I like pretty things!

I like pretty things…I should get a tattoo that says that. Truly, I’m probably the last person you’d expect to be contributing to a techie, startup, blog! To be honest, I’m not quite sure what I contribute yet, but they let me stay. I am so grateful for that, so I don’t ask questions!

Anywho, it’s true, I like (and value) ALL the pretty things. And I mean that in every sense of the phrase. In a more obvious and over-the-top sense… I love any kind of pageantry. As in the underappreciated, in my humble opinion, “tacky” kind! Feathers, ruffles, sparkles… Any sort of fancy pants bedazzlement. I’m ALL about that. I mention it because it says a lot about my personality. Also, I come from a heavy dance background, and have serious appreciation for movement, music, and artistry of any kind. My mind does not really operate in any sort of “linear” or “concrete” fashion most of the time. If someone told me that I would be associated with, and give anything for the opportunity to work for a group like Operation Incredible, I would have asked you what you were smoking? And I would have been SO WRONG! It has been, and still is, a slow acquisition of skills and appreciation for all things techie; Though I’m hoping that will all be changing very soon. I’m gaining momentum!

Mmmmm... Sparkles!

Mmmmm… Sparkles!

It all started for me with my job at Goodhue County Health & Human Services as an Eligibility Worker. (Shout out to all the EW’s out there!) They piloted a telecommuting program, and living an hour away from where I worked, I was all over throwing my name in that hat. Fortunately, they selected me to participate, and I started working from home.  Telecommuting resulted in needing heavier-than-your-average-bear IT support, and thus I learned that the IT peeps at your work, are like the lunch lady at school. They bring the goodness, and you want them on your side! I mean that in the best way possible! They are underappreciated and powerful. You want to make sure you get that extra scoop of proverbial mashed potatoes. You can’t have your ticket pushed to the bottom of the pile (because inefficiency sucks, see what I did there?), and you can’t exactly be efficient when your software, computer, phone, or what have you… AREN’T WORKING!

 I didn't want them to kill me in their head...

I didn’t want them to kill me in their head…

So naturally being a telecommuter, I would work with my IT people often (sigh… soooo much). What started as me kissing some serious arse for extra mashed potatoes, developed in to legit friendships. As the result of these friendships I learned to try to figure things out on my own before contacting them with my issues; because who wants to bug their swamped, busy as h#ll, FRIENDS, if they don’t absolutely have to? I was GTS-ing, before I even knew it was a thing! Well, go figure, I began to gain a little bit of proficiency with “computery” things (like a tiny bit).

Apparently they noticed because when my supervisor asked my lunch lads and ladies which eligibility worker would be a good candidate to send to a meeting about VB scripts for our unit, they recommended me. I thought they were off their rockers! They sent me some of the code to “peruse” prior to the meeting, and I had NO IDEA what the deuce I was looking at. Looked like a bunch of jibber jabber! I liked the idea of what it did though, so I went. Not surprisingly, the first meeting was even more jibber jabber. They gave us an eff ton more code, and told us to go back to our counties, and set it up for our workers. Well, I’m a fake it till you make it kind of girl, so I nodded and smiled through the meeting, took it home, called up one of my IT friends, and they helped me figure it out. It was then that I learned that pretty things come in the form of computer code!?! What the whaaaaaa??? Cue the obsession!

A photo of me the day I was trying to figure out VB scripts for my county!

A photo of me the day I was trying to figure out VB scripts for my county!

A month or so later, there was another meeting about the VB scripts, and when my supervisor asked me if I wanted to go I was ALL OVER IT! It was at this meeting that I met Veronica for the first time. I was pretty much instantly transported to being a little ballet girl looking up to a professional ballerina or something… I was starstruck. This girl changed everything for us EW’s! The scripts that she had written had taken tedious, mundane, tasks that once took us hours (or days!) and shortened their completion in to seconds or minutes in most cases! Also… She was so passionate about what she was doing! Whatever her gig was, I HAD to find a way to be a part of it.

From there, basically one thing led to another (there was a small amount of email, and social media stalking), and Veronica ended up teaching me how to write vbscript. If you can call it that. I’m at about level two, out of a hundred. She also introduced me to the Op Inc team! When I’m around them I feel like either a really smart dumb person, or a really dumb smart person. I’m still not really sure which, but I like it! I love feeling charged up and challenged! I love working hard to try and bring value to a group of people who appreciate one another, and take so much pride in what they do. It’s been a beautiful journey so far, and I am so grateful to be on it!

"Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's more like a CHA-CHA!"

“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s more like a CHA-CHA!”

I’m another shining example that you don’t have to be brought up with technology to appreciate it, and to pick up new skills. If you’re the kind of person who has had to work hard to master something (and it wasn’t just handed to you in the form of raw talent), then new techy skills could be yours too!

Keep an open mind, start with a piece that excites you, immerse yourself in people who are like you (even if they are on a whole otha’ level), and go! I gotta say, I’m very PROUD to be the dumbest person in this room.



Laura Larson

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