Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More Ice - Here We Go Again....

The ice was here, the ice was there,
The ice was all around :
It cracked and growled, and roared and howled,
Like noises in a swound!

From "The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner"
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Yet another ice storm pummels this part of the world. Lots of school closings because of it, bringing the count of missed days up to 10. That's not a good thing because all of the school districts will have to arrange to make up all of those days. And that, potentially, puts schools into session until near the end of June.

I can see the unhappiness now, both from the friends of my daughters and from teachers that I know - students will grouse about their vacation being delayed from starting, and teachers may end up going past 180 calendar days of school. That, in itself, makes for an interesting dilemma; having worked in education in New Hampshire, one of the things I know that happens with teachers is that if they have to work past the number of contracted school days (which is 180), they don't get paid for those days. It's happened before, and I know it puts hardship on teachers that have second summer jobs and such. On the other hand, if a school system (an SAU in NH parlance) has a collective bargaining unit in place and the teaching staff are members, it's one of the things that they have put into the contract they agree to work under. So I guess it's a risk they take every year that they teach.

As for me, I was a year-round employee at the time I worked in a school system, so I didn't care. And I wasn't covered under the collective bargaining unit, which was just as well. But that was a number of years ago. And it was the last job I held where I had anything to do with Information Technology, as a matter of fact. The faculty at the schools where I worked (the school system I worked in will remain nameless) didn't want an outsider, especially one with Industry experience, telling them how to manage the resources they had. At the surface there were a number of people who professed to be computer-illiterate and wanted to have their hands held when it came to doing anything that involved using a computer. On the other hand, there was a group of faculty at the area middle-high school who had been doing all of this work prior to my being hired. They didn't want anyone taking their jobs over as they received stipends for it on top of their salaries. As I result, any efforts I made were undermined regularly. This also made it difficult to do anything else in terms of taking care of the systems which were in place for grading and finance as well as the applications servers that were used. I was also responsible for managing the networks in the schools including dealing with all of the anti-virus protection, the firewalls, and the telephone systems. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get support from the Administration with respect to things that needed to be fixed or improvements that I believed needed to be made. I had no idea what I had for a budget and I couldn't get the information I needed, and overall I guess it was a case of being made to do much with nothing.

It was a bad situation. I worked in it for a little over a year, and during the second half of that school year I was informed by the principals of the two schools I worked in that my contract wasn't to be renewed.

Truthfully it didn't break my heart when that happened, and it was a lesson learned - I will never put myself in a situation again where I'm working in an endeavor that I don't have control over. And I will not work in the Technology sector ever again; it was too stressful. I will just use the knowledge I have as I need to. If anyone asks for my advice, I'll consider helping out on a case-by-case basis. I've been doing that now for about 7 years and it seems to work for me. At least it keeps my mind in the game, but not so much that I have to be in it every day.

Wow - I don't even know what got me started on that subject.....

As for the ice outside, so far we still have power. And it doesn't seem as bad as the last one, but the roads are terrible. So if you have to be out in this, drive carefully.

1 comment:

Laura said...

All ice storms are bad. I'm always concerned about falling on my-as they say best intention. But, here I go again today, now that I've allowed the icy water to run past my driveway into the one and only drain, to try and clean more ice blocks before more snow comes. Sounds like fun? At least all be soaking up all that wonderful vitamin D. As much as we can get in New England. Always enjoy reading your posts.