Our Journey

Shabbos and the Tale of the Galloping Ransomware

Sometimes, Shabbos is a good time for those old school scary stories.  There’s often a Chassidic tale you can find about a golem or something and those kinds of stories are always better on a dark night with a little candlelight.

Except it doesn’t really get dark now.  The sun is the same when I get up as it is in the middle of the day or when I go to sleep and we’re now solidly in the part of the year where it kind of begins to feel like just one really long day.

I don’t often talk much about my work because I feel like the rest of our lives are so much more interesting, but my work has kind of consumed my thoughts this week.  I work in network security, which is a fancy way of saying that I sit on a digital wall and try to keep bad guys out and make sure the good guys can get in.  I usually like my job pretty well.  It’s interesting, there are always new things to learn, it pays well, and it offers me flexibility that really helps with being observant.

And then there are weeks like this week where yak herding begins to look attractive as a career option.

It’s always a challenge to recruit and maintain network people in Alaska or who are willing to live in Alaska.  Recently, we’ve had trouble keeping some people.  Each moved on to great opportunities, but it means that our scrappy little team has been left with less team to scrap with and we’re all feeling the stress of it.  Morale is low.

And into this sad situation, comes a massive storm of epic proportions, a piece of very mean and nasty software that is running wild across the internet.  This morning, hospitals in the UK found themselves held ransom by it, hampering their ability to treat patients.  Already here in Alaska, our customers are scrambling to protect themselves.

It’s actually a pretty poignant reminder of how connected we all are and I could probably wax poetic over it and find some deep spiritual truths there…if it wasn’t erev Shabbos and my cooking wasn’t yet done and Shabbos wasn’t going to be coming, albeit after our usual bedtime.

It looks like this time, the crisis will pass by leaving me plenty of time to prepare for Shabbos, but it’s a good reminder that there will come a day when I’ll have to make a choice and that’s a hard one.  I tend to feel really responsible for my customers, like they’re my other children.  It would be so hard to leave an issue unresolved to observe Shabbos.

I’ve had some close calls in the past, times where I was stirring a pot, on a conference call, and rushing to fix something for someone before lighting time.  Each time, it just barely worked out, but it was a reminder that one day, in all likelihood…it won’t.

I’m honest with my employers about my observance, but it’s one thing for them to grasp it as an abstract thing, but quite another when the day comes when I have to tell them, “I have to log off now.”  I think most think that if push came to shove, my work ethic and devotion to my customers would win that internal battle.  After all, I’ll come in at odd hours and do whatever is needed any other day.

Longer term, I’m hoping to move into either a consultant or training role where this is all less likely to happen.  I’d like to avoid letting anyone down.

In the end, though, I know I’d rather let my employer and customers down than G-d.  I’d just have to trust that He’d help me find another job.

For now, it looks like I’ll still have plenty of time to finish packing away food and getting into the Shabbat RV!

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