Friday, February 12, 2010

It's What Friends Are for ...

Late yesterday, the phone rings. My colleague sounds awful, but who is going to tell her? Voice all husky and scratchy, and the words sluggish. I know she's not drunk. She is stretched to breaking-point with a problem, and it is the new laptop, the operating system, the mail program, the getting-it-started, the whole thing.

And now of course she is behind in her business - the business of phoning contacts, setting up meetings, emailing details.

"Stressed" doesn't describe it. I can FEEL it over the phone lines.

This morning it dawned on me, the nature of the real problem.

She started as a solo entrepreneur six months ago, after leaving an established position in a large airline company.

Six months ...

... It seems is too short a time to learn a basic truth for all solo workers - as soon as you hit an obstacle - phone someone.

Don't leave it for 10 days.

Doesn't matter who you call - they don't even have to have a clue about the problem, let alone the possible solution - just call someone and let them know that today, things are tough.


You think that I don't have days like that?

I call my canoeing buddy Fred, and HE doesn't have a clue about VBA. Or I call Jim, and he has even less of a clue. Or David. Or Julia. Or Cheryl.

Not a long call; just long enough to make contact with another solo who, like me, has bad days.

Hanging on to it for 10 days doesn't do you any good, and FWIW it soaks up lots of my time when you DO call after 10 days of accumulated worry.

It's a tough lesson to learn when we are alone.

There is no IT department to resolve computer problems, no manager to suggest new avenues of approach, no co-worker who might have experienced a similar situation.

Reach out and network with a buddy.

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