Monday, June 21, 2010

Working For Brilliant People

Years and years ago when I first got started in computing I worked for a start up medical device manufacturer. I was one of three computer technicians servicing the entire building. In the main building and the three surrounding locations housed close to two thousand users. It was a very fun job.

I had just finished working at Best Buy for eleven months and the contrast couldn't have been more stark. No one knew what time I punched in, coffee breaks were part of the job, as was having my own desk, computer and total freedom. All they wanted us to do was to fix computers. What a great way to earn a living.

When the help desk fielded a call that they couldn't solve on, they would open a trouble ticket for the techs and we would be dispatched out. Didn't matter who called, we went. The grounds keeper and the CEO both new me by name and where both comfortable with me logging on to their computer. In fact the only place that I wasn't comfortable was in the halls of the research and development department.

There is something about helping people who spent 10 years of their lives at college that is a bit intimidating.




"What do you do here?"

"We design inter-vascular delivery methods for nuclear isotopes to help treat cancer patients. The catheter based delivery methodology curtails a more invasive surgery and allows for a more strategic application to cancer cells. "

"Oh, well what seems to be the trouble with your computer?"

"I can't get this stupid paper clip off my Excel spreadsheet."

The day you realize that even brilliant people can be incapable of understanding simple tasks is the day you begin to comprehend the world a little bit better. All plumbers are aware of this, which is why they can charge $50 to tighten a PVC joint. For me, I had my epiphany that day.

I'm just passing it along.

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