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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Marketable Skills: Flexibility

This isn't easy for Turtles, and it isn't easy for some humans. Most of the time, things go as expected. That's why we're surprised when they don't. No matter how carefully you plan your work day, something is going to come up to derail it. That's when flexibility is useful.

Sometimes, the network goes down, taking the computers with it. Sometimes, the freezer goes out, leaving you with a potential loss of income and product. Sometimes, you get a bitter, jagged-edged disappointment instead of the news you want. You have to deal with these issues with calm courtesy (and hopefully some humor, which I haven't covered) instead of allowing the potential avalanche of disaster to crush you.

I think of Randall from Monsters, Inc. twining his monster-snaky way around obstacles with spineless ease. Computers are down? OK. Computers haven't always existed, so grab a pen, paper and calculator and do what you can, even if it's get a phone number to call them when the network is back up. A broken freezer might lead to half-priced ice cream, a call to a repair service and a trip to get ice from the gas station. Bitter disappointment is harder, but for a Christian, all things work together for good for those who love the Lord (Rom 8:28), so God will use even disappointment in His grand plan. You don't know the future. Don't bemoan the present.

Flexibility is about remembering your goal, and finding another way to reach it, preferably without panicking. Don't Panic isn't just advice for Hitchhikers. Or maybe it is. Aren't we all hitchhikers in this crazy galaxy?

If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you 
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, 
But make allowance for their doubting too; 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, 
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, 
Or being hated, don't give way to hating, 
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise. 

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; 
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; 
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same; 
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools; 

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, 
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss; 
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone, 
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, 
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, 
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, 
If all men count with you, but none too much; 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, 
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, 
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son! 

It's true of women, too, and it's probably something you should post at your workstation and memorize. I knew it once.

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