The Electrical Panel

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A few weeks ago, we had an air conditioning company do some work in the office. While fixing a circuit breaker, they forgot to put the electrical panel back on the box. Instead of letting me put the two screws in, that hold the panel in place, I was told to call the company back out. I was mortified.

Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash

The technician the company sent out was 115% understanding. Took him less than a few minutes to put the panel back together.

I get the principal of holding a company to their work… but I wonder where the line of entitlement and laziness meet. Maybe I’m too practical? Either way, I say screw it.

Be Prepared: Bring Your Own Laptop

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A few weeks ago, a potential consultant dropped by the office wanting to introduce himself and his work.

Him: “Good morning. I’m so-and-so. I have a meeting with so-and-so. Do you have something I can plug into the TV and access Dropbox with? I want to be able to show my work.”

Me: “Sure. I’ll be able to help you with that.”

My boss came into the conference room at this point, shut the door, and started the meeting. I went back to my desk and proceeded to unplug my laptop for this person to use. Figured I could sacrifice an hour of not working, right? As I was about to unplug my first cable, I thought, “Why should I give up my laptop when this person is clearly not prepared for this meeting?” So, I did nothing.

The meeting moved along and there was no further mention of needing a device to look at work samples.

Side Note: I work in a visual profession. Not bringing visual items to look over = a massive mistake.

Got me thinking that when you come for a meeting, you need to be prepared. You need to bring your own device to showcase your own work; need to bring work that makes you look amazing. Being prepared puts a spotlight on the fact that you value the other person’s time and understand what is needed to put your best foot forward.

Scar, in the Lion King, sang it best, “Be prepared!”

Trapped Between Planners and Freedom

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I am not a planner. I think of myself as a spur-of-the-moment, let’s go do something, sort of guy. But I lie to myself.

My wife is an amazing planner; my son thrives in knowing what is going to happen next. Their planning tendencies can often drive me nuts. I just want to be in the moment. Feel the waves. Again, I lie.

My dark secret: I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want to do for the day.

Do you find comfort in routine? I do. Knowing on some foundational level what I’m going to be doing throughout the day is like a cozy heavy jacket. Knowing that I’ll start my day:

  • Drinking coffee
  • Reading a morning devotional
  • Eating breakfast
  • Taking a shower
  • And finishing getting ready

The above minuscule routine can be bliss.

Working as an office manager for an architectural firm, I have little routine. I walk in, most days, not knowing what to except. One week, we could be working on a marketing brochure; the next week, we might be working on a slew of projects on a daily basis. There is no base level routine. Which leaves me on edge.

The sky is the limit.

Sure, I could come into work early, try and establish my own routine. The problem with this solution is that the moment I walk in the door, I am fair game to whomever needs my help. The needs of the firm and all that.

Planning equals paralysis.

Whenever my wife asks me a question about some upcoming event, I mentally freeze up. Something inside just doesn’t want to commit. I want to be free. Screaming with Mel Gibson’s William Wallace, “Freedom!!!” But freedom from what?

Deep down, beyond my deer in the headlight stare I give when asked a planning question, I am a planner. I crave routine. Or at least I crave structure. Give me a solid structural foundation and you can throw anything at me. Anything.

I need to know that my footing is sure. That even as all hell is breaking loose, there is the promise of routine to fall back into.

I feel trapped by those who feel the need to plan and yet, I am a planner. Go figure.