Posts Tagged ‘boredom’

I used to love computer technology.  Ended up with a dream job working with computers for a living.

One year at Thanksgiving, my boss called her staff into her office (it was a small gang), and we had a Thanksgiving meeting.  She asked each of us to talk about what we were thankful for.  Two of the girls rolled their eyes.

I said “I’m thankful for my job”.  One of the girls barely stifled a snicker as they grinned at each other.

“I’m serious.  You don’t know the kind of hellish job I came from.  For the first time in my working life it’s a treat to get up in the morning.  I actually look forward to coming to work.”

The point was lost.  These girls had it great, and didn’t appear to know it.

It wasn’t the computers so much, I now realize.  It was the fact that I’d found something interesting that made me curious.  This job was all of that.  I got to be the lone computer guy for the office (among other things).  I managed a consultant and soaked in all of the knowledge that I could.

I think maybe it was the shiny buttons and lights that attracted me.  Press a button and something happens.  Press another combination and something else happens.  I loved exploring that world.


Eventually I moved out of that job and into another one, again involving computers – only more so.  Once again I had an excellent boss, who believed in letting his people stretch the limits of their understanding.  He encouraged us to work with servers.  At first, we spent time learning about them.  Then they became our responsibility.  We spent many long nights in the server room trying to figure out why one or the other server wasn’t working.  Long nights talking long distance with the server manufacturers, jointly troubleshooting problems.  While we had lots of frustration, it was coupled with bouts of joking and laughter.

There was the time that four of us were stuck in a tiny room, working on a server.  There was a guy about my age, and a vendor rep around the same age, a younger woman, and then of course me.

The vendor guy said “I don’t know.  This isn’t working the way it’s supposed to.  Do you know anyone who specializes in this server type?

My older colleague said “Oh I know.  I’ll give Dave a call.  He works with these all the time.  He’ll know just what to do.”  He got his cell out.

“Can I speak with Dave?”

While waiting, the vendor blurted “Dave’s not here”.

Three of us burst out laughing.  The poor younger girl looked confused.  Never had I seen such a clear barrier between one generation and the next.  Someone should make it a rule that as part of their education everyone gets exposed to the material of “The Beatles”, “Cheech and Chong” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”.  Make it mandatory.  I guarantee you very few would complain – those are all classics.

For the past number of years, the number of new and innovative applied computer technologies has diminished, as have the opportunities for late night struggles with workmates.  This all mirrors my level of engagement and interest.  If there’s nothing new, there’s little to be curious about.  No new shiny lights and buttons.

Getting up in the morning has become more of a chore than a joy.  In fact, over the past couple of years, there’s been a new interest to take its place during my off-work hours, a new shiny bauble.

Writing – something I used to do as a hobby – has become something a little more.  I now write freelance critiques of a couple of TV shows.  The challenge is to make them interesting and readable. To have an opinion and to articulate it in such a way as to invite comment and conversation.  Luckily, the shows themselves are so well-written that they provoke emotions in our readers.  This helps.

Seems a little ironic that the one subject that bores me is being used to indulge another passion.  The computer, far from being a fascinating innovation, is now serving as a tool to enable the expressing of my ideas in writing.

There are a ton of questions I’ve yet to answer, and a bunch I’ve yet to ask or figure out.  Like, what’s next?  Where can I take this writing thing?  I mean, beyond the obvious (e.g. a novel).  If I’m to escape the “golden shackles” of computer-related employment, how do I leverage this love of writing?

(That’s an open question, by the way.  Any of your ideas would be gratefully received.)

The bottom line is that Dave is most certainly here.  Keep knocking.  He’ll get there eventually.


Posted: May 27, 2010 in Life
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday’s blog was such a resounding success it seems the only way to celebrate is to write another one.

I’m at a three-day conference this week, all IT-related (that’s Information Technology for those of you scratching your heads), and much of it is boring.

The food is good though.  Not that Jenny Craig (the filthy-rich bitch) will allow anyone on her program to indulge themselves.  Not that I listen to the harpy, mind you – not when there’s some well-dressed chocolate just sitting there batting its romantic eyes at me in a clearly indulgent invitation.  It’s not the chocolate’s fault that I dove in, head first and salivating like the mangiest slop-jowled dog.  No, I had a choice.

I just made the wrong one.

Oh well.  There’s always tomorrow.   (Come to think of it, that’s what I said yesterday, after making a startlingly similar choice.)  But there’s *just* tomorrow.  After that it’s the weekend.

Years ago, I would have obediently sat through a large number of boring lectures, because it was the expected thing to do.  Looking at those past days with new eyes leaves me a little amazed, really.  How can anyone stand to waste time, spending those minutes accommodating predictable speeches?   Yet, in looking at one of the audience at one spectacularly death-enhancing lecture yesterday, it is clear that many people do.  You have to think that perhaps it’s expected of them, and that’s why they do it.

During that speech, I finally realized the speaker wasn’t going to get any better.  After the 150th time he uttered the word “um” as he tried in vain to find a word he was looking for “THE WORD IS BLACKBERRY, YOU STUMBLEBUM!!”, I finally had enough, and so I got up and left.

How refreshing, this freedom. Oh, there was still some residual feelings of guilt.  The younger guy would have stayed ’till the bitter end, enduring the torment of an ADD brain.  It was that same younger guy who put up with an awful lot of shit that no one should really stand for.

Accommodation and tolerance for boredom are for losers.

(Hmm.  Now there’s a broad-based statement.  Feel free to rip it apart if you like.)

I’ll concede that sometimes accommodation is merely a sign of respect.  Instead of getting up and leaving the conference, misplaced respect kept many delegate asses in their seats yesterday.  Accommodation also demands that you sit and listen to Aunt Mildred’s 945th retelling of her lumbago ordeal.

Intolerance for intolerable situations and people is a sign of respect for yourself.    Also known as “selfish”.  Whatever. One of my friends from Facebook put it so eloquently yesterday:   “life is short …. We are here for a blink. A BLINK! and we’re done.”    Way too short to put up with accommodating others in their self-indulgent behaviour.

Uh oh.  Potential irony alert.    If you’re indulging yourself by not accommodating others, that makes you self-indulgent.  Maybe.   Here’s the thing (which reminds me, in a different context entirely about ignorance and apathy):  I don’t know and I don’t care.

Sorry (he said, exercising his God-given Canadian right to apologize his face off), I didn’t mean for this to be a preachy blog.  But what the hell.  It’s on my mind and so now, maybe, if you’ve read this far, it’s on yours as well.

So, rather than sit through another humdrum speech, I took a decidedly anti-Canadian stance and avoided them altogether, just so that I could sit in my hotel room and write this blog.  Just before I head out into the unbelievably hot Ottawa sun, for a 10-block walk to the downtown section of the city.

Got my shades, and my iPhone music, and my awesome green shorts and running shoes and I’m outta here.

Hope your day is just as pleasing to you as mine will be, starting……..NOW.