Dirty IT Jobs

Disorganization, mixed connections, incompatibilities… what are IT’s dirtiest jobs?

I’ve been watching Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel and it is really quite enjoyable. Mike Rowe, the great voice behind Deadliest Catch, works alongside people with, well, dirty jobs. For example, in last week’s episode he worked on a pig farm. Another episode has him diving in the muck for golf balls in an alligator-infested water hazard. Yet another was “roadkill collector” and boy did that turn my stomach. Let’s just say it’s a good thing they haven’t perfected ” smell-o-vision” for the TV yet.

It’s rare that I’ll run into something smelly as a tech writer, though. Then again, the biggest mess I had to clean up in tech pubs land was a six-month stint double-checking translated Word documents. I had to look for English Word macro code that linked to glossary comments that were embedded inside of translated Word documents. So the document itself was in German but the RTF code was in English. The overall effect was quite confusing to try to read during an 8-hour-day since I don’t really read German. I also had to re-import all the screen shots so that the German-version screen shots were in place instead of the English-version screen shots. Then, after making sure the Word source file was “clean,” I had to export it to online help and check through all the online help. Messy, sticky, detail-oriented, confusing to “read,” and tedious.

While not quite up there with the dirtiness of say, french fry factory mechanic, there are dirty jobs in IT also, I believe. Mostly centered around disorganization, rather than actual filth. How about sorting through a mess of a database that you’ve inherited somehow? Or trying to get an acquired companies’ network working securely with yours? Or even crawling around your data center running network cable under the floor or above the ceiling tiles? Send ’em in. I’d love to hear about dirty IT jobs.

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