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Archive for October, 2011

As I write this it is almost 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon, and I’m tired. I have 2 hours of overtime so I will be leaving in just 20 minutes for the rest of the day.

I gained the two hours of overtime from working through lunch on two days this week, and the reason for that is because of the 8 MFD installs I took part in over a two-day period in 5 different towns. The good part was that I only had to make sure that the machines were up on the network and that the “scan to email” was working.

It’s just that at my age, even though I feel that I can do it, I’m just not cut out for this type of activity over a period of several days. Setting up machines in one area is one thing, but to be doing so in 5 different towns is what gets me down; the driving, the stopping and starting, getting the info at each site, the conversations, demonstrations and integrations into their network is the culprit. At one time I could handle this with no problem. Now, I’m finding that I can’t.

I won’t miss this when I retire…

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This week is ending with the beginning of possibly the biggest in-house project in which I have been involved.

We are migrating from a 2003 Small Business Server / Exchange Server to a 2011 Small Business Server / Exchange Server. The pre-reading for this was a manual that is 131 pages long. Not to mention that on each page there are links to other documents that need to be checked out as well.

The one bright spot is that a very good I.T. Consultant, and good friend, is doing most of the setup and configuration work. If it were not for him I am definitely sure that the new network server would not get set up in the 21 days that is allowed for the setup to be completed. It sure is nice having someone like this in your circle of friends.

The problem is that I really do not want to start learning something new, especially with something as involved as this. I only have three months left and by the time we get this installed, setup and configured I will have to start learning a great deal about the operation and upkeep of the server until, if and when, they hire someone to take my place; which they have not done as of today. Prospects do not look good for the near future as well.

I would normally look forward to the challenge and the learning process. It is the one thing that keeps me active and my brain functioning, at least in a semi-sane manor that is…

It is just that I do not want to have to learn something new of which I will play no big part in its handling. It is some what of a conundrum.

So, what to do? 

I will leave you with this of which you may ponder, if you so desire… J

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What Lies Ahead

I had used this photo on my photoblog over at Riff’s Photography Journal, but I thought it would also work with this weeks theme of “Possibilities”. Sure hope you agree… 🙂

 

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Yeah, it was one of those weeks. All because of one call. This is the stuff that drives me crazy.

Went to install a new MFD at a new clients office and it went from bad to worse from the start. Everything was supposed to have been in place and they knew all that they wanted to do; or so I was told.

First, there was no data port available in which to connect the MFD to their network. They were all in use. So, from that time until we got authorization for the office to purchase a new network switch, to have someone go out and get it and return and for me to install it took about 40 minutes or so; give or take.

Getting it up on the network was the easiest part. The clients in this office was not sure on how they wanted to use the print aspect or the scan capabilities. So I had to give them the low down on the various ways these could be done and that took some time. Then I went through in installing the print and scan setup as we agreed they would need.

In the meantime, there were questions… can we do this, do we have to do that, what about this, how do we do that? Sometimes the same questions from different people as I went around doing the install. You see, basically this all should be done before hand by the sales department, so that when I go in we already know what they want and need and I can then set it up to meet their expectations and then have the time to do any troubleshooting that might arise along the way.

It was just that I could not concentrate on just one thing at a time, and over the next couple of hours that I was there I developed one heck of a stress headache. The only good thing about all of this was that the people in the office were all really nice ladies who were quite patient as well. Tell the truth, that did make a stressful situation a lot easier, and I won’t mind going back there again, if needed.

It’s just that it’s not supposed to go down that way, and most installs don’t.

To add to the stressful situation, I got a call from a salesperson who had just delivered another MFD in a different town, about 45 minutes away and wanted to know if I could go over there and install that machine for them. It seemed that the client was expecting everything to be done right away, even though they were told before hand that the install would occur on another day. Well, they forgot about that bit of information.

No, I could not get there the same day. In fact, I wasn’t sure if I could get there the next day or the first of next week. I had already scheduled other activities that could not be set aside so easily or be changed and that I would have to look into the one request that the new client – in the other town – had, to see if that would be possible to do. Found out later on that they would not be able to do this one specific activity with the way they wanted it setup. I found that out the next day while researching their request.

Yes, it could be done, but the MFD would have to be installed differently and different configurations needed to be done, but it would work and take care of that one particular need they had. However, they were not satisfied with that answer and was just a “little” upset that it could not be done in the manner they had expected.

You know how it goes. You are used to doing something one way and don’t want to change from that because it would require a new learning situation, and some people just do not like to do that. Evidently this was one of those times.

So, when I finally finished in the office where I was at, answered all their questions and made sure they were happy with the install I left. The first thing that I did was to take two Excedrine Migraine pills and stop at a convenience store to get a cup of coffee and a donut. That combination always gives me the required fix for a stressful situation. As usual, it worked.

If it hadn’t, the way I was feeling could have been the very incentive, the straw that broke the camel’s back (so to speak), to have quit right at that very moment and just take retirement a little early. However, I’m glad the “fix” worked.

After all, I only have three more months to go before the “official” retirement… 🙂

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The Comfort Of Home At Eventide

FYI… this isn’t my home… this was taken in Colonial Williamsburg, VA…

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This weeks photo challenge is – Comfort. While this post is not about the photo challenge it did get me to thinking about what is my comfort zone in my work.

All of us have some kind of a comfort zone. It might be when we are eating a certain food, seeing our favorite sports team win or spending time with that one special person. While I do have thoughts on each one of these topics this is about my work and what the comfort zone is that I experience in doing my job.

Like food it satisfies, like sports it’s exciting and like that special person it’s a great feeling of satisfaction. This is what I experience, not on a daily basis, but only on certain occasions and only when I’m out of the office.

When I install a MFD and get it to doing more than what the customer wanted or expected; when I have a service call where the client is in a panic and needs the problem solved now; when the client requests more than what they originally agreed to; after the install, after the fix, or after the upgrade, when there are smiles galore, and the client is pleased, there comes that one moment when I fall into that comfort zone.

This occurs when I’m back in my vehicle and I start down the road, I am overcome by a feeling of relief, relaxation and serenity, and I’m at peace with that which was just completed. I then fall into my comfort zone. For a short while nothing else matters. The client is satisfied and happy, I’m feeling good about my work and there is no greater feeling that having completed a job well done. It may be self -satisfaction but it’s a good selfish feeling and it makes the job worth while.

That is one of the biggest experiences that I will miss when I retire. Hopefully I will be able to channel that into something else, but until then, I’ll just keep enjoying what it is that I do and look forward to experiencing something new in the world of retirement. A different kind of comfort. Now that would be fantastic…

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