The student becomes the master

I just started in Tier 2 tech support at a vendor site for a cell carrier around the time 2G launched. The carrier’s technical liaison (we’ll call him NotEddie) was walking the floor with the T2 operations manager, and it seemed everywhere he went, techs were calling out NotEddie, NotEddie to ask him troubleshooting or network questions. Oh how I envied the attention he got, because yeah, I’m that kind of guy, and I wanted to know as much as he knew. I’m also cocky and probably a teeny bit arrogant.

A couple years later I was a tech trainer, 3G is in full swing, and that same liaison and I were walking the floor along with the account manager. A tech that was there longer than I was waved us over. We flanked his cube, with NotEddie and I on opposite sides. The tech did a left-right look and turned to me to ask about what to do about an apparent network conflict. It was tricky, so I did my usual drawing the network in the air with my hands while talking mostly to myself. When my hands stopped I told him what to try. We hung out while he implemented the solution, then moved on when he reported it was resolved. NotEddie looked at me and said, “That was pretty good.” “Thanks.”

But we both knew that he meant “Damn, you’re a genius and someday I want to know as much as you.” Probably.

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