My biggest mistake was probably going into technology thinking that other people liked technology, not realizing that people view computers with as much reverence as they view their VCR (remember those?). I was naive and stupid.
I continually struggle with the idea that people have zero initiative to learn how to use their tools to a basic level of skill. My semi-Aspergian mind can't quite grasp why people will profess that they feel stupid or displace their anger at themselves towards hating the machine when they refuse to learn even how to control-alt-del, and get more angry when I ask them for details to clarify the situation as I'm trying to help them (did you do XYZ? What do you mean by you did ABC?) Part of me is always questioning that if they feel stupid having to come to me for help, why didn't they learn how to add a printer (which I've reviewed with them half a dozen times) or -insert basic task here-. I'm not asking them to replace memory or troubleshoot a bad drive sector, just know how to actually use the tool for their jobs.
I have to stand back each time and take stock of the situation and reframe it to keep from getting more frustrated with people.
Essentially I was naive to think that technology that enables us to create music, movies, and learn and explore the world in ways unheard of ten, fifteen, twenty years ago would be understood by people. Instead it's a glorified cornucopia of porn and stupid flash games and memes-of-the-week. Of the content that is being produced rather than consumed, probably ninety percent of it consists of teenagers shooting "LOOK AT ME! I SING GOOD!" webcam videos and "LOOK AT ME! DUCKFACE!" pictures from cell cams.
I came into the field with naive hopes and a complete misunderstanding of human nature. Now I struggle to change my perspective and see things in a different way. I need to remember my rules-of-thumb maxims.
- The user isn't me.
- The user doesn't care.
- The user just wants to get the
immediate task done and go home.
- People don't see the potential value
- The user lies. They don't want to
know why it crashed. Or why it
- Technology isn't an end unto itself. It's a tool. As far as non-technologists are concerned it's about as fascinating as a tractor or a hammer is to me.
- The user may unintentionally lie, and when I discover that something else was done or altered, they'll without fail say something like, "Oh, yeah,..."
- It doesn't matter if they're lying or not.
- I still hide a slight inner twitch when people talk about how stupid the computer is, how stupid this or that is, knowing that I spent more than a few bucks and more than a couple years studying these "stupid" things to get a comp-sci degree in college. But that's not the user's fault either.
After I realized these things, I had a kind of slump in morale. Still do sometimes. But I think it's a combination of factors that contributes to this. But this frame of mind, the mindset that technology was a great thing that people would and could use to create wonderful content and express themselves, was my greatest technology related blunder, as it completely colored my view of people.
In hindsight I see how naive it all was and how foolish it was to think this way, so I don't need comments telling me what an idiot I am. I fill a position as a cog in a greater machine, and for the users (seeing as I don't work for a technology-based company) I fill a role about as exciting as a custodian. And they don't understand that my role can be as important as a custodian's role either (in some circles I guess they're more commonly called janitors).
I have that I need to look at things with a different perspective. The job I once loved...using computers...is just a job. I no longer try to subconsciously play the martyr of extra hours at work without compensation and get bitter over it (I end up putting in extra hours and losing my lunch times, but I don't get bitter and if something else comes up involving home life or personal life...work takes a back burner.)
The users just want to get their work done, and they don't care how it gets done. If they could most of them wouldn't touch the computer to get their work done; it's a necessary evil.
Work is not my life. I should not let it define my life. Most of us become "the computer guy." I don't find it fulfilling anymore.
I take time to create things with my limited skills. I no longer dwell on disappointment in other people for not using technology the way I think it should be used. Instead, I use it the way I think it should be used.
I got a hobby. It may involve computers, but it's not related to fixing, building, or configuring or anything else in my day job.
I'm no longer defining my life by my job. I'm putting down a line to separate them so I have something of a life.
So that was my biggest blunder, and how I'm trying to remedy it. Maybe others will find something in this philosophy to criticize, or can't relate to it. I'd be interested in finding out if there are others who can relate to something like this though.
I know you were probably looking for something along the lines of, "I rm -fr'd from the root directory!" or "I erased active directory!" and I'm sorry I couldn't really contribute a ha-ha moment of admin stupidity; I know I had more than a couple (at the ISP I used to work at we weren't officially "in" until you made your first stupid whoops moment; I just don't remember mine.) But in terms of biggest blunder, I think the naive mindset really was the blunder that has had the biggest lasting influence on me in my career.