Above My Pay Grade

I’ve heard the phrase used several times in movies with regard to why something is secret. I sense that the writers use it to show that those higher up know more about what’s going on than those who do the real work. In some ways I agree with that, in others not so much.

Little background: I work for a “company” and have a specific job that I do, although my job title can be used for various other positions within this “company.” I have always been one to volunteer to do something a little extra, so it keeps my job fresh and keeps me updated on a lot of technical innovations that are becoming more and more prevalent in the work place.

These include easy jobs like creating a spreadsheet for people to use and share information so a report can be created later, to creating a form cover sheet to make something look more professional than simply attaching the email notice to the enclosures of items that are being mailed to clients. I have absolutely no problem with that. Those are so easy to me, that I can knock one out in less than 15 minutes usually, unless I feel like a design fiend, and then it takes me longer, but that’s me.

When I first started this job a few years ago, I noticed there was an organizational piece (database) that was not maintained properly. Therefore there were several problems logging information and finding this information after the fact. I found this because one of my first duties was to enter the information into said database, thus I became very familiar with it. Now, I’m familiar with a LOT of programs that have been distributed by our “friends” at Microsoft, but I am less familiar with Access.  This database is in fact Access based.

When I worked for a large university in Texas, we used an Oracle database to keep track of our students, the room assignments, even judicial hearing issues. It was quite nice and organized for 1996-1998. However, I am not an Oracle developer, much less a database developer, so going through and learning Access from the ground up was my only option. So, for the past three years I have purchased, and read materials hoping to learn the in’s and out’s of Access, with hopes of creating a functional database. The problem is that there is so much information that needs to be entered into this database (that’s easy – it’s simply tables), but to access the information and make sure it is entered correctly is the tough part.

As a layperson, and not necessarily the most knowledgeable techie in the world, I learn by doing. My boyfriend can attest to that, no matter how I frustrate him when I want to “do it myself” like a six year old. But it helps me learn. If I were to actually take a class on Access development and design, or even VBA language programming, I would probably be more well versed in the issues I face, however because the “company” I work for has no money, I cannot request to attend these classes that cost in excess of $1000 all inclusive. So, I try to find everything on the internet and in books. I went so far as to buy the Access for Dummies book, which is actually a good deal!

Here’s my little frustration with this. With ALL the work I do technically, and, although limited, that I know about code, I could do well in IT. In fact, my boyfriend once suggested I take the state IT test, just to see. I am versed enough to be my bureau’s “help desk.” And what I can’t answer, I call the actual “help desk.”

I don’t mind working with Access, as long as I don’t start going stir crazy (which I usually do after spending three whole days on one issue). What I don’t like is that, although I can put it down as “experience” it really doesn’t qualify as “experience.” I will be able to use it in other administrative capacities, but it won’t take me very far in the IT world. Which is disappointing. I just wish I knew more so I could create SQL on my own, and get our area out of the dark ages, but that’s not always possible.

So, if anyone knows of a good, free way to learn more about Access, specifically the coding (VBA) I would be grateful! I do not plan to do this outside work, because, well, I don’t get paid to do it outside work! So, I’m back to the grind doing what I do best. Learn something beyond my pay grade.

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About Kari

I live in the Capital Region of NY, work for NYS, and am just beginning to blog. I was recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, so that's going to take up some content. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, and I am an opinionated person. Thus there will be some items that burn me up, that I simply want to play devil's advocate, or daily/personal items. I also Tweet (@Marilyth) when the mood strikes me in 140 characters or less. I'm doing this for fun, and I hope other appreciate the information and contribute!
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