A picture of Oliver Hollocher-Small in front of a wall containing art.

“Who Is That?” Series: Introducing Oliver Hollocher-Small

The “Who Is That?” series gives you insight into who we are here in the ITS department with a series of traditional and non-traditional interview questions.

Wrapping up: From our last post with Jess Stockett, she lied to us about having dyed her hair pink in college.

Today, we sit down with Technical Support Specialist Oliver Hollocher-Small (OHS).  And by sit down we mean “shared a Google Doc together and literally didn’t speak a word to one another about it.”  Mostly kidding.

Interviewer [I]: Oliver, do you have nicknames you’d be willing to share?  

OHS: Certainly, I have obtained a few nicknames over the years, currently it is one of “O” or “Olly.”  Most of my childhood it was “Woods” because if you had to find me, it would probably be in the woods. Nowadays a few folks here call me “Schmedium.”

I: Really? Why?

OHS: I don’t know, actually. Ask Aixa?

I: Have you ever been called “Biggie” or “Ol-Holl-Small?”

OHS: Funny!  Yes to “Biggie” in elementary school a classmate would call me that and for a short time and thought I was related because of my last name despite missing the “s” at the end.  Although, we look a lot alike 😉 — Not to the other one but the syllables match “lions, tigers and bears” so I would get that sometimes, oh my!

I: When did you start at Swarthmore?  

OHS: July 21st 2013.  WOW 5 years!

I: I read that as “wowsers.”  I suppose that works.

I: I’ve heard a rumor that each person on the Help Desk team has a set of “superpowers” that they lend to the team.  Is that true?

OHS: Maybe…Have you ever watched the cartoon Captain Planet? [I: No].  Kinda like that but more of an access-to-different-systems-type thing.

I: Hm, so basically if I haven’t seen Captain Planet then the simile is lost on me?

OHS: Was that simile, or metaphor?

I: Simile, I think.  But perhaps we should consult with the Writing Center.

I: So what are your superpowers?

OHS: Unprofessional answer: All your data are belong to us.  (earlier internet meme but replace “data” with “base”).

Professional answer: I’m calm under pressure and and I can deal well with ambiguities.

I: You’re big on this “It’s almost just like this random thing you may or may not know about,” it seems.

OHS: Yep.  How I roll.

I: Okay. Tell the people what they want to hear (and what they want to hear is what your job is…using only haiku):  

OHS: I am on my way
Your computer is working
Coffee is ready

I never wrote haikus on purpose, I was consulting with Jeff O. on this one.  

I: In a future post, maybe I will specifically ask him to describe his job without that poetic crutch, then.

I: Has working at the Help Desk changed over the time you’ve been here?  

OHS: Very much so.  By meeting an eclectic community I have made great connections with faculty, staff, and students.  Working here in general feels like being in College again, where I am always learning. It’s always a fun challenge to stay ahead of the curve with technology.  

I: What is the funniest thing tech-wise you’ve been asked (only a non-Swarthmore story, please)?

OHS: “Why is my phone on airplane mode?  I’ve never been on an airplane!”

I: Anyone who has visited your corner of the Help Desk knows that you like plants.  What’s the backstory?

OHS: I started by trying to beautify the space.  At first I had a wagon there filled with broken and spare computer parts, so I started small by replacing it with a cabinet and with one plant.  Gradually, students asked me if I could take care of theirs as they traveled abroad or graduated. So I have now transitioned to (happily) volunteering to be a plant foster home.

I: Please list two truths and a lie (not necessarily in that order!) — we’ll reveal the answer on the next blog post.

OHS: I went to college during high school, I can do a backflip, I can eat two large pizzas.

I: Imagine that everyone at Swarthmore is reading this — what’s your number one tech tip you wish you could tell them?

OHS: This is the most boring AND the most important tip!  Make sure you back up your stuff. Your files and data are what is most important, not the device itself.  For all the time and effort you spend creating it, please take the few moments necessary to make sure it is being preserved.