There are no more than 5 people that understand what I do for a job, so I decided to take my son Evan with me today on an onsite call to see my work in action.
I enjoy what I do for a living (most of the time). I work with individuals and companies all over the world to provide them with technical solutions. I map out and then implement these solutions using data and code in the form of web and phone applications. I focus and pride myself on explaining these sometimes very complex solutions in non-technical terms. I do not design webpages, I design entire company processes. Those few sentences might be more information that my family could give to others if asked what I do, but there you go.
This summer has been very busy and stressful for me work wise so I decided it was time at least one member of my family could see what all this stress/hard work was for.
One of my clients was using an early stage survey system I designed and implemented over the last few weeks. There had been some reports from users that there was an issue so I wanted to go and be there in person when the users were using it in real time. I got up early today, implemented a few debugging tools, deployed new code, and took a deep breath in hopes all would go well.
Evan and I headed over to Northwestern’s campus (where my system was being used) and I gave him a quick rundown of how my system would be used and what he could help me do if there was an issue. Fortunately – it went well and out of 50 people who used my system which collected over 2,500 different data points – only one person had an issue due to a phone version issue.
While I walked away knowing it was a success, it was even more rewarding to see Evan realize how my work impacted actual people. This was a small test base, but he could now fully understand how my one solution affects thousands of users and millions of data points and then perhaps understand why I have to answer some work calls early in the morning, late at night, and sometimes while on vacation.
Today being able to see my son get a glimpse of understanding what I do helped me see that – while it is sometimes challenging and stressful – it is well worth it in the end.
Thanks for the reminder Evan!