Monday, August 02, 2010

The Umbrella Theorem

I'm leaving for vacation in a few hours. I'm on the verge of going computer-free for the entire week. I hope I don't go through withdrawal.

In preparing for the week off, I had to make sure my work was covered. So I had to go from office to office to talk to the coworkers that were covering for me, to explain the status of the various projects that they would be covering. It was during my last conversation, with one of my colleagues that I've known since my first day in the office, I realized that this is an extrapolation of the Umbrella Theorem.

I learned about the Umbrella Theorem almost ten years ago, when I first started working. My coworkers and I would, occasionally, head out to lunch. We'd meet at the elevator bank and head downstairs. On occasion, someone would note the presence or absence of an umbrella. Eventually, I realized what it meant: If you're heading outside and see clouds in the sky, you bring your umbrella -- not to avoid the rain, but to prevent it. And so, the Umbrella Theorem became a part of my life. I always bring my umbrella -- because, more often than not, it seems as if the Universe only enacts its revenge when I'm unprepared.

So, today, as I was making sure that my boss, my coworkers, and my assistant were fully informed about my vacation, the cases, and whatever issues might arise, it was not in real preparation for dealing with anything, but was really a prophylactic measure against anything happening. And at the exact moment I realized what I was doing, my colleague figured it out too. "This is like bringing the umbrella along to lunch," he said. I laughed, "Exactly."

It's the same thing for the BlackBerry -- I could leave it at home and attempt to totally unplug. But, in my mind the Umbrella Theorem prevents it: if I leave the BlackBerry at home, there will, undoubtedly, be an emergency. And so, I'm bringing it with me. As I said to my boss, there's only so much unplugging I'm capable of. Baby steps.

1 comment:

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