The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: The Web and Self Doubt

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Internet recently.  More specifically the Web. At work, I’ve gotten the reputation for being the “Web Guy.”  In IT, you have a person who specializes in one thing for the department.  You’ll have someone for just the network, or the mobile phones.  And while yes, there is a lot of overlap in small teams.  You want to have your go to person.

At work, I’m the go to guy for web applications and browsers.  I’m not really sure when that happened.  There would be a situation where someone would have to work intamenly with a web app or trouble shoot a browser, and I would just happen to have an answer or a strategy for finding the answer.  (Which you quickly find out is better then actually having the answer.)

And a much as I’d like to believe it, this wasn’t just random happenstance.  My career with the web has kind of been a straight line.  I’m 31 and most people my age first got online when with AOL.  Thankfully, I can’t make that claim.  Was a Prodigy kid from the mid-90’s.  My cousin and I one time printed out ever URL to the internet.  Yeah, that’s how far back I go.  I had the Internet in a binder.

(I want to believe that the binder glowed with the power of thousands of interconnected computers and human potential.  More likely, it glowed with the power of thousands of sparkles and Lisa Frank designs.)

Of course from there, I did go to the much more easy to use – for the time – AOL.  I was plugging URL’s at random into Prodigy.  I welcomed AOL and it’s ability to condense all of the internet into a portal.  (Some Facebook and Google still fight over to this day.)

In high school, I learned HTML and in college I started using web apps like Blogger and Deviant Art back when Web 2.0 was still a new concept.  For some people, it still is.  One of the first real jobs I ever had was working for a web app.

The point I’m trying to make is that the web is in my blood.  It’s who I am.  It’s what I used to watch movies about when I was growing up.  It was all people on television could talk about in the 90’s.  Of course, I’m the guy who handles web stuff.  What the fuck else would I be doing?

My assumption always is that I’m the base line.  Everyone is always going to be more or less whatever I am.  This really isn’t me being egotistical.  I’m always going to be one of the points that I use to triangulate the world with, and because of that I can convince myself that everyone can do what I can do, which means that nothing I do this special.

I know how to debug HTML.  I didn’t go to college for it, it’s just something that I’ve picked up because I’m interested, yet my assumption is that everyone know’s HTML.  It’s not true.  And know just that one kind of web code, is a very useful skill.  There are people that don’t work in the tech industry at all, that use HTML almost everyday to save their asses.

Knowing your value can be something that’s kind of hard to do.  No one wants to come off as full of shit.  After nearly 20 years of studying, using, and making the web, I can say this with absolutely no ego:

I’m kind of okay.

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