Date: Sat, 2 Nov 1996 13:09:58 -0500
From: "Suzanne M. Saunders"
Subject: Re: 24 hour computer lab

On 2 Nov 1996, Ben Ostrowsky wrote:
>"Suzanne M. Saunders" wrote:
>> It's a neat idea, but where would you find enough people willing
>>to work to keep it staffed?

>For ten dollars an hour and all the Mountain Dew you can drink, I know
>people who would *move* to Tampa for a job like that.

True. But I help *teach* this stuff in actual classes and I don't get paid that much. Would any part of the university be willing to pay that much for what they might see as babysitting the computers? I see being a lab assistant as being a little like being a fire fighter. Yes, part of the time one is getting paid to sit around and wait for something to happen. But the rest of the time one is providing services that are pretty urgent to the people who need them. In the CIS labs, they tend to try and find people who know enough to maintain the labs and can do other stuff (helping faculty, teaching skills in lab classes, etc.) Some other labs want a warm body to make sure no one steals the computers; they offer no training in helping users of the labs get anything done, but they don't bother to make sure that the lab assistants come in with knowledge or teach themselves. (Like this summer I was in Cooper Lab and heard someone ask how to transfer a file up to their UNIX account. The assistant said it couldn't be done there. I had to tell them both that there was a windows FTP program on every computer in that room.) Being a lab assistant sometimes combines the worst parts of working with machines and working with people (though it's also a lot of fun at other times) but the people who hire don't want to pay what it's worth.


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