I find it mildly disturbing....
how some things that happened a long time ago seem so clear and close and other things that happened much later can seem so distant.
Remembering low, soothing conversations between my parents as I drifted in and out of sleep during a long car trip in the back seat.
And not remembering what I had for breakfast three days ago.
Maybe some things don't want to be remembered....
like working in a call center sweat shop that took contracts from anyone willing to pay them to take their customer's abuse.
Honestly, I don't remember the year or date without digging through old W-2 forms, but It had to be sometime in 2005. I had suffered a fall that severely fractured my spine and after weeks of being mechanically immobilized and months of therapy, it was declared that I could never return to my previous professional world.
I couldn't lift anything over 40 pounds in any circumstance, I couldn't lift anything over my head due to the inability to move my neck to look upward.
In a phrase...it pretty much sucked.
I had been toying with computers for quite a while as a hobby, and had migrated my company to Linux the year before...I became a self-taught admin.
Far from a guru, but competent enough to get an entry-level job...
There just wasn't much out there, at least in Austin for a Linux admin. I ultimately took a job as a call center tech, fixing people's connection problems.
Mindlessly reading the pre-cued scripts became a trudge, for me and my customer and more often than not, I would simply ignore the scripts and move the customer along to a resolution. It cut my call time by a third but invoked the ire of the "call monitor" who listened in intermittently to "grade" the techs.
Most of the people who worked there were part timers. The pay stunk, the benefits were non-existent and management lorded the security of your job over you for the most minor of infractions. On top of that...
Almost no one there had heard of Linux.
I said almost.
"Mike" was the exception.
During non-peak times, we would fool with my laptop and I would show him my Linux install. He had played with Linux on and off but hadn't really had anyone mentor him. It was during those slow times that I would do so. After a while, he did a dual boot on his laptop and we would talk about how Linux worked and many of the advantages it held.
"Mike" eventually took a job at Dell and I eventually crossed enough lines to deem it mutually acceptable that I find employment elsewhere. We have talked from time to time via Facebook but really haven't kept in contact much otherwise.
Yesterday, I got a private message from "Mike". I won't pretend that it didn't please me.
"Hey. I got my first job as a linux admin. :) Thanks for getting me pointed in the "right" direction."
It was six years ago that he approached those crossroads.
So for those that think a little time spent in mentoring or advocating is wasted, I was simply lucky enough to be in contact with someone who took a new path...the question remains, how many others do the same without you knowing it?
The Linux "field" is busting open and has been for two years. You might think twice before dismissing a question or query about Linux.
You never know who will stand at those crossroads next.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
I find it mildly disturbing....
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 10:04 AM