Who is this Day of Service supposed to benefit, anyway?

Today was DaneNet’s IT Day of Service, a day which sees hordes of geeks invade area non-profits to help with their tech stuff, just the way Martin Luther King intended it. Well maybe not exactly, but the spirit of community service was definitely in play.
My assignment was to help out with an Access database, a task which is right in my wheelhouse as a database guy and a nice break from my usual volunteer task, which involves crawling up into a ceiling to pull wire through a barrier of asbestos and insulation. And before all you “real” database guys snark about Access, let me just say that Access is the perfect tool for this place… less than 1,000 records of training information and evaluations that needed to be sliced and diced in order to come up with the right information for grant proposals and such.
The thing is, I’m not an Access guru. Usually my job is to get data out of Access and into the aforementioned “real” database, like SQL Server (did you just see Bill Gates’ pockets grow a little?). Since that wasn’t going to be an option today, I just worked on enhancing the forms, normalizing the tables, and creating a few new queries and reports.
And it was fun.
The person I worked with was very grateful to have 8 hours of free expertise and hopefully gained some foundational skills that she can use to continue to grow her application in the right direction and save a bunch of time. And that’s all great and I’m happy for her and her agency, but I feel really guilty because I may have gotten more out of it than they did.
Not only did I get the satisfaction of helping, which always makes me wonder if altruism really exists, but I got the bonus of being able to spend 8 hours gaining new skills for my arsenal and gaining a deeper understanding of my tools by using someone else’s. I also got a free lunch.
Who is this Day of Service supposed to benefit, anyway?






One response to “Who is this Day of Service supposed to benefit, anyway?”

  1. Meghan Avatar

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciated your help yesterday, and I enjoyed working with you. I definitely got a lot out of it. Not only do I have a better working (and looking) database, I definitely gained some much needed skills. Although, I will probably still have to take you up on your offer for more help sooner or later.

    And Matt, thank you for coordinating all the DANEnet volunteers. You found a great match for me!

    Thanks again!

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