss looked me right in my eager face.

“You are a mute scribe.”

It seemed my keen knowledge of endpoints and server modules would not be called upon this day.

I had honestly worked super hard to prepare for the meeting, so that was a bit of a bummer, but on the bright side I got to sit and eat Yum Cha for two hours! All in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful meeting. Even better, we scheduled a meeting at the same restaurant the following week.

Maybe this “work” thing is just what people do between Yum Cha meetings? I could certainly get used to that.

Accidental IT Pro is a new occasional series where Jason Dean (not his real name) shares his misadventures as he tries to climb the IT career ladder.

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