Like many of us across campus, throughout the United States, and around the globe, Jonathan Torres is adjusting to his current reality. One which fuses work and home life; a delicate balance of simultaneously managing family and professional obligations, while attempting to preserve a sense of connection to the outside world. A vital part of Jonathan’s job as a Distributed Support Provider (DSP) is ensuring that the Yale community remains connected to the world around them—through technology.
In a line of work that can arguably be considered “hands-on,” the COVID-19 pandemic has presented its own set of challenges for DSPs across campus as they continue to serve a population that is now working remotely. With a little dose of resourcefulness, some patience, and a supportive and understanding leadership team, Jonathan and his colleagues have found a way to support faculty, staff, and students alike. According to Jonathan, the biggest challenge is “not being on campus to help in-person. Our current situation requires us to be more creative remotely before escalating an issue to our on-site techs.” Challenges aside, he finds gratification in knowing that even in this time, he can help support the Yale community to stay connected while working remotely. Recently, we caught up with Jonathan via Zoom to learn a little more about his career at Yale.
Tell me about your career at Yale:
I originally started at Yale as a contractor in 2014. I was in that Computer Support Technician role for about 10 months, assisting clients at the walk-in center and migrating computer operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 7. After that assignment was over I left the university briefly and returned as a full time Yale employee in January of 2016.
My main focus is to help people stay connected with technology by providing support to faculty, staff, and students. Although I typically help users with their laptops and desktops, I also help with a wide variety of devices such as mobile phones, tablets, printers, and specialized equipment. Being one of several DSPs, I help support several departments throughout central campus. I assist wherever needed, although I mainly work in the Science Hill area. Some departments I support are School of Engineering and Applied Science, Faculty Research Management Services, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Office of Cooperative Research, Chemistry, and the Peabody Museum, to name a few.
How did you get into your line of work?
Prior to Yale, I worked at Apple, AT&T (formerly Cingular Wireless), and Webster Bank. I was fortunate to learn from my previous experiences—from sales and support to management and help desk. I genuinely enjoy helping people, so this type of role seemed like a natural fit. An added perk of the job is that it allows me to see all the newest technology firsthand.
I largely credit my Yale career to Assad Layne, who referred me to my first job here at Yale. He has been a great mentor to me from the beginning and remains a friend, colleague, and mentor to this day.
How has your role changed in light of COVID-19? What have been some of the challenges? Any positives?
The biggest change has been not being on campus to physically help with imaging, setting up, and repairing computers in person. We have established new workflows to escalate an incident if we are unable to resolve it remotely.
On a personal level, the biggest challenge for my wife and I, like many who have children home, has been managing our work responsibilities while caring for two children. Having a preschooler and toddler during work hours at home can be extremely trying. The first week working from home was the biggest adjustment, but we are now in a routine that works for everyone.
What have you found to be most rewarding about being in a critical support role during this time? Are there any positives that have come out of this?
What I find most rewarding is knowing that I can still help and support our Yale community stay connected while working remotely. It is also gratifying to see how extremely understanding and supportive our managers and directors have been throughout this time.
There are positives to be found in any situation, and in this one I believe having all three DSP teams meeting together virtually every day has been positive. Since we are meeting daily, we have been able to get to know each other more. I can finally put a face to a name! Not only do we stay connected through our morning meetings, we even had a virtual team happy hour.