People who work in storage are used to being told that they're boring. I imagine that accountants feel a somewhat similar sensation: everyone knows that what they do is essential, but that doesn't seem to command a significant level of respect or offer increased opportunities for communing with the opposite sex.
However, the time to fight back may be approaching. One possible volunteer to lead the charge might be Bob Davis, the general manager of CA's storage business unit, who was in town recently as part of the company's local expos in Melbourne and Sydney.
Davis is used to the storage-is-dull gags, but he makes the very good point that this is hardly a unique defining criteria in the world of IT.
"Storage is like the dump truck of the computer industry," he said. "The really cool people want to be in security or information management or something." (I think you can add the sarcastic inflections to that sentence on your own.)
So what are the possible strategies for escaping that tag? Davis advocates the "change the label, change the world" approach. If people think storage is dull, then the secret is to pretend you're not actually responsible for it, and use another term instead.
"I don't even think the word 'storage' is reflective of what we do," he said. "What we do is assist with the management of information."
In the bigger picture, this seems like a bit of a dubious strategy. Sure, that kind of jargon might score you brownie points in an operational report, but it's still likely to make the eyes of attractive strangers in bars glaze over entirely.
Instead, I think we might need more of a "take no prisoners" approach. Not getting respect from your colleagues? Refuse to restore one of their backups and see how they like it. After all, if they crack it totally and end up sacking you, there might be a vacancy for a dump truck operator.