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wnylibrarian's picture

The Lighthouse Keeper

Hello Interwebs,


Long before the COVID-19 crisis I was well conditioned for operating as a one-person operation. Remotely if necessary, although remotely in 1990s terms does not equate to the remote workforce of today.


During college I had a couple different jobs that required a staff one one. When you're in such a situation you take every tool that is available at your disposal. You become, more or less, a lighthouse keeper. A solitary entity. For the most part I think everyone, particularly when they are the age I was back then, should experience a similar situation as the education can be invaluable.


The situation forced me to learn, through trial and error, a best methods practice for every task, and when you're responsible for packing, shipping, inventory control, and managing orders as I was you lean on technology. You have to. I worked for a small mom and pop operation. They were sweet. They were kind. They stayed kept away from technology as far as possible. There were many things I too didn't know, but I knew that if I wanted a job through college I was going to need this little black box in the corner of the warehouse. In the beginning I was confronted with Lotus 1-2-3 and ProWrite which, given the situation, was better than nothing but it certainly wasn't going to be sustainable. I did what I could with it under the circumstances, but when I had an opportunity to convince the owners after gaining their trust as a reliable employee I went for it. I campaigned for the new Windows '95 platform, and everything changed. Mostly for the best but there were some settling-in issues. With the new operating system came Microsoft Office '97 and my personal baptism with AccessDB.


Now that we're in the COVID-19 pandemic many of us are siloed off, and that goes for myself. Unlike years ago when I had to be a one-person operation I'm now part of a team. That thought is comforting. However, working from home I am now back to a situation where I must function independently and those technical skills and mindset are not dissimilar to long ago. I think that past experience helps moving forward into what will probably be an isolated future. The nature of everything has changed in a way other pandemics have done before.