Monday, January 07, 2008


While I was walking this morning, the word "outside" flashed into my mind. Not because I just happened to be outside -- it's somewhat difficult to walk three miles indoors -- but in a long-ago context that now seems valid again, albeit in a different way.

At the very end of my first "career," I worked at a place that was run by traditional methods that much of the rest of the world had passed by for better, more efficient ways. With some 14 years of experience under my belt, I spent my first months there trying to employ what I had learned in my previous work that was more efficient, improved quality and, in truth, was easier.

But whenever such improvements (or at least changes) came up for discussion, the conversation-ending answer from long-timers there was: "That may be how they do it outside, but we don't do things that way here."

I found this very humorous back in the day, I can tell you.

Now, some 24 years later, I have my ways of doing things, and see that many do not apply "outside." Some have to do with work, of course, how one does one's work and how one is treated for it, but even more have to do with my personal conduct.

I am open-minded enough to think the ways of those "outside" may be better than mine, at least to those practicing them. At least they seem to be content with their lots in life, and show signs of enjoying what some call "success." That can't always be said about my methodologies and actions.

My ways, the ways things are done "here" and not "outside," may be total garbage. But they are mine, and I believe in them. Those who understand and accept them will be, in one way or another, rewarded. If, by nothing else, my friendship, affection and loyalty on a personal level, or by damned good work in business.

Go ahead: say "yeah...that and $6.00 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks." I've heard various versions of that theme before.

So now I feel as if I am sitting here in my little world looking at those "outside," not knowing for sure whether they are right and I'm simply a has-been clinging to the past. I don't feel that way; I am still thinking about (and working toward) tomorrow, not completely fixated on yesterday.

But there is a big internal struggle going on over this issue. I see what I think should be; it is hard to accept the notion that I am clinging to notions that have no place in real life.

PARENTHETICAL TIME-MARCHES-ON THOUGHT: In closing, I should note that the company referred to above changed management a year or so after I left. Out went the old ways, in went the new, efficient cost-effective. Sadly, what also vanished was the unique quality of what was done there. Today, they turn out swill that is indistinguishable from everyone else's.

Unfortunately, a management change here is impossible. The same guy is going to be running this show until the lights go out.

I think I'll shut up now, before I lose my cryptic cloak and say something I shouldn't, even though I believe with all my heart in what I would say.


lowandslow said...

To a considerable degree I feel the same about my chosen profession, too. Many praise my (our) workmanship as extraordinary, and a few pay the price and buy from me. Most others, however, pat me on the back and say nice things, then go out and buy the cheap (or should I say "more cost effective") alternative. We may be a dying breed, Scribbs, but we can always hold our heads high knowing we do the very best we possibly can.

DAL said...

There is only one way to do what I do, but that does not stop management from adding on to our responsibilities. Our product is service, so every time they tweak something, service usually suffers a little bit more..

John said...

As long as people can call you and not Kevin in India if they have something to discuss, you should stick to your methods.
The confusion is part of a growing backlash in response to corporate and business practices and extends to the ways of personal behavior. The new models are working for fewer and fewer people, I think, on all levels.