Geekery, Continued

Everything just seemed to fall into place.

We had talked to our department’s trainer, and asked him if he thought we should train everyone on what we had of the database so far, or whether we should wait until the database is complete — god only knows when that will be. The trainer agreed that we should train our department ASAP, and fill them in on any additional updates as necessary.

We worked on borrowing a projector and a laptop, and making sure one of the nearby conference rooms had network access. Then, a supervisor from an IT-based department upstairs said that we could just use their training room, already equipped with a projector and laptop and room for eight people — exactly big enough to train half of our department at a crack. We booked the room for a week and a half in the future.

We continued to work on getting reports and statistics-gathering forms functional in the development copy (aka the test database). We met with our supervisor after he returned from vacation earlier this week, and got his reactions to the database and the reports we’d created for him. He gave us some suggestions for tweaking the reports, but said that we could go ahead with implementing the statistics-gathering from team members. Month-end is tomorrow, so the new method of gathering stats in the database would be implemented effective Monday. Just in time for training.

Everything was ready to import into the live database yesterday afternoon, and we did our update at 4:30pm yesterday. The import had only one minor glitch in one report, due to some previously-entered data that invalidated the referential integrity we’d set up between tables. We came in early this morning to fix the problem, rather than staying late yesterday. After correcting the data in the main log table, everything was fine. The database was essentially complete. Again, just in time for training.

Our first training session was at 9:30am today. I stood at the front and did the public speaking, while James sat at the laptop and did the demonstrating. Other supervisors in the loan area were invited to attend one of the two sessions, so that they might be able to see whether an Access database might benefit their department. One supervisor was in attendance for the first training session, and our own supervisor popped in for the first half of that session, making a full house.

The first session took just over an hour, including questions. That was a little longer than we’d counted on, as we’d scheduled the second session to start at 10:30am.

The second session actually ended up starting at 10:45am, and one more supervisor was in attendance, in addition to the supervisor of all Loan Servicing departments. (No pressure.) Our supervisor came in for the second part of the session this time. This session took almost exactly an hour.

Overall, we did well on our two scheduled training sessions… but we weren’t done yet. Two team members who process payoff checks had asked if they could wait until 3:30pm to train, since the end of the month is a busy time for them. We agreed, and ended up having four people in an afternoon session: the two payoff ladies, one supervisor from yet another department, and one team member who had gotten caught in a 45-minute phone call during the 10:30 session and hadn’t been able to attend. That session was a little awkward, being that there was such a small but diverse audience, but it seemed to be well-received nonetheless.

We didn’t get much actual work done on the database today — combined a couple reports into one (thank jebus for union queries) and started working on calculations for another report — but, overall, considering all the training we did, I think we had a productive day.

The next potentially stressful issue? How to tell our supervisor that we want a change in job description before we work on databases for other departments. Neither myself nor James are terribly good at standing up for ourselves… but we need to stand firm. It would be easy for The Man to take advantage of our apparently rare and valuable skills. If they had to hire new people to replace us, though, any self-respecting Access database programmer or administrator would scoff at our current wage.

I hate being a self-serving jerk. Our boss is cool, though, so I think we should be able to get our point across in a non-threatening and un-jerk-like manner. We’ll see.

Even if I do remain a mere Operations Associate… I love being able to do what I enjoy at work. This is why I went to college. I’m glad I wasn’t just chasing rainbows.