December 2016

Software calls. I have a new custom job with special needs. Drop everything and get the info. I jump in feet first to tackle the project in the shortest period of time. Normal work gets set aside for a while as this could be a great long-term client. It is a pool chemical company of more than a modest size so it could provide regular freelance work. I never turn down opportunities for moonlighting. A little extra money coming my way is a glorious thing. I have a wish list of purchases and it will take some time to work through it. Getting this additional work will help over time. I have been hired to design sales recording software. While this type exists in cyberspace, you can’t always customize it for your company’s processes and particular needs.

Every company must have inventory software as well as sales and expenses. This helps prepare it for tax time. It is much easier to pull together the numbers from the automatic reports. If you do things manually, you find yourself short on time. This is a new world, my friends. Nothing should be done the old fashioned way. It makes absolutely no sense. So I start working using some existing prototypes and reworking their parameters a bit. It should be complicated or take too long. It is basic data input work.

I finish the project and present it to the department manager. I expect accolades but he isn’t pleased. He wants me to have categories for sales so the clerks can select from an existing list. It would include pool liners, pool covers, pool accessories like attachable trays, pool hoses, pool vacuums, pool cleaning tools, pool chemicals for above ground models (their major product) of the traditional and non-toxic type. He wanted a subcategory for pool shocks you know, the additives that bring a green pool back to balance. I will include it for sure in the data entry categories. I asked him: why make things complicated. Isn’t a pool shock just a chemical. Why not just include it there? He smirked. You just don’t know the business. He corrected me and explained.

This was a unique product that was in high demand. The company wanted to track sales so they would know if they needed to pump up production. I agreed and proceeded to modify the software—one roadblock over turned. But there was another. The department head also had a boss and he was pretty savvy about programming. He knew I could create two versions for PCs and Macs. Different areas of the data entry department used one or the other. I had assumed they used PCs and the software did not work on the Macs. I had a bit of additional work coming. I had to work day and night to meet the pool chemical company’s deadline. I prevailed and the roadblock disappeared. The software was great on both types of computers, perhaps a little easier on the Macs. But it worked beautifully and they knew it. They breathed a sigh of relief, along with me.