Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Musing, Rambling and um...Wisdom?

Going to run off topic with this post.

I came up with a new description for the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) today in class. I don't think I had too much coffee at this point but I said Quick "a$$" Toolbar instead, oops. But come to think of it, it might actually work for some people? Your mileage may vary.

In another class I blurted this one out: Famula - What happens when you try to say family and formula in the same sentence too close together after too much coffee. I detect a theme here, should consider decaf?

AutoCAD has Layers and you can draw By Layer
Microstation has Levels and you can draw By Level

Let's put'em together? Either Layvels or Levyers? Who is with me? Do we need a referendum? Can I get an amen?

In yet another side of Mr. OpEd I worked in the convention service biddness for about 18 months. The Freeman Companies, based in Dallas with offices all over, was my employer. In the mid 80's I decided to find a job that didn't require me to travel (my roadie life that is) so I could pretend that my girlfriend mattered (she's my wife now, so she did and does, I can't say how long we've been married because she doesn't like people to do the math, but here's a clue blackjack).

I called them after seeing an ad in the yellow pages, while looking for something else ironically. I was in a quandary at the time because...what exactly does a roadie do for a new job anyway? Apply at Merrill Lynch and do financial analysis? Uh..not me anyway.

I asked the person who answered the phone...are you hiring? She replied cheerfully, "We are always on the lookout for good people." To her credit she listened to me briefly describe my history; where I was born, when I learned to ride a bike, my first stitches...we laughed we cried.

After all that she actually asked me to wait while she transferred me to Bobby. Bobby actually listened to the whole story again...we didn't cry but we laughed, well...because we are men. I only cried earlier because she got so emotional, no really! He startled me when he asked me if I could, "Come on in today" in the coolest southern drawl ever (I was living in Atlanta after all). Long story...longer...Bobby offered me the job on the spot and how soon could I start, tomorrow? We settled on the following Monday. Oh and the cheerful woman who listened to me...Bobby's wife. Great folks!

They turned me loose on the show floor of Comdex, just about the biggest computer convention of its day. No wonder he was ready to hire me, all six halls of the Georgia World Congress Center ( now nine I think?) and some overflow into the hotels nearby. As long as I was breathing they could have found something for me to do for a couple weeks! Later on I let it slip that I had a Class A commerical drivers license (CDL - tractor-trailer) and next thing I knew I was shuttling trailers to and from. The convention business is a classic case of "you know how to do what?" and next thing you know you are...uncannily similar to being a roadie.

It was here (at Comdex) that I learned the piece of wisdom that I promised in the title. Jim, my mentor, shared a nugget, a pearl, with me in the first few hours we spent together. He said, "Steve...there's three things you don't know!" I replied incredulously, "Really?? Only three??" Modest I am...

He said, "Yep...You don't know what that thing is, You don't know who that guy is and you sure don't know where over there is. I asked for a bit more detail and he put me off..."Don't you worry about that just yet!"

He turned me loose and my task was to check up on the various hired helped that was delivering chairs, tables, ash trays etc. to booths. Within a few minutes I saw a group of guys milling around, guys I'd just seen getting their marching orders from someone I hadn't met yet. I had a three wheel Honda scooter (the foreman get these) because the buildings are about a quarter mile long.

I arrive on the scene on my bad motor scooter and ask, "What are ya'll doin?" They reply, practically in unison, "That thing!" Hmmm where did I hear that phrase before? So I ask, innocently, "Who are you doing it for?". In unison again, "That guy!" Now my ears are ringing... So I ask, again innocently, "Where is he?" In unison..."Over There", waving their hands in any general direction away from where they stood.

So in the space of an hour or two on the job I learned that I didn't know three things and knew how to apply that knowledge. Okay, honestly, I didn't know how to apply it...but I now knew why Jim let me know, a true case of Been there done that, have the tee-shirt, for him anyway.

Maybe someday I'll share my "Steve learns that installing red entrance carpet downhill is easier, after installing it uphill" story?? And now you wish you didn't read OpEd you were!


Anonymous said...

Good story! Thanks for this nice reading :)

See ya.

Anonymous said...

Interesting you should mention Freeman...does GES ring any bells? I too worked in the trade show business prior to my current job with a multi-discipline firm I'm with now.


Steve said...

GES = Greyhound Exhibition Services if memory serves? I remember working along side their folks at various conventions in Atlanta.

Jeff said...

On the job life lessons...gotta love it. Thanks for the story!