From August through to December, my life has just been a string of failures. A failure to finish club renewals in the month I originally budgeted, resulting in an ongoing struggle and loads of work to get the damn thing done in a semester. Thank YOU, club leaders. A failure to keep issues of racism and the school newspaper in the student realm, with both sides asking and then forcing administrators to intervene, striking a blow for student soverignty. A failure to resolve any of the issues raised in a meaningful or productive manner. A failure to get all the people involved to just calm down, shut up, and go back to classes, including myself. A failure to account for that huge amount of time spent (wasted?) on a futile pursuit of happiness for students, resulting in…

A personal failure of classes, for the first time ever, and that just doesn’t help my prospects for grad school at all, in fact it hurts them, perhaps irreperably, and there is really nothing I can do about it at this point.

And finally, a failure at home. A failure to maintain on an ongoing basis anything I try to do at Maintex. The result is that I try to give people things that are better, try to improve their lives, but all it does is give them short-term hassles (thanks to a variety of factors, several out of my control) and then ongoing hassles because no one can maintain what I create and it ends up being thrown away anyway. Is there really any point to me creating a standard boot image, or trying to install antivirus software, or secure these computers? The result, of course, will be that someone here won’t have the specific software that only they use, and someone there can’t get their email, and someone over in the corner can’t do something else, and it’s just endless fixing things, and then when I leave something breaks and no one else knows even the basics to fix it and so they just get angry or throw it away or start over, and I’ve accomplished nothing.

I really can’t handle any more failures at this point. Maintex is great — nice people, good pay, but it’s just not something I can deal with any more. And tech support has not, is not, and will never be my thing. It’s just painful to do, and I don’t want any more stress, even if I’m getting paid for it.

I’m finished. I’m going to go in to work tomorrow, fix Orchid’s email, try to fix Ali’s computer, figure out how to back up the Mac server that serves less and less, and then going home, and that’s it. I’m done there, I think, because I’m not being useful to anyone, I’m not enjoying it, and I can do better doing something — anything — else.

3 replies on “Failure”

  1. I don’t think I’m really as finished as I thought I was when I wrote this post. I still have to do something about the failed Mac server, find some way to recusitate it. I’m beginning to believe that running the FileMaker client on it (to “serve” FM databases and use the “Web Companion” locally and parse it’s output for web display) might have caused the problems. We do have another box that I could potentially use solely to run FMPro, but that might be a little weird. Either way, that box has to be reloaded so that it can do web again, since the chances of getting a Linux box are very low. And I need to setup some sort of backup script for it. After that I should be basically done, unless someone at Maintex actually _wants_ some sort of Windows image. We’ll see.

  2. “Maintain a sense of perspective and proportion in all your endeavors… Don’t let problems and setbacks block out the light of reason. The human mind is like a magnifying glass: It exaggerates. A smiple rule of thumb: Whatever you’re looking at is not as big a deal as you think it is.”
    ~Daniel Meacham

    I hope that you take the above not as a trivialization of the points you raise in your blog entry but as notice that as single isolated instances, many of them are beyond your control and many of the problems are things you helped mitigate or ameliorate for many many people.

    Club Renewals – Organizing heads of 200+ organizations (so, 400+ people) is extremely hard if not nearly impossible for one or two people to do easily and you can’t blame yourself for a process that took longer than it needed to…particularly since you were dependent upon a 40+-member government to do it with you.

    The Justice and racial issues on campus – You may a difference here and lots of people know it. In fact, your role, as I’ve said many many times, was perhaps the most critical. In your role as an operations person, you kept student government running when others were devoting countless hours to a problem we didn’t know whether or not we could ameliorate. And when you did participate in conversations, your insight was thoughtful and provocative.

    Maintex – No one expects you to perform technical support for the rest of your life – and you got to find out now that it’s not something you’re passionate about. See it not as a failure but a huge learning opportunity. You successfully fixed the problems and then you moved on – it’s not your calling, and no one said it had to be.

    Classes – this is perhaps the biggest learning opportunity, or area for enhancement, that came up this semester but it’s certainly not a failure. Next semester presents a bright new opportunity for you to perform at the level you know you’re capable and at the performance level others know you can do. You got pulled in a variety of directions this semester, but there’s not a single reason that next semester won’t be amazing.

    As B.C. Forbes once said, “Don’t forget until too late that the business of life is not business, but living.” I don’t think anyone can say that you don’t live and learn every day. Just focus that living and learning in the areas that make you happier, but don’t look at any of the past as a failure.

  3. WRT Maintex specifically, I’m still working there. Have to reload the server, have figured out how to createa nice Ghost image and can still tweak it a bit, am doing a bit of work on cycle counting of inventory. It’s not too bad, as long as I can avoid tech support, which I seem to be managing to do. And who knows, maybe I can convince someone to use the poor little bid tracker that I created last time I was around.

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