Spare a thought for the infrastructure team

What are your plans this holiday, me? I am fixing the infrastructure…

Holiday times, such as Easter, are ideal for IT staff to undertake essential infrastructure work, and while it would be very unusual for staff to actually work on Easter Sunday, having everyone out of the office for a few days does present a perfect opportunity to make system changes.

Most infrastructure work can’t be undertaken during normal office hours, for obvious reasons, and it would be common to use mornings, evenings and weekends. Bank holidays also provide a good opportunity for infrastructure maintenance, as they allow an extra day for implementation and testing.

Working out of hours is a common feature for many IT roles, especially for those in infrastructure teams, and a willingness to give up weekends or work late into the night is a prerequisite for the role. Needless to say, a strong team ethic is needed for this; it’s no good if the same people are working late while others always go home at 5 o’clock on the dot.

Speaking as someone who has done their share of late shifts & weekends I do appreciate the commitment that it takes, and I feel that it is important that other staff understand just how much effort goes into keeping the IT systems operational and up to date. Having said that, as long as everything still works when they come back in, then most people don’t pay much attention.

And is it just me, or has anyone else experienced that phenomenon where, having upgraded network links (for instance), users start complaining that they have lost files, or their desktop has changed? Obviously it must be the network upgrade that caused it because everything was OK when I left it? Very strange.

Anyway, perhaps we should try to do more to ensure that out of hours work is appreciated by our non-technical colleagues, so that if we come into work after a long weekend looking tired, they realise that it’s not all due to the partying.