IT personality types: 8 profiles in geekdom

Forget Myers-Briggs. Here are the true archetypes that underlie the IT breed

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IT personality type No. 8: The Shadow
Job title(s): Unknown

Profile: It's not my problem, it's not my job, it's not my fault -- that's the mantra of the Shadow, who somehow manages to take up space in the IT department (and on the payroll) without actually filling it. No one's sure what the Shadow does, mostly because he or she has become expert at doing as little as possible. Over time, the Shadow may be handed management responsibilities, at which point this individual morphs into the Human Roadblock.

"The Shadow knows everything that's happening around the office, ignores it, and is very happy that way," says Deborah J. Graham, senior programmer/analyst for a teaching hospital in Massachusetts. "This person doesn't report anything bad happening for fear of the paperwork and making it his or her 'responsibility' to fix, and avoids additional responsibilities by declaring -- so everyone around can hear -- that the job/task/problem is not his or her job."

And when things go wrong, says Graham, the Shadow is quick to point the finger elsewhere: "They're always able to find someone else to blame, no matter how shaky a relationship between cause and effect. The Shadow is never the one to take the heat."

  • Hobbies: Selling decommissioned company hardware on eBay during "breaks"
  • Last book read: "Ninjutsu: The Art of Invisibility"
  • Greatest accomplishment: Taking a month-long vacation without the boss noticing
  • Identifying marks: None, because the invisible don't have any
  • Role model: Sergeant Schultz (the late John Banner) in "Hogan's Heroes"
  • Most resembles: An unidentified cell in a payroll database

Find out which of our eight classic profiles in geekdom best suit your IT temperament by taking the InfoWorld IT personality type quiz

Did we miss any classic IT types in our menagerie? Add them in the comments below.

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