Humans will remember “COVID-19” as the greatest challenge to our way of life.
Times like this demand inspiration. I get mine from Bob Dylan …
“If your time to you Is worth savin’… Then you better start swimmin’… Or you’ll sink like a stone… For the times they are a-changin‘”
Sacrifice isn’t new to our history. Our forefathers sacrificed their lives through adversity so we can call freedom a human right. COVID-19 transcends national insularity, but at the same time is a klaxon call to our national psyche…
“For he that gets hurt… Will be he who has stalled… There’s a battle outside… And it is ragin‘”
COVID-19 forces us to “sacrifice” our freedom up close to our doorstep; our “right” to social gatherings, weddings, visiting loved ones; celebrating the passing of the heroes who sacrificed for us; to whom we truly owe our way of life.
Sacrifice and adversity are steppingstones to success. They gave birth to US independence. They gave rise to US technology dominance when we chose “to go to the Moon and do the other things… because that challenge is… one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win.”
Over time, few understand the true impact of these sacrifices by our people, but we all take them for granted and feel a sense of national pride at our world standing today.
“Your old road is… Rapidly agin’… Please get out of the new one… If you can’t lend your hand… For the times they are a-changin’.”
To complete the Shakespearean triangle, some sacrifice, like that brought about by Covid-19, is thrust upon us. It hurts in ways we are unprepared for; that challenge our way of life. It brings fear of the unknown. Time to stand firm and stand fast…
That’s when sacrifice and adversity creates heroes. Some become national “legends,” with schools named after them. Most serve dutifully and get on with life. Job done, like 911. All are heroes. Like our health and care workers today. They strive, with or without PPE, to save those stricken with COVID-19 who need them.
“Come senators, congressmen… Please heed the call… Don’t stand in the doorway… Don’t block up the hall.”
They are legends, regardless of whether our politicians help…
Like our health and care workers, and all those others who keep us fed, watered, warm and connected, adversity binds communities by a common experience; a common belief of worth and survival; a subconscious desire to lay down the petty to protect our fundamental way of life. COVID-19’s impact on our social well-being will have long lasting effects on how we live. It will also affect the way we work and collaborate… forever.
“It’ll soon shake your windows… And rattle your walls… For the times they are a-changin’”
Today, we need to support our health and care workers, and those who keep our way of life alive, and invest everything in medical vaccines against and solutions for future COVIDs. The rest of us need to stay focused to keep our economy and social fabric alive. Remotely. Digitally.
You don’t need my 4 decades in human resource management to know home working and remote collaboration will become the new norm. Maybe we’ll get a greener planet… but not without adversity across our social, environmental and economic life.
“Come writers and critics… Who prophesize with your pen… And keep your eyes wide… The chance won’t come again”
That adversity will drive new ways to organize remote working. It will accelerate Cloud adoption as never before imagined.
While our governments and brave health and care workers sacrifice tirelessly to return our physical freedom, our online freedom, something we’ve not had to consider before, is under attack, courtesy of COVID-19 fuelled hacking opportunists… some perhaps state sponsored. As our way of life moves inexorably to the Cloud, we need to recognise that Cloud technology is not yet good enough to give us the digital freedom and privacy we deserve.
“Come mothers and fathers… Throughout the land… And don’t criticize… What you can’t understand… Your sons and your daughters… Are beyond your command… Your old road is
The current COVID-19 has hastily forced us to “work from home.” Many of us cannot access our data. That’s because organisations that control remote working under their own “lockdown” conditions, are poorly prepared, let alone culturally ready to make the jump to Cloud. That adds adversity to our lives. It adds stress to the national and global economic engine.
But it also brings a new dawn that balances opportunity and risk for our economy and global technology lead.
“The line it is drawn… The curse it is cast… The slow one now… Will later be fast… As the present now… Will later be past… The order is Rapidly fadin’”
COVID-19 threatens our physical freedom and our digital freedom. Both impact our privacy to do what we want when in the physical or digital world.
Like our physical freedom, I believe our digital freedom, and our data privacy are a human right. Alarmingly, research shows over 12bn records were stolen last year by hackers. Each data breach against organisations that hold our data cost on average nearly $4m, eroding economic wealth.
Let’s be clear, that data represents our digital keepsakes; our treasured memories; our healthcare records; our most sacred and secret lives in digital form.
With our forced acceleration to, and future in, the Cloud comes a pressing need to address how we keep our data safe, private and recoverable. That includes our data held by organisations that call us customers, patients, members or employees.
“The order is… Rapidly fadin’… And the first one now… Will later be last”
Like a virus, hackers have no conscience. They don’t care who they hurt. 1 in 3 citizens globally have suffered from loss of their data privacy. Our world leading economy suffers most.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 has sparked a powerful reaction in our national psyche that can reverse this.
Our national culture, a concept most visible during wars, the space race and international sporting events, delivers innovation and success through sacrifice. That’s why people are coming together to help those in need, typified by the courageous sacrifice of our health and care workers, and our support for each other.
“And don’t speak too soon… For the wheel’s still in spin… And there’s no tellin’ who… That it’s namin’”
After COVID-19 we’ll embrace remote ways of working, safe from the threat we face today. We cannot predict how many of us will survive or have jobs, but we’ll change and grasp opportunities the new world offers.
“For the loser now… Will be later to win… For the times they are a-changin’”
That’s why we need to tackle both COVID-19 and the hacker “virus” that threatens our digital freedom. Home, and “on the move,” working will become the norm. Instead of us moving closer to the data, the data will move with us, on demand; safe, private and recoverable by us and no one else.
We may never again habitually shake hands, hug, or fist bump. That’s why we need to embrace a more secure Cloud powered digital world in which we can collaborate in trust, knowing our data is private and protected.
So, I guess my conclusion is that our physical way of life is sacrosanct, but so is our digital life. Saving the former is non-negotiable. But we can’t allow hackers to destroy our digital economy or way of life.
That’s why I’m dedicating my life to data privacy, to protect our freedom and data privacy in the digital age that, after COVID-19, will have been so hard won.
Inspiration Bob Dylan Lyric The times they are a-Changin
and William Shakespeare
The me that is me is all that I am and all that I am is me;
For the me that I am is the me that you know and I hope its enough for you too.
For the life that I will have will contain the me that will be and the me that I am must grow;
And the growing that I must do will determine the life that I must live, and I hope it’s enough for me.. and for you.
When my life has been lived and the hope in me reflects that I have done worthwhile things;
For the me that I became the world that I made, I hope that I was worthy of you.
I was asked recently whether I go to church.
I said not very often. Then came the discussion. It ALWAYS does.
Don’t you believe, is it not important, are you too important, are you too busy doing other things like going to breakfast with friends or wait for it…. golf.
I guess our family was not one for going to church regularly. It finally stopped,the little we did go,when we came home to a burned roast in the oven!! Mum never forgave God for that one!!
Seriously though, my church is in my heart. It’s in me, it’s who I am, faults and all., and faults I have a few.
There have been many discussions over the years, I know many good people who go to church, and then there are the others. The ones that sometimes you ask yourself,why do they go,is it for show, because they are not the nicest of people. The spirit of goodness is absent.
Off course people go to church for all sorts of personal reasons.
It’s just that, because I don’t go doesn’t make me a non believer or a bad person.
It doesn’t, either make those that do go into the righteous either.
Honestly, I dont know if I will pass the test and get to heaven, I am certain it wont be because I didnt worship in church.
All of our tests will be based on our goodness and our hearts and a purposeful life that we shared to do good.
Did we do right by our friends our workmates,our neighbors in our thoughts and in our intentions.
I, like all you readers, will have our day and will be found wanting or not.
For me though my church is within me, every single moment of my life, and that my reader is many more minutes of my life that I give to my Lord, and that’s a lot of Sundays.
So next when you question someone about not attending church on a Sunday, perhaps they were busy doing the lord’s work and you were not looking.
It is said that much of life is what we make it, or is what life makes of us?
Did we ever really have all of the choices, or were we destined before we even begin life to do the things that we do, or be who we have become?
There have been many times when I know that I have wasted the limited breathes that each of us has been given.
I know that every one of us have only so many breathes, the number never known until the very last.
When we were young
We didn’t bother to count the number of breathes , we were invincible and life was ahead of us, fear was not even a word that we knew.
We could not even think of broken hearts, lost loved ones and the dashed hopes that each come across. Those days were yet to come.
The breathes that we took were of hope and a life to be lived, and dreams to be become reality and a life of fulfillment.
Our future was still unknown and we didn’t carry the thoughts that our life would have moments of sadness.
That life was not a straight path.
We didn’t even know who we would become.
We realized that not all of us have the same number of breathes and-along life’s pathways we lose some of those who should have had more.
We are reminded to use the breathes that we have for good use and not to waste them needlessly.
That we are lucky ones because some of those who were much more deserving never had the same number of breathes that we have.
That the fairness of life is simply not fair, but to waste the breathes that you have been given is much worse.
That while we make mistakes along the way, some have been given breathes to reflect and pay forward so that others can avoid foolhardiness and for us to renew our ways.
That to grow up for some creates an unimaginable stress as not all can see a pathway for their future, their destiny remains unclear and a life that is still a mystery.
Reflecting on a near done life with some time still left to go, what messages do we desire to give, for we have found that life is different for everyone and yet every life has its own meaning.
What did we learn along the way, what was the same for each of us and what did it teach us.
We all have one life and a predetermined number of breathes, for each untold.
Yet we need to create a life that has dreams that can unfold, and so it is told:
One life only so many breathes a reflection
We were born to be the children of the universe
So that each can honor, serve, and knowledge disperse,
To make the best of what we are given,
Is God’s gift for all the living.
There are only so many breathes that each of us take,
So lets decide that they will be the very best we can make.
So that when we look back and then to create nurture
Our children can say we gave them a future
The lesson we leave is to use all our breathes no matter the number
To do the very best is what we must remember.
March 25th 2019
I recently started my new career as a greeter at the local Home Depot in the town I live.
It’s the first time in my whole working life, some 40 years, that I have “punched in”.
It has taken me some time to get used to the driver of my time. “the clock”.
All my career life, I just went to work, started and finished when I did!
Agreed I spent way too much time at work, at the cost of family time, and what I got paid did not equate to my hours. I often think I got below minimum wage!!!
It is so strange to be ruled not by the job I do but simply because my job is “hourly” and I get paid overtime and for “every hour” I work.
Not every jobs’ value can be measured in the “labels they are given”.
I have always been aware that some of the most important of jobs have been way down the management chain. The hard-working employees at the “coal face” that is engine of all successful companies.
It is also the most rewarding of jobs I have ever had. I am a greeter and proud to be so!!!!
I have been fortunate of having many well-paid jobs, always associated with major responsibilities. With titles comes labels and with labels comes “stuff”.
Off course I worked for those jobs through qualifications, experience and promotions. I did my time and worked my way up.
That’s not the point though!
More recently following my retirement from the corporate world, I was discussing my new “career” with Doreen my wife, my new role as a greeter at Home Depot.
She asked me how it felt to be “a greeter” she asked as she said I looked the happiest I had been in years, and yet the job had nowhere near the “senior level of decision making” I had now left behind.
I agreed, but said it has the most important of roles
“To make every customer experience as enjoyable as is imaginable and to be the best coworker and thus the best greeter ever!!!
I said finally I get to do what I want to do, without the pressures associated in those “high level jobs”.
Gone is the politics associated with what my bosses wanted me to do, whether I agreed or not.
Gone was the pressures of a senior role and having little actual impact in the real decision making, and at last I could now follow my lifelong passion of serving people.
Now here is the strange thing.
My career has been in Human Resources! People!!!!
My job as an HR executive, whether in the Automotive space or in Healthcare was just another name for being a “greeter”.
The corporate greeter of people, from recruitment through retirement, and everything in between.
So, when people say well, now how do you feel being simply a greeter I say, “I love it!” I have been preparing for this job all my career.
They look at me quickly until I explain.
The role of greeter is one of the most important roles there is!
And here is what I say:
- It is often the first contact a customer will have with the organization.
- It facilities a potential poor customer experience to one that they could never have been expected.
- The impression of the greeter sets the tone of the whole customer experience.
- It is the face and the first cultural example of the organization.
- It facilitates a likelihood of a customer wanting to come back to not only purchase products but meet people who have created a shopping community.
- The role of the greeter is also the “glue” between every department and the customer.
- The greeter has the significant role of working between departments ensuring there is seamless customer hand over and importantly product knowledge.
- The face of an enthusiastic greeter is contagious to their coworkers and the public.
- The role of the greeter is to engender a team spirit which raises the spirit of everyone.
- The role of the greeter is to ask, “what else can I do for you?”
It’s probably, I know it is, the most important career move I have ever made. Its not about my university qualifications, my degrees or my titles.
Its not about the fancy job titles or the cars or offices I have had.
The role of a greeter sets the experience level for every customer who comes to the organization and the desire for every coworker to want to work with them.
In the corporate role they may call this customer satisfaction and employee engagement.
To me it’s simply the role of the greeter, my new career and I love it!!
Thank you, Home Depot, for giving me the opportunity in my new career!
Thanks to all my coworkers who invited me into the “Live Orange” culture.
Peter, Simply the greeter and proud of it