I think you and I must live in a parallel universe where you are me and I am you, your experiences sound so much like mine! One of the places I worked at, they were taking me on the "new guy" tour and they were showing me the server room. Lining the walls of the server room were 30 printers, stacked 2-3 high, of the same model. "What's the deal with those?" I asked. Those are being surplussed (gotten rid of). "Why?" I asked. "They keep jamming and slipping and making loud noises." was the response. I knew we had already had requests for printers waiting to be filled, but no money to buy them. So I took one of them back to my desk and found out that the pick up roller was worn down smooth. I found a source for them on the internet (They were $3!!!!) each printer used 2 of them. I asked about how many did we have, both still in use and broken ones, and they said about 100. So I ordered a package of 100 of them and fixed all 30 printers. For less than the cost of ONE printer, I fixed them all. I still had some spares to fix some more. The IT staff seemed "afraid" of troubleshooting printers and wouldn't tackle it at all. I would also tackle some other repairs on these printers as well.
You will find that not everyone has the confidence to attempt these types of repairs. To me, if the printer is already scheduled for disposal, I can't make it worse right? Some people just don't have the tenacity and courage to accept that they might not be able to fix it, so they will just stay with what they know and not venture out of their comfort zone. I wish I could give you a magic wand to motivate those people. I can't. What I can do is tell you to try to create an atmosphere of being able to fail and it be OK as long as something is learned. One of the things that has helped me is setting up test networks everywhere I have been. having a place where you can practice without the fear of failure is awesome. Perhaps you can get that setup there. Get your bosses behind being able to fail without punishment and being really open to learning really helps people overcome their fears. I also push training very hard. I give my employees and peers plenty of free avenues for training so that they don't have an excuse for not being trained, other than they just don't want to. I never force my employees or peers into training, just make it available.
If you lay out that the employee has had opportunities to learn and train, has had clear guidance to follow, has clear expectations of what is expected of them, and is able to attempt new things without the fear of being punished, then it makes it easier for management to take action for sub-standard performance.
"I can't make it worse right?"
Maybe my colleague's confidence is a contributor! Meanwhile, machine integrity and resource availability within our enterprise goes neglected.
@ericgeater, in the situation you described with the backups, it should be done this way: -
Alas, it doesn't always work that way. Unless you're in management, you can only have an effect on 1, 2, and 3, but the ball can always end up in their court --- for 4, they are the only players.
Like others said here, what makes a difference at the end is your working atmosphere and relationship with colleagues, particularly management. You need to have friends in the right places --- the higher the better.
If you're in an environment where you can't make a difference despite your efforts solely due to management being unsympathetic or favoring incompetent colleagues, there's no reason to stay...
P.S. What I provided earlier are excerpts from the policies I've drafted in my organization, so I'm afraid I can't share more of those.
"Procedures can be created as per this, & they should adhere to standards. (I'm assuming you've already got this at your organization)"
In a word, no. I'm behind the eight ball because none of this is here. No policy and no standards, and little procedures or documentation (docs are my greatest contribution, because my colleague insists on having flowcharts. I've italicized that part, so you may see how a) in complex configurations, he'll neglect the flowchart anyway, b) when he reaches the flowchart's end, that's his end, too. He's not capable of thinking toward an IT-level solution if he relies on Google and flowcharts).
I still like my employer. The company deserves more robust protection, and I'm going to deliver one, in spite of my colleague. Plus, I may have stumbled into a useful political dynamic on Friday. Maybe I can get some leverage out of it.
With a wink and a nod,
For everyone listening in this thread, a moment of serendipity happened earlier this week. First, a very quick backstory:
My aforementioned colleague recently told an onsite employee that their department should expect a four-day outage of a faulty printer, because (sight unseen) the problem sounded like it would require a third-party company to fix. She walked off dejectedly, so I found a fuser in a printer carcass and successfully demonstrated that the fix was in our grasp. I ordered a printer maintenance kit and solved the problem in one day's time. This is only one example of my colleague's shallow knowledge pool.
Fast forward to Tuesday, where I arranged to walk an offsite line supervisor through a PMK installation. I couldn't visit the location. My colleague overheard the call, and he volunteered to stop at the site and install the PMK. "You've installed these before?", and he said, "Yeah."
So I let him have it.
In a weird way, I don't know why I've been timid, or worse yet, intransigent about my timidity. But he now knows about my extreme dissatisfaction. This has brought on a whole new level of empowerment, much like the gigantic emotional boost from passing the CISSP.
And hell.. if he quits, will I even notice?
Thanks for listening, everyone.
Interesting development; apparently you've put your colleague in place. But now that you've turned the heat on, if your colleague is in good books --- or in bed --- with management, he / she might get them to 'lower the room temperature.'
Anyways, hope it all goes well, and this works in your favor.