Work Diary: A Week In The Life of a Technology Specialist


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A week in the life of a 22-year-old technology specialist:

  • CURRENT ROLE: I am a technology specialist at the National Center for Victims of Crime.

  • SALARY: I make $55,000 per year, before taxes.

  • BENEFITS: Health insurance (vision, medical, dental), flexible savings account (FSA), employer-paid life insurance, employer-paid long-term disability, employer-paid short-term disability, paid time off, free or reimbursed gym membership, commuter benefits

  • SCHOOLING: I completed three and a half years of college and an undergraduate thesis, but I have no *official* bachelor’s degree yet.

  • PRIOR EXPERIENCE: I worked for three years as an intern for my college's IT department and I took a course on web development from Udacity.

  • TYPICAL HOURS: I usually work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • DIVERSITY: I am a queer/fat/disabled/non-binary person, but I am white and tend to present myself well. There are not many people in STEM or specifically IT/Tech who have similar experiences to mine. My company is a bit better in general with quite a few people of color and queer people throughout the organization, but executive management remains mostly white and male. The IT department includes myself, two white men and one black man. The nonprofit as a whole tends to be quite left-leaning.

Day One:
I am currently working on a few projects, most notably, developing a help desk for our organization and transitioning our team from a "drop in to your co-worker's office and say hi" sort of culture to using mostly Slack, as we prepare for the organization to transition to more of a remote working situation. I spend the day researching and working on both of these projects. I meet with a coworker for about an hour to chat about specific ways I can help her team do their jobs better (tech improvements, struggles they're currently having, etc.).

Day Two:
Today, I continued researching the two projects mentioned during Day 1. There was a staff meeting that lasted about an hour. I normally commute about 50 to 60 minutes each way, which is not ideal. I normally check my email while on the Metro to work. When I get to the office, I set up my laptop on my dock/dual monitors and make sure I have water, etc. I check my email more and reply to things that I didn't have time to or required more effort than I could exert while on the Metro. I read some of the day's news and make a to-do list for the day. Then I get to work on those tasks.

Day Three:
I worked on the same two projects. I asked my boss for a deadline for one of them to help me prioritize. I also attended a meeting with one of our organization's teams, with whom I'll be working on another project in a few weeks. As for my team's interactions, my boss works remotely a few states away and comes to the office when needed. We chat mainly via Google Hangouts/chat and the phone or text when I need direction or have any questions. I share an office with one of my other coworkers, and so we talk to each other sometimes about projects or questions, but we're not BFFs. We're on different projects most of the time, so we don't have tons to talk about. He is senior to me. My other coworker has his office down the hall, and I'm very friendly with him and chit-chat some mornings. We normally chat in person if I need anything from him. Outside of my team, I do have some office friends that I chat with when I need a break. I do not go to work happy hours as (1) that doesn't seem like a "thing" here and (2) I don't drink.

Day Four:
I worked on the same two projects today. I love Google and all of its apps (Drive, Keep Calendar). I've also been using Asana lately for my to-do lists. I take a lot of classes on Udacity and Lynda to keep improving my coding skills. I belong to the Freelancers Association, because I used to freelance before I took this job.

Day Five:
I worked on the same two projects today. My favorite way to take a brain break at work is to go to the bathroom and mess around on my phone. Yes, I'm that weird person who's in the stall next to you not really doing anything and it creeps you out. It's my happy place, honestly. I struggle with social anxiety, so sharing my office with a coworker has been a bit difficult for me because I'm hyper-vigilant about him looking over my shoulder and judging my productivity (which I'm 99% sure he doesn't actually do). I play silly games on my phone (Klepto Cats 2). I also have a "Buddha Board" (not a fan of the name) at my desk, so sometimes I play with that when I need a break.