Back in Cleveland I once worked part time in Tech Support for a small company on the other side of the city. It was about a forty minute drive to get to their offices, so I tried to do as much as I could via phone and e-mail. One day something broke.
I got an e-mail saying that they were able to print, access shared network files, but they couldn’t connect to the Internet. They assumed it was something to do with the firewall, so I had them restart it, but still nothing worked. My boss sent me an e-mail asking for advice, help, anything. I replied back with some questions, said “Well, if X and Y are true and Z is false, then shit.” He sent back “X and Y are true, Z is false, advice?”
I started to realize that by no fault of my attitude I just wasn’t cut out for the job. Due to my being a full-time student, I couldn’t always get out there at the drop of a hat, so my so-called support consisted of “I’ll call our internet provider then get back to you.”
Part of me wanted to call my boss and go, “Look, this is obviously not working for you. I’m not reliable, regardless if I want to be or not, and even when I can try it seems I can’t get things fixed fast enough or reliably enough to not have an impact on doing business. My recommendation, which is what you’re paying me for, is to have me find a replacement that will not only be better in the short run, but also in the long run when I leave Cleveland.”
The money was good, the work was normally easy, but no one should have to feel like they’re letting people down. This was why I quit being a student instructor at Case (cross between TA and tutor), that just me being involved and being a warm body was doing more harm than good. I know it wasn’t true, that people liked me being a student instructor even if I wasn’t that amazing, but I guess I needed something to let me leave. I didn’t want to work there anymore because I was too embarrassed by my inability to perform to my own expectations.
There was a problem once at the company where people wouldn’t be able to print when one of the servers would go down. I thought this was funny, because the printer was a network printer, and in no way connected to the suspect server. However, they hadn’t installed the printers, they were just accessing the shared printer shortcut that the server was sharing. So whenever the server went down, their connection went. I went and downloaded the most up to date printer drivers and installed them on the couple computers that were having problems. Tested them out, worked fine, fast, clean, neat.
A week later I got a frantic call from the secretary saying that they couldn’t print double sided anymore. I told her that I installed new printer drivers, we walked through it and no where in the new drivers was the ability to print double sided. She asked, “Was the decision to install the new printer drivers a decision you made on your own, or did your boss tell you to do it?”
IT’S A PRINTER DRIVER. IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. LIFE WILL NOT STOP BECAUSE OF THIS. But it does. And it continues to. Life stopped over the stupidest little junk, and for the life of me I couldn’t see it coming and most of the time just couldn’t fix it fast enough to keep the world spinning.
Some people pick careers by careful selection. Others pick careers by methodical elimination. I confidently crossed IT off the list long ago.