Comfort Zones and Older Lessons

In 2003 I joined a small Montreal firm as their Systems Administrator.  When I say small, there were four of us in the office.  I had just passed my first certification exam, and I thought I was really something.  Of course, I wasn’t… but I wouldn’t learn that until much later on.

I say I joined as their SysAdmin.  What I should really say is I was their Computer Guy.  They had a server, but when there are only four people in a company it is seldom the roles will be so clearly defined… my job was more like ‘whatever we tell you to do.’  I am sure anyone who has worked in such a small company will know what I mean.

We manufactured novelties.  Mostly things like lava lamps, but anything that we could find a customer for we would have manufactured in one of our partner factories in China.  We spent a lot of money on a graphic designer for the packaging, and one day the owner decided that I should learn the tools she used so that we could save a little where we could.  I did a little research and couldn’t find any English Adobe courses in Montreal; It was the first time I got to spend time as an adult in Ottawa.

Several years later I hardly remember a thing about PhotoShop or InDesign.  It’s not that I remember a lot about Adobe Illustrator… but I remember enough to be able to work with it.  In the years since those courses I have installed Illustrator a few times when I needed to create or manipulate images.  To say that I am good with the program would be a laugh – I expect I would have to be much more artistic for that – but at least I was semi-competent.

Fast Forward twelve years. November, 2015.  This week.  Tokyo.

It is nice to be the IT Architect on a project that will affect 18,000 users around the world.  I have spent over a year working on the project, leading my team of capable IT Pros.  We have created a VDI system that users, if they so choose, will be able to use as a second system… and that they can access securely from any device and any location.  The project is just about finished… but in order for it to be considered a success, people have to use it.

So how do you get employees to use an optional system?  Probably the same way you get consumers to.  You make a good product, you make it appealing, and then you market it.  You will probably either hire marketing experts who are familiar with the tools and have the skills and knowledge to make it succeed.

Internally it should be the same… except there is no budget to hire marketing experts.  We have to do it ourselves.  ‘Hey does anyone know how to use PhotoShop or Illustrator?’

So this week I have been working well outside of my comfort zone.  I have been creating flyers and posters and t-shirts.  I designed a logo, and I even wrote and filmed a commercial (Stay tuned! You might get to see that here soon!).  I have been working in Adobe Illustrator Premiere, not to mention Camtasia Studios (Thanks Betsy!).

Okay, so despite having the great tools, my video editing skills are lacking.  I’ll hire an outsider for that.

It was over a decade ago that David sent me to Ottawa to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator.  All these years later, I guess I should thank him!


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