Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catching a Break

So as you may have gathered if you've read my previous entries, I work in our school's engineering department.  My job entails working with the faculty, students, and technology requisite for a full-blown engineering curriculum.

I really enjoy my position. It gives me opportunities to interact with the faculty and learn about administering technology on a large scale. Although I normally love my job, sometimes it can get pretty hectic.  This evening I was in the computer lab punching out for the night, and I noticed that the professor who used the lab last failed to turn off the projector.  This is pretty typical of the technological oversight that we see on a daily basis.  It really keeps our work interesting. Although well-meaning, the professors and students naturally don't see things from our point of view. So they don't understand how leaving a projector on could burn out a $500 bulb, or how not cleaning up from a lab experiment leaves me with a few minutes of work for each student. Multiply that by 20 students per class and several classes every day and it can leave me with hours of cleanup.

Not only can the people in my job make things difficult. Technology really has a way of slowing things down when it doesn't function correctly. As I was punching out this evening, the computer was taking very long to log on and open up the browser.   We are still running Windows Vista on the machines, and they are very slow to boot up.  As I am getting frustrated at this second issue confronting me on my way out the door, I noticed a beautiful sunset out the window.  Outside our main academic building, the vibrant colors filled the sky as the U.S. flag hung above the horizon.  It was a striking sight.

I can get so focused on the people, technology and protocols that I interact with on a daily basis.  So much so that they begin to define and encompass my life.  Sometimes I forget that there is a whole gorgeous world outside waiting for me to take the time to appreciate it.  Next time I am waiting on a slow computer or biting my fingernails because the internet is down, I'll take a break from the coffee, laptops, and oscilliscopes, and walk over to a window and see what is going on outside in the real world.

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