the "joys" of being the go-to person...

daharyn's picture

Sometimes I get fed up with working in a department full of technophobes. My computer skills are about average, or maybe a wee bit higher, but to these folks I'm "the computer person".

Technically, I am research and web development, emphasis on the research end. And only for one program within the department. But I've done so much work for so many people -- and I'm in my "office" so often -- that I've become the go-to person for anything and everything, not just computer stuff, but other silly errands as well.

I just ran a paper over to Public Affairs for my thesis seminar prof, talked with Margaret about what we need to do to make her computer system run more efficiently (personally, I think the answer is "get new hardware", because Windows 95, a slooow processor, and Netscape 3.0 don't run a lot of new things well), and then had another prof track me down and say "I've got a student with an essay on her laptop, can we print it somehow?"


I came in to school on Monday and ran into Ross:

"Lindsey! We found out who is on the admissions committee across the street, it's so-and-so, and so-and-so, and Prof. Damrosch."

(The Director of Graduate Studies for the Columbia English Department. I'm taking his modernist lit course this semester.)

"I wrote a letter to Damrosch about you, and so did ALP (my academic advisor). You're going to go introduce yourself at his office hours this week. This is what you're going to say...."

What? They did this without consulting me?

I made an utter ass of myself in Prof. Damrosch's office. I couldn't even speak coherently. I felt like I fucked up my chances of being admitted to Columbia entirely, but everyone I've talked it over with said that sincere anxiety was a lot better than suave Ivy-League chumminess. And he knows my face now.


The Barnard weight room is a sort of mini-gym. It's my favorite place to work out: women-only hours, a little radio, some machines. It is always staffed by a student attendant. During the first two weeks of the semester, as people are working out their schedules, the hours that the weight room is open change periodically. But I have gone down to work out three times this week, only to confront a sign on the door, telling me that the gym will be closed for the one hour that fit well into my schedule.

Story of my life, folks.



hol's picture

a response

It's called grunt work....get used to will only get more illustrious as you progress. I am indeed titled a TA and RA, duties which I do do, however, these are somethings that I get to do, as a bonus...
-in charge of all the AV for alternative media (TRANSLATION) she doesn't know how to work the projector on the computer console, so I have to come up to the front of the class to do it for her
-CV compiler....(TRANSLATION) my boss has no idea about all the stuff she has published, so now I have to track it down, sort it into a nice binder in slip covers, and then type up a formal CV of the last 20 years of her academic life
-organizing her life (TRANSLATION) she gets so stressed out that I block out her time for her to ensure that all gets accompliched...

Indeedy it is fun :)

But I *do* understand your frustration :)

daharyn's picture

I forgot to mention that...

I wasn't getting paid for any of that. They were just taking advantage of the fact that I was in the general vicinity. :-(