I usually don’t write highly personal stuff about my work, but felt I just had to say this. Yesterday I had a reminder of how wonderful the people I work with are.
Yesterday at 2pm I had my first interview for my thesis. I was planning on taking a late lunch and doing it over my lunch hour. Naturally, I have been nervous about this new phase in my thesis beginning. This was the guts of it – collecting the data. Do I have the right questions? Will Skype work? All those niggling little things that keep you up at night and make you wring your hands all day.
The office was quiet. I was the only person providing D2L support. Our 3 ID’s were working on the other campus, and our regular D2L admin was taking a holiday day. I was holding down the fort, providing support and admin functions for our LMS.
At 1:15, I was just about to begin setting up my computer in our meeting room for the 2pm Skype interview. I wanted to test everything out well ahead of time. I saw an instructor walk into our office area. He came over to me and reported that D2L was slow, and he had a group of students writing a test in the lab next door. I popped onto D2L to take a look and it was slow. And getting slower. Suddenly an email popped into the support inbox. Were we having problems with D2L because this person could not log on. Then another. And another. Students began coming into the office, reporting problems with D2l. The Learning Commons was full. D2L was going down. I was alone, and in 30 minutes I had to do my first interview for my research. Anyone reading this who has ever done research, especially research that involves long form interviews, knows how tough it can be to line up a participant. I did not want to reschedule. I began to feel a pit forming in my stomach.
A quick call to my team leader at the other campus confirmed they were having problems, too. She immediately got it. She knew what was coming up for me in 30 minutes, and what it meant for my own personal development – my first thesis interview. And how did she handle it? She told me to walk away.
She told me to go for a walk, clear my head and get into a good space for my interview. She talked me down from my rising panic, and told me that what I needed to do at that moment was focus on my research. Our entire LMS was falling apart (not a usual occurrence I have to say. Of all the criticisms one may have of D2l, reliability is not one we often face), I was the only person around, and she was telling me to put my research first. I felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted, and I literally got some kind of warm chemical rush up my back as I heard her voice at the other end of the phone telling me to go and prep for my interview.
So I did. I walked away. Went outside. came back 10 minutes later, went into the meeting room and set up my computer. I closed the door. It felt a bit like that NFB film The Big Snit, where thermonuclear war is a-raging just outside the door of the house. But I went ahead and shut it out and did my interview. And it went very well.
Later when I emerged I found out D2L had come back fully online around 2:20, and all was quiet. My team leader had triaged the emails in our support email box while I was busy. All was well. Some co-workers had come back into the office and were hanging Christmas decorations. Sanity had been restored. And I was reminded once again that, when it comes to work, I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by supportive, caring people. Years of working in commercial media has meant I have worked for a lot of horrible bosses in my time. I can’t begin to express how my team leaders actions yesterday made me feel, other than to say it spurred me to spend the morning writing this post, as a small way of thanking her for what she did yesterday.