Operating on fumes


The minute I step outside the door the crisp air hits me with the force of jackhammer drilling into my sidewalk. It’s hard, it’s with a jolt, and it’s with definitive force and power. I wrap my overcoat tighter around my body and walk briskly to my car.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been rushing into work in the middle of the night to help train my European coworkers via video conference on a new piece of technology. It hasn’t exactly been the middle of the night and I’ve burnt a bigger chunk of the candle in other stages of my life, but the late nights and early morning hours have still taken a toll.  

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In my exhaustion, however, I’ve noted a few things:

–Flexibility and being open to change is a virtue and comes in handy any time, but especially when the clock barely ticks past 3 a.m. my time and the technology gremlins decide to play tricks with your presentation. In the middle of the first day of training, my laptop crashed. My 15-page presentation went poof in the night. Three days later, I looked up in mid-sentence to see my video conference feed disappear from the screen. Yea, I love technology, but I somehow survived.

–It’s been challenging getting around early in the morning, but it’s still been interesting seeing that Mother Nature has no issue with it. The first day I spotted four deer, the next three, the next five more. Throw in the fox and other small game and you have the makings of good-sized zoo.

–When under stress, look for the humor. Scratch that, run to the humor. My European peers have a different way of looking at things, a different way of talking than myself, but we shared something in common. In fact, we shared a number of things in common, including seeing the humor in technology. We also traded jokes comparing their high brow or cockney British, French, Swiss, and Dutch accents to my Central Pennsylvania twang.

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–I’ve always known the value of sleep, but I’ve been reminded in recent weeks that a body will take only so much before it shuts down. I’m not there yet, I still have a long way to go, but I’ve certainly noticed the signals my body has been giving me. If my body had an engine light there would be a blinking red light popping up on screen about now: warning, warning, warning.

In the end, I’m certain about one thing: I’ll sleep like a baby the next couple of weeks.  

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