Little Girl Lost in a Technology World

Some amazing things happen as you age. You look back on your life and think about what your plans were and if you are lucky, you figure out that the world changed around you and you adapted. When I was a senior in high school, I took a computer class. I can’t tell you that I liked it. I can tell you that if I would have been half as interested in school as I was socializing, we would have all been better off. But it is what it is, and life took me on a journey and here I am 51 years old and working for an IT Company. This is my side gig, honestly a favor for a friend, that turned to a hobby, that has turned to a passion. However, my real, full-time job still has IT in the name as well. I am the IT Coordinator taking care of around 175 users for a Community Action Agency in south central Illinois. That job is a passion as well, but it is STILL not my primary job. My primary job is as the Energy Assistance Coordinator for the agency. I am responsible for the program for our agency that helps low-income, the disabled, and the elderly have energy security. That position is my main passion. I have for many years though, been labeled as a problem solver, and that is where the thread runs through my life. All of my jobs, and titles boil down to helping make people’s lives better.

As the IT Coordinator for the agency, my main job was to put out the fires I could and know when to call in the big guns of our IT Consultants. We have 9 counties which actually span several hundred miles and I have traveled from one end of our agency to the other in a matter of hours more than once. Usually the fixes would be simple but in our line of work, computers are a necessary means to an end and almost nobody in our agency was hired particularly because of their computer skills. Over the years, I had learned a great deal and was actually starting to feel comfortable being called the IT Coordinator. When I took on the position, everyone in the main office had computers, and there were maybe 30 users outside of that office. As we grew, our need for support grew and we were realizing we were outgrowing our IT consultants. I started looking for alternatives.

First up to bat was a company from northern Illinois. They quoted a price per year that is more than my wages. This was to be my backup. The one that only handles the stuff I couldn’t. I had learned how to take care of a lot of things myself, so this kind of price just would have been laughable had I not desperately needed someone who could really do what I needed done. I dropped it for a few months and another company came on the horizon.  They quoted me a price per year that was about half of what the first company came up with, but still more than a not-for-profit could handle. I passed again, knowing we were falling farther behind in the technology world, but not knowing how I could help it. Hence the name of this post, I felt very much like a little girl lost in a technology world and was seriously afraid that if we went on much further the way we were, we would be too far gone to recover easily.

Enter Mike Miller, TEAM ITS, LLC. I met Mike at a Chamber of Commerce dinner. He was giving a presentation on Cyber security. He wasn’t 10 minutes into his speech and I realized some of the things he was telling us not to do, was the very things I had been being told I wanted to do.  Part of me was upset immediately with our current company, but even more, I was upset because I hadn’t studied these things enough myself or I would have realize this too. Two weeks later, Mike sat in my office and asked me why I wasn’t running terminal servers. I was very honest with him, I didn’t know what that even meant. Nobody had mentioned terminal servers to me before. I asked him to fix me a quote and I had no doubt in my mind but what he would come back with the same pie-in-the-sky numbers that I had seen the previous two times. But he didn’t. He came back with a plan. Because we were falling behind in technology, it was going to be a “rip the band-aid” period of time to do the initial upgrade; but then the rest was up to me. Mike, and TEAM ITS co-owner, Eric Kline, both assured me that they were very comfortable with teaching me how to take care of my own infrastructure.

I have learned how to take care of adding my own users and maintaining them, how to restore a file from our backups, how to check the bandwidth on my point-to-point radios and much more (all things that I either didn’t have at all or had always been treated like I wasn’t smart enough to do by my other consultants) . As my turn at this blog progresses, I will share some of those things. I feel I have the right amount of “non-tech speak” that I might be able to help some of you understand that computers are seriously not as scary as they feel.  And, it is no secret, because I do the marketing for TEAM ITS (another story for another day), I hope to help you understand how these things that have helped me can help you as well. I am hoping to have occasional blog posts from the tech guys too, so whatever your depth of understanding, there should be something here for you.

So, welcome to our new blog, come visit often. And as is always my wish, my hope, is for your lives to be made better through these articles. Please feel free to comment, or email me @ mbrowning@yourteam-its.com

Mindy