Sunday, June 26, 2016

Maybe We Should Just Give it a Whack

I had an issue that I was beginning to think would never get solved taken care of on Friday last week.  It caused a tiny seed of hope to sprout inside me.  
The scanners in the department I run have been pretty much inoperable for the past month.  They were old.  They’d lost their licenses.  They needed to be replaced.  The brand new machines we bought to replace them refused to work.  
To make it clear, I run a production department for the records division of a legal support services company.  We get four to five hundred sets of documents every day I need to make sure are scanned and processed and sent to attorneys that are our clients so they can use them as evidence in their cases.  Having scanners that didn’t work properly was seriously putting a crimp in our process.  
After literally weeks of technicians play tag-team with my IT department, they finally brought out the “main guy” when it came to the scanners we were trying to install.  
I knew this “main guy.”  He’d come to install our scanners when we first got them years ago.  They’d worked fine up until the time they became too old to license again.  I had wondered why they hadn’t called him in the first place.  
It took him a few hours, but Mr. Main Guy found out what the problem was.  The new machines were running version 5.43 of their Administrative software.  The difference with version 5.1, which we were running before, is that 5.43 acts more like a server than a background application.  It means you have to restart the Admin panel after making any changes to the settings to set them in.  
That was it.  Mr. Main Guy, and I call him “Mister” with every bit of respect I can muster, had all the scanners re-calibrated and talking to each other, and even put in the settings we wanted for all the different paper sizes we scan without being asked to do so. Problem solved.  
It was then that I noticed that I was experiencing this weird yet not entirely unfamiliar feeling.  It was...  Good, this feeling.  It was...  Hope.  
Yeah.  Hope.  The scanners were one of several problems I’d been dealing with recently.  Each one dragging on and on and on as if they had become the new normal.  But now that problem with the scanners were solved that meant I didn’t have to spend any more time on it. AND, the time I’d spent on the scanners could now be spent on one of the other issues I had to deal with.  And if the scanners could be solved, then...  Didn’t that mean that...  The other problems could...  Also be...  Resolved.  Eventually.  
Woah.  That’s how I felt.  “Woah.”  I began thinking of things I could do to fix my other issues.  I began to plan on how I would take care of them.  I began envisioning the day when the problems were all solved and I could start running the unit the way it was supposed to run.  The way it had run before these problems leapt out fromt he shadows at me.  
There are a lot of things going screwy in the world these days.  The U.K.’s Brexit is only the most recent.  But there seems to be a trend of problems just popping out of the woodwork. Some because people seem inclined toward losing their minds and forgetting where they lost them.  Some because things neglected going bad.  And some because the methods being used to fix them aren’t doing anything at all, because the steps are for a previous version of the situation.  
My experience is telling me that maybe, just a slight possibility now, the root to these problems are because were doing things a bit wrong.  Taking steps that worked for the previous version of the situation we’re dealing with, but have no impact on the current situation.  
This is just a thought. One which I intend on exploring.  That it’s not a huge, powerful shove or push in the same direction we need to make.  That maybe just a little nudge, a tiny push in the right direction, or a small, mindful change of our attitudes, might make the difference we’re trying to find.  
It reminds me of a story I heard years ago.  A building in Chicago, in the middle of a heat wave, had it’s air conditioning unit shut down.  The building was sweltering.  Nothing they did to the unit, was dated back several decades when the building was first erected, restored it to working order.  
It was then someone remembered that the man that used to maintain the unit still lived in the city after his retirement.  They found his number.  They called him.  He agreed to come out.  
When he arrived he listened to what the current staff were facing.  He nodded and said he knew what needed to be done.  He lead them to the lowest basement level.  He squeezed himself into a gap between two of the units.  It was too cramped for anyone else to fall.  
Then, from deep inside the machinery, the waiting maintenance staff and worried members from management hear three sharp “Whacks.”  The machine suddenly roarted to life. Cool air could be felt spewing from the air vents.  
The former maintenance man came out, shook their hands and told them he’d send them a bill.  They got it two days later.  It was made out for $1,515.00.  It was had two line items. 
Three “whacks” @ $5.00 ea. = $15.00.
Knowing where to whack = $1,500.  

I’m going to spend more time trying to figure out where to whack.


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