What I Do #2

I never did get around to commenting on wadE\’s post of the same title, so lucky readers, you get to get my slant on the same idea. What a country, eh?

Let\’s for the moment put aside the fact that I work with computers. Throw a stone and you can find an article about how much it generally sucks to be the \’computer guy\’. I like this one, although I could pretty easily link to two or three others.

Instead, let\’s play a little game. Let\’s say that I have 1100+ clients (largely because I do have that many). Each of them, as part of their daily \’work\’ lives, carries around one of those simple math tests that we all took when we were kids. You know, the ones on a 10 by 10 grid that you had to fill out as fast as you can? Right. Anyway, so the ones my clients have are in pristine shape, with all the answers filled out correctly, and written in perfect grade-school block letter handwriting.

Now, in the course of having busy lives, inevitably my clients damage their tests in some way, be it a few coffee stains, or a slight tear, or even complete ingestion by the family dog. It\’s ok, we\’ve got full warranty coverage. So they come to see me, and I assure them that we\’ll get them a spare test while theirs is magically being repaired. It takes a little time to get the replacement sheet ready, of course, since I want to make sure everything is perfectly re-created, so I ask the client to come back in twenty minutes or so (under-promise; over-deliver – it\’s a good motto). Invariably I receive a response along the lines of: So I should come back in twenty minutes? They\’re sharp, my clients. Sometimes the entire concept eludes them, and they ask if they can just instantly have the spare test that I haven\’t even filled out for them yet. Typically I say no and ask them to come back in twenty minutes. Guess what their response is.

On top of that, I have to process the paperwork necessary to repair their initial test, keep track of who\’s got the spares (we only have a fixed, limited number), and then when the initial test returns from the magical land called the repair depot, I get to do the whole process in reverse. Complete with the part about asking them to come back in twenty minutes, and their failure to understand that simple request. Again. (It\’s worth noting here that a twenty minute turn-around time is fast. I\’m good at what I do.)

Sadly, this is typically enough to keep me occupied for eight hours a day. I have other job duties. They often go un-done.

Obviously here, I\’m just substituting one word for another, but it occurred to me that what I do on a day-to-day basis is no more stimulating than filling out an arithmatic test over and over. The last intellectually challenging thing I did for my job was setting up the mechanism by which the tests were initially filled out and distributed to the clients. That was nine months ago. Is it any wonder I\’m a little burned out?

I\’m not asking for pity. I make good money, and when it comes to getting down to business on the technical side of things, I\’m good at it, and I enjoy it. I just don\’t get to do that very often. It\’s not necessarily my clients\’ fault that they don\’t take very good care of their fragile little pieces of paper. But so if you want to ask me what I do… I herd things. Data mostly, but also some clients. I wonder if I can get some business cards that simply say \’herder\’. If you\’ll excuse me, I\’m going to go look into that.







3 responses to “What I Do #2”

  1. blondebombchelle Avatar

    At first glance, I thought this article was I do #2. There is a book about that for kids.

  2. anderswa Avatar

    no, i think you’re thinking of “walter the farting dog.”

  3. alex Avatar

    Frankly, you can read it both ways.

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