Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Sometimes the most daunting problems resolve themselves surprisingly easily.
Yesterday was Holi, the festival of colors, and a holiday for the India part of our company. I usually don’t keep track of holidays and a week earlier, when I had scheduled a meeting with our US counterparts, not surprisingly I didn’t know I had scheduled the meeting on the holiday. A colleague informed me a few days later, but by that time the invitation had been accepted by all the invitees and I was reluctant to reschedule the meeting. (We use a software application which sends out invitations in form of mail and when the invitee accepts the invitation, the sender is sent an intimation of the same.)
The meeting was from 10PM to 11PM, the time when my area experiences a sustained power cut. While even without power, I would be able to join the meeting from my personal phone, the power cut wouldn’t allow me to access office network from my laptop, disallowing me to share information with the other participants. (I work in an IT outsourcing environment where you are allowed to work at home sometimes.)
So avoiding the risk of power cut, I decided to attend the call from office. I called up the office cab helpdesk and booked a cab for me. The cab would pick me from my home around 40 minutes before the meeting; that is just as long it takes you to go to office from my place.
It was around 9PM and the cab was expected in another 40 minutes – which meant 40 minutes were all I had to get ready and finish dinner. I got ready, rushed through dinner and started waiting for the cab. 20 minutes later, I was still waiting; the cab hadn’t arrived. I dropped the plan of going to the office and decided to attend the meeting from home - there were only a few minutes to go for the meeting to start, after all.
Thankfully, when I walked back home, there was no power cut. But how long would the power relent? What if the power went out the moment I started talking on the call? What an embarrassment would that be – with seven participants and all dependent on me! I knew I didn’t have myself to blame; I had tried my best to reach the office.
The call started. Everyone joined at the other end. Hoping for the best, I started my demonstration. I had to share an idea with the participants and develop a consensus in favour of the idea. When I finished the demonstration, someone at the other end said, “This is what I expected.” And others followed suit.
Finally, we agreed to conclude the meeting.
The meeting lasted for 15 minutes instead of the scheduled one hour, and the power was still there.