Today, was my last day as ICT Network Manager. I started the job when my oldest son was planning to move to an Upper School, somewhere between my home and the new workplace. I had been encouraged by a fellow course mate studying IT at my local college to apply. There is no doubt that I was out of my depth from the beginning, but with the happy location of the school right next door to the County IT Support Service, and a bold readiness to try out my newly acquired IT skills, the huge gaps in my knowledge and understanding of how to run a network were somehow overlooked. Then there was the cloud: confidence has always been an issue, since tthe conversation which constituted my job offer went along the lines of…”perhaps this is not the right job for you”. Words which have come to mind on several occasions throughout my time at the school.
Sometimes it is just the bizarreness of the situation in which a conversation is held that makes it so memorable. The job application was really just for practice. I had already had the message that I had been unsuccessful at interview, but candidate number one must have had a better offer because whilst Christmas shopping in Milton Keynes with my husband, in amongst the pushing and shoving and unachievable gift buying targets, I found myself having a discussion which seemed to be a tentative but unconvincing job offer. There ensued a debate about working hours, and the closing words of that conversation are the ones that remain printed in my mind.
If it hadn’t been for one amazing IT teacher, I would never have survived the first year. Not once did she complain or show any impatience! As soon as I arrived, the County IT Support arm announced its relocation. So, we struggled through together and eventually, there came a time when things seemed under control. And they must have been, because for the next eight years the school network and the many vaguely related things that creep strangely into that heading (on the grounds that if it uses IT then it falls squarely into the Network Manager’s role ) have kept going and expanded without disaster….and dare I say it, with some improvements.
But eventually, I came back to those words and reached the conclusion that perhaps this is not the right job for me. And this is what has brought me to my last day. The Goodbye message was duly delivered at break time:
“It is customary at this point to say a few words. I have great difficulty choosing which few to say but you will be pleased to know that I have settled for safe ones.
I have seen many staff arrive and depart, computers, servers, projectors, and other such IT essentials purchased and worn out, software and operating systems come and go, new initiatives and policies burst in and fade out, and the building projects ….. well I’m not quite sure how to describe them. There is no doubt that all this will continue to happen without me – it will be business as usual.
And so, a quote from the bible* :
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
But, the teacher goes on to say:
“I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.”
I would like to thank all of you who have showed me kindness and appreciation, patience and understanding (not in a technical sense – that is immaterial) and at times forgiveness, over the last 8 1/2years. These are the things of substance and the things that make a difference and the things I shall take with me. I have always tried to do what is right and good whilst I have been here, but it is now right for me to venture into something new. I know I am leaving behind, a whole bunch of people who are doing good while they live, and who certainly deserve to be happy.
And as “many words mark the speech of a fool”, I shall finish right here.
*the book of Ecclesiastes
And that is it. Good bye. The desk is now clear. The champagne, flowers, chocolates and fine jewellery will be enjoyed. The kindnesses will be remembered and the frustrations will fade into the night.