The stories of Terry Childs and Roger Duronio — resentful IT workers who wreaked vengeance on their employers — make nontechnical managers wonder what they might do differently than the City of San Francisco's Department of Technology. What does it take to keep your IT resources happy?The core issue isn't compensation, it's trust. This article at Infoworld explains the shift in perception many IT employees experience: As they become more senior, they become a threat rather than an asset. Something to be protected against, rather than being the protector. Moreover, IT people often feel they're not being told the truth about the organization they serve. Are stock options about to tank? Is the scandal denied in the press actually true? Will the techies be blamed for project failures to save face? Is the CEO who demands weekend work busy packing his golden parachute? It's a cliche, but it's true: IT people live in a logic-driven world. Privileged, encrypted, confidential information and access-restriction procedures are fine with them. Lies aren't. Computers don't do lies. Yet the same human boss who tells an admin how valuable he is to the company is often planning to cut him loose. Terry Childs went berzerk because he knew the cost-cutting managers piling more and more work on him were also looking for a way to chop his $126,000 salary from the payroll. The solution isn't perks, it's candor. If management is playing a game of Advanced Strategery against the IT department, a foosball table, free lunches and drycleaning will only add to their sense of indignity. Yeah, they're kind of ungrateful that way. But if your admins feel pressured to continually re-justify their existence to managers they believe are brazen liars, why is it such a surprise that one of them will look for a way to turn the tables?
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