The title of this post is obvious, but sometimes I have to admit that I really feel like a fool when it comes to things I DON'T know at work.
As the district's technology guru I'm expected to know everything there is to know about computer stuff, and many people expect me to have other technical skills as well. And the fact that I'm not afraid to go to maintenance and get a drill or a paint brush or whatever else I need to get something done adds to that belief.
But I really DON'T know everything, and I can think of two specific examples of times when I've had to apologize for it.
This morning I was the first one in the board office, which isn't a first for me, but it's the first time that's been the case since the electronic lock on our front door broke and we've gone back to using a manual lock with a real live key. And I couldn't figure out how to work the thing! I ended up standing in front of the door wrestling with the key and the keyhole until one of the secretaries showed up and showed me how it was done. And she laughed and said, "Aren't you supposed to be a technology whiz? And you can't open a lock!"
This reminded me of a situation from just a few months ago. It was Administrative Assistant's Day (used to be called "Secretary's Day"), and as a treat the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and I paid to send all of the board secretaries to dinner and to a massage/manicure during an extra extra extra long lunch break. While they were gone we agreed to answer the phones in their place.
I thought I was doing a pretty good job of answering the phones. The first couple of callers wanted me anyway, and though they were surprised that I answered the phones, I explained what was going on and things went smoothly.
The third caller wanted the superintendent. I hit the "Hold" button on my phone and then shouted at my superintendent (who is right across the hall from me), "Hey Mike! [So and so] is on line 50!"
The fourth caller, though, wanted one of the secretaries. "She's out right now," I told the caller, who was a teacher in one of the buildings and who apparently hadn't recognized my voice. "Can I send you to her voice mail?"
"That would be fine," the caller said.
I put her on hold and then stared at the phone for about 7 seconds. Then I took her back off hold and said, "Yeah, Pam...uh, I don't know how to send you to her voice mail."
"Excuse me?" she said.
"Well, I don't usually answer the phone. All of the secretaries are out of the building for Secretary's Day, and I don't really know how to send a call to the voice mail system."
By now the caller had recognized my voice. "Bryan? Is that you?"
Sheepishly I answered, "Uh, yeah, I guess it is."
"Aren't you IN CHARGE of the phone systems?" she asked me.
"Well, technically," I told her. "But I just call the guy to come and work on them. I don't touch them. And I pretty much just RECEIVE calls in my office. I never have to transfer them anywhere. No one's shown me how."
"But don't you PROGRAM the phones every year when new employees arrive and when we need additional lines?"
"No, I just make sure that a couple of people in each building know how to do that."
It was a humbling moment. And as more and more technology is placed in the district, and as I delegate more and more of it to others, I'm sure these will not be the last of these types of moments.