Friday, February 22, 2013


This is about work--but it's mostly about me so I think it's okay to post about this. I feel like I've gone through a bit of a professional growth spurt lately. I put this mostly down to the fact that I'm almost a year into my MSIT program--in three more courses they give me a degree.

I do things I wouldn't have had the confidence to do a year ago (although some of these are things I was perfectly capable of doing). I find I don't always have to check with the outsourced IT firm before answering questions about why this e-mail message wasn't delivered or why So-and-So got a funny message the first time they opened Worldox today. This is a good change for the most part (assuming I don't get cocky and break something) but "in literature as in life" change can be scary--even good change.

I started noticing this last week when I was sending an e-mail out to the entire staff about changes I'd made to our document management system. "I have made a few changes to Worldox's file-attachment functionality" was the first sentence. I was a little appalled that I had used the word "functionality" in a written sentence. I've always hated this word and I refused to use it for a long time* but I needed to send this e-mail notification out yesterday so...functionality it was.  Luckily I usually ask a colleague to proofread memos before sending them out to the whole staff. The colleague in question rolled his eyes at functionality  "Yeah I know--I hate the word but.."

"Use 'feature'," he suggested. I did. My inner-French Major/Dickens Reader sighed with relief.

Today had to log in as a user for whom the CRM kept crashing and see if I could reproduce the crash. I did. I was alarmed at how satisfied I was when I succeeded in reproducing the crash and at how I could tell that this was the same error code the user had gotten. I've become a connoisseur of Microsoft Dynamics bugs.

I am not complaining about being deeply satisfied for something that someone paid me to do--it's just that I'm not yet comfortable with my new self--I never actually expected to use the phrase "escape sequence" in a sentence (at least not outside of a classroom.) Some of my apprehension is that I worry that some of this is just too far out of the acceptable range of dorkiness--that my new knowledge has pushed me farther along the NGLA spectrum. I know my Beverly pack mates (and most of the other humans I know) are not going to want to hear about Dynamics bugs or e-mail spoofing** over Saturday brunch.  The things I spend time working on have passed out of the range of "stuff I really think everyone aught to know about computers/be able to do for themselves" to the kind of things that don't work well on t-shirts. That's okay. I have my MSIT study buddies and a few nerd friends who tell SQL jokes.

Whenever I started a new romantic relationship, or even fell in love with a band I'd have a period of uncertainty at the beginning (no matter how nuts I had been about the person/band) where I asked myself--"Is this really what you want?" I figure that's what I'm currently feeling about my new, nerdier, self.

*I remember discussing our mutual hatred for this word with a colleague of mine at the tech startup where I worked in 2000. We both agreed that it was a terrible letter-salad and we were discussing whether it was grammatically correct. At the time I opined that it would fade out of usage soon. Hah!

**I was disappointed this wasn't more of a winner--I remember being awed the first time someone showed me how to do this.

1 comment:

Daniel Martin said...

One of us!
One of us!
One of us!

It discusses a slightly different nerdiness than you seem to be finding yourself in, but I would at this point recommend finding a copy of Sharyn McCrumb's "Bimbos of the Death Sun". It deals with someone coming to terms with the fact that, yes, they're at a sci-fi convention (back when those were even more exclusively nerdy), plus silliness and shenanigans.