Cold Outside -- 01/17/03

It's cold outside.

And it's going to get colder. Right now it's about twenty-five degrees (minus three for you metric folks)... we got an inch or so of snow overnight... and the forecast says maybe another inch or two overnight, but with actual temperatures dipping to a low of around 7° F ( -14° C) along with ten to twenty mile an hour winds. At least that's what an internet forecast said, but a Providence radio station said along the coast we could expect overnight lows around 15° F (and down to 5° F well inland). Well, whichever forecast is correct all I can say is Brrrrrr. [Note to upstate New Yorkers: yes, maybe seven years of relatively mild Rhode Island winters is making me soft.]

But I was very warm at work yesterday and today. I was working on a server in a machine closet -- actually was a storage room for us, used to store books for courses, various supplies, spare equipment, etc. -- now it is holding a lot of the servers for our courses. Right now there ten computers of various kinds in there -- ordinary PC's, a fairly large RS6000 AIX box, some rack-mounted blade servers (that's what I was working on), a Cisco router, a Lucent Definity switch (we have a lot of telephony related courses), a rack for connections to telephones in the classrooms (those telephony courses again), incredible amounts of wires running from these patch panels up into the ceiling, etc. All of that electronic equipment generates a lot of heat (you should see our other wiring closet, where we have all of our hubs and routers to connect everything into our network); in fact, we have more machines we'd like to add to this room but not until we get the air conditioning upgraded (to avoid problems of overheating). So I spent two very cozy warm hours in there yesterday and another two or three hours today, installing and configuring software (starting with installing Windows 2000 Server as the OS and then installing database software and web server and an application server, etc.)

Sean has been fighting a cold -- or, rather, I should say, a cold has defeated him? -- and he has stayed home from school since Wednesday. Jennifer had it first and insisted she was feeling better Thursday night as she headed off to Vermont to go snowboarding. I had reserved tickets for Nancy and me to see 2nd Story Theatre's production of Lady Windemeer's Fan, but then Nancy had a conflict -- a tennis match (indoor) for late this afternoon that would not have left enough time (or energy) to have dinner and still get over to the theatre in time, so I switched our reservation to a week from Saturday (tomorrow night was already sold out).

Okay... It's Friday Five time...

1. Wheredo you currently work?

I currently work for a major computer company (hardware and software and consulting services) where my job title is Senior Education Specialist. There are other people doing the same job (but in our Pittsburg office) who use Senior IT Architect (where IT = Information Technology)... I guess because it sounds cool. I prefer the title I have because that's what I do. I think IT Architect is a cool title (and a cool job, it's what I'd probably do if I weren't doing this) but I like my title and I like my job.

2. How many other jobs have you had and where?

Hey, c'mon, I've had jobs for 42 years, this would be a long list:
  • delivery assistant in a furniture store (also sweep, mop, dust showroom, etc.)
  • dishwasher & general maintenance at small resort hotel
  • warehouse assistant for knitwear company
  • supermarket cashier
  • 3rd shift supermarket floor cleaner
  • supermarket cashier and stock clerk
  • clerk in discount store hardware dept.
  • clerk in discount store camera dept.
  • police officer, Kingston, NY
  • 8th grade English teacher
  • teacher in a state prison
  • waiter in Catskills resort hotel dining room
  • high school English teacher
  • sales clerk in menswear dept.
  • insurance agent
  • security guard
  • high school English teacher
  • 3rd shift computer operator
  • 2nd shift computer operator
  • programmer/analyst
  • senior systems analyst
  • college computer science instructor
  • senior business systems analyst
  • my present job
Yes, some of them were summer jobs or while going to school jobs... and I left out a couple... census taker when a town wanted to prove its population had increased (to get increased state aid) without waiting until the next regular census, probably 40 hours of work spread over three weeks or so... and a part time job one summer in the Educational Communications Dept. at a college, where I worked on taping a series of lecture/interviews for a course on state education law, did everything from building the set to running a camera. Oh, and the college instructor job was as adjunct faculty, a part time (one course per semester) position that overlapped all three of the computer analyst jobs. The supermarket cashier position was while going to college on Long Island, the senior systems analyst job was in northern Pennsylvania, and my current job is in Rhode Island; all of the others were various places in that huge area known as upstate New York.

3. What do you like best about your job?

I like a lot of things about it. I enjoy the job itself; under the right conditions, teaching can be a lot of fun. I get to research and learn new technology and create graphics and put courses together and write the books and train other instructors. I sometimes get to travel to interesting places (long time readers have read entries from Nice and Norway, Australia and Austria) and when I'm not in the classroom I have a lot of flexibility in my schedule, can work from home whenever I wish.

4. Whatdo you like least about your job?

Two closely related things: time pressure and stress. There is always more work to do than there is time available and that produces stress.

5. Whatis your dream job?

I think I have it.

Oh, okay, I suppose I might find the kind of job I mentioned earlier (IT architect) to be enjoyable. It is close to some of the work I did in my analyst jobs, except without the programming burden. [Oh, I always thought that programming was fun and challenging, but it's a case of "been there, done that."] If I were to go totally blue sky in answering this question, I mean absolutely "dream job" I would say being a director (as in television director or motion picture director) or being a successful novelist. (Yes, I as part of my job I've been the author or co-author of a number of books but that's hardly the same thing.)

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