Even dirtier IT jobs: The muck stops here

More dirty tech deeds, done dirt cheap

Hey, we can't all have careers at Google. Sometimes when you work in IT, you have to hold your nose and hope for the best.

Last year we named "The 7 dirtiest jobs in IT," but we barely scratched the topic's grime-caked surface. In the world of technology, there's plenty of dirt to go around.

You may be ordered to crawl into the nastiest corners of your office -- or to explore the nastiest corners of the Web. You may be required to stare zombie-like at a network monitoring console, waiting (possibly hoping) for the alarms to go off, or be chained to an endless series of spreadsheets and Word docs, looking for minute differences in data. You may end up berated, belittled, or sobbed at for circumstances that have nothing to do with you.

And at some point in your IT career, you will probably be asked to spy on your fellow employees -- or even your boss -- and fearlessly report what you find.

These seven jobs are not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. But they're out there; in these dark economic times, you might consider yourself lucky to have one of them.

Dirty IT job No. 7: Disconnect/reconnect specialist

Wanted: Able-bodied individuals with affinity for adapters, plugs, prongs, and dongles; willing to crawl under desks and squeeze into tight spaces that have never seen daylight. Strong stomach required.

Disconnect machines from one site, reconnect them at another. It sounded so simple Garth Callaghan couldn't quite believe someone would pay his company, 127tech, to do it. Now he employs three full-time employees and 30 contractors, who spend half their time unplugging and replugging machines for commercial movers in Richmond, Va.

But don't think they don't earn their money.

Most businesses have been in the same location for a long time, says Callaghan, and many of their employees haven't budged from their desks in 5 or 10 years. That can make for a rather mucky experience.

Occupational hazards include dust bunnies the size of basketballs, displays coated in soot, keyboards with enough food lodged in them to feed a small third-world country or, in one recent case, caked with a viscous layer of cosmetics.

In the three years his company has been in business, Callaghan and his crew have probably unplugged and replugged 10,000 workstations. But one in particular stands out.

"One day a couple of years ago, one of my crew members was struggling to get some cables loose from between a workstation and a wall," he says. "I said, 'Don't worry, I'm the owner of the company, I'll take responsibility if the cable breaks.' I grabbed the cable and started to shimmy it up. It wouldn't budge. Finally I yanked really hard. Out popped a bottle of Italian salad dressing, three-quarters empty. It had leaked all over the wall, the desk, and the computer. When I looked at the label I saw it was two years past its expiration date."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags engineersdata crisisIT jobsmalware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Tynan

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?