Thursday, March 17, 2005

Don't Nobody Go Nowhere

Moving forward but building upon many of the issues raised in my previous posting, I found myself in a very strange world. Each morning I awake, looking forward to going into the office. Why is this? The people I work with are a crucial factor. In a very short space of time, I feel I have not only become a respected and valuable member of the team, but the technology division of the company. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed helping people, providing them with the assistance they require. There is nothing more reassuring that to hear the words, "Thank you" after spending an age speaking a frustrated user, trying to get their software to work. Job satisfaction comes two fold, in this arena, from your immediate colleagues but also the sales personnel, managers and head office contacts.

The week began with a site visit on Tuesday over in Oxfordshire. My time working away from the office, gave me the opportunity to come to terms with exactly how the industry operate. Of all our clients, this was one of the smallest teams with a handful of reps covering the whole of the United Kingdom. Size is not everything (no matter what your girlfriend/partner tells you) the experience of visiting a client and meeting representatives in the field, is always worthwhile. Luckily I was accompanied by a developer to ease some of the burden. The task was quite straight forward, installing V2 of our software onto a half a dozen laptops and two desktop machines. The most difficult task was obtaining the passwords to gain access to Windows. Although I had been hoping for a laid back day, the prospect of returning to the office as indeed we did for 3pm was a slight shock. My hopes of visiting a shopping village in the heart of the English countryside, where somewhat dampened.

My working hours have been extended, to provide some relief for a new client, who rolled out in the final week of February. Most of the companies I have worked for, I have gone the extra mile and mucked in with some extra hours. In my last position, this became, not a bone of contention, but barrier to perhaps permanent employment. Back then, my working hours were extended to ten hours and my door to door day was almost fifteen hours. The journey was the killing machine, grinding me down, on weekly basis, especially when there were delays. Now, I have nothing to worry about, with an average journey cost of £2 per day, covering seven miles. Although I will be carrying out detailed research on my exact mileage expense in the coming months. Tonight is a case in point, I came onto the dual carriageway, put my foot on the throttle and cruised at 70, all the way to a stop at Handy Cross. That just would never be the case when I left the office at 6pm on the dot, or if I was working the earlier shift and finished at 4.30pm. Although I have come to realise that as tempting the prospect sounds of an early shift, you never leave at 4.30pm, because the phones are just about to get melt. The late shift, just works for me at the moment. I get to drop off my Mum and sister at their respective schools, and cruise into work with plenty of time to allow for delays building up on the M4. Maybe in the summer, when the weather improves, I will want to make the most of the day. Then again, maybe I won't.

Today was an average day, if there is just a way to describe working on a help desk. Everyday is different and I learn new things almost with every call I take. At times I feel I am overwhelmed with calls, all at sea with no sign of a response to my distress signals. Then there are moments, when I feel confident, in control and actually know more than the people I'm speaking to (as always should be the case). With various technical glitches taking place, as would occur with any major move for a company, I found myself yesterday afternoon and for the best part of this afternoon taking calls on a company mobile. Not ideal, but at times I was frustrated with the situation, with every message I picked up, users explaining their problems, almost pleading for a return phone call. For every call I took or returned, there were another four to six voicemail message left. I only have two hands you know, I thought to myself, staring at the 6310i. Falling into a spell of despondency, I seriously considering, is this truly the job for me?

Instead of continued fire to fuel these negative vibes, I just got on with the job at hand and watched the final few minutes tick away on my Windows system tray. As I locked up and left for the day, the cool breeze hitting my face for the first time, since the morning, giving a small sigh of relief. One of the managers, was also heading for his car for the journey home. After asking how I was, he entered into a quick conversation of how I was finding this on the support desk. His final words, brought a smile to my face. "It's worth sticking it out Andrew, and several doors of opportunity will open for you." For a split second I tried to take in what had just been said, before giving my response, "Don't worry, I'm not going nowhere". Suddenly my meaningless pondering, just over an hour ago, melted away, to be replaced with a warm glow of what tomorrow may bring.

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