Re: General IT
I work in school IT.
My rules are:
1) I don't use powertools. Yes, I use them at home. Yes, I feel confident using them. No, I've never chopped my leg off or drilled into a pipe. But, no, I won't use them at work unless you train me and then I'll be asking why you don't train me on something more relevant to my existing job. Especially in a school. There's not much of IT that requires powertools, and what's left (cable-running) can be contracted out quite easily under existing agreements with the people who do our cabling. They know better than me whether they can punch through that wall or not.
2) I'll "take a look" at whatever you want, subject to normal support tickets, your authorisation to drop other things, etc. It doesn't mean I'll do anything about it, but I'll have a look and tell you whether that's me, site-management, the electrician or whoever needs to get involved. Pretty much I'll get it right, if you bother to listen.
3) If I say No, don't make me do it. There's a reason I say no, I just haven't bored you with it. It's either illegal, dangerous or stupid to let someone like me play with it, or it's something we really should be paying a proper expert for. Don't make me stop being your friend and have to form my case around whether I should be doing something or not by the letter of the law.
I have, in my time, dealt with just about everything: CCTV, access control, boiler control, burglar alarm, fire alarm systems, phone systems, TV aerials, burst pipes, fish tanks (don't ask), you name it. I don't see some of those types of things as "IT" at all. The difference was, nobody said "YOU WILL....". The problem was mentioned to me. It was asked of me if I could have a quick look and give an uninformed (but more informed) opinion and get someone out of a hole. It was almost always "Hey, stop work for a second, can you help us here?" rather than anything to do with my actual job and that was almost always understood. I said I'd take a look, I made my recommendation on the basis that I assume I have ZERO knowledge outside of my area of expertise whatsoever, and then it's up to you what to do with that information.
I'm not going to sit and watch the whole place shut down because a low-voltage mag-contact tripped on a door and keeps setting the alarm off when it takes two minutes to unscrew the thing and fix it myself. But equally, I'm not going to start digging into things that we should just be getting a support contract for, or that site managers should be doing and have the time to do.
As far as I'm concerned, a job is also part of your life. You have friends at work. Those friends should (hopefully) include your boss or close peers in some way. As such, a lot of things that have nothing to do with actual work crop up and consume precisely nothing of your time to talk about. You spend longer gossiping about the clients/customers than you do sorting such things out. This is what all that "non-IT" stuff comes under. This also includes when I get my boss bring in his daughter's laptop, or introduce a parent to me because they are having severe IT problems at home and can't afford a technician to come look at it. I'll do it, but it's all favour-based. I don't mind that, because with a favour, I can just say no (but chances are that if I say no, it's because you're being unreasonable). But when it comes to being an everyday part of my job, you've gone beyond "favour" and into something else and my contract needs to reflect that (note: not necessarily salary, just contract).
However, when it comes to what's on paper, the phrase "and other reasonable duties" does not include an awful lot of stuff that you might think it does. Honestly. Try me. I just left a job because of such utter mismanagement of staff over a long period. It culminated in a lot of silly junk like it was just expected that I (on my own!) would fit 120kgs of (60") interactive touchscreen PC + electric bracket on the wall, a wall made of plasterboard, a wall the school planned to hold that board but with ZERO provision from the builders for it (not even an internal wood support or anything), for a TV that the builders refused to lift between them (let alone fit!), that the site managers had already pointed out that they would NOT be touching (literally "It's not in my contract, and it's dangerous"), that's going to sit above the heads of children with an electric motor whizzing it up and down the wall, and take responsibility for it because "it's IT". Er... no. Sadly not. And I'm doing YOU a favour by refusing (and, yes, I've worked in some places where it looks like the last IT guy was the worst DIYer in the world and never said no to anything).
I was expected to control the school boilers because "it has a computer interface". Er. No. I have no idea what modifying pump duty or any of the dozens of other internal settings actually does on this £100,000 boiler (of course I have a rough idea, but I'm not going to risk a huge gas boiler, with huge pressurised water pipes running around a huge school on it), nor why I should be the one changing them, and the boiler engineers we have support contracts for are the ones who know this inside-out, and you won't provide training or recognise it as an official "duty" of mine to somehow maintain these boilers. I'll provide the PC, you get someone else to actually put in the settings. At worst, get them to ring me and we'll do it together over the phone. You want me to change an obvious temperature target on a one-off in the interim because the school is freezing? Fine. But that's about it. And don't come crying to me when the gas bill doubles overnight or the pipes burst.
IT is just one of those professions with an awful lot of "creep" to it. I'm sure doctors and even teachers feel the same when it comes to basically performing social work, fitness-to-work evaluation, psychological and stress training, etc. There's a certain amount I'll do "as a favour". And then there's stuff that you need to change my contract for. So that when it comes up that I don't have enough time to do everything, you have to either take that stuff away from me, or give me some more help.
((Or I leave because you refuse to recognise that I got so far behind waiting for other work to be done that I just spent three weeks hiring my own electricians and chasing them in order to correct the mistakes left by your project-managed builders, that you refuse to get back in to correct their mistakes because you talk to them like they were on your shoe and so they block every avenue you try. Just so that you could actually power up a laptop in a classroom, that's how bad it got in some cases. And then have the cheek to ask why the IT is behind schedule by a **day** or two...))
If it's not explicitly in my contract, expect it to be a favour you ask of me. If you ask nicely, it's not a huge burden, and I feel confident doing so, I might even take it on full-time. But don't just expect me to jump because you have "and other reasonable duties" in my contract.