Stories from My Past: Can you do it in a week?

We are all given challenges, and this is one of mine.

In educational environments like universities there are lots of politics. I was asked to set up several hundred new iMacs with software. Unfortunately, another department demanded additional software after I had started imaging them. I was told to add that software and start over. Then my boss and I had this conversation.

Stories from My Past: Can you do it in a week?“So when will this be done? We are going to be late because of these changes.”, my boss said. I did some math about how long each one has taken and the number of computers I had and I said two weeks. “Can you do it in a week?”, my boss asked. “We have to meet the deadline.”

“I don’t know if that’s possible but I will do my best.”, I said. Now normally this might be possible if we had imaging software and a network where I could uni-cast the image. Unfortunately this school only gave me a hard drive and some USB drives and I had to manually do everything. I even had to unbox the computers, set them up, image them, box them and then put them back into a waiting area so I could continue working in my small area.

I came in early, ate lunch at my desk, and stayed late but I got it done barely in a week. I had to borrow some additional hard drives to speed up the process. I met the deadline, my boss was happy, school could open with the computers ready and everything turned out great.

Sometimes challenges are hard, but with some creative thought you can find a way to meet them.

Stories from my Past: Listen to me!

Listening is so hard for busy people. Yet when they don’t listen, they only hurt themselves.

I helped a customer who was frequently on the phone when he asked me to help him. If he wasn’t on the phone, he was talking to someone in the room or otherwise distracted. So he would ask a question and then when I was telling him the answer he would walk away. It was a challenge often to help him understand what he needed to do.

Stories from my Past: Listen to me!One day I was helping him with an iPhone issue and he asked a question and like usual, he then made a phone call that he remembered while I was telling him the answer. So he is talking and I stop talking so I wait for his phone call to be over. Then I continue and someone walks in and starts talking to him. I patiently wait some more. I tell him after he finishes talking to that person and then leave.

Five minutes later I get a call asking me to come back. I return and he asks the exact same question I had answered just before. I give him the answer again and then ask him if there is anything else before I leave. I leave and I am not even off the floor before my cell phone goes off again. I return and answer the same question again. I had to smile while I answered him because I can’t get mad that he didn’t listen.

The point of this isn’t to complain about having to do all this. When you are paid a job it doesn’t matter to me if he wanted me to answer the question all day. The point of this is that he would have saved himself time by just focusing on the answer and listening. When people don’t listen, they only hurt themselves.

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