Friday, July 2, 2010

Are we too advanced?

Ugh - it has been a bad day. I turn 30 on Tuesday and my body has decided to fight the turn (which I blame on my ditching Yoga class for the last few months). I have a disk in my spine freaking out so I go to a specialist who, as I am walking in the door, tells me that my appointment has to be cancelled because their "system is down." I stare at the attendant like she is speaking some language that I am not privy to understanding and say "So you are telling me that you are hinging your entire business on a computer system and if that system goes down you are unable to treat your patients?" The admin looked down and then tried to explain how advanced the system indeed is and that without it they are simply unable to pull any of their patients' information.

I work in a customer service type role so I never try to go off on the person giving the information. That admin has no say whatsoever in the problem or the solution. But boy was it tough.

But this did make me think. I am an Account Manager for a printer. My job involves working with my clients to develop their printing needs - working out ideas, discusssing the best way to handle the job, coorinating printing, copy-editing all materials, and ensuring the job delivers to it's destination - which can be anywhere from inside the city limits to China. I enjoy my job. It is very very techie, in terms of the day to day function. But if our "system" went down, I assure you, I would still do my job. You want to know why? Because there is this thing called paper and this other thing called a pen. Therefore, I can fully take down all specifics of my clients job without my "system" to ensure that my job is done whether or not my computer works. Now, to be honest, the rest of the job could not happen without computer technology. I send the specs to our prepress department who format and pretty up the job and then network that on our to production. So yes, in theory, my job hinges on a computer as well.

How about your job? Is it similar? Can the full scope of your job happen without a "system?" I imagine not. This is a problem. We have advanced ourselves to the point that without a system we cannot function, and it goes well beyond our day-to-day jobs. How about at home? No phone, no internet, no TV? Oh no! What will you do! No microwave, no toaster, no oven! Oh no! What will you eat? And let's not even get on dishwashers and washing machines. I would shoot myself this very second if I had to hand wash and hang clothes out to dry - wouldn't you? So interesting how dependant we are on all the little "extras" that make our life easier.

But, all the same, I'm still pissed off at the doctor's office. :)



  1. I'm reminded how dependent we are on electricity every time there's a thunderstorm! We live in an urban area that has a lot of trees, which in summer means occasional power outages from tree limbs drooping on the lines or squirrels frying themselves on the transformer.

    Dystopian novels like Restoring Harmony scare me to death!

  2. Anne, I know what you mean. My area is heavily wooded as well and we have the same issue. The power company normally fixes the issue within an hour or so but in the 95+ Atlanta heat an hour can turn my house into a pressure cooker!