Meet Norm Mast from the Lutheran Service Society!
TNotes: What is your “real” job title?
NM: I’m the Program Manager for SeniorNet, our computer learning program for older adults. My background is in education.
TNotes: Why are you considered an accidental techie?
NM: I don’t have any formal training in computer services. However, I’m a curious person; a life-long learner and an educator – all traits that make for a good “techie.”
TNotes: What do you like best about dealing with your organization’s technology?
NM: Learning how things work then making them work for staff, volunteers and students.
TNotes: What do you least like about dealing with your organization’s technology?
NM: Situations where insufficient planning and foresight do not precede the decision to deploy a specific technology. In these cases, we often get technology we don’t fully use. This is a terrible waste of precious resources.
TNotes: What is your big dream for technology in your organization?
NM: I have a small dream for technology – to have the right-size technology for each and every user in our organization. The advanced users get all the bells and whistles they want; less experienced users get what they need with a minimum of techno-obstacles to getting the job done.
TNotes: How do you manage your role as an accidental techie?
NM: This requires a lot of juggling. I work a lot of off-hours (weekends and evenings) but never find this to be a problem. In addition, I have great support from senior staff in my accidental tech role here at Lutheran Service Society. They value what I do in this role.
TNotes: You are a regular attendee at one of the Bayer Center’s Bagels & Bytes groups – what do you get from going to these meetings?
NM: Help! Support! Encouragement! Being an accidental techie can be a lonely and frustrating job. The Bagels & Bytes group really helps. You are not alone. Come and join us.
TNotes: Any words of advice or encouragement for other accidental techies out there?
NM: Don’t expect technology to solve all of your organization's problems. Always try to see things from the end user's point-of-view. Use an educational approach with your staff – take the time to teach them how to do something instead of doing it for them, and they gain confidence and skills to help themselves. Be patient the next time you deal with a HelpDesk person from another organization.
If you would like to nominate your favorite accidental techie for this column, simply email their name, organization, and contact info to editor Cindy Leonard at email@example.com. Please include a brief description of what qualifies your nominee as an accidental techie and a bit about the contributions they make to their organization.