Some days it doesn’t matter how hard you try

I had great plans for today. I was going to get to work early, work for two hours on the to-do list items staring at me, then three hours of meetings, a quick lunch, and spend my afternoon holed up in my office working on planning for the College’s Bicentennial.

Instead, I woke up late to a thunderstorm that made my bedroom so dark it was hard to believe it was after 7, and I decided that wisdom meant choosing a bit of yoga over an early start in the office. So, okay, I got to work at 9:30 with plenty of time to check in before starting my 3 hour meeting run… and was greeted in the lobby (before I even had time to fully close my umbrella) with the news that we have a major roof leak in the Archives.

5 of our staff are up there, right now, pulling materials and staging for recovery. It’s not a huge space, so that’s all the resources we can throw at it internally. And I can’t do much other than talk about the problem; I called all the people I can call, emailed the Provost with an update, and am waiting for information from our campus facilities staff. This kind of helplessness is a focus-killer, so even though I’m in my office with some time on my hands, my to-do list looks impossible.

The day will work itself out. We have smart disaster recovery staff on our team, and we’ll make it all work in the end. We’ll mitigate what we can, we’ll figure out our solutions, and we’ll go from there. It is what it is.

But today I’m sitting secure in the knowledge that even planning and competence can’t prevent crisis. Crisis lives on its own terms, and we can only choose how we respond.


    • I know, right? We also have a leak in an emergency stairwell. “Go ahead, leak there”, I think, “it’s better than on the books or the students”. Of course, if I say that, we’ll have a fire alarm go off and someone will fall and hurt themselves on the wet stairs. There is no “winning scenario” in a disaster. 🙂


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