I’m driven by two basic needs:
- I need to be needed. I find my self-worth in what I’ve done for people lately. I have an ability to figure out how things work, and I have reams of tedious technical trivia stored in my head; so when I can put them together to help someone solve a problem and save them some frustration, that’s what makes me feel fulfilled.
- I hate to be needed. I don’t want to be the person who’s only called on when there’s a problem. I want to surround myself with peers and friends, not clients. I want to be respected for more than what I can do for people.
This is a eulogy for Larry, eight years too late.
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I was an innocent young Ivy League graduate with an engineering degree and no idea what to do with it. I took the first job offer I got: with Oracle, the database company in California. They had no idea what to do with me. They threw me into a three-week crash course in databases, then let me pick what group I wanted to join. I chose Tech Support.
Tech Support had no idea what to do with me either. I was assigned to the desktop team. They gave me a PC running Windows 3.1 (a very long time ago, remember!), and told me I had to resolve a certain number of customer tickets each week.
The transition from college life to the Real World had been a difficult one. No longer were there letter grades to tell me well I was (or wasn’t) doing! I had no objective way to compare myself with other people and objectively see if I was screwing up! But suddenly this closed ticket count took that place in my life and became the measure thereof, and I worked hard to get that number high and keep it at the top of the weekly department report. There were no company incentives for this, of course; as long as the quotas were met, upper management didn’t care about individual performance. I cared, but nobody else did.
Especially Larry. Larry didn’t care at all.
I feel like I’m always doing something, always trying to keep up with my schedule. I read a book once that described a character running around “like someone always late to a meeting,” and that sums it up. Jill says that it’s because we tend to have a lot going on as the holiday season gets closer.
So I decided to keep a log of what we did in our free time on each day of October.
- Tidy up from a busy September.
- Visit Mom & Dad in their condo, upgrade their MacBook / iPhone / iPad.
- Play Guild Wars 2 and Minecraft with Eve.
- Theater for a special screening of Iron Giant. That evening, play Lego Dimensions (PS3).
- Tired. Go to bed early.
- Minecraft with Eve.
- Epcot Food & Wine with Katie.
- Columbia restaurant with Katie and her friend.
- Food Truck Friday with Mom & Dad.
- Upgrade my Hackintosh, while Jill is at a sewing machine class then goes to the Studios to see the last Mulch, Sweat, & Shears performance.
- Jill has a sick tummy. She braves it and we go to the Pixar concert.
- I play the Star Wars Battlefront demo while Jill goes to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.
- TV: Agents of Shield, Muppets. Then we play Disney Infinity Speedway.
- I’m on a live site call for work all day and late into the evening.
- I run the Celebration Computer Users Group meeting.
- Amita’s 50th birthday party.
- Working on the weekend. Dinner with Mom and Dad.
- Working on the weekend, all day.
- Minecraft with Jill and Eve in the evening,
- Some more Lego Dimensions, and watch Agents of Shield.
- Back to the Future day! Watch BttF 2, order out for calzones, then play the BttF levels in Lego Dimensions.
- Go see Patrick in the theater group’s performance of The Taming of the Shrew.
- 6AM launch call for work. Take it easy that evening.
- Get up at 4:45am to bring Jill to the airport for a trip to DC (to support friends in the Marine marathon). Play GW2 (the long-awaited Heart of Thorns expansion) with Eve. Dinner at Noodles & Company with Mom & Dad.
- More GW2 with Eve. Phonecall with Tracey to catch up with her.
- Work from home. Mom makes ham and mac&cheese for dinner. Pick up Jill from the airport.
- Jill edits photos from her trip. We play some GW2 with Eve.
- Catch up on TV: Muppets, Agents of Shield, Supergirl (bleah), Star Wars Rebels.
- More GW2 with Eve. It’s a new release with all kinds of new stuff, okay?
- The office is holding an offsite party to celebrate all our hard work, but we’re working too hard to go.
- Jill had a 10K scheduled but skips it because she’s got a bad cough. We celebrate Halloween with eleven people and two dogs on the porch, and 525 trick-or-treaters.