I have been living in technology heck* for the last month. Now, it’s not hell. I’ve lived in hell, and this isn’t it. It has been fully heck though.
It started when I bought the Macbook. I like Edith Anne. She’s small and light and fast and she has a pleasing silver appearance. She’s sleek. But then I would go and do something. Something simple, really. Basic file management or to install something or run something, and I would click away with the track pad,and it wouldn’t work. I would click and there would be a menu but it wasn’t a menu I was used to, and I didn’t know how to do what I wanted to do.
I have lived and worked and breathed windows computers since I was 9 years old. You are 34 years old, have been using a computer for 25 years and you do not know how to right click on your machine. It turns out I right click a lot.
I have always believed that I am smart. I don’t consider it a problem to not know how to do something. I can google it, I can ask someone, I can read a book, a help file. Not knowing how to do something is annoying to be sure, but it’s not terminal. Not knowing something is just a single step and the start of knowing something. Not knowing how to do something is a human thing, and you learn how to do it. Fundamentally, this is not any different than any other time in my 34 years that I haven’t known how to do something.
I am also, for my sins as I keep telling people, installing ARIS on my company’s server. This too is a thing I have never done before. The sum total of the help that I got was an email that gave me the name of the server, the administrator user name and the password. I also got a line that said “you can access this by RDP”
I didn’t know what RDP was. Not a flipping clue. I had never accessed a server directly and I didn’t know what I was looking for. I know how to download and install files, just not on a server. When our IT guys explained that RDP was remote desktop – treating me like an idiot of the first water, I could get started.
The whole experience has been soul sucking. I realize that there are people who do this every day, and maybe you are one of them, and you find it astonishing that I don’t know how to do this, but I assure you, I have never had to know, and I have never done this, and the whole process feels surreal. It boggles my mind that my IT department sent me a server name and a user name and password and thought I was going to be able to do this.
I keep poking and I am often stymied at every turn. How to get the files on the server. How to add a trusted site. What to do with the stupid https error. A download speed of 97kb/s, which means that files take 2 hours, and there are 9 files to download. The whole side trip called “mount an iso image”. And let us not forget waking up at 2 am and 4:30 am to discover that the download had failed.
Mostly I just feel dumb and incompetent. Everything I do causes me more questions and more confusion, and it doesn’t particularly feel like I am capable of any of this. I hate it.
I keep telling myself that this is a good experience. I am learning to do something new and that’s always a good thing. More than that, I tell myself that I am learning humility and to handle being bad at something with grace.
It’s that grace thing. I’m not handling this with grace. I had a minor melt down yesterday and I actually left the office with a single goal: go and buy a pair of shoes to make me feel better. Go and do a single thing that would make me smile, and make me feel like I’m a bit more in control.
I don’t mind learning, but it feels like I am not actually learning anything. I’m caught in the middle, running down various paths, with absolutely no idea of where I am headed, and how I will know when I get there. I don’t, in a very fundamental way, know where my final destination is. I don’t know how to do this, and I have to tell you, it doesn’t feel like I can learn it.
It’s a horrible feeling, I tell you.
*heck – for those who don’t read Dilbert, there a recurring character called Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light, who rules over heck.