And then I let it slip

Created by meWikidan829 15:55, 1 March 2007 (U...

Public Domain Image via Wikipedia

My first “real” job was working for a software company that made a spreadsheet product. This was about 5 minutes before Windows came out and Excel took over the world. Lotus 1-2-3 was the lead spreadsheet in those days, and the company I worked for made another DOS-based (sorry, youngsters, you’ll have to Wiki this for more info) spreadsheet. It was a really cool program that actually did something like PivotTables (only better) even back then.

OK, if my references to spreadsheets and pivot tables have make your eyes glaze over, I totally understand. You and most of the people I work with, truth be told. (Even I find Pivot Tables agonizing, despite the fact that multidimensional spreadsheets is the space in which I practically LIVE.)

Which is why, when someone has a question about Excel, they tend to call me. And really, I don’t mind.

But then they need someone to do (name some kind of metric reporting) and allasudden, they want it to be my gig. Even if what they’re reporting on has Zero to do with what I do.

My new boss is really supportive of leveraging my skills where they are needed, but not volunteering them for everyone in the world who just needs to take a basic Excel class. God bless her for that.  We’ve slowly weaned people off looking to me as their primary source for spreadsheet help…

Then we needed to put together a project listing. And the data we needed just kept getting bigger and bigger, until Excel was getting to be unwieldy. It wasn’t really a spreadsheet application; it was a database app… we just don’t have the tools or the skills…

I should have let it go. Instead, I let it slip that I know how to use Access. That, in fact, I already track my own projects in an Access DB that I built.

Stupid stupid stupid.

So next thing I knew, I needed to build a prototype for a project database for our subdept. And tweak it and tweak it and tweak it. [Note for the uninitiated: the more built out the prototype needs to be, the closer it gets to not being a “prototype” at all versus a Phase 1 release. And the more complex Phase 1 is, the tougher it is to make changes to the underlying structure without breaking it, if Phase 2 needs to move in different directions. So, um, prototypes aren’t really something I want to be building blind, just for the sake of them.]


And now there’s a whole laundry list of other possible databases we could need. All of which, thank God, at least relate to my business area. But none of which are mapped out in any meaningful way OR were on my project radar before today.

It’s fine, it’s fine. I like adding value, and I like using technology. I am just hoping that I don’t get sucked into doing this stuff for the whole business unit, because in really short order it crosses over from “an interesting creative exercise in technology” to “headache in the making.”

I really have to start pretending I don’t know how to do stuff.


About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

6 Responses to And then I let it slip

  1. Patti says:

    Or you need to form a side business where you teach other people how to use them!


    • aka gringita says:

      Great idea in theory. In reality, it would mean spending even MORE time with Access, and I’m really sorry I ever mentioned it. I’m thinking feigning amnesia is a better way to go. 😀


  2. markp427 says:

    I’m impressed with your Access-ability. We had to rely on an Access database that somebody else created at my last job after she left the company. It was the most frustrating, confusing, annoying program ever. We got about two hours’ worth of training on it, and then ended up with a six-month headache. Ugh. Trust me, your talents are valuable.


    • aka gringita says:

      Well… for now. Later this year they’re planning to upgrade us all to the newest, latest, greatest, OMIGOD COULD THIS GET ANY MORE ANNOYING AND FRUSTRATING version of MS Office. I can barely figure out the new Excel, and am guessing whatever they’ve done with Access is only going to be worse. 😉 So that’s another way I could get out of managing this for the long term.


  3. Kass says:

    Gah. I hate the latest and greatest Office. it sucks.


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