History: I am tech support for our school. I also teach tech support. The following story is a large part of why I love TEACHING tech support, but do not love DOING tech support, because it is a very common scenario.
We have many programs in our system that include specialized hardware that connects to computers that I am required to support as our on-site technician. That can make my job very challenging as I am not a full time tech. I have to do my job after or before work or on my duty-free lunch. For this I get an extra $2600 a year, or $260 a month (10 months because 9 months is a fallacy, we go two weeks into June and we come back in August and those months are, by far, my busiest tech months). I can spend multiple hours after school, particularly in June and August and that stipend is usually spent by the end of October.
One of the programs has an X-ray machine that was able to take an x-ray in one room, but if the patient was moved into another room, they could not bring up the x-ray in that room. They could bring up the chart, but not the x-ray. Apparently “district” could not figure it out, so honestly I had my doubts I could either since I don’t know x-ray machines from Jack. I got the tech request and it was to fix it so that if an x-ray was taken in one room, the x-ray could be called up in the other.
I went in after work one day and stayed a few extra hours, missing a pointless district tech meeting (which I got in trouble for from the district tech person) in the process, and figured out by digging through the proprietary program and its files that it was a simple matter of the directory mapping on one machine when it was set up. I can’t test the x-ray machine (not being a technician), but I did find a patient (dummy patient, I think—they do a lot of x-rays on a dummy) and confirmed that I could now bring up that file in both rooms.
Look at my bold task above. Did I not achieve my goal? I explained, the next day, to the instructor that I was pretty sure I had accomplished the goal, but she needed to test it. I explained that all of the old x-rays that were taken in that room would need to be moved to the other folder at some point, but that since I did not know the patients or the syntax of the files, I couldn’t do it. But if she needed that done, she just needed to put in a tech request. However, I couldn’t do it without her there because we’d have to check the files together (she knows the patients, and I don’t). She said she’d let me know once the clinic opened. I went on my way, pleased that I resolved the problem and marked the job as completed.
Fast forward to a month later and guess who was thrown under the bus for not moving files over? God damn it! Big angry letter, CCed to my boss, that I haven’t done this yet.
No tech request. Nothing.
Of course I crawled out from under the bus, dragged her out of the seat and threw her right back under. I was nice about it. I just shared that I was a little frustrated, and pretty much laid out the issue as above (with less snarkiness, although this teacher appreciates a good snark which is part of why I love her—so don’t take this as not liking her, I do). I just hate it when it looks like I am not doing what I’m supposed to do, when I have! I also hate being put on the defensive because it comes from a point of weakness and I’d rather apologize for a mistake than defend myself from an accusation almost. If I make a mistake it’s honest. An accusation, even if it is untrue, always casts doubt.
We all deal with people like this. I decided to not let it ruin my day. It did start my tummy churning but I deep breathed and even though I don’t necessary always feel like it’s the “be all end all” of treatments, physiologically it got more O2 to my brain and did help me calm down and feel better. It does also provide a good lesson to my kids. I won’t use it in the context that it is in, but I’ll modify it.
This is honestly the third time this week I’ve been thrown under the bus and the scenery is getting old. First was the tech guy from district who shared with my boss how deeply concerned he is that I have missed the tech meetings this year! <insert concerned eyes here> He’s invited my director and I to a meeting to discuss it. I explained why I missed; that I have a SILT meeting that I attend that usually doesn’t go late, but did last week, and I’ve had tech jobs that were high priority (x-ray job).
When he thanked me for explaining, my director told me that someone else at our meeting attends the same meetings and HE makes it to them, of course CCing that to the district guy. Once again, here I am under the bus. I don’t get why she’s not supportive of me or why that information had to be sent to him and couldn’t have just been sent just to me. I didn’t know this other person also attended the meetings since I am new to this committee. I pointed that out, privately, to her and also that there had been only three meetings this year; one of which was last Thursday and our meeting HAD run 45 minutes long. I didn’t know I could/should just get up and leave. Had she privately said “Did you know __ attends those meetings as well? It’s fine with me if you just get up and leave to go.” That would have been much less embarrassing.
This is the first year the tech meetings have ever concerned anyone. I have not attended them for the last 11 years. I did the first year, but they were aimed more towards tech support in elementary schools, and training people on things we don’t use here. Most of the things were things I already knew. It was honestly a huge waste of my time and energy. I’ve attended district tech meetings since I started teaching and at Marysville they were held during the day. These are held twice a month, after work at 4:00 p.m. so I’m asked to stay an extra two hours, to attend an additional hour to two hour long meeting on a Thursday on a heavy traffic day and the likelihood of that meeting actually having anything meaningful for me is zip to none. For this I get a $260 a month stipend, AND I also have to train my staff, fix their computers, set up the AV things, run my student tech program (which is awesome), and listen to teachers bitch about a job I didn’t do that they didn’t ask me to do. So you will fucking excuse me if I am not thrilled about it!