Work, Writer's Blog

The first is always the worst…

You would be forgiven for believing that following a summer of mayhem, chaos, testing, installing,  moving, replacing, removing,  upgrading, sweat and (almost) tears, most of it meticulously planned, we would be ready to face the onslaught of the new term with bells on. We were ready, but never quite ready enough, for the split that is three energetic IT support staff across numerous areas of our multi-area site and even more numerous users, each one as important as the other.

That is not so say we weren’t ready, we are always ready. That is not to say we weren’t prepared, we are always prepared.

However ready and prepared we are in our department,  we can never foresee the next little niggle which can affect one or one hundred users,  we can never foresee just how many passwords can be forgotten over the course of eight weeks, we can never foresee how something tested to its limit could fall over when the returning masses of eager staff and pupils alike start to use it concurrently.

Computers,  software,  peripherals, let’s face it Information Technology in general, is unpredictable at the best of times but when coupled with users who have been absent from it for the majority of a gloriously hot eight week summer break, there will be issues.

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This week saw the return of the Lower and Senior School as well as the introduction of a shiny new Pre Prep building provisioning further new staff and pupils. We worked tirelessly over the summer; overseeing installations of shiny touchscreen TVs, upgrading and replacing out of date equipment, cleaning,  connecting, creating…We took final walkarounds to check, test and re-test and finally the list appeared deceptively complete.

Despite all of the above, the week has been a manic one. My Fitbit has recorded steps akin to a bustling worker ant but with a far greater stride length!

The staff and pupils were amazingly patient as we battled laptops which, at the crucial lesson stage decided they no longer wished to be a part of our friendly domain, instead opting for the preferred route of ‘go away, I am not complying today, thank you’.

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With fingerprints to scan for use with our new biometric registration and door access system, loan devices to deliver and general day to day queries and issues, I can report my full and extreme gratitide that I now manage a team (albeit small in number) of able and willing IT Technicians for whom no job is too small and courtesy is second nature. Without them, I would have been stranded and unable to have coped so marvellously. They are brilliant, we are a brilliant team.

I have survived twelve Septembers in this IT department and this has been no less busy than any previously experienced.

The fact remains, with IT there is no amount of planning,  testing or attention that can alleviate the unforeseen. Even the foreseen can revert if it chooses to, and usually at the most inopportune moment.

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I am happy to report that we three have survived, although we stumbled at the end of yesterday towards a much -needed weekend break with heavily bagged eyes. We still have much to do, virtual mountains to climb, such is the nature of the beast but we made it without trauma. The staff and pupils can be assured of our highest attention and Monday heralds the start of the first FULL week of teaching.

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Go on, IT, challenge us, but you won’t beat us!

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