MY Hines

Tech Department is just like Glee

Posted on: December 4, 2009

I had many ideas about my first post to my blog would be when I started to plan my blog.  I wanted everyone to get to know a bit about me and the things I will write about on this blog. Last night, I  realized that the Tech Department reminds me of my new favorite show, Glee. Being a former band, chorus, and musical geek (we didn’t have Glee Club in my high school), I can see a lot of things in Glee that are just so true, but also so funny. Yet, when I look at working in  a tech department, I can see a lot of things in common. So, for my first blog post, I want to explain to you exactly why I believe that Glee is a perfect metaphor for someone working in a tech department – or at least how it has been for me.

Glee Members are the school outcasts –  I’m used to this feeling from high school and it is odd to see it still happening. It’s not that the tech department are outcasts, but we are different. It might even be more apparent in a nonprofit situation when the majority of the organization is focused on providing services to community members. Tech department is providing support to other staff members. We think just a bit more differently and I feel that we tend to be less people-focused. There are always exceptions to this, like the Cheerios that are members of Glee Club, so don’t hold steadfast to thinking we are always the outcasts.

Rachel (a.k.a. The Diva) – Rachel always needs that spotlight and boy is that true for some projects or departments that the tech department supports. My prime examples tend to be a bit different. Sometimes this is the “Demanding Diva” and the “Spotlight Diva”. The Demanding Diva is the department that I know that we have to drop all other things that are going on and adjust their needs right away – there is no passing go and collecting $200 with a Demanding Diva needing. The Spotlight Diva is the project that just went completely right – and for me that has personally been the rolling out of VOIP. VOIP is my Spotlight Diva. I’ll just let it stay in the spotlight for now.

Finn (a.k.a. Popular Jock with Oddball Group) – To me, Finn is Microsoft. He is the leader of the football team. Microsoft is just about the same. You have to deal with Microsoft in some manner. Tell me someone who didn’t know who the quarterback of your high school team was while you were in school and you are showing me a home schooled student. Just as Finn has taken a beaten by participating in Glee, Microsoft takes it’s hits. You want to hate Microsoft. You want to run away from Microsoft. Microsoft can have a whole in security that gets patched and it just isn’t the same afterwards. Finn will get into trouble with Quinn or Rachel or the football team and he battles thru – just ends up being different at the end.

Quinn (a.k.a. Pregnant Teenager) – I think this one is a simple analogy – Quinn is the perfect similarity to that project that someone works on for months and months and months. To me, it is a custom database application that is being developed. At times, you can’t wait for the application to be here. Other times, you wish that you could deny the application or even get rid of it. Some people shun the application and others want nothing more than to dot on the application. It is going to be lots of work and nurturing – and changing – for the application to be born. Who knows what will happen with it is born!

Kurt (a.k.a. Looks Do Matter) – Kurt is one of the characters that just is being done perfectly. But he does remind me that his focus tends to be a bit on that superficial side – is Rachel wearing something trendy? Is his skin good today? Can wigs look any uglier? It is so much like how I have been involved in some big decisions that were more about looks than functionality. From the moment I started working on networks, one of the huge decisions was to force Windows Classic Style. Work was used to “old” Windows and when I showed a couple people what “XP Style” looked like, I knew that it was going to be bad. So, looks mattered and instead of embracing the new – we kept the old Windows Classic Style – and we still force Windows Classic Style. Another example is how if you put a database in front of someone that looks like Access and they have never used it – it is going to cause drama. Instead, make that same database look like an online shopping application – piece of cake. It yet proves that sometimes, looks do matter!

Emma (a.k.a. I wanna be in Glee) – On a complete side note, the chemistry between Emma and Will is great on the show.  Now back to how Emma is represented in my work in a tech department. Emma is the perfect example of someone who looks at technology and wants to be involved. They want to embrace it. They want to have more of it. But there are other forces that sometimes pulls them away    – darn that Football Coach! Technology is tempting and it’s important to realize who the Emmas are in your work and try to keep them as involved as possible, but also know that the football coach can come in any moment and pull her away.

Sue Sylvester (a.k.a. Non Adopter) – I think if you work in technology, you know exactly who your Sue Sylvesters are. They are the ones that are the last ones to sign up for mandatory trainings on a new application. They are the ones that will point everything out that is different, more difficult, a possible security threat, ridiculous, and all other things that mean that it isn’t exactly what they want. They are often going to be the people that fight any of your technology projects. But remember, sometimes, they shock you. I wasn’t sure if I liked the episode that Sue was showed as having a heart, but it pointed out you can’t always be sure what a person is going to do. Maybe your Sue is driving you up the wall because they actually are trying to help you. Maybe your Sue is just interested in what you are doing but doesn’t know how to show it. Or maybe your Sue just is evil. The thing with any Sue Sylvesters out there – she is sure going to keep your life interesting.

The Slushy War – When I saw this episode, I was so thankful that my high school didn’t have a slushy machine because I would have been covered with them way too often. Well, I guess since I was so used to being in that situation, it is natural that I would work in the tech department. The slushy to me represents HelpDesk tickets. You don’t know when they are going to come – but  it is going to happen. When it happens, there is sometimes relief, because it’s done. Sometimes you just dread when the ticket is going to arrive. Sometimes there are so many that you feel like you are going to drown. Thankfully I never heard of a slushy related drowning, so I guess you can’t really drown in HelpDesk tickets either.

The Commercial (a.k.a. Success!) – I always like the song Jump and it was the perfect selection for the most recent episode. Those Glee members did such a good job in their commercial. It was a success for them. Do you know how many times when a deployment has gone smoothly that I wanted to go out there and just JUMP! Man, where were those big beds to jump around after my department finished an office consolidation this fall? We could have had a blast jumping up and down for a job well done. But do you remember the rest of the episode? The fall out of the success – Will using a bed and having to pull out to keep the Glee Club going. Well, for every success, eventually something about that success is going to lead to something more to address. A consolidated office meant to my department that we now had new needs with phones and training.  So remember, if you jump, you may go up but you are also going to come back down.

Guest Stars – Wow, Kristen Chenoweth is one of my favor stars to have crossed over from Broadway to Television/Movies. She was great as a guest start. Well, my Kristen Chenoweth guest star has to be technology vendors. They can come in and save the day – and people will love them. They take the spotlight and they fix something that is wrong. Sometimes they are the white knight in shining armor. Until they leave. Hopefully, I have learned something from that guest star so that I don’t always need one coming to the rescue. Just like in Glee, you don’t always need Kristen Chenoweth to do a good job.

Will Schuster (a.k.a. the leader) – I never thought I would identify with a man as much as I do with Will. He is a lot like me. He is doing something he isn’t quite sure about and might not even be fully trained to be that Glee teacher (if that is the right term). I wasn’t a computer techie by training. I’m a social worker – I have a Masters in Social Work. But here I am doing technology and finding it much better than what I expected. Just as Will stumbles and makes mistakes, I do the same thing. I make mistakes all the time – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t make mistakes. Will has had disappointment in people and so have I. There is so much that I can identify with Will – but I won’t be breaking out into song any time soon and I haven’t had a teenage girl fall into a mad crush with me yet.

Glee Club (a.k.a. The Village) – Glee has such a wide diversity of people involved. Cheerios, football members, the diva… it goes on and on. What makes it work is that it is such a collaboration of students. That is the technology department. Especially for the one that I work in. I have someone working on the website, someone who is doing maintenance and support, and another staff person who is doing social media. It is the fascinating mix that makes it work. And you need that village to make it happen. When I didn’t have others in my department, there was still a village there for me. I had to go find resources online or use my best friend as my pseudo-department.  Find your village. Find the resources that you need and know that no one is ever going to run the technology by themselves – Remember even Superman has a weakness!

So,that is the end of my first, very long blog post. I could go on and on about how much Glee is a perfect way to explain working in a Technology Department. Maybe there will even be a version two of this post sometime in the future. But for now, I’m just going to part with these words. Remember that sometimes the tech department has to bust a move to make sure that everything is running. When a tech department is small, you are going to feel that you are on your own. You can’t stop believin’ that you are on the right path and that you will be able to take a bow. You’ll jump, push it, and keep holding on. You will ask for mercy and you’ll show this is how we do it. Look for ways to be defying gravity and in the end you will be able to smile.

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8 Responses to "Tech Department is just like Glee"

Awesome post!

Thanks for reading! I hope that you look forward to more posts!

I love this! I love how you took every character from Glee and incorporated it into our everyday crazy techy world here! So true…keep blogging 🙂

Thanks for reading my first post. I could have kept going with all of the characters in Glee… I feel a part two of this post coming soon!

This is great! And so true! 🙂 I can’t wait to read more.

I think humor makes things better – and I hope to share that along with good information. Thanks for reading and check back soon!

This is such a great post! Looking forward to more!

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