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Doug's Mailbag: Dream Jobs, Windows Crash Rates, More

Money aside, what's your dream IT job? These two readers have a similar idea:

If money was no object, I would definitely teach. It most likely has the same silly politics of the corporate environment, but you get to see the impact you are making immediately. For those students you are actually getting through to, it is a satisfying feeling and one that would allow me to overlook the above-mentioned nonsense.

But money IS an object, so I work.
-Avi

Since you asked, my ideal job, if money were no object, would be to be a university professor (comp sci) at a TEACHING institution in a country other than the U.S. I have the qualifications (Ph.D. in infosec, years of real-word development and infosec work experience, forensics certification, several years as an adjunct in a graduate infosec program, speak several languages), but the pay usually is not quite what you can make in industry. China or Wales would be ideal.

I specified teaching institutions because I want to TEACH. I'll do research on the side, but I want my primary duties to be teaching and working with students, not writing grant proposals to pull in research money. I enjoy teaching and helping people.
-Glyn

Complaints of PCs crashing -- and crashing often -- can seem like a dime a dozen, but Dennis' experience is vastly different:

I know some people, you included, have consistent crashing problems running Windows XP/7. However, it is curious to me how very little the systems I am in close contact with tend to crash. I am a one-man IT show at my company and manage a network with about 70 workstations running mostly XP with a handful of Windows 2000/Vista. At home, I have three computers I use daily, two with Vista and my wife's with XP. I think in the last year, I have seen maybe two or three full-blown blue screens on any of the systems I have under my umbrella. As far as crashing goes, I work with engineers and project manager types -- if they do experience crashes, it gets fixed to the point they no longer occur. So as a rule, if a PC crashes more than once a month, it is exceedingly unusual. Most of the PCs here operate normally for months at a time.

I don't know what the difference is between PCs and/or users that are successful in running without crashing and those that don't, but it is odd. I do know this: Human nature is an interesting thing. In general, people complain twice as often as they will compliment. When people are not having trouble with something, you never hear from them. When they have a few have issues, they speak up loudly, sometimes disproportionately so. I, for one, manage many, many Windows systems without issues or headaches. So from my vantage point, life in the Windows universe can't be all that bad.
-Dennis

Michael shares his thoughts on Dell's debut in the consulting ring with its Perot Systems buy:

My initial thought was that Perot Systems does very little consulting (they have a consulting group, but that is just a small sliver of their overall business/revenue). EDS bought A.T. Kearney to get more heavily into the consulting business, never really figured out how to integrate them, and then sold off the business. That said, if you view management design as consulting, then I agree with you that these companies are consulting-based/-driven.

I have worked with/for outsourcers for more than 14 years now. I have also consulted with businesses on their contracts with outsourcers. The worst part of outsourcing/consulting from an outsourcer's perspective is unrealistic expectations. Even if you can design the right Service Level Agreements and meet them, you are not Tom from down the hall, and so don't have the luxury of 15 seconds to "feel good" (the amount of time it took Tom to pick up his phone). You may make every SLA, but still have customers that don't like you because they don't know you. The worst part of outsourcing/consulting from a buyer's perspective is poor definition of work. If I need anything "extra" it is going to cost me. Combine these two things and you have an industry comprised of matchmakers and marriage counselors.

Ultimately, I think the Perots made a good deal ($30/share for Perot Systems) and Dell will have to really work hard to make their services business into a growth engine. Perot Systems has been a slow grower in areas where others have seen huge growth (see the India-based outsourcers).

-Michael

Finally, last week, readers seemed torn about whether Steve Ballmer resembled Terry Bradshaw. Today, however, it's unanimous:

Does Ballmer look like Terry Bradshaw? Yes.
-Anonymous

Separated at birth!
-Daniel

Yes, Ballmer looks a lot like Bradshaw.
-Anonymous

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 09/28/2009 at 1:17 PM


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