Letter to the Editor: Praise for Those Working in Information Technology

A friend posted on Facebook yesterday about the COVID-19 death of an IT professional he’d met mere weeks ago while working at a major hospital in Chicago. The deceased was the father of two young children. It is truly a sad loss among so many others worldwide.

My friend’s post got me thinking in the middle of the night about something that’s been bothering me during this pandemic: In all of the praise being heaped on certain workers, I’ve not seen or heard anyone thank those who work in information technology (IT). Yet, were it not for IT workers, the world would certainly be struggling far more mightily to remain connected, to access critical news and facts, to work remotely, to go to school remotely, to be able to shop in stores whose shelves continue to be restocked despite selfish hoarding, to overcome boredom and fear by enjoying various media, and more.

This modern world quite literally runs on IT, and it depends entirely on those who install, expand and maintain communications infrastructure. Just because most of that infrastructure lives out there “behind the curtain” doesn’t mean it should be so easily overlooked.

Having worked 30-plus years on such infrastructure, I was going to ask that people remember to thank IT workers as well during this crisis. But then again, why should we be selective in giving thanks anyway? It seems to me that no matter which workers are still on the job and which ones aren’t, all are being forced to carry on in ways we never could have imagined.

These days are a timely reminder of how trivial labels are when we get right down to it. We’re all in this together – whether in crisis or in calm. Let us live accordingly.

Tom Esau

Fish Creek, Wisconsin