Monday, April 14, 2014


Looking back it was the day I found my niche. At the time I was just a young man undaunted by what was ahead of him.

It was in the early 90's when I interviewed for a job. After telling them about my work experience they explained what kind of company they were. Soon they progressed to work related issues and that was in my opinion just one thing. They were behind with their work, had cash flow problems and were losing the oversight.  The woman, 52 at the time, almost had tears in her eyes when she explained about the stacks of invoices on her desk. When they asked me what I thought about their problems I answered: "Oh, that's something we need to solve." We parted not long after.

At first they did go with another candidate. One that took their problem far more serious and I went to work at AT&T/Philips. Data entry, not a challenge but it paid the bills. Within a week however I got a call. Was I still available? Of course I was. I actually switched jobs with their 1st choice.

Fast forward three months and the 52-year-old woman is working as my assistant where I was originally hired to be hers. She was laughing again and when someone asked me what I had done to her I just told them "Shhh, I slip a happy pill into her coffee every morning." Fact is that there were no more stacks of invoices on her desk and she was able to send out reminders. With that the cash flow problem they (we) were having solved itself.

I left after a few years but we kept in touch, less and less when years passed but when she retired I was invited to celebrate that. During the celebration her husband came to me and thanked me.
"Thank you. You probably will not know this but you gave her 12 years of fun. I had to hear stories about you every day when you were still working here and after you left she still remember you. Whenever she would run into another problem she thought "What would RenĂ© do?" And then go to rule #1 'Don't worry, analyze first' followed by your rule #2 'Make a joke about it' and finished with rule #3 'Now take care of it'. And she did so with a smile. She has really enjoyed the last years working whereas back then I thought she would suffer a burn-out."

Today I learned that Christha had moved on and I it took me back to the years we had. The years when for me it became clear what I wanted to do, and would go on to do and the years for her that allowed her to enjoy her work again.
We did good, Christha.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Let there be light

It was around 10.30PM yesterday when the huge milk truck, one that is used to collect milk from farms, entered the suburban street my sister lives at. Those visiting for my niece's birthday were wondering. Was the driver lost? Why on a Saturday evening would such a truck enter such a street?
Before I could scream "NOOO" my niece blew away any imagination one could have. "Oh, that's just Mark's dad. They live in the next street." She said all innocent.

"Ilse, you don't tell people that sort of thing. You need to allow people to use their imagination. Not knowing can be such a joy." She looked at me as if to say "yeah, right." but I didn't give her time to react. Out of nowhere came this:

**You know how everyone wants to be God, right? But there is a bigger one out there. To be the sun. The sun provides us with light and life. So what you want to really be is the sun. One problem though: You can't shake hands, kiss, hug or whatever with anybody because they would go up in flames. So now you think what can I be that is close to being the sun? Well let me tell you. You want to be the guy or gal that turns on the streetlights. You want to get on your bike everyday to get to work, enter your office filled with switch boards and yell "Let there be light" before you start pushing all the switches.

Then one day you think you can do something to make your work easier. You bring a large piece of wood to work. Now you can push multiple switches at the same time. People have their light much quicker. But on the way home you notice one section of lights isn't burning. What has happened? Did you miss a switch and do you need to get back to your work or did someone start digging and accidentally hit some wiring? People need their light so dutifully you return to your office where you notice one switch out of order. You check the piece of wood you brought and find a small dent that caused the mishap. Proud to have brought light to everyone's life you can now return home.

And the next morning when your pal the sun takes over you do it all again but in reverse order. It is the best job in the world with only one downside I can think of: You can not call home to tell your spouse you have to work late. He or she just has to look out of the window to see when you are finished.

And that is why you do NOT tell people it is all done by computers or that the 'milk-man' lives around the corner.**

She nudged her girlfriend sitting next to her. "Told you he was weird but kinda funny, didn't I?"