Sunday, December 2, 2012

Gratitude Day #9 2012

In 1995, after completing my first year of college, I started working at Franklin Covey in Salt Lake City, Utah. This was my first real job as an adult and I worked in an inbound Catalog Sales call center. For my younger friends, far before you could purchase anything you could think of online you had received a catalog in the mail (via the postman) which contained a wide varie
ty of desirable products. If you wanted to purchase such items you had to pick up a wall-mounted telephone, dial a 1-800 number and place your order. Working at Franklin Covey was the perfect college job and the golden handcuffs of the call center world not only offered a nice salary but it provided a strong foundation for my future career in a variety of ways.

So, beyond those pesky 7 habits that regardless of how hard I try I just can’t shake from the inner dialog, today I am grateful for my first real job and for email. I thought about my Franklin Covey days this afternoon while scanning my outlook sent box. In 1995, if I wanted to correspond with someone within my office or somewhere in the country I had to open Word Perfect, type a letter, print the document and then either fax it or send it via snail mail…and then wait days to weeks for a response. There was an entire room full of fax machines and file drawers and an entire full time staff dedicated to sending and receiving documents. HOURS upon HOURS and REAMS upon REAMS of paper were required to exchange simple information. After a few year of “Thank you for calling Franklin Covey, this is Elizabeth, how may I help you?” I moved from the call center to an analyst position requiring me to communicate with our workforce on a consistent basis. Today, as I sifted through my email messages, I remembered with perfect clarity drafting actual memos, printing 200+ copies and then spending about an hour filing the memos into everyone’s respective file folders. Communicating simple information was a chore and a task that consumed so much of my time.

My goal today was to clean out my email inbox and resolve a series of issues in preparation for next week. This afternoon, while searching for an email I sent to a colleague in NYC earlier in the week, I scrolled through my sent box and was instantly transported back to the fax room at Franklin Covey. There are days that I really hate email and feel completely overwhelmed by the number of messages in outlook. But today….I am grateful and pretty much amazed at how email has changed the workplace. The number of email conversations sent and received by a few simple clicks of the mouse on any given day is actually pretty amazing. If while reading this post you are convinced that I need to get out of my office and get a real life, you are probably correct…and don’t worry I’m almost done…but today, after a week full of information exchanged in record time to people in our office, working in our community and through the country I’m really pretty thankful for the ability to send and receive messages almost in real time. Email is both a blessing and a curse…but when I really think about it, email falls into the blessing category far more often than not.

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