With over thirty years left until retirement, I’m still at the early end of my career. But even at this stage in the game, I’ve gotten to visit a variety of industries– production facilities, dairy processing plants, food testing laboratories and even mine operations.
One thing each of those industries have to contend with is calibration. They need to routinely check and make sure their equipment and devices are measuring accurately. A way to check on calibration – measure something simple. For example, with a thermometer, one may confirm the temperature of ice water reads 0 degrees C. A scale you may reset when nothing is on it and then put on a fixed weight. A level you may check against a known flat surface.
On Thursday night, I drove down to rural Floyd, Virginia and joined a friend of mine and her family for supper. Our meal was not extravagant – beans, homemade coleslaw, shells and cheese, sliced tomatoes, sliced onions, cornbread and homemade grape jam. For entertainment, we had nothing but good conversation… and a golf cart.
When I first boarded the golf cart, I was under the impression our ride was for my friend’s twenty-two month old daughter. Little Ali was the one, afterall, who kept getting in the golf cart and repeating, “Ride. Ride.”
But as we ventured through the property, I appreciated the fresh air and eyed the beautiful countryside. And when the golf cart barreled and bounced down hills, it was me shrieking and giggling more than anyone!
When I left Floyd County that night, I had a belly full of delicious homemade food… and a big smile on my face. The evening was not just dinner anymore. By measuring something simple, I knew- my happiness was properly calibrated.
Thursday was a stressful day for me. The next day I had an early customer meeting and then a drive to Pennsylvania. I had test server updates to perform on Friday afternoon, production server updates for Sunday night and then a training session to conduct on Monday. I could have easily declined the dinner invitation. I could have easily declared that I was “too busy”.
But just how even the busiest organizations make time for calibration, so should we. Amid stress and frustration, we should all remember to take a little time out and enjoy something simple.
Keep ourselves calibrated.