Somewhere In Between “Back From the Dead” and “Update”

Hey all, again, I’d like to apologize for another lapse of the blog. It’s been 15 months since my last post and a lot has changed for me on a number of levels. I’ll try and start from the beginning….

Chrissie and I made it to Florida safely. We packed up our stuff at her parent’s house under the impression that they along with her older brother and his wife would help us move. Meanwhile, we packed up “the essentials” in her little Mercury Mystique as best we could and hit the road. We had some dishes, clothes, home items, our computers, and a blow-up mattress. Long story short, her parents nor her brother never made it down here so a sizable chunk of our effects are still in Michigan.

The important thing is that we made it down here safely. With it being less than a month of our initial trip, the long drive from the Greater Detroit Area to Gator Country felt all too familiar. It was exhausting to put it mildly. We called the apartment office several hours before our arrival to make sure we’d be there on time to give them the money and we could start moving in. Getting into the apartment that night was particularly important to me since I started my new job the next morning. The young woman who worked in the apartment’s main office said the closed at 7pm. I took that opportunity to let her know that we were driving across the country to move there and that getting into the apartment tonight was of the utmost importance to us. With that said, we were shocked and more than pissed to find out they’d closed for the night at 6pm when we got there to start moving in. We ended up staying at an Econolodge down the street for the night, the cost of which was taken off of our first month’s rent.

My First day as a Technical Support Representative wasn’t nearly as exciting as I’d hoped. It was rather boring, as were the first couple weeks of training. I wasn’t expecting it to be incredibly stimulating for me though. This position has me responsible for assisting internal workers with technical issues and questions, as well as assisting customers with technical issues and questions. The company makes test preparation materials for accounting and aviation certifications. My first few weeks were more about learning how our products work without learning any of the content. The company started by making books, but has since branched out to include Audio CDs, Test Prep software programs and online review courses. I work mainly with the software and online courses, mainly assisting with activation and license issues for the software and handling account issues for the online courses. I get to work on internal issues in person but the customer-side stuff is all done via phone and email.

I started doing emails first under the supervision of my trainer. He’s a busy guy and often could be found juggling his own projects, helping everyone else in Tech Support, seemingly everyone else outside of Tech Support, as well as training me. My Training took a bit longer than normal for this reason. He would read through all of my email responses before I send them, nitpicking even the smallest details. He knows what he’s talking about though. To put it frankly, he’s one of the smartest people I know. Generally, PC Techs and Tech Support reps know Windows, and they’re like a bad auto mechanic. You know what I mean, the guy that doesn’t fully understand how all the systems in a car work but merely knows common problems and common fixes. With Windows, I’m admittedly the same way. I know only a few people who could explain how Windows does the things it does, how that can cause issues and then explain the solution to the problem. My supervisor is one of them.

He’s not my boss though. He’s our trainer and main go-to guy for almost any work-related question (technical and non-technical). My boss is a woman who is less technical but knows everything about performing Tech Support duties as the scope of our job entails. I’ll often be at a loss for words on how to professionally tell a customer something or explain something but she’ll give me a perfectly professional yet thorough example of what to say. Not to make it sound as though she doesn’t know what she’s doing: She really knows her stuff. However, it’s been my experience that bosses tend to focus on the bigger picture and they hire good people to worry about the details.

Being professional at work is much more difficult than I thought it would be. All of my other jobs didn’t stress being very professional. Obviously, when dealing with a customer, I already knew to be as polite and courteous as I could, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I had also never had projects given to me that I’d have to work on as well as my daily duties. Nor have I had to learn to put more attention into the little details of things. (I’m rather notorious for sending an email to the wrong person. For example, a forwarded email from someone else in the company asking me to assist the customer and I would routinely forget to change the reply-to address and send my technical words of wisdom meant for the customer right back to  the co-worker that forwarded the email in the first place.) I’ve gotten better about it though. 🙂

It’s been tough but I’ve learned a lot from this job in the 9ish months I’ve been here. I’ve learned to deal with people better (both customers and co-workers), I’ve learned our products rather well IMHO… I’ve also learned to think much more technically. I’ve learned a lot more about working with Windows, more about troubleshooting, more about being professional, etc.  I’ve truly come to understand why experience trumps all in the IT world. Even though my current position isn’t something I want to do long-term, it’s good for me right now. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to grow into a better position in a year or so.

Since the move, a lot has changed. Not only has my new job pulled me away from playing with Linux (my Windows knowledge was REALLY rusty (as in, I wasn’t able to properly point out the Task Bar kind of rusty!)), but the minimal move called for me to give up the computer I’d been using as a home server. Sure, I could suffice for using VM’s with VirtualBox (which I’ve done in the past) but I just kind of got away from it. Another thing that came up was my relationship. To keep it short, Chrissie and I had some problems that we just couldn’t work through so I’ve been enjoying the single life since November last year. Well, trying to at least. It’s tougher than I remember. I’ve since realized how bad of a cook  I am, how little I actually know about women, and a slew of other things.

I haven’t been working all 168 hours of the week, for the last 60-ish weeks though. Particularly since becoming single I’ve been trying to get out and do more. I’ve become an avid cyclist, have recently taken up indoor rock climbing, and I’m getting back into Tennis after a several year hiatus (haven’t played since 02/03 when I played JV team in High School). Been spending a lot of time with friends and just kind of hanging out. It’s kind of like the last few years have been kind of like running up a hill: I’m just slowing down, lifting my head, enjoying the view before I start pumping up the hill again.

I’m also looking at branching out with the blog a bit by adding other aspects. I plan to continue still discussing IT things and continuing on with Linux, Networking and other stuff, but I’ll also add other sections for other interests of mine. Cycling, Movie reviews, etc., all kept in their appropriate sections and proper tags.

Anywho, the jist of it is that I’m back and hopefully can be posting on a more regular basis once again. As always, I hope you like my posts and let me know what you think. I welcome any and all feedback.

-Andrew

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