Last week my friend Eric asked his girlfriend Tracy to marry him and she said "Yes!" I'm very happy for them for the following reasons: Eric is a great guy. He is smart and a good athlete. I'm not just saying that because a) He won the Chicago Triathlon Clydesdale division last year b) I've coached him for a few years c) I've worked with Eric. NO! I'm saying that because it is true. Guys with their collective act together aren't just out there, but Eric is certainly one. He prepares better than 99% of all people I know and knows how to balance his life better than 99.9% of all the people I know. Tracy is exceptionally great as well. My favorite part about Eric is that he is a Cardinals fan (hey, nobody is perfect) but he isn't a typical Cards fan that you'd expect. He is knowledgeable and forms his own opinions. He might say the same about me as primarily a Cubs fan. (*For those of you new to this blog - "my" baseball teams are 1) Cubs 2) White Sox 3) Yankees 4) Cardinals.) I grew up with an appreciation for great baseball (sans Cubs and Sox of course) when I saw it, I knew it. Mainly, because my teams didn't play it.
Communication. I knew about Tracy and Eric's engagement immediately after Tracy said yes. Many of my friends are outstanding communicators (see links to Jen Harrison, Elizabeth, Chade, Marit and Molly) to name a few. Seldom do communications go longer than 24 hours before a response back. These are insanely busy people. I appreciate this. I really do. It is called "common courtesy" but I like to call it "uncommon courtesy" because most people aren't considerate to even throw a text back.
When I graduated from college (back when dinasaurs roamed the Earth) we were taught to "call back within 24 hours of all communication". What is interesting to me is that these days with Facebook, Twitter, text messaging and mobile phones I have more "friends" who are harder to reach than ever. I know they are online because Facebook tells me so. So why wouldn't someone communicate quickly? Makes me wonder if I offended someone, somehow or in some way without knowing it.
Friday, I rode ~111 miles in 5:41, during which time (at refueling stops) I answered 23 emails and 5 text messages from athletes I coach. I was even getting communications from a US Marine in the field training for Afganistan somewhere in Virginia. I looked kinda funny in Williams Bay typing on a BlackBerry with an empty water bottle hanging out of my mouth at the store but I won't take calls, text, or email while riding. Thankfully, I am an exceptional keyboardist. In college I actually made money typing other people's papers and homework. It paid well. Especially rush jobs. $35 an hour in 1987 was good money. I typed one guy's masters thesis and made about $500 on a Saturday. Pretty great.
So why, when I email, call and Facebook people do they not return any type of message? This has happened four times to me recently with four different people. On all occasions, I saw that person at a gathering and they were laughing and talking to me (seemingly) just fine. In one case, a tornado had leveled part of their town. I sent a message to their work, home and mobile. "Are you OK? Do you need ANYTHING? No reply. Another instance, a job at one friends company (where they are an influential muckety muck) was open - I am a perfect fit on paper. No communication at all and I get told by HR that "they don't see project management in my resume". Kinda funny as my ENTIRE resume is about portfolio, program and project management. I am arguably one of the best (or at least in the team picture) in the World. Don't take my word for it... read the letters from the big CIOs who endorse my work.
So for those who don't return calls and messages; get on it! To all of you who are courteous enough to send some kind of message, text, Facebook comment, a flare, smoke signal, middle finger - whatever - I thank you.