(I nominated my two IT colleagues at work for team of the year, and happily they won. However…HR forgot to mention I had to give a speech at our all-staff meeting about why I nominated them until the night before. Both being quiet men, praise is uncomfortable for them. This was the result. The colors reference is from the True Colors workshop, which we participated in.)
It is my great pleasure to say a few words about my nominees for the Team Parkinson Award: Danilo, System Analyst and Mehul, Network Administrator.
But first I want to tell you about my car.
When I bought my car, at the time I was doing community outreach with the needle exchange project and needed to carry quite a bit of materials with me. My friend sold used cars, I went to her because I trusted her, but she sent me elsewhere… never mess up a good friendship by buying a car.
Now I don’t speak car. I drive cars. I put gas in; get the thing serviced regularly, have an excellent driving record and that’s it. Start telling me you are concerned with a transmission issue, and I will have a frank conversation about safer sex and harm reduction, and get you condoms and bleach kits.
The used car sales dealers at other lots could smell the blood in the water. They talked car at me. I’m not a green, I’m not a gold. I didn’t know what to research. I didn’t know what they were saying, but I’m a blue, and I just knew that the deals weren’t good, and that I was being lied to.
So, back to my friend, and told her my budget, told her my needs, and asked her to pull a few vehicles for me to look at. Her colleagues were in tears laughing as I knocked cars off the list for the stupidest reasons: This car smelled funny. That one’s steering wheel felt weird. Another was the color of baby vomit.
The last one was a metallic forest-green coupe, sporty and sleek. I wanted to drive that car. If you’ve ever been to Mississauga there is a zone of car dealerships with a lot of cul de sacs and parking lots adjoining, which dealers will let VIP clients test drive off the street, thus outside of police notice. I had never drifted a car before but that thing turned on the proverbial dime. We got back to the dealership and the little boy in me wanted that car but the adult in me knew I had to have sufficient room for my outreach supplies.
“Honey,” my friend said “I got you covered.” At 6 feet and 300 lbs of self-described curvaceous lusciousness, my friend has heard every comment on her weight and size, but as she folded herself into the trunk and patted the space beside her coyly she not only sold me my car but another to a young couple with twins, and her colleagues stopped laughing as she filled in the paperwork for both of us that night.
Now just like I don’t know much about a cars, I am willing to bet that while a lot of y’all might know varying degrees about computers and telephones, not a lot of y’all know as much about networks, servers, phone systems, and all the other fun tools that we are using on a day to day basis, because there is never more a time that a gold, orange or green seems to want a hug from a blue in the office than when the phones or computers go down in the middle of a call, or eating that last board report you hadn’t saved properly.
That’s when you will hear the bleating cry of anguish arise.… “ARRGGGH BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH….MEHOOOOOOOOOL!”… “MY PHONE! DA NEEEEL OOOO”.
Servicing your immediate technological need is certainly not the primary focus of their job descriptions, yet both of these gentlemen not only do their best to drop everything else they are doing at that moment to help you, they both do it with kindness and gentle humour. They meet the needs of all you, their customers, much like my friend the salesperson, by meeting you at your level of understanding of technology, and never making you feel foolish about that…trust me, I have heard Mehul trying to explain technology to Sandie, and Sandie’s tech speak is limited to saying “I touched the hoogie on the whats it, and now the thingie is going eeeeeeeeeeee”.
I’m not even scratching the surface of what these two do on a day to day basis. What I will say, is while there is always a debate about the needs of Mission being the reason we are doing our job, and the needs of RD for us to be able to do that job, I nominated these two fine gentlemen, because it is a given that without their constant work both during and outside of regular business hours, none of us here would be able to fulfill the mission of serving the needs of our clients. They do their job efficiently, effectively, self-effacingly, yet effusively, with their cheerful “my friend, how can I help you” attitudes.
Gentlemen, thank you both.