Looking Back

Today I was going through a long delayed exercise of throwing out personal business papers that were past their prime. Not only were they no longer needed but in some ways they were archaic. It was a bit of a shock to see how much things have changed.

Examining my correspondence that had been faxed 33 years years ago was like observing the Roman aqueducts. No emailing in 1987. Encryption was something for espionage.

And, my personal correspondence was hand written. It even approached legibility. Voice recognition software used to create an electronic document would have been the stuff of science fiction to me in 1987.

Sure is good to know these operations and transmissions occur today in a far easier, more efficient mode. That is particularly true since at 75, I need some easier.

Nick Kyrgios, an Enigma?

So it’s true and he will admit it, Nick Kyrgios, the highly gifted tennis player, doesn’t train as hard as other players. He thinks the game is taken too seriously.

After all it’s only a game. He enjoys the talent he can display in front of large crowds and the comedy he can generate. Nick travels with a group of good friends, doesn’t pay large amounts to a coach, and makes excellent money. Doesn’t this all actually make sense?

Adventures in the Workplace

It was a new universe for me in the mid-90s. Our new CEO, in a budget tightening effort, had fired my excellent on-site secretary. He asked me to rely through our computer network on my boss’ secretary 65 miles away, a “Catch 22.” The “Catch”: When deadlines were tight the secretary deferred to our boss favoring his deadlines over mine. I was obsessed with deadlines which had to be met. I was like a kid with both hands tied behind my back and a patch over both eyes trying to climb a tree. Desperation was the operative word.

Another claims manager in a small branch, who also lost her secretary for the same reason, suggested a computer program. It relied on voice recognition software, a gradually improving technology. She had not opted for it.

A futurist and wonderful technical mind, Ray Kurzweil, had used artificial intelligence to create a program in which dictation produced typed words, Kurzweil Voice. My company granted my request for the software. It was slow but useful.

A key supervisor in our information services department told me it had very limited application. I didn’t believe him and deep down thought something this new was probably being misunderstood.

Sure enough I experimented and Kurzweil Voice was applicable in a variety of programs. In a sense I repositioned the supervisor’s assumed truths disregarding his conclusion. As Neitzsche put it, “You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.

When annual awards in the Claims Department were allotted I was given one for my discovery. Interesting, I defied the best judgment of a company expert, accurately, and was rewarded. Life is full of unexpected twists, turns and occasional dancing stars.

If nothing else I was resolving the “Catch 22” I had been dealt. That was particularly true when the faster Dragon software arrived and improved my efficiency still further.

I did have a new problem following the award, tension for the next 19 years with the supervisor I had defied. As my late mom was wont to say, “No one said it would be easy, Robert.” Which, of course, is the reason why at the end of the 19 years I retired.

H. Robert Rubin, best-selling Amazon memoirist and author of Look Backward Angel and How Did I Get Through This? available on Amazon. Please Save the Third Dance for Me will be published on June 15, again, available on Amazon. It is available for pre-order now.