Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dad's Office Via Kid-Vision

When I was a kid my Dad worked as an electrical lineman. On occasion we visited his workplace for one reason or another. I was fascinated by the equipment, trucks, garage, and office. I still recall the distinctive smell of the machinery. I think I was 12 years old before I realized that Dad mostly worked on power lines, traveling to various locations on the trucks we saw at the station.

Dad later became the equivalent of an electrical engineer, although, it always chagrined him that he never achieved an official bachelor degree. Never mind the fact that he regularly trained and worked with PhD level electrical engineers. Dad was one smart guy.

My own career has evolved along a path that I could never have imagined at the time I graduated high school. I initially majored in accounting and had a career in finance and accounting. Eventually I began automating accounting processes and somehow ended up working as a computer programmer. I went back to school to get a bachelor and then a master degree in computers. I now wear many hats including software developer, database administrator, business analyst, and system administrator.

My son has been working on the Computers merit badge for a few weeks. One of the requirements is to visit a business or industrial plant that uses computers to learn about and discuss how computers are used by the business. So the other day I brought him to my workplace. My daughter came along. As I observed my children's eagerness to see where I worked, I thought about how much I enjoyed visiting my Dad's workplace back in the day.

As we walked into my office, both my son and my daughter asked why the sign on the wall read, "IT DEPARTMENT." My daughter queried, "What is it?" I laughed and explained that I.T. is a common acronym for Information Technology.

I have worked in a variety of offices throughout my I.T. career. While I've never had my own office with a real door, I've had a few nice cubicles. One of the nicer cubicles I had was in a building that was partially surrounded by lovely forested landscaping. The building also had large highly reflective windows. One day we watched a man clamber down from the busy street into the 'forest' just outside of our window. He took a quick look around and then proceeded to unzip his pants and urinate right there. I guess that the building's public restrooms weren't good enough for him. He apparently couldn't see that we were only three feet away from him on the other side of the window.

I've also worked in some less nice conditions. To be frank, my current office would be fit within this classification. We are on the second floor of what formerly was a private indoor sports court that had a ceiling so high that they managed to create two levels when it was converted to office space. It has been years since the building had a serious cleaning. The floor boards and chair rails sport a thick coat of dust and grime. The walls sport a number of ¼" holes where wall hangings were once attached. I have no cubicle, but maybe that's not so important in a small department like mine.

Despite my current office being somewhat inferior to many in which I have worked, my children were tremendously impressed. From their reactions, you'd think they found it on par with a secret lair from a spy movie. After all, we have our own water fountain, small fridge, and microwave. And, yeah, I have three wide screen monitors on my desk. My daughter was particularly piqued by the collage of family photos I have on my desk. My children were less impressed by the adjacent large manufacturing facility where the products are built that produce the revenue from which my paycheck is drawn.

It was interesting to see my workplace through my children's eyes. It brought back memories where every visit to my Dad's station was an adventure for me, grime and all.

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