Working in IT (Information Technology) is an interesting endeavor. You need to be resourceful, cool under pressure, friendly enough to help people troubleshoot, and be really good at Google searches! 

Once your friends, family, and co-workers find out that you’re in the IT realm, they may assume that you know how to solve any sort of tech-related problem. I have made the best of this predicament - I have fixed Kindle’s, iPods, iPads, iPhones, Android Phones, PC’s, Macs - all on one simple payment plan → bake me your *best* baked goods. Cheesecake, moonpies, monster cookies...that’s what we call a win-win! 

Another thing I’ve seen in my IT travels is that about half of the problems reported seem to solve themselves when I walk into the room, or perhaps after trying a few simple things. One illogical explanation is that us IT folks carry around an aura of problem-solving infralight. This can be manifested in increased WiFi connectivity, projector screens getting brighter and sharper, or computers awaking from an otherwise fatal “Blue Screen.” It’s enough to give any IT person a savior complex! 

Through all of this, I have discovered the #1 most important technology skill that you can ever have. The power of this skill transcends our physical, mental and emotional capacities. I am willing to share this secret skill with you today.

Take a deep breath, and exhale. 

No seriously, that’s the skill. You’re standing there in front of the Board of Directors and the WiFi cuts out, or the projector screen goes blank, or you can’t find where you saved that file!?

You know what’s impressive? When someone is able to stay calm under pressure, assess the situation, and start applying simple solutions. (AND having a backup plan just in case!)

Take a deep breath, and exhale. That’s the first step. Then assess the situation and try to pinpoint something specific. If you know what to do to check that specific thing, try it. Usually, that works! 

If that doesn’t work, then (take another deep breath) and go to the next logical thing. Keep it simple. If you don’t have a solution, Google it! IT folks are proficient search artists - Google helps us put the “Information” in IT. 

And when all else fails, shut down the desktop, close the laptop, put the smartphones and tablets to sleep, and go outside and play. While you’re out there, take a deep breath, and exhale.

About the Author: Josiah Hodgett is a Data and Technology Specialist with the Shell Lake School District. He is a Google Certified Trainer, as well as a Certified Education Technology Leader through the Consortium for School Networking. Josiah is passionate about helping people understand things and learning how to make the most of what they have

Graphic by Holly S. Snyder

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