From time to time something interesting happens at work, and that was the case today. I don’t think that it was a particularly productive day today, but there were good reasons for that and hopefully the rest of the week ends up working better in that way. As it is, there were plenty of good reasons why today was not the most productive of days, and it is also worthwhile to talk about it as it relates to the question of technological change. To explain this well requires a bit of setup, so here goes. For some time our department has been planning to move over from one corporate environment to another, as it would make what we need to do easier. It does not change what I do for the most part (although, see below for a minor exception), but as it made things easier for everyone else I didn’t have any problem with the shift at least in theory.
There is theory, though, and there is practice. Late this morning, just as I was finishing up some reports, which I remember now that I didn’t send out (I’ll have to get on that, I suppose, before I leave), a large group of boxes arrived for us. Those boxes had presents, of a sort, and we tore into the boxes that had our names on them. My box had a small laptop and another side bag for it aside from the one I use for my books already, and I was able to find a docking station for it, but not everyone had all of the supplies that they needed and not all of the programs worked, and that took a fair amount of time to sort out. In fact, it was more than an hour before I was able to log into my new laptop, because of a series of problems. My new docking station was defective in that the ethernet jack refused to work (although every other part of the docking station worked, as I have a keyboard, mouse, two monitors, and power attached to it), so I had to get a dangle that allowed me to plug the ethernet cord into the laptop directly, and then I had to reset my password twice until I was able to log into the computer, which itself took a while. Anyway, all that wasted a fair bit of time.
I was not the only one who was having problems logging in as well. Some of my coworkers were having similar problems to mine. Those coworkers of mine who had used Citrix to get into the environment that we were moving into were unable to use their e-mail accounts because the passwords were wrong and no one knew how to correct them. Most of us were unable to chat with others on skype, which limited our ability to communicate with our coworkers in other departments, and we didn’t have the software that we were looking forward to either, and so quite a few of us were unable to do our jobs. And even when we were able to do some things, the security features made logging into commission websites a bit longer of a process, and that’s going to be really annoying going forward.
But that’ s how it goes. Technological change is something that happens, and we knew a great many of the issues would be present, so they will simply have to be overcome. There is at least a funny coda to the story that is worth mentioning. When we had our inevitable problems at the beginning, we first wanted to talk with the person in corporate IT (in North Carolina, I think) who had set up our project, but she took a long lunch and didn’t get back on her phone, so we ended up talking to the person’s boss who had forgotten some of the items that we needed, which was rather humorous, as it was not our intention to cause any trouble, but there was probably some sort of checklist of software and hardware to pack and ship out to us that wasn’t done perfectly. Such is the life, though. With new boxes of technical equipment to work with comes inevitable issues, be it lost passwords or missing software or hardware or a rabbit warren of wires connected to new boxes so that one can use a laptop and a couple of monitors.