And the Streak Comes to an End

Well, it finally happened. I’ve kept this new schedule for two months – well, dang close to two months. I blogged through my vacation, I blogged through sickness, I blogged late in the evening (have I mentioned that deadlines are generally the only thing driving me to complete anything?), and I blogged when I really didn’t have anything worth mentioning. (Don’t say it! Don’t say it!). And now, one day short of two months, what was it that took me down? An internet connection.

That’s right. As I write this it’s Sunday night and I’m sitting in my room at the Contemporary Resort at Disney World preparing for an IIA seminar (“Communication Skills for Auditors”) and I cannot get access to the internet. (As I actually create the post, it is late Monday night, but I’ll let you figure out the time/space continuum on that one.) Yes, I called the Disney tech who was very helpful and walked through a number of possible solutions. (Quick aside: It is very easy to forget just how good Disney service is. They are almost a cliché in the service industry, but a cliché because of unfailing quality.) There may be a problem here in the room and they are going to try and get it solved tomorrow. However, the tech can’t be sure because (wait for it) the security on my company computer is so locked down we can’t even get in to see what the problems might be.
So here’s a point that could be made (but not the point of this post): Yes, I know we need security. Yes, I know we have to have standardized applications. Yes, I know the auditors would probably write a finding if IT didn’t do all this. But how much of the ability to get things done do we sacrifice in the effort to keep absolute control?
But that’s not why I called this meeting.
Rather, isn’t it fascinating how work comes to a grinding halt when we lose internet access – web, e-mail, IM, any of these, all of these?  Let’s skip the fact that I needed to work on a Sunday evening (more a function of my procrastination than anything else.) Rather, let’s look at the fact that we cannot do our jobs if our computers don’t work.
A very serious question. How do you get your work done (do you get your work done) if your computer doesn’t work. Can you work without the “computer crutch”? Of course our profession (just like any other profession) would not be where it is without technology. But it is sometimes worth remembering that a lot of work can still be accomplished without ever touching a keyboard or mouse. A few years ago I worked for someone who constantly talked about using Excel and Word for dummies. What he meant was spreadsheets and pads of paper. There was a time…
And, now another interesting fact. I can’t access the internet and the first thing I thought was, “I can’t get anything done!” Close, but no Cigarillo. Yes, much of the information I need is sitting in my (inaccessible) e-mail. But I’ve got a column to write and a presentation to prepare and an audit committee report to compile and some analysis to complete on a spreadsheet. And all of those are sitting on my (accessible) hard drive. Yet, when I couldn’t get internet access I immediately assumed I couldn’t get anything done. I’m really not sure what that says about mindsets (mine in particular), but I am willing to bet I’m not the only one who would have that as an initial reaction.
So, yes, I may have gotten the blog posted on Monday, but Monday evening doesn’t really count. So I have to start my streak over. And, with any luck, I’ll be back tomorrow. Assuming I don’t go on vacation or get sick or work too late into the night or run out of good ideas (well, maybe not so much with that one) or ... lose access to the internet.

Posted on Feb 28, 2011 by Mike Jacka

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