On Monday, while I was in town to attend a gala, I stopped by my old place of work at the 11th Civil Engineer Squadron Customer Service Office. It’s always a great time when I stop through to talk to the office chief and some of my old co-workers. While I was there, I saw “The Rook”—the youngster I trained up in all things 3E6X1 before I skipped town in the Spring of 2012—entering work requests into IWIMS, a computerized maintenance management system we used to initiate, track, and manage all civil engineering work on Air Force bases. I hadn’t seen the system since that Spring of 2012 and I kinda missed it. So I asked her if I could give it a go for old times’ sake. Going through the motions of entering a work request in the system took me back to 2004, when I was first introduced to it. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series.
How I first came across this moment? I was first introduced to the Interim Work Information Management System—or IWIMS, as it’s known in CE circles—when I arrived at my first Stateside duty station in the United States Air Force. My then-supervisor told me that it was urgent that I learn the basics of the system because I would be starting on the Service Call Desk, taking calls from the base populous. He charged the highest-ranked junior enlisted airman to train me up. It was an interesting week of training in learning the system. Once I got by my trainer’s accent, which was a strong mixture of South Floridian and Haitian, progress happened. After butchering up 14 “testers”, I finally got some right. After some testing out some different call scenarios, which I breezed through easily, my trainer told me I was good to go. And from there, I took my first live call. I remember it well. It was Leonard Smith, a senior master sergeant from the then-347th Operations Support Squadron. He had a ceiling leak in his commander’s office. It just so happens that my first live call was in a high-stress situation: he was upset and being a little pushy. With my trainer looking on, I took the request and remained cool, calm, and collected even as he was obviously upset. I gave him the work order control number and that was that. I got all the codes right…even got it right on the service type code, which was “Routine” since it was a ceiling leak during a rain event. My trainer was pleased and I was on my way to taking over 17000 work requests in my career.
What it meant to me then? That first work order was one of my top accomplishments in the Air Force. Actually, it was my TOP accomplishment. Without it, nothing else mattered. Seeing the smile of approval from my trainer and getting the “good job AnJuan” from my supervisor was a very warm feeling. Within a few short weeks, I became really good at it and the rest is history.
What it means to me now? Today, I wish I still worked with IWIMS. The type of system I work with under my current employer sucks in comparison. It kinda has me thinking about designing my own system.