Lark Springtide is a networking administrator with Technology Services West. Based in Honolulu, they specialize in networking smart appliances. For fun, they enjoy underwater basket weaving, volcano surfing, duck herding, and carving soap art.
Describe a typical day in your role as a networking administrator. Is there anything that might surprise someone unfamiliar with the job?
My specialty is connecting smart appliances for researchers studying their effects on humans. It’s also a fun job, and I got to name the voice-controlled service. It’s funny to hear grad students yell out all day, “Hey, Googlexi: What’s in the fridge?” and “Hey, Googlexi: Set the thermostat to a sensible 74.” and “Hey, Googlexi: Do the dishes, then light a candle, and then tell me when the cluster is available to run a simulation.” The most surprising thing my colleagues find about me is that I work exclusively while wearing roller skates and rocking out to ABBA. You gotta have fun on the job, right?
How did you get into this type of work?
It all started with roller skating. I loved going to the rink as a kid; I went five to six days a week. Later I joined a skating team. We were so fast and skilled! I kept it up through the years, and one day the roller rink manager needed help connecting their smart skate polisher to their computer. I was able to figure it out, and I was hooked! The next day I enrolled in Jeeves’ Online Kit for Everything (JOKE) and got my degree in Supported Reality Services for Languorous Yammering (SRSLY).
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Reliving my youth while helping researchers achieve their goals.
What motivates you?
The thought of being able to retire someday so I can open up my own roller skating rink. I plan to recreate the “Xanadu” club from the movie in Beautiful Downtown Burbank.
What advice do you have for people in this field?
Take care of your mental health, set boundaries, and rest. Find ways to have fun on the job with your colleagues. Keep up with industry standards.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Buy Google (NASDAQ: GOOG; later also GOOGL) as soon as you can following its IPO (at $85/sh), and hang onto it through the 2014 stock split until November 19, 2021, when it topped out at $2,978.53/sh (class A) and $2,999.05/sh (class C). If you bought 100 shares at $100 early on they’d be worth almost $600,000 today! That’d go a long way toward that retirement fund.
What do you do for fun?
I love underwater basket weaving because of the challenge of coordinating the physical act of weaving while wearing scuba gear and trying to stay under the water. I also enjoy the unpredictability and speed of volcano surfing, the difficult task of duck herding, and the artistry of carving soap art (especially cat figurines). You can buy my soap art through my Etsy shop, “Trapoas”!