Being a child of the 60s my musical tastes run the gamut from The Doors through Rachel Platten. In this case, the title of course comes from the ELP song.
Anyway, today’s post is a bit more reflective than some. Since yesterday I’ve been fighting what should be simple code. Years back I wrote a simple website to handle student information for the National Cave Rescue Commission (NCRC). The previous database manager had started with a database designed back in the 80s. It was certainly NOT web friendly. So after some work I decided it was time to make it a bit more accessible to other folks. Fortunately ASP.NET made much of the work fairly easy. It did what I wanted to do. But now, I’m struggling to figure out how to get and save profile information along with membership info. Long story short, due to a design decision years back, this isn’t as automatic and easy as I’d like. So, I’ve been banging my head against the keyboard quite a bit over the last 24 hours. It’s quite frustrating actually.
So, why do I consider myself lucky? Because I can take the time to work on this. Through years of hard work, education and honestly a bit of luck, I’m at the point where my wife and I can provide for our family to live a comfortable life and I can get away with working less than a full 40 hours a week. This is important to me as I get older. Quality of life becomes important.
I’ve talked about my involvement in cave rescue in the past and part of that is wearing of multiple hats. Some of which take more work than others.
I am for example:
- Co-captain of the Albany-Schoharie Cave Rescue Team – This is VERY sporadic and really sort of unofficial and some years we will have no rescues at all locally.
- I’m an Instructor with the NCRC – This means generally a week plus a few days every year I take time out to travel, at my own expense to a different part of the country and teach students the skills required to be effective in a cave rescue. For this, I get satisfaction. I don’t get paid and like I say I travel at my own expense. Locally I generally take a weekend or two a year to teach a weekend course.
- I’m a Regional Coordinator with the NCRC – Among other things this means again I travel at my own expense once a year, generally to Georgia, to meet with my fellow coordinators so we can conduct the business of the NCRC. This may include approving curriculum created by others, reviewing budgets and other business.
- Finally, I’m the Database Coordinator. It’s really a bit more of IT Coordinator but the title is what it is. This means not only do I develop the database and the front end, I’m responsible for inputting data and running reports.
As you can see, this time adds up, quickly. I’d say easily, in terms of total time, I dedicate a minimum of two weeks a year to the NCRC. But it’s worth it. I can literally point at rescues and say, “those people are alive because of the work I and others do”. Sometimes it’s direct like when I’m actually on a rescue, sometimes it’s indirect when I know it’s a result of the training I and others have provided. But it’s worth it. I honestly can claim I work with some of the best people in the world. There are people here that I would literally put my life on the line for; in part because I know they’d do the same.
So, I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I can invest so much of my time in something I enjoy and love so much. I’ll figure out this code and I’ll keep contributing, because it’s worth it, and because I’m lucky enough that I can.
How are you lucky?