NO INTERNET! AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!
honestly though, I felt like my right hand had been cut off…So, I spent a good chunk of yesterday on the phone to BT’s technical support line trying to get my internet connection sorted out. This was in itself a highly frustrating experience – it didn’t matter how many times I told the person on the other end of the line (doubtless in Mumbai) I knew about computers, he still insisted on spelling out ‘ping pingtest.bt.com’ and ‘ipconfig’ and other arcane incantations that I’m quite familiar with. I don’t mind the initial assumption of total lack of knowledge, but persisting with it against all evidence to the contrary drove me nuts. Yes, I know they have their scripts to follow, but surely they must pick up some pointers to good customer service along the way?
In the end he told me there were problems with a server going down and not to worry about it, it would all be fixed by this morning. Ha. It wasn’t. So he said to wait for another 24 hours and he was sure that would sort it out, the engineers were on the case. And then, I’m not sure where this came from, he suggested switching to another router. That can’t have been in the script. And d’you know what, it worked! So they’re going to send me a brand new router and switch me to another payment plan that’ll save me £9 a month. Why couldn’t they have switched me to the cheaper plan anyway? Customer (dis)Services didn’t have an answer to that one.
and… calm…So, Pip, what did you do today?
Sorry. Just goes to show how wound up I get by such silliness. I approached today’s task with trepidation – construct a database that will be a more effective storage system for useful information than random pieces of paper. The BT incident had reminded me of how I used to feel all the time when I worked in computing… waiting for the next thing to go wrong, trying to reach some level of common understanding with [geeks/salespeople/management/idiots/analysts/clients – delete as appropriate] all day every day and at the same time trying to persuade f***ing computers to do what I wanted them to do………
As it happened, I had fun with my database building. It’s not finished yet, and there were many little irritations, but the task has reminded me of the enjoyable aspects of working with computers.Serendipity
Twiddling around on the internet, as I do (when I have a connection), I was interested to read Mark Watson’s blog post from yesterday, where he announced a competition to predict the state of the world this time next year – something we will know that we don’t know now, the name of a new band that will be famous, name and synopsis of a new TV show that will be must-watch, etc. The question that struck me was to predict something that will happen in your own life – more points being awarded for the more unexpected happenings. How liberating is that? You could specify absolutely anything!
I predict by this time next year I’ll have been to the moon, and I’ll have got there by purely self-powered flight.
And then I found this other article about some fashion editor type person who was sacked from an extremely prestigious job, and while it was awful at the time she now says it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her.Redundancy
When I was made redundant two and a half years ago, I thought it was the end of the world. People kept saying, “You know, it might be the best thing that ever happens to you. There was this fashion editor type person…” and I kept marvelling at my self-restraint. I didn’t thump a single one of those people.
I spent more than 12 years working for a company that specialised in using information in any way possible to help other companies market their products more effectively. In other words, helping big business squeeze more money out of you and me. And wasn’t that a good use of my time? I think I sold my soul for a nice car and a big house and enough stress to drive me over the edge of sanity. And like a lemming, for a while I desperately tried to get another job doing exactly the same sort of thing.Thankfully, I didn’t manage to get another job in IT (although I would have thumped you if you’d said so at the time). So gradually I reinvented myself. I’m not a Software Development Manager any more. I’m a writer, a poet, and a student. I’m totally skint, and like a mad fool I’m trying to carve myself some sort of career in the writing and creative arts industry, which is grossly under-funded and poorly paid. But f*ck it all, I’m happy with what I do! I’m studying, which I love. I’m writing, which I love. I’m reading, which I love. I’m meeting so many new and interesting people – talk to a computer programmer, then talk to a poet… compare and contrast…
If anyone had said to me a couple of years ago, “By the end of 2010 you’ll be a full time Creative and Professional Writing student, you’ll have a part time job with a publisher, you’ll be reading and writing poetry, and your ambitions will include returning to academia and starting up a small press, and what’s more, you’ll be happy” I think I’d have been too bewildered to thump them.
Just goes to show, you can never predict what’s round the corner.
(and I never thought I’d turn out to be good at making pastry either…)