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The Dirtiest Jobs in IT 116

snydeq writes "Carcasses, garter belts, anthrax — there is no end to nasty when it comes to working in IT, as the fourth installment of InfoWorld's Dirty IT Jobs series proves. From the systems sanitation engineer, to the human server rack, surviving in today's IT job market often means thriving in difficult conditions, including standing in two feet of water holding a plugged-in server or finding yourself in a sniper's crosshairs while attempting to install a communications link." In case you missed them, here are the first three parts.
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The Dirtiest Jobs in IT

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  • Porn industry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by x*yy*x ( 2058140 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @12:24PM (#36072938)
    A few years ago I was really actively working on porn industry, but against common believe it's not really that dirty. Well, for the women maybe. But otherwise it's really professional and actually a fun industry to work on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Without porn there would be no internet. Porn companies did a lot for www in the beginning. They pioneered videos and HD and a lot more stuff.

      • I hate to break it to you, but the internet existed long before any porn dollars started rolling in. The internet may not exist as it does today without porn, but it would certainly exist.
      • by gmuslera ( 3436 ) *
        They didnt made the internet. Just the part that went from www to xxx.
    • by robthebloke ( 1308483 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @12:35PM (#36073052)
      I once arrived at work super early, and caught a cleaner whacking off to a porn site in my office. I don't think it's possible to feel as dirty as staring down at your keyboard/mouse realising that you've been using that for weeks. Ugh. Obviously they went straight in the bin.... (and the cleaner was sacked on the spot)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Depending on the industry where this happened (such as healthcare) leaving a terminal available for a cleaner to access would also be a sackable offense.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Who said that the cleaner was logged in as GP? Any of my coworkers can log into my PC, and I can log into any of theirs. Since so many things are tied into having a user ID and password (payroll for one), I wouldn't be surprised if the cleaning crew have logins as well.

          • I don't know why you got modded down... this is entirely valid.

            I used to work for an extremely large organization that authenticated on Active Directory, and did not place any permission restrictions on what workstations were used. Anyone with a valid AD account could log into any workstations, and able to access whatever resources that their particular profile had access too, regardless of workstation. Many used roaming profiles and some worked on multiple sites, so it was even more insignificant which w

            • Is Windows still doing the "copy the entire profile over the network" thing when you log in at someone else's computer? And then copy it again when you log in at yet another?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          No it would not unless he was in charge of security. All the pc's would lock on inactivity and require credentials to get back in. It is possible that the cleaner had credentials since for instance at my hospital every employee has an id and password that can be used to log in from any computer attached to our network. They are not even supposed to be shut down at night because they need to receive updates.

          I notice on slashdot that a lot of people have misconceptions about how hospital networks actually f

          • Let me put it this way. If you are not in the healthcare industry and you are about to make a post that some lapse in security is a sackable offence in a hospital environment 99% of the time you are outright dead wrong and look like a moron for saying so.

            Well yeah, that's what usually happens when you know nothing about a subject and for some reason still insist on forming strong opinions about it.

            That doesn't seem to stop anyone, though. I guess they think if they just have enough passion it will make up

          • Sir, I've been waiting patiently for 3 weeks to get an IP address for my equipment. Could you please get off your worry-free, lapse-proof ass and actually do something?

            Signed, The Rest Of Us At The Hospital
          • >I notice on slashdot that a lot of people have misconceptions about how hospital networks actually function and also how HIPPA

            Before you start waving your dick around and criticizing the average Slashdotter's knowledge of healthcare IT, please learn how many P's are in the acronym for "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996"
        • OMG someone please mod this up bigtime!
        • It was on a university network, so anyone with a valid ID could login to the terminal. I never left my PC logged in for fear of students accessing grades!
      • by royallthefourth ( 1564389 ) <> on Monday May 09, 2011 @12:41PM (#36073124)

        Actually, it sounds like your keyboard was what received the sacking

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by nedlohs ( 1335013 )

        Your leave everything accessible to the cleaners? No passwords on the computers?

        Do you also leave the bank account information and online banking passwords written on a whiteboard for them to view?

        • by Reapman ( 740286 )

          Ya, um, maybe you've watched a bit too much TV, but in order to get access to someones personal data you need MORE then a keyboard. Who's to say the cleaning staff wasn't logged on as a guest account on the machine?

          It's quite common in some industry's, FYI, to have the cleaning staff required to pass a certain level of security clearance.

          But hey, one guy's funny anecdote is enough information for you to blindly ramble on like you know everything, so feel free to continue.

          • by guruevi ( 827432 )

            It is common in a lot of smaller to midsize companies that a dedicated cleaning guy/group or janitors (not a rent-a-cleaner) have their own e-mail address and can subsequently logon to the computers at work even if it's just to see special tasks (clean up the break room before a meeting) or log their time.

          • Who's to say the cleaning staff wasn't logged on as a guest account on the machine?

            Leaving guest accounts enabled should be a sacking offense for whoever is responsible for that piece of configuration.

            • by Reapman ( 740286 )

              why? for your industry sure, for my industry absolutely, but for some it might make sense to have a generic, limited access account setup on some systems - it depends on many factors that neither you nor I could even guess at.

              I notice you said "leaving guest accounts enabled" I assume you were assuming I was talking about the ones in Windows? I hope not...

              • The reason for guest accounts in the first place is to not have people logging into other people's accounts or using them.

                Example: a customer, a vendor, salesman, whatever says "can I use your computer to check my gmail?" Probably 90% of the people out there aren't going to say no.

                So you let him use your computer. And then while he uses it, you have to babysit him. And stand over him. Otherwise, you just gave him full access to the network.

                The alternative is to enable guest accounts.

      • Sounds like he already 'sacked' himself. Repeatedly.
      • Obviously they went straight in the bin.... (and the cleaner was sacked on the spot)

        I don't understand this need to be super-serious about trivial matters. No need to give the guy a pink slip. Have a laugh, then forget about it.

        My dad once owned a company. When working late, he caught one department head fucking the cleaning lady. Did you think he sacked the guy? Hell, no. Just laughed and asked him to turn off the lights when they'd leave the office.

    • You wouldn't believe the carpal tunnel claims...
    • On a related note, FriendFinder Networks is filing for an IPO.

      Dealt with a couple of interview candidates who had worked there (they apparently use Perl). I don't think any of them really appreciated the time they spent there, though.

    • by Nethead ( 1563 )

      Is that a bunch of flying croc?

  • by pyrr ( 1170465 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @12:52PM (#36073238)
    This story just goes to illustrate that even "dirty" incidents (not so much jobs, InfoWorld is reaching a bit for sensationalism, imagine that) in IT are really not all that dirty in the same way the rest of the workforce understands "dirty".
    • Exactly. The guy who does stateside reachback support for IT people in Iraq who are in the "rear" compared to infantry and other warfighters on the frontlines doesn't exactly get a lot of sympathy from me. Oh, you had to answer the phone late at night? Cry me a river.
      • I don't think that one was about him, so much as about the poor guys who have to do IT work in a literal war zone. He just got in the story because he dealt with them, and is probably more accessible to whoever was writing the story.
        • It's still not frontline work. For being in Iraq, it's one of the easiest jobs you can find. At a time when troops were out in the field with little to no shelter, these guys were living in palaces, literally. I've been to a few of them. They're nice. Solid walls, electricity, (and eventually, not sure when) plenty of AC. Considering what kind of real work was being at the same time not too far away, anyone doing IT support in a palace shouldn't be complaining about work conditions. I was in the Perfu
          • Wow, had to make an account to point out how wrong this is. Leave it to the "I was in Iraq, so I'm an expert on the whole contracting/war situation" fellows to make such a sweeping statement. I too was in Iraq, in a camp in the south about the size of a football field in 05-06 and being my unit's S6 (that's the internet/computer/radio department of a unit for non-military folks) I was pretty good friends with the civilian and military "IT" guys. It is not your job title that matters, it's what type of unit
  • Spiders (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:03PM (#36073364)

    Worked in a server room in a basement that was on a heavily wooded property, spiders, salamanders and moles weren't uncommon. I got bit in the head by a Hobo Spider, necrotic tissue and nerve damage ensued.

    • Re:Spiders (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JonySuede ( 1908576 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:23PM (#36073610) Journal

      it was probably a brown recluse spider not the Hobo Spider since the tissue necrosis cannot be reproduced in the lab using that spider venom. For more info read : An approach to spider bites. Erroneous attribution of dermonecrotic lesions to brown recluse or hobo spider bites in Canada. []

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 )

        Except for taking the spider to the Oregon Poison Center at Oregon Health Sciences University, where it was shipped off to Oregon State and they said "It's a Hobo Spider" and Brown Recluse not being native to the area.

        A spider that was identified as a Hobo Spider (Tegenaria agrestis), it bit my head, other Tegenaria agrestis and T.domestica were seen in my building and in my basement, I had tissue necrosis and nerve pain.

        I've read the NIH report and all the drama on the Hobo vs Funnel Webs vs Brown Recluse

        • OK then the ref in my article might be wrong even if they are more recent.... I was feeling safe since I hate dangerous spiders and they don't live in Canada were I live. Since you tell me that T.agrestis is really dangerous and you seems to have good scientific refs combined with anecdotal evidence so I will start to live in fear of the brown spiders again .....

          • The bite point started out like a pimple with two puncture holes.

            I got a fever and just felt like crap, first Doctor didn't believe it was a spider bite dispite my having caught the stupid thing and having it in a plastic container.

            Fast forward three days, an area the size of a quarter dollar is purple/red/black, changing colors and oozing puss. The doctors that looked at me that time believed it was a spider bite.

            That was December 2001, the nerve pain is mostly gone now, but the scar and muscle there still

            • It was a one in million/ten million bite, don't worry about 'em.

              I will still kill all the brown spiders (not all existing brown spiders just the one I saw) with a metal thingy just to be sure....

            • by ediron2 ( 246908 ) *

              'have made it over to Boise' makes it sound like they're currently slowly marching eastward from PDX. Let me add another data point: I've been stompin' hobos in Pocatello (Eastern Idaho) since the late 80's.

              When I bought a house in Idaho Falls (elevation 4600, 3 hrs east of Boise) in 1997, we'd catch 15-18 per NIGHT in glue traps. Stupid prior homeowner had landscaped with literally hundreds of square feet of 3/4"-4" river rock, and the interstitial spaces were the best damn hobo habitat I've ever seen (

              • I moved up to Anchorage just to escape the Hobos ;)

                We get some seriously giant furry monsters up here that have ridden the ferries and Alcan though.

    • try getting bit by a hobo sapiens! rrrrawwr!

    • My first job as a full time IT person was as a network analyst at a meat plant that killed 3500 head of cattle a day. I took it because I was broke and needed the money right after school. The facility I worked at was their only Canadian operation and given the size, it required a Canadian office of around 200 people (accounting, procurement, sales, shipping, etc.). So they had to have a network admin on site. That would be me for the time I was there.

      The "interesting" part of the job was the part when the

  • End user support (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gmuslera ( 3436 ) * on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:19PM (#36073548) Homepage Journal
    Your mind will be turned into mush in just a month. Hunting backups in Fukushima suddently looks like a healthier alternative.
    • by d'fim ( 132296 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:58PM (#36073988)

      Hunting backups in Fukushima

      Be vewy, vewy, qwiet.....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      6 years in and my sanity is long gone.

    • "IT - Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
        1) It is plugged in?
        2) Are you sure?
        3) Did you check BOTH ends of the cord?
        • by Macgrrl ( 762836 )

          Or: No, that particular device is NOT bus powered. Result of a 90 minute support call with a user who was adamant they knew it was plugged in and switched on. I really don't miss the 'Magic' of SCSI.

        • I had a 7 hr round trip to visit a user's desk yesterday only to find that the helldesk drone that took her call hadn't asked her to check both ends of the VGA cable.
          • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )
            Heh. I was ticked when I had to walk to the next building to check the printer with one end unplugged. I can't imagine 7 hours of travel for that.

            Other gems:

            * After spending 10 minutes determining a "computer" won't turn on because the user is pushing the power button on the monitor, she asks, "Well, Greg took his laptop with him. Does that mean I can't use his computer?"

            * The director who begged me to go to her house and set up her home computer to be able to check work email, only for me to discov

    • I'm currently working a Help Desk so I'm aoih wari aoweifuo iaueoainfoawirubauwhetuhisg.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Monday May 09, 2011 @01:19PM (#36073558)

    Could it get any worse than astro-turfing for InfoWorld? Probably not. Maybe if it became common knowledge that InfoWorld actually pays Slashdot for placing his astro-turf slashvertisements...?

  • This reminds me of the worlds unluckiest computer shop on []
  • The worst IT job I ever had was with Jayne Mansfield. You know, she was a fantastic bird, you know ..... big tits, huge bum, and everything like that, but I had the terrible job of retrieving routers from her bum. Bloody hell, that was a task. Well, it was quite a task 'cause she had a big bum ... But I had to, used to go round, you know, of an evening ... when Jayne was sleeping or sort of comatose, like, you know, you know, just lying there, and, er, I had to retrieve these routers from her arsehole.

  • by Anonymous Coward

  • gotta be working for Mike Rowe Soft [] !
  • Been there, done that. I've spent shifts sitting on top in a large dairy barn programming the controller for the cleaning system (a system of chains on tracks that drag th $@#% through the barn to a large piston pump that pushs it out to a holding tank. The control wasn't fancy, but my client was installing a new automated system that involved sensors at various points, and since there were multiple chain loops, timing became a major issue, that took several days to calibrate. Working on a custom designed

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"