Lessons from IT practiseGrowing up, I had no idea of who I wanted to be in life. I guess nobody really knows who they want to become. It’s only after a certain point in life that you discover what really works for you. And so I jumped on the band wagon of ‘I want to be a pilot, Engineer, Neurosurgeon, Astronaut ………………’ I blame this warped ideology on archaic folks who perpetuate the notion that these are the only respectable professions under the sun. I’m yet to hear someone declare they want to become a politician. I loved music. I wanted to become a pianist. I started learning the keys and would practice zealously. I would pretend playing the piano when listening to songs on radio. God bless music. My authoritative father wanted to check me into a mental hospital. According to him, I was supposed to pursue Engineering. I was supposed to pursue a ‘tough’ course, not ‘cheap’ courses like music. Music was hogwash to him. His son had to be an accomplished and respectable man in the society. At some point he alluded that the only way he would continue providing a roof over my head was to follow his ‘advise’. I got the feeling that he would even change the locks after kicking me out. And so with that, my dreams of becoming the greatest pianist were nipped in the bud. I took Engineering in Campus. I did it to ensure there was a roof over my head and a meal on my plate .I did it for him.
In my 3rd year at Campus, my sister bought me a laptop. It was not a laptop. Nowadays we have laptops. It was a TV. It would shut down immediately when unplugged. But I loved it nonetheless. It was a BIG deal back then. I always yearned for a laptop. It’s a dream I always had and my dear sister made it happen. God bless Esther. So euphoric was I on the first day she gave me that I stayed up all night marveling at the ‘new’ machine. I carried it everywhere I went. I slept with it. I carried it in the showers. Theft was rampant in Campus. You lost everything, from lecture notes to slippers. I lost countless boxers and towels. But I was not going to lose my new found love. I learnt everything I could learn about computers, from basic hardware troubleshooting & Software Installation to writing codes. I found what worked for me. For the first time in eons I saw the light .That moment marked my foray into the IT world. And I never looked back.
It’s been 2 years now as an IT Support Personnel. It’s been an eventful career full of intrigues and upheavals. Working with Computers gives me a high of some sort.. Assisting hapless users makes me feel immortal. With a single line of  codeI can shut everyone out and send them back to Stone Age. I feel in control. Aside from my devious intentions, my career has taught me useful life lessons.
ICT is more of-
Much as I enjoy running codes, I derive a deep sense of gratification assisting people solve their PC issues. Seeing a user’s face beam with delight after experiencing a nagging problem elevates my spirits. I feel accomplished. In my opinion, creating good rapport is the key to establishing a good relationship with clients which further improves their trust and confidence in you. Superb customer service is the blueprint of success for every Company and if ignored, could spell its downward spiral to oblivion. Sometimes I feel I would have made an excellent doctor or nurse. But the sight of blood nauseates me. And so I settled for computers instead.

Occasionally, the nature of my work calls for ….

It irritates me seeing someone squinting at the keyboard and typing with one hand, one finger at a time. One day someone called me and shrieked, “Jay, I can’t find letter ‘X’ on my keyboard!” She looked at me with liquid eyes like she was about to break down the next minute. I felt a strong urge to laugh myself to tears. But you don’t do that. You approach her, politely point out the ‘missing’ letter on her keyboard and hope she won’t call you the next minute to say she can’t find the ‘Escape’ key. Occasionally, someone will scream, ‘Jay my computer is ‘full’, I can’t save my document”. You make your way to her computer & discover the desktop is indecently cluttered & full of icons. “See, it’s full”, she laments with a high pitched tone enough to shatter a wine glass. You feel like swallowing her. Sometimes, you are called upon to train users on new software. The training is to last a week but it takes a month. It takes a month because some users cannot put two and two to make four. You wish you would tie and whack them merciless with a bamboo stick for not ‘getting’. But you remind yourself that your blood is made of ice. You are a cool guy. Composure is your surname.

It doesn’t matter how many Certifications or degrees you’ve obtained, the fact is you don’t know everything and there’s still a lot more to be learned.IT is a rapidly evolving field of science and what’s trending today becomes obsolete tomorrow. You constantly have to keep tabs on the technology there is on the market. Inject more time doing research online to keep up with the industry demands. Consult widely. Never shy away from requesting assistance from your colleagues .There’s always something new to learn. In his book Life is a game, Cherie Carter Scott puts it clearly, ‘Embrace your role as a perpetual student in life’. This implies that nobody knows everything and you have to constantly dig for more knowledge. It further underscores the fact that being a student does not belittle you, but rather, puts you in a position to make a more informed decision tomorrow.

In the line of work, things can get messy. Situations can go horribly wrong. Many things can go awry at once. Codes can refuse to run, a nasty virus ‘eats’ up your files & the network decides to play hide and seek. Everyone is yelling and screaming at you for making their life hell on earth. You feel like self-destructing. Have you ever been recalled from your well-deserved leave in the middle of the night by your boss? Mine sent a taxi to pick me up from a bar to revive a server that was offline, cutting short my Friday night out. I was still tipsy when I arrived, but Work had to continue. The next 2 hours were hell trying to bring the server back on. It was like trying to resuscitate a patient using CPR. You never really know whether they’ll come back. You cross your fingers and pray all goes well. Pressure is a bad thing. You get all sweaty and feverish knowing everyone is waiting on you to work some magic and get things done. You feel like everyone is pointing  a gun at you ready to squeeze the trigger. But you serve a living God and you get to live to see another day. Who said IT was for the faint hearted? It’s for the brave men &women who are not afraid of facing challenges and whatever barbs life throws at them. It’s for the diligent ladies and gentlemen who are always on call ready to save the world. At times you try things and fail. You try again and fail. But you don’t give in. That’s for cowards. And life was never meant for cowards. You keep pushing until something gives way.
Salute to all my IT brothers and sisters out there !

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