Returning to my first love - part 9: the other woman.
Yes, I am guilty. But cmon', what a rack!
Well alrighty then, crude joke but I don't care. (note: I've procrastinated too long as intending to finish this narcissist exercise by end of January as that's the 1 year mark of this journey. I'd like to self-examine less and focus on moving more. - stupid COVID has delayed some things but perhaps for the better - so you'll probably see several blog releases in the next day or two.)
So when starting the new job at NAS, there was a brand new and wide open field just waiting to be built, improved, and even invented! This was like the other hemisphere of the brain feeling just like I did when first discovering the sign business at first. The initial connection with the users (aka people for nerds) was really easy because I was able to relate with all departments in the company which made it much easier to make effective tools for them quickly because I understood much of their end goals and we spoke the same 'sign' language.
First things first.
Objective 1: Evaluate the existing and start planning the new infrastructure. - we are back in time to 2001 and email was just catching on in the small business world. (We used to have to FedEx overnight prints or even those newfangled floppy disks or space-age CD's. FOR 30 BUCKS a pop!) So seeing the massive amount of file folder shelves in the offices and dozens of people sending documents back and forth all day I knew that would start saving a great deal of cash for the company in a lot of ways, but just as importantly allow people to focus their time on more fulfilling tasks they enjoy. A big win and great place to start!
Well maybe not just yet...
Plug the hole before pumping out the water. The existing system at the time included a whopping 20 gig Novell file server, which even though backup tapes were being rotated faithfully each day, the backup software wasn't actually backing up the files. That had to be first, and was also a good reminder of the new responsibilities taken on and would need to focus first on what is needful rather than what is 'great'. Hella lot easier to make both happen in that order, and impossible in the other.
Tech guy fact: Companies often go under when losing all of their irreplaceable electronic files. The sign industry is document intense having both presentation and production art files, site drawings, legal, municipal and financial documents photos, survey documents, you name it was done there.
Everything is a two edged sword...
That planted a seed of responsibility in my mind which never stopped growing. I kept thinking, "If I really screwed up it's not merely the sign or project or even department I'm working on that get's wrecked, it could be the entire company..." I had the capability to essentially take the company down at any time and from any place and 120+ people would suffer and it would be my responsibility. 24/7/365. That was something I hadn't thought about in the beginning as technical dependency was much less, and I was a lot younger to handle it.
Fortunately in my case, NAS is a long-term thinking company understanding return on investment and not just short term earnings. I was given a wide berth and as long as I would produce positive results resources were gladly granted and nothing critical was ever denied or delayed, and that symbiotic relationship was very productive and incredibly personally satisfying too. If I love who I work for, it's 110% all the time. If I also love the work, it's 120%.
I lucked out. Many of my tech contemporaries didn't have that luxury and had to waste a lot of time unnecessarily, costing their companies more that the initial savings they sought.
So in a bit over a year we had and updated the network to a Windows NT 4 network and Exchange (v4) mail server, Networked printers and copiers, security systems, etc...etc.. Things were settling in pretty well. The technical resources demand grew rapidly as the on-line world was going into full swing and things began to get more challenging. There were ever growing storage challenges, disaster recovery concerns, security, employee management, 3rd party vendors, licensing, training, blah, blah, blah.
Naturally, each year was more and more. Then came the big one. The thing that was going to consume 85% of my time from that point on. That's for the next blog.
Be well and one.