Why I Love My Job



Why I Love My Job

Why I Love My Job

Working at iHigh.com

This week (March 15) I hit the six month mark as an
employee of iHigh.com, Inc.
This has been a momentous six months for me as I have found enjoyment and
fulfillment in a job more than I have enjoyed since my days as a tour guide in
Flagstaff, AZ from 1981-1984.  This fulfillment doesn’t come from the money
I make. I have discovered that I am happy as can be with my job because every day
brings me a new example of fulfillment and meaning.  These two things are so much more valuable than any financial compensation.

On the job in
Kansas City

(photo
courtesy of
J. Morrison Photography
)

 

I have written in earlier blogs about the difficulties I
experienced for most of 2009. So, imagine my excitement when the opportunity to interview for a position at
iHigh.com came along. What a thrill when I was offered a position.  My initial
responsibility was to make phone calls to set appointments at schools.  But, as
time progressed and new opportunities for me to utilize my many skills arose, I
took advantage of them.  Soon I as writing tutorials and then training schools. 
Before long I was doing tech support and am currently in that role…both tech
support and training.

As I look back over the years at my various jobs, I can see
that, in a sense, I was prepared for this job.  I have done web design and
support, video production and editing, customer support, tech support (at the
call center ironically), project management.  For five years I managed a high
school football team website and ran the score clock and had two boys play high
school football and two girls in basketball.  The boys were also in wrestling…so
I also understand the high school experience.  I honestly believe that this job
is a perfect fit for me and I for it.  And I love it.

Obviously, it is fun working in a job where I can watch and
talk sports all day, yet also do the “techie” things.  But what I really love is
the opportunity to talk to coaches, administrators and teachers across the
country.  I get to assist them in getting their sites up and running.  I get to
hear their excitement when things are going well on their sites.  I get to see
the results of my labors and those of other me individuals in the office.  It is
also rewarding to see all of the data that indicates how quickly the company is
growing. I LOVE THIS JOB!! 

HAVING FUN ON THE JOB

One of the joys of this job is being able to watch high
school sports and get paid for it.  Over the last week I have watched a number
of girls’ high school basketball games as I monitored the
Kentucky High School Athletic
Association
(KHSAA) Girls’ State Championships.  There were a
total of
15 games played
, culminating in the championship game last night which
Mercy Academy
from Louisville defeated
Scott County
from Georgetown.  There was so much excitement in the air that
I could even feel it while watching over a laptop monitor.  During the last six
months I have also watched hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, swimming,
wrestling and other high school sports.  The widget below tells the story.

KHSAA Widget

STATISTICS AND DATA

When I was in 5th grade at Spring Valley
Elementary School in Richardson, TX (back in 1966) I began my illustrious career
in statistics.  Back then I would walk from my house on Flagstone Way to Coit
Rd., and then walk up Coit Rd. to Spring Valley Rd. to the 7-11 mart every day. 
I would pick up my Black Cow sucker (a chocolate covered caramel sucker that was
to die for) and would get a paper bag, go out to the soda machine and empty out
all the pop bottle caps into the bag and take them home.  In those days there
were no canned sodas.  Everything was in glass bottles and they had those metal
caps that had to be opened with a bottle opener. Then, each day I would separate
them, line them up and count them.  I logged the statistics.  Coke and Pepsi
always battled it out and Dr. Pepper was not far behind.  There was also 7-UP,
Nesbitt’s, some kind of root beer and other assorted drinks.  For some reason
I thought they were like money to me.

 
 
 

As I grew older I had other obsessions: sitting in my room
with my AM Radio in Denver in 1968 scrolling through each station and
documenting call letters and locations.  On good days I could get radio from
Washington, California, Nebraska and even Chicago; as a junior in high school I
had a job as a dishwasher and counted the forks vs. the spoons vs. the knives. 
The spoons almost always won; then there are many times I would stand by the
road counting the trucks vs the cars or the Chevys vs the Fords, etc.  Even in
my married years I kept a running tally of Scrabble scores between my wife and
I.  I even had averages, highest word scores, highest game scores, etc.—I still
have that book!!; and to this day I still pick up shampoo bottles, toothpaste
containers, cereal boxes, etc., and have competitions between the number of
vowels and numbers of consonants.  I know, pretty obsessive behavior….

 
 

Counting radio
stations, silverware, cars

 

But that brings me to the second joy of this job…the data. 
Instead of pop bottle caps, I am always monitoring page views and unique
visits.  It is fun for me to watch the visits add up and see which schools are
getting more visits and uniques.  I then try to understand why they are getting
them so I can assist other schools in doing the same.  I probably check out the
unique hits chart once an hour…way more than I should.  I have been doing
that for my own sites for a couple of years.  Now I do it daily and really
do like to see the growth of the company and the interest in the content around
the country from school to school.

 

Schools advertise
their sites: Center HS in Kansas City, MO; Birdville HS in Ft. Worth, TX

 

HUMAN INTEREST STORIES

I must admit though, the real love of the job is coming
through many of the experiences I have enjoyed in the last six months.  The
rewards come in the people I meet and the stories that site administrators share with me…stories that
let me realize how much the iHigh.com experience is benefiting a diversity of
people…not just the schools and the students, but also parents, family members,
friends and others.  I have seen two kinds of effects.  First would be the great
stories of family members who are able to watch their children/grandchildren,
etc., from far away.  The second would be the effect on students who are gaining
great opportunities by participating in broadcasts as videographers or play by
play announcers.

Hanging with
members of North
Dallas High School Booster Club
in Dallas

(L-R: Gil Sandoval,
David Kravetz, John Chavez)

 

Following are just a few of these fascinating stories:

Cary Academy, in Cary, NC:  This was probably the first
story I had heard from an administrator.  Cary Academy is a small private school
in Cary, NC and their volleyball team had qualified for the playoffs.  They had
signed up for iHigh in order to be able to do a live streaming broadcast of
their volleyball games.  The day after their first game was broadcast, one of
the administrators called me with great enthusiasm to let me know how parents of
one of his players were on a business trip and China and were able to see the
game.  This was great stuff!  He also said that he had heard from family members
of other players that relatives in Florida, New York and California were able to
watch. It was a thrill.

                                               
——————————————————————————

Center High School, Kansas City, MO: In January I had an
opportunity to travel to St. Louis and Kansas City for some iHigh work.  This
became my first opportunity to experience firsthand some of the human interest
stories that are creating a legacy for iHigh.  My first experience at Center was
when Brad Sweeten, the Athletic Director, introduced me to the four young men
who would assist with the video broadcasts.  We were to
broadcast a wrestling
tournament
all day (click on link for video):
six cameras on six mats with resets every two hours.  My
first thought was that these guys looked rough, kind of like gang members.  All
were football players.  But, as I spoke with them I could see they were bright
and willing to work.  And this they did…for over 9 hours they sat by the video
cameras, they switched sessions on time and did an excellent job.  Since that
time a couple of them have continued to work for Brad as cameramen on their
schools’ basketball games and other activities.  They are also learning to edit
video.

  

The Center video
staff

(photo
courtesy of
J. Morrison Photography
)

 

Then, during the event, as I sat at “iHigh Central” on the
stage I was approached by a wrestler who asked, “can my father who is in the
service in Afghanistan watch me wrestle?”  I said yes and told him how.  I
thought to myself…”This is what it is all about.”  But the one that really got
me was the young man who came to me shortly before the championship match.  He
had his cell phone in hand and came to me and said, “My grandfather is on the
phone.  He is in Ohio and has never seen me wrestle.  I will be in the
championship match and he would like to see me wrestle.  Can you tell him how to
watch?.”  I then walked his grandfather through it.  His grandfather then
watched his grandson in the tournament and then watched him get a medal.  This
was heartwarming and was more so when the young man came to me with such
gratitude afterward.  Indeed, that event alone made the long drive to Kansas
City well worth it.

iHigh Central

(photo
courtesy of
J. Morrison Photography
)

 

I later learned from Brad Sweeten that one of his JV
basketball boys has a father who is in Qatar in the service and was able to
watch his son play basketball….not varsity, but JV basketball.  He was thrilled
to death to be able to see a son who he dearly missed.

And here is a fun video from Center…a
human
center.ihigh.com

                                                                                           
——————————————————————————

High Energy Photos, Hi Hat KY – Down in SE Kentucky there
is a group associated with iHigh called High Energy Photos.  They photograph and
video many of the contests in and around Pikeville.  A few weeks ago they
provided coverage for a Pikeville High School Basketball game so that a father
stationed in Afghanistan could watch his son play for the first time this
season. His son is in his senior year. The family was allowed to say a few words
to the father during half-time and between games. His brother was extremely
appreciative and the mother wanted to also express her thanks, she said it was
the nicest thing anyone has ever let her do.  They were allowed to send some
LIVE greetings at half time.  It was touching.  You can see the video

here
. (advance to 45:00 into the video to see the family and here the
dedication)

On another occasion, during a girls’ home game this year,
 the visiting coach from Wolfe County had to leave upon arrival to the gym
because his wife had gone into labor and had been taken to Central Baptist
Hospital in Lexington, which is three hours away. The students sent out messages
during the broadcast wishing the best to the coach, his wife, and new addition
to the family from his staff and fans at the game. Before the end of the
evening, his assistant got the address for the broadcast so that they could tell
the coach where he could watch the coverage of the game and the archived
broadcast.

                                                                                            ——————————————————————————

Wheeler High School, Wheeler, IN: Wheeler has an exchange
student from Serbia who plays on their varsity basketball team. Each week his
parents are able to watch him play…using iHigh from Serbia.  He has a
teammate that is also from Serbia.  Apparently, the region around Wheeler,
Indiana draws many Serbians.

The stories go on and on.  And my personal relationships
with the ADs, teachers, coaches and booster members provide me the opportunity
to hear new stories like these on a weekly basis. Knowing that all of my efforts
are helping others to benefit makes it all worthwhile.


I LOVE MY JOB!

All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.

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