Sunday, September 20, 2009

Once a geek, always a geek.

It's been a mostly-typical Saturday night at Astrejurhof, except for something that I rarely do nowadays: I cleaned up and optimized a friend's laptop computer.

Although I've been playing with computers since that FORTRAN program I coded in 1968, and although My first computer was one of these*...

...I still hearken to the words of B.J., My first professional IT instructor: "Everyone has holes in their knowledge."

And I keep thinking that I'm going to spring a leak, and all those obscure bits of computer trivia will leak out. (This, despite the fact that I know My age in hexadecimal, can tell My ASCII from My elbow, and still clearly remember what the command -G=C800:5 does.)

In 2005, in My last months as an IT professional, the doubts did get the better of Me. It became a chore to go to work in the morning, partially because I was working in a mould-contaminated building, but also because a massive and thoroughly demented bureaucracy had insinuated itself between Me and work that I love to do. The combination left Me both depressed and physically ill, and in the end I gave notice and got out of there. Six months later, with My health mostly back online, I started My new career as a Typist of Terrifyingly Complicated Medical Terminology.

I would not go back to being a professional geek, mainly because I enjoy medical transcription so much. The lesson I would take home from this is to distinguish between the work you do and the environment in which you do it. Be prepared to walk away from bad gigs so that you can continue to do that work in a better place. Life is much too short for anything less.

* Digi-Comp I computer, distributed by Edmund Scientific. It could only count to 111 in binary, and was programmed with little plastic tubes. I discovered today that a new version of this cute little computer has been produced. (writes 'Digi-Comp kit' at the very top of Her 2009 Jól list)

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