Saturday, 11 September 2010

Life, Work, The Universe...... Rolled a couple of sixes this week!

My goal: "the paperless office"

  • Informed that the communications job I applied for (remember that!) no longer exists
  • Invited to join newly formed Corporate Communications Group.
  • Tasked with writing corporate communications strategy next week. 
  • Do a favour for my mate Cate, the City Chaplain
  • Chair BPM team meeting. Win praise for my diplomacy (it was a one-off, honestly).
  • Consultancy company send me a gratis copy of an influential business book.
  • Taken to lunch by director of a data management company starting up a new office in Dundee. Exciting future opportunity.
  • Not sleeping well due to breathing difficulties.
  • Taken to lunch at Starbucks by Louise.
  • Hold workplace meeting about results of pay proposals
  • Write strategy for introducing Lean Six Sigma and cascading continuous improvement culture throughout the organisation.
  • Still not sleeping well. Lungs slow to start this morning. Go to work on the late train.
  • Met our new Head of Service on the train into work. Received encouragement about the job.
  • Support colleague at meeting with HR regarding their job evaluation.
  • Attended two hour lunch-time seminar on CREATIVITY (money for old rope!).
  • Support female worker who is one year from retirement get her dignity back in the workplace.
  • Great feedback from meeting with HRSC Manager about my Self-Service HR project.
  • Met Jacqui over lunch
  • Save a colleague's job (best bit of week!)
  • Met with with Corporate Director regarding Self-Service HR project. Superb feedback tempered by high expectations of outcomes (Have faith in yourself! "Use the Force Luke!").
  • Big glass of wine (or two) when I got home.
  • 9/11. Reality check. I remember standing on the observation deck on a beautiful day and looking out across the Hudson to New Jersey. An image etched in my memory. Some of the ACW books on my bookshelf were bought in the bookstore at the base of one of the towers.
  • Another memory. Unreality. Years later, being called into a classroom where the children were watching a school's programme on TV. The female teacher came and asked for my help as "something was wrong with the TV" - the educational programme had somehow been replaced by an 'action film'. In fact we were watching live on TV as the south tower collapsed. 

It's a potent reminder that whether I have a good day or a bad day at work, that every day I wake, I've just rolled a '6'.



  1. Ain't that the truth. I always say it could be worse you know. I could have had my legs blown off by a roadside bomb. I like my legs, they fill an important gap between my bottom and the floor.

  2. Saving someone's job might seem like a small thing to many, but it can destroy their life and as a union rep I don't think there is a much better feeling than this...

  3. I looked at the date on my computer this morning and had much the same thought, Mark. It's a good day to be alive and safe with my family - and have them safe with me.

    In my other life (my day job) I work for a company that provides the software that police and fire departments use to dispatch and track resources on an incident. We also provide the software used in police and fire vehicle mobile computers.

    New York MTA, which is responsible for policing mass transit areas and vehicles in NY is one of our customers. I'd spent the two years before 9/11 teaching their dispatchers and police officers to use our software.

    Arlington, VA, home of the Pentagon, is another of our clients I'd spent the two years before 9/11 helping them upgrade their system and sitting in their dispatch center to observe their work-flow and help match our design to their needs.

    Allegheny County, PA, was one of the major respondents to the PA crash - you guessed it: I spent a couple of years helping them set up their new system and trained their dispatchers, firefighters, and police officers in its use.

    I was sitting in my office the morning of 9/11. Our company suite was pretty much empty because, as fate would have it, we were hosting a public safety convention in Las Vegas that day. The top officers and chiefs of most of our clients were in attendance. When it became clear what was going on I called MTA, Allegheny, and Arlington and told them if they needed technical assistance I would be standing by until the crisis passed.

    I'm proud to say that our system and the people using it performed flawlessly. I was never called to help with any technical or user issues. It was one of the longest days in the office I've ever had, and I pray I never have another like it - but it made me very proud to have done my infinitely small part that day.

    Men I trained died in the Towers. A week after the attack I was on a train from Baltimore to NY and crossed the salt-flats to see that gaping vacancy in the sky-line. I was not the only person on the train that openly wept at the sight, even a week later.

    Here's what I saw when I arrived in NY, though - people helping each other, and I mean really helping each other - going the extra mile to make things just a little better in the wake of such an awful tragedy. I'm not a New Yorker - far from it, I'm an Okie with an accent as thick as mud when I'm too tired to moderate it - but I'm proud to have been among New Yorkers at that time and to have seen their true character laid bare.

    Apparently this post struck a chord for me. Sorry for the long ramble.

    Mark has it right, though: We've criticaled every time we wake up in the morning. We should always spare a moment or two of thought for the folks who selflessly help us make that roll, even if it costs them their own.