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Living like an Irvanian in a universe filled with Dweasels

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And Caesar was very ambitious

April 18, 2009

We were heroes of our generation, in a way. We were the PC experts when PCs were new. We were the network administrators, the desktop support technicians, the Information Technology gurus of the 1980s and 1990s.

We were the ones who made keyboard cheat sheets for you so you could use those early, user-hostile word processors. We were the ones who found your homework files when you lost them in the C:\DOS directory. We were the ones who tweaked and tuned your expanded and extended memory so you could use your mouse and your sound card at the same time. We were the ones who understood the subnet masks and had your IP address memorized. We were the ones who set up the network so that you could play DOOM against the guy down the hall. The latest versions of Windows and the Mac OS and even Linux are what they are today because we worked the kinks out of their forefathers in the 80s and 90s.

We laughed at the heroes of the previous generation, the mainframe experts, for we believed they were dinosaurs doomed to extinction in short order. They believed that DOS and Windows were only fads that would soon fade away, and that only secretaries and schoolchildren would use them. They called our PCs toys that would never be powerful enough to replace their room-sized behemoths. They believed that COBOL would once again be the language of the land.

Now, we too are dinosaurs. We became expensive, for we were highly paid. We became unnecessary when our employers began to believe that our jobs could be done more cheaply overseas. Then came the layoffs, and thousands of us were let go. Now some of those jobs are back, but at a much lower pay grade than we had enjoyed, back when we were heroes.

And so we dinosaurs, we who were once heroes, now search and wait and dream. We search for the Safe Spot, the Comfortable Place where we can bide our time. We wait for our retirement along with our older brethren, those heroes of the previous generation. We dream of those days, long ago, when we were heroes, when we configured the network to run DOOM.


Jonathan left this comment on April 18th, 2009:

That sounds familiar. The irony is that some of those jobs came back with lower pay, wheras others came back as contractors with higher pay but no benefit, when their companies learned no one else could do the work.

I replied the next day:

That’s true, Jonathan. A lot of the larger companies and many of the smaller ones seem to have concluded that the whole “send IT jobs overseas” scheme doesn’t work well and doesn’t save money in the long run, but the way it worked with the jobs coming back home, but not as “good” as they were, makes the whole thing look almost like a pre-planned systematic purging of highly-skilled, highly-paid IT staff.

I know, I’m just being paranoid, but the whole thing looks like it was done on purpose.

But then someone named Kalebarkab posted on June 10th:

I want to find good pop music. Help me please.

... to which I replied, later that day:

Okay, follow these four simple steps:
1. Stop spamming blogs, forums, other web sites, and e-mail.
2. Look up Alan Parsons, Kate Bush, Judie Tzuke, and Thomas Dolby on Wikipedia.
3. Go out and buy all the Alan Parsons, Kate Bush, Judie Tzuke, and Thomas Dolby recordings you can find.
4. Start again at Step 1.

I never heard anything else from that conversation.
This article was filed under:
Getting Old
April 2009 articles
Irvania.com webmaster: Dave Ferris
The content on this page was written: April 18, 2009
Last updated: June 11, 2016