Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blowing Up the Foundations

Across the street from my office, they are digging a large hole. When they tore down the old hospital on that site, they covered the foundation with dirt.

They started construction on the site last May. In August, they started controlled blasting, two to three times a day, to get rid of the old foundation and create a new parking deck below the buildings.

It took a month of daily blasting to get rid of the old foundation. Metal, cable bundles and miscellaneous odds and ends came out along with the dirt and concrete. I guess they could have used the old foundation, but it struck me that sometimes you need to destroy everything to strengthen the new structure.

The original hospital was built in 1948. The foundation was built to 1948 specifications. Increased knowledge about materials and architectural engineering will (hopefully) make the new foundation stronger.

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I've been blowing up the foundations recently as well.

Old Assumption: I have to be able to do everything myself.
New Assumption: I have to be able to work with others to get things done.

That's a pretty big shift and one that is impacting things both at work and in my personal life.

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When I decided it was time to get a new phone, I consciously involved the SO in the decision-making process. The old me would have just up and bought the phone. This time, I realized that me getting a new phone impacts our communication infrastructure and our household finances.

More variables were put into play beyond best price and what works for me.

- He needs a new phone too. Is it cheaper for us to get the phones together through one of those family offers?

- What are the pros and cons of getting onto the same network? (He's Sprint, I'm Verizon).

- My colleagues and friends are moving more towards texting rather than calling. Plus, Brent and Co. at the eLearning Guild seem to be organizing a significant part of the DevLearn 08 communication structure around Twitter. I definitely needed to quit being so stubborn and get a phone that did more than phone (send and receive voice calls for you youngsters). Should we consider those unlimited messaging plans together as well?

- How is this going to impact our monthly cash outflow? What can we do to minimize the increase for the both of us?

This process, of course, was significantly slower than my usual, impatient modus operandi. And, ultimately, I did what I was going to do anyway. I stayed on my plan and got the phone I wanted. He stayed on his plan, got the phone he wanted, and put off being sucked into the txt message culture for another couple of years.

It was a decision made jointly and, with the added research we both did, we both wound up saving money on both the phones and the plans we selected.

Even more important, the relationship is stronger as a result of me blowing up that foundational assumption.

2 comments:

Karyn Romeis said...

This is an interesting transition for you. I am also one who likes to be seen to be coping on my own. Mind you, this is more true of my personal life.

Professionally, I like to have a clear idea of exactly who is involved in a project and what each person's remit covers, so that I know who to ask about what. I like to do my blue sky thinking with the whole team present (something that is seldom achievable), and I would prefer to work far more closely and frequently with SMEs than I ever get to do.

PS - My younger son would have loved to be there for the blasting and demolitions. This is what he has wanted to do with his life since he was about 3 years old! Mind you, an increasing passion for the arts appears to be gradually eroding that commitment...

Wendy said...

Yeah - tough to get past the control-freak know-it-all thing.

2 words for your son - Theatrical Pyrotechnics.