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The seat belt sign is still illuminated

The plane landed. Can I get up from my seat? No. The seatbelt sign is still illuminated. As an IT person you may have fixed the technical issue. Your customer saw it working. They’re excited, and they pat you on the back.

But you’ve only done one third of the work. The customer is pleased but that may be a distraction, you almost certainly  have more work to do. 

You still need to:

- test a few more things

- enter a work summary (for billing purposes)

- enter or update your documentation

- schedule another follow-up appointment

STOP! You can’t do that – the customer just told you they have to leave. And if you didn’t establish the next appointment, you may disappoint your coworkers or internal team, and you may go home with items to “memorize”: details about the work, passwords that need to be written, configuration changes.

So you’re not done but the customer saw the system working and wants to get back to their computer and back to work. Or they want you to leave their home office. Or they want to go home and close their shop up.

What do you do? Say “I guess I’ll do my stuff when I get home?”  Demand that they stay open or stay at their office? Is the customer “right” to make you cut corners on your process?

Sadly, most IT people oblige their customer and create stress for themselves, their coworkers, and possibly the customer down the road due to inadequate documentation. This is why customers get irate seeing a restaurant with a line of people waiting but empty tables. The restaurant knows they have to limit seating else everyone’s service is affected. But the patrons see it more simply and think the restaurant doesn’t care. Would it be better for the restaurant to not have the empty tables visible? Yes.

The same principle applies to your work. If you’re not “done”, then don’t announce your success prematurely. Complete your testing. Complete your documentation. Complete your scheduling. THEN you’re done. Then you can show it to the client, let them be happy, and then exit the building as fast as they’d like you to leave. If you go home stressed, or with extra work to complete, it’s going to come at the expense of your job satisfaction – that’s not fair to you, or ultimately to your customers as well. You don’t get to leave the plane until the captain has turned off the “fasten seat-belt” sign.You deserve the same room and comfort that the pilots require.


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