A brief one today about being thoughtful of others’ circumstances. Promise I’ll get back to tech soon.
I took 7am call on a Saturday. This is normal for some, but in my role it’s not that common. I was given less than a day’s notice about this call that I’d been invited to. I was told I wasn’t strictly required, but sometimes there’s an unspoken “you really should be there”, either by the organisers or the little voice inside my head (for me, it’s the latter most of the time).
I didn’t really know what I was dialling in for exactly, beyond the names of some companies that apparently wanted some assistance from us. One was from New Zealand, who we don’t usually deal with. I was a little cheesed off, especially as I’d not had a great sleep.
I joined the call and within a few minutes the penny dropped - this wasn’t some business conversation that engineers didn’t really need to be a part of. This was a session to discuss how we might provide technical assistance to parts of the organisation based in NZ. What has been happening in NZ lately? This. Catastrophic weather events causing absolute mayhem for thousands of people.
I’d been very shallow. There I was sitting in my comfortable home in Singapore, tea in hand, blissfully ignorant to any weather events beyond a clear 28 Celsius morning. As I type this, there are people in NZ with lives upended due to freak weather conditions. In NZ, people are pulling extra shifts, including weekends, to help out those in need. People are volunteering to handle the immense volume of incoming calls and claims to property damage.
After becoming aware of my selfishness, I could see signs that the hard work and long hours were taking their toll on those dialling in from New Zealand.
Once I realised my problems were minute in comparison, I put them aside and focused on thinking about how I could help out too, however little my inputs might be. Sometimes all that’s needed is a listening ear to bounce thoughts/ideas off.
Here’s some simple messages to my future self, and to anyone else who this resonates with:
- The next time you’re in a huff about joining a call in the early hours or on the weekend, be considerate.
- Those 60 minutes may be very important to the organisers who might be having a much tougher time than you are.
- Finally, your problems are but a drop in the ocean compared to others in the world.
Let’s all try to be more considerate of those we communicate with, regardless of our own circumstances. ❤️
I altered some of the details of the story, but the feelings mentioned are true and my own. It’s also true that people in New Zealand are going through a tough time right now.