How I Work: Carlin Corrigan, User Services Coordinator

Name: Carlin Corrigan

Job Title, Department: User Services Coordinator, Lab Operations, IT

Current Mobile Device(s): iPhone 5s

Current Computer(s): iMac 2012 running Yosemite

One word that describes how you work: methodically

Describe a typical day: My focus is on the student employees who work at the Help Desk and in various labs across campus. We have around 38 students on staff rotating every semester, so I am constantly working on their schedules, making sure they are punching in on time, and supporting them if they have questions or run into issues while at work. On a typical day, I have many browser tabs open so I can keep an eye on student schedules, support tickets coming in, lab reservation requests being made, email, Twitter, and Slack.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Why? My favorite tool is Slack, a chat app that allows our team to stay in contact from anywhere on campus. We have students working in multiple buildings and being sent around campus to help support technology, and this way we can keep tabs on everyone and all provide assistance with troubleshooting issues to get things resolved quickly and efficiently. Slack has also been incredibly useful for keeping in touch with staff outside of business hours. Our staff can set notifications to pop up on our smart phones if there is an emergency and we need to be reached. Students don’t need to have a list of private cell phone numbers, they can reach us and communicate with the team member who can best help them in the fastest way possible.

What is your office or desk like? Tidy or chaotic? Tidy. Most of my work is done on the computer. I like to have two monitors so that I can multi­task. If there is paperwork to be done, I try to keep it filed. When there is too much clutter, I tend to work less efficiently. I usually have snacks and a cup of tea nearby. It is also important to me that students and staff feel comfortable coming to me with any issues or just to catch up, so my visitor chair is often occupied.


What do you use to keep track of your schedule? I use my Exchange calendar to keep track of my daily to-­do as well as appointments. If I have something tied to a deadline, I block out the estimated time it takes to get it done. If I don’t finish in the time I allotted, I move the appointment to the next day or next available time. I set myself lots of reminders. This helps me be realistic about what’s on my plate, and I am able to get more done. It’s also a nice reference for when I’m reflecting on my performance for the week or the year.

What’s your best time­-saving shortcut or life hack? I am a fan of face-­to-­face meetings as long as there is a clear agenda. Sometimes getting together in person is the fastest way to hash out a problem, get details or answers. But if the purpose of the meeting is unclear or someone is not driving the conversation, it can be a big waste of time. A few of us get together every week as the Communications Team to discuss the need for emails, tweets or blog posts about upgrades, outages, or policy changes. We use a simple Google Doc to keep a list of what we need to discuss, and to make notes and follow­ups. If there is nothing major pending, we simply postpone the meeting until the next week. It’s a simple system but seems to work really well for us!

How do you manage your email inbox? I try to stay on top of my emails as they come in. I hate seeing notifications that I have unread messages. I use flags for things that I can’t respond to or take action on immediately. I create folders and filters for recurring emails like News and Newsletters or Reports so I can still read and access them, but they don’t show up in my inbox. I filter out any unsolicited emails to the trash. At the end of every semester, I go through and delete the contents in folders I don’t need any more.

What’s your favorite lunch spot around Emerson? I am a big fan of Genki Ya sushi! They have a lunch combo that includes soup and salad. They also have an online ordering system so it’s a quick pick­up!

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