Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Gift Hidden in the Blue Screen of Death

It happened again, and at the most inopportune time.

I was working on the documents for my quarterly review and pondering this coming year's sales plan - a clean slate, so much potential, a chance of hope and a fresh start - when the fan on my computer kicked up a notch, all the windows froze, and the dreaded blue screen reared its ugly head.

I had thought when I received a new computer at the sales conference that this would all be behind me. At the sales conference itself, when I heard the words from the tech support team, "Your USB port was bent and it was impacting the computer - it's not you; it's the computer!" I quickly gathered up the computer and went outside the room and wept at the gift of those words.

And now, exactly one week later, it was happening again.

I could not, could NOT, bear to hear the words, "Let me guess - technological issues again?"

I tried tech support's phone lines; they were all busy. I sent a couple of emails out from my Blackberry but received no response. In desperation I took a picture with my Blackberry of the blue screen and emailed that out as well.

Then Alex, wonderful Alex, called me back from head office. He had seen the picture and had enlarged it so that he could read what the screen said. He took control of my computer and tweaked a few things. He told me that they had simply installed my old hard drive in a new computer case because they had thought the problem stemmed from the USB port. He would be reimaging a new computer for me.

I rebooted my computer and tried to recreate the data I had lost from my documents. I finally got everything finished and sent in at about 1:00 a.m.

This morning I was literally bracing myself for what was to come when the little red light on my Bberry flashed on. "Call me" was the message in response to an email ("Are you in funnels right now?") I had sent out yesterday afternoon.

I called her back. "It's okay - I sent that message yesterday," I started, when she launched in, cutting me off.

"This is NOT your fault. This was supposed to be taken care of last week. You are NOT to blame. We're going to get to the bottom of this. I've already called and talked with **********. I have kept a record of all the times you have contacted us about the computer. You are NOT shirking your work. We're going to take care of this. Listen to me: This. Is. Not. You."

These are the first words I heard this morning. I had gone to bed at about 2 a.m. dreading the morrow. I had woken up wondering why. I had stood under the shower with the water as hot as I could take it, wishing the coming hours would swirl away just as heedlessly, just as predictably, as the water down the drain at my feet.

The expression "I've got your back" is tossed about a lot these days. But when a person's back feels exposed and has borne the brunt of a few slings and arrows, that person might not be so sure how well protected said back actually is.

This morning, with that phone call, I saw someone who truly had my back. Not one to throw words around casually, she has never said the IGYB statement to me. But she showed me by her actions that she did indeed understand, and that she had taken it to the next level - she had spoken up for me and defended me; and furthermore, she was going to do all in her power to get these computer issues resolved.

I'm waiting for my review call - of all days, there was a fire drill at Corporate office! - but my back is straight, my mind is clear, and my soul is restored.

Words have great power. They can build up or they can destroy a person from the inside out.

And you can also derive great power and strength from simply knowing someone believes you, believes in you. Thank you, Laurie, from the bottom of my heart.


  1. I am so happy for you, Karyn. You do everything in your power to serve, help, support and have others' backs, so to know that someone at your work is supporting you moves me to tears. I love you. Keep going! You're amazing! I'm so glad your camera worked!!


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