In Search Of: Imperfection
I love projects. I love the sight of freshly-hung drywall with hanging work lights and a haze of dust in the air. I love the sound of an engine firing for the first time in a decade. I love pickup trucks beside the road that “need TLC” or used tools “for parts or repair”. I even love walking through old buildings thinking about what updates and changes I’d make if they were mine.
One thing I love even more: getting something to the point of “near perfection.”
Because once I get something as close to perfect as possible I allow myself to move on to the next project. And as someone who loves projects, there’s nothing more satisfying than tackling something fresh and new without worrying about splitting time between multiple jobs.
As a project hoarder (I truly am…) I have enough stuff lined up in my head to keep me busy well past my death. But I’d be unhappy if I didn’t.
So here’s the problem: I’m looking for a job as a Director of Technology (preferably in a school district). I’ve interviewed multiple times in the last few years and have actually made it to the final round three different times. Out of those three times, more than once I’ve called the potential employer up and requested that my name be removed from consideration after being given a tour of the facilities. See, here in upstate NY almost every school district has had extensive infrastructure and technology upgrades in the last few years. You walk into pristine server rooms, every piece of cable is labeled, there’s a wireless infrastructure able to handle 1:1 programs, etc.
It’s all too perfect.
I want to make a difference. That’s what drove me into education in the first place, and that’s why I think I went into technology. I went to a fairly prestigious technical & engineering university as a freshman and was literally the first guy anyone called when they had computer problems. I never advertised or asked for money… just loved being the guy who would walk across campus with poledit.exe (one of my many tricks) on a floppy disk and would walk out of the person’s room with a handshake and sometimes a cold beverage (preferably a Coke Classic). I probably could’ve made some serious cash that year, but never felt compelled to charge. I decided that I enjoyed showing people how to fix things just as much as I liked fixing them myself, so I went into Technology Education (and later Educational Technology).
Now I’m not sure what to do about this. I continue to volunteer at local businesses, doing all sorts of cabling and server work and setting up off-site backups amongst other things; some the small bits and pieces that I love tinkering with. But I really want to be able to lead a school district somewhere. I don’t want to walk in and have my largest issue be changing the bulbs in a projector or deploying the newest version of Paint.net to the school. I want a job that doubles as a long-term project… not one that’s simply maintaining the status quo. In the meantime I tell people I’m waiting for the “perfect job” to come along – which hopefully includes a lot of imperfection.
Anybody else out there have this “problem”? Is this normal? Do schools that look perfect have hidden flaws buried within?