How I Work: Michael Labrecque-Jessen, User Services Manager

Name: Michael Labrecque-­Jessen

Job Title, Department: User Services Manager, IT

Current Mobile Device(s): iPhone 6 for now and an iPad Air 2

Current Computer(s): 27” iMac Mid­-2011 and 13” MacBook Pro Retina Mid­-2013

One word that describes how you work: Coffee. That’s how I work.

Describe a typical day: I usually try to deal with any overnight email on my commute in, which helps make the morning go a little smoother. We have Help Desk student staff here until midnight during the week, but if there were calls that they couldn’t address or any self­-service tickets put in overnight, those are all next on my list, and I try to take care of those as soon as I get to my desk. We’ve worked really hard to make the customer’s experience with the Help Desk better, and a big part of that is how long you wait for a response. The rest of the day is split between meetings, keeping an eye on the queue, my projects, and plain old support at the Help Desk. Throughout the day I’ll answer questions from our student staff, and even jump in to help customers when necessary.

I try my best to leave on time and encourage my staff to do the same. When need be, of course, we’re here early or late, but I’m a big believer in the work/personal life balance, and it’s important to just stop and go home!

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Why? Slack has absolutely transformed the way we work and communicate. We used to use a combination of IRC and Jabber, but Slack is orders of magnitude more powerful. I’m on 6 different Slack teams for work and personal life!

Tweetbot syncs my unread position in my Twitter timeline across all my devices, which I just couldn’t ever go back on now.

I’m one of about 3 people left that cares about RSS, and I practically live in Reeder. It’s not perfect, but it’s close, and it’s how I get virtually all of my tech news updates.

Fluid is a miracle. I love webapps, but I’m really bad with browser tabs. At any given time, I might have 50-­80 tabs open split between 3-­6 Chrome windows. You shouldn’t do this, by the way. Chrome isn’t very good with MacBook battery life. But I need to take my own medicine.

Anyway, Fluid ­- Fluid creates a “single site browser” so I can have a dedicated app only for one specific website, with its own icon and spot on my dock. For example, I have one for Emerson’s ECmail webapp and one for Google Inbox. This really helps me separate and organize those critical pages from the rest of my everyday web browsing. Maybe not for everyone, but I couldn’t do without it, and it’s free.

But most of all, 1Password. I don’t really know what any of my passwords are anymore, and it’s wonderful. Regular passwords, one­-time time-­based passwords, serial numbers, everything’s in there protected by one really great password, and with browser extensions (and the new share extension in iOS 8) everything gets filled in for me.

What is your office or desk like? Tidy or chaotic? Chaotic, mostly! Every few months I get the idea that I should clean up, and I do, and I like it! But I have a lot of trouble keeping that up for long. I know where the important things are. This is….mid-cleanup, believe it or not:


What do you use to keep track of your schedule? Outlook WebApp on the computer, Outlook for iOS on mobile. It’s not perfect, but love it or hate it, Emerson uses Exchange and nothing else really integrates as well.

What’s your best time­-saving shortcut or life hack? Both OS X and iOS have built-­in text expansion that you can totally customize. So, for example, on your iPhone you can type “tyr” and when you hit space, it’ll expand to “Thank you, I’ll reply when I’ve looked into it more.” That’s one of the built-­in messages. I use this for filling in my email address, because it works everywhere. @@ for my Gmail, @@@ for my Emerson.

How do you manage your email inbox? “Mark as Unread” usually. It’s a little amateurish, but that’s what helps me know what I still need to deal with. Same as my desk, sometimes I get the idea that I should really clean out my inbox. And every few weeks I do, but I just can’t ever maintain it for long. I’ve never been an Inbox Zero kind of person. I want to be, but I’m too much of a procrastinator!

What’s your favorite lunch spot around Emerson? Gotta be Maria’s Taqueria. We have some great options, but Maria’s quesadilla is too good. I almost always pack a lunch, but if I don’t, I’ll usually head for Maria’s.

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