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.
IT personality type quiz
Find out which of our eight classic profiles in geekdom best suits your IT temperament
The 2009 InfoWorld geek IQ test
It has been said that geekdom cannot be strictly quantified. Here are 20 questions to prove that adage wrong
Stupid user tricks 4: IT horror never ends
Nine more real-world disasters courtesy of your network's weakest link
Stupid user tricks 3: IT admin follies
IT heroes toil away unsung in miserable conditions -- unsung, that is, until they make a colossally stupid mistake
Even dirtier IT jobs: The muck stops here
More dirty tech deeds, done dirt cheap
The 7 dirtiest jobs in IT
Somebody's got to do them -- and hopefully that somebody isn't you
True IT confessions
Supergeeks fess up to some of the dumbest things they've ever done -- and the lessons they learned as a result
Stupid hacker tricks, part two: The folly of youth
Tech-savvy delinquents set the Net aflame with boneheaded exploits that earn them the wrong kind of fame
Stupid QA tricks: Colossal testing oversights
The trick to nipping IT miscues is testing, testing, testing, as these hard-luck lessons in boneheaded quality assurance attest
Programming IQ test: Round 2
Acing last year's quiz was nothing. Only true hacker heroes will survive Round 2
Linux admin IQ test
How much do you really know about the free OS?
Apple IQ test
How much do you really know about the house that Jobs built?
Web IQ test
Think you know all there is to know about the World Wide Web? Take our quiz to find out