As the fall 2015 academic semester comes to a close, take time to reflect on what it means to work at The University of Texas at Austin. A senior software engineer in Information Technology Services (ITS) shared a wonderful message that speaks to this point. He has a personal practice of going sight-seeing around campus to appreciate what staff do every day. On the condition of anonymity, because he does not want to ruin his carefully crafted geek reputation, here is some of what he shared:
“After our last ITS All Staff Meeting, I took a detour on the way back. While wandering around through Welch Hall, I noticed something that I had almost forgotten. The walls in many places were covered by posters describing various bits of published research conducted in nearby labs, complete with drawings, graphs, photos, models, etc. It was a big reminder of something that’s all too easy to forget as we sit at our desks doing our jobs, namely that UT does stuff, really interesting and publicly useful stuff. Were not just drones in a machine whose job is churning out products. Were part of an organization that contributes to the public knowledge in really significant ways. I hesitate to get too maudlin, but that reminder of something that I’ve known for decades, for lack of a better word, inspired me. UT does really important stuff, and I personally contribute to that in my own way. So does everyone else in ITS.
I think it would be useful for others to take such little detours from time-to-time as well, to (re-)connect with the real purpose of UT. We see the students every day. But we don’t often see what they and their professors are actually doing. Pick any nearby academic building just wandering the halls for a while can correct that.”
It is a privilege and an honor to contribute to the education of our students, assist faculty, support leading edge researchers, and be of service to the public in many innovative and creative ways. Unlike other places of employment, our core purpose is to transform lives for the benefit of society, something we may lose sight of in our daily work. Everyone is encouraged to go sight-seeing on campus and find inspiration for your own contribution to this great University. Thanks to ITS staff for all of your dedicated and hard work on behalf of this great University community.