I am not just an author, I also work for a living – in an IT department. The IT department is often the unsung heroes of any organization. They are also the most black-hearted villains…often at the same time they are being damned heroic. Information Technology is rarely appreciated, often maligned, and staffed with a bizarre menagerie of people that both soothe and create headaches; often in the same day.
It dawned on me that IT needs some sort of award ceremony. Now, none of this applies to where I work currently, of course, but could be implemented in almost every IT department on the planet. Feel free to share with your much-abused colleagues imprisoned in data centers, slinging code, or trapped in an Agile Sprint:
The Death Star (aka the River Kwai) Award: Presented to the person most likely to blow up a deadline or budget (costing millions of dollars and thousands of lives in the process.)
The Tick Award: Given to co-workers for latching onto a project or work effort, not performing, but sucking the life out of it for everyone else.
King of the World Award: Winners of this award earn it by willing to brag or claim credit for work they didn’t do to glorify their perceived contribution.
The OCR Award: The OCR (Office Comic Relief) is given to this vital person who makes witty, insightful, snarky, and blatantly comedic comments during conference calls. (I myself am a six time winner of this in our department. I’d like to thank the members of the Academy…)
The Dr. Who Award: Awarded to individuals that show up at 10am and leave and 4am, take an hour for lunch, and complain about their long working hours.
The Tall Glass Award: Given to the individual whose entire job function is to whine about work.
The Imperial Stormtrooper Award: Presented to the individual who consistently misses the mark with every work effort they undertake.
The BW Award: The (BW) Ball-less Wonder Award is given to the manager who, when pressed with adversity, sells his or her people out and backpedals on decisions.
The Software Abuse Award: This is given to the persons who use software inappropriately. They write documents in Excel, use PowerPoint to perform spreadsheet functions, etc.
The Eyechart Award: Given to the person that produces a graphic image that cannot be read or understood due to small fonts or inane complexity.
The Chicken Little Award: Winners of this award are in such a state of constant panic and paranoia that they cease to accomplish anything of use. Also known as The Order of the Whirling Dervish.
The Hot Air Balloon Award: Presented to individuals that take something small and inflate it in terms of cost and complexity…usually just to make themselves appear more important or make others afraid to undertake the task.
The Brown-Noser Award: This award is given to the biggest ass-kissers.
The Old Yeller Award: This is awarded to individuals who have loud barking dogs in the background when on conference calls while working at home.
The Domino-Effect Award: For the IT professional that put some little thing into production, ignoring protocols and processes, and took down the network or some large application. Also known as The Lights Out Award. Note: After the cover-up and deflection, this person is often promoted to a leadership level for reasons I cannot explain.
The Lotsa-Frappa Award: Presented to an individual that takes a business call while in line at a coffee place, forcing his/her coworkers to listen to the grinding and calling out of names for completed brews.
The Drunken Driver Award: Winners of this award are individuals that have a track record of sharing a presentation on a call but not knowing how the technology works, and causes the entire meeting to devolve into a group tech support call.
The Ghost Award: This award is given to those individuals that are part of a project team but never seem to attend a single meeting while at the same time telling people about their vast contributions to the team effort.
The Bull in a China Shop Award: Recipients of this award receive it for verbally and organizationally plowing into other people’s projects or work efforts, disrupting them on some misguided belief that their project is more important than everything else. It must be, they are working on it.
The Bubble Boy Award: This honor is presented to individuals or teams that go off on their own and make some sort of organizational or process change but openly refuse to engage with every stakeholder impacted by their decisions. Living in a bubble, they cause havoc and chaos all in the name of progress. Morons.
The Hoarder Award: Honorees of this award receive it for not sharing information in a vain and arrogant effort to inflate their own positions or ego.
The Blind Squirrel Award: Presented to the IT person that solves a massive problem or outage through blind luck, and still doesn’t know how that happened.
The H. G. Wells Award: Individuals winning this coveted award do so by referencing how we have done things in the past. “We used to do it this way…” Their desire to travel back in time is admirable and their insight are often stunningly correct, but are often ignored.
The Center of the Universe Award: This often sought after award is given to the person who has dedicated most of their time during the year focused on advancing their career rather than actually DOING THEIR FU*KING JOB! With them, it is all about that next promotion.
The Pyramid Award: Granted to people who hopelessly over-architect technology solutions just because they can.
The Technobabble Award – The much coveted TBA: Presented annually to the IT staff or leader who creates the most complicated new acronym or buzzword combination simply so they sound more important. Special points are awarded for creating an acronym that spells out an actual word.
The Hall-Monitor Award: Provided to the individual that solely relies internal processes and documentation as the means to justify their existence. This person is often times the same person that tracks when people log on and log off, just to call them out for not working enough.
The Groundhog’s Day Award: This award is given to the person or teams that do something wrong, over and over, with the hope that the results will somehow be different at some point.
The Order of the Paper Spine: This elite order is given to those managers that sound tough, but when pressed, completely sell out their entire team (or even their entire organization). The award is provided based on the greatest gap between their verbal bluster and the degree of their complete compromise.
The Bridge Burner Award: This honor is given to those individuals who quit one job and take another and manage to make the transition in a highly public and disastrous manner.
The Ulcer Generator Award: Given to the person who, by their very nature, generates tension and leaves a wake of snarky comments wherever they go, giving their managers constant angst.
The Pyromaniac Award: This is bestowed on those individuals that deliberately create problems solely so they can come in and solve those problems. Sick SOB’s…
The Captain Insensitivity Award: Presented to those individuals that say or write things that are hurtful to the staff, while being completely oblivious to the damage they cause. Note: They are usually baffled when they receive this award.
The Stalin Award: Given annually to the most brutal manager, one who rules through fear and intimidation. Note: Because of this vindictive bastard’s reputation, this award is made covertly, with no nominees attached to it.
The Pontificator Award: This award is granted to those individuals that ramble on and on during a meeting or call simply so that it appears they are contributing, when in reality, they are regurgitating the same stuff over and over.
The Artful Dodger Award: Given to the office fu*k-up that, once his/her mistakes are discovered, they transfer to another team to dodge the proverbial bullet.
The Reading is Fundamental Award: Presented to individuals that don’t read their email and get on calls so that other people can explain what they should have read in the first place.
The Airline Points Whore Aware: This award is given to the individual who has racked up the most frequent flyer and hotel award points in a year. He really didn’t have to travel that much, but this is how he funds his family vacations at the expense of the organization. Douchebag.
The Bus Transmission Award: Presented to the person or persons who can be relied on to throw another person or team under the bus (place blame) in order to preserve their own reputation.
The Bugler Award: Recipients of this award receive it for tooting their own horn – often – constantly. They brag about the work they accomplish and the work they claim to have accomplished that is done by others.
The Mandatory Learning Infliction Award: This award is given to the leader who requires mandatory learning on the organization because they believe that learning alone drives behavioral change. This is given with a gold star if there is a pass-fail test as part of the learning.
The Angel of Death Award: Presented to the person that is on their death-bed or recovering from surgery and still comes into work, and makes sure everyone knows it. Thanks for hacking up during the conference call Bob…yes, we get it, you are more dedicated than sane employees who stay at home. Or, perhaps, you’re just stupid.
Underwater Award: Also known as the I’m So Busy Award. This is awarded to people that go out of their way to constantly tell you just how busy they are, despite having time to disrupt your day.
The PowerPoint Police Award: This coveted award is given to the individual who points out when your presentation deck does not meet the company standards. “You’re using Georgia 14 point font and we are supposed to use Times Roman 15 point, James.”
The Gone Girl Award: Presented to any man or woman who mysteriously disappears during work hours for long periods of time and offers only vague excuses as to where they are.
The Derailer Award: This honor is given to the individual that shows up at the tail end of a project and manages to grind it to halt over some meaningless technicality that could have been avoided IF THEY HAD ATTENDED A SINGLE MEETING. Note: There is a special place in Hell for the individuals that win this award.
The Order of the Bloody Blade: This award is given to the person that most effectively stabs a coworker in the back for their own personal gain.
The Cersai Lannister (Incest) Award: This award is bestowed for a manager who hires someone unqualified for the job, just because they are a friend or come from the same company that the hiring manager worked at.
The Red Pencil Award: Given to those individuals that cannot edit a document digitally but must print it out and mark up the hard copy. This, despite the fact they work in an IT department and know about revision marks in Word.
The Scotty Award: Given to the coder that creates a true thing of beauty – a piece of code that does what it is supposed to, sails through testing, and is short and sweet.
Did I miss any?