Part of the challenge us technology communicators have is the very job itself – being buried in the latest stuff to bring you the ideas and insights that will make your life easier, more fun and more effective.
But by the same token it can often make our downtimes more limited, and in themselves more challenged.
I’m the first to say ‘I neglect you’ to mine other half when I should be able to bellow from the rooftops, ‘I have given you everything’.
I think the old, ginger one out of the Spice Girls said it best. Recounting her last relationship (and there have been a few…) with a geek in ‘Say You’ll Be There’, she squawked:
I’m giving you everything all that joy can bring this I swear
(I give you everything – that’s the other ones that sang that)
And all that I want from you is a promise you will be there
Say you’ll be there (Say you will be there)
Won’t you sing it with me
So, don’t let it slip or slide. There are times when your work is the most important thing on earth. Least, that’s how it feels in the moment. But then think back to when you were in the moment of a spot of ‘lover lover’ and I’m sure you’ll agree, work is worthless, vapid by comparison.
People love people – not productivity. So when your computer tugs you by the sleeve (or you could just have a thread caught between the Y and U keys) or you duck out of bed for a late-night coding sesh, remember this: your partner wants you to show you…
1. Care. Steal moments from the job in hand. Get down the shops and buy her some nice cereal. Or he. Let’s be honest, us geeks don’t all have dangly bits. Care means being there but it also means being excitable and spontaneous. Do something out of the ordinary. And if taking him/her to the theatre doesn’t do the trick, push them, fully-clothed, into a fountain.
2. Can. Be true to yourself and make the impossible, possible. Because you know my friend, there’s no such thing as can’t. Genuinely. I’ve seen numberless examples of things that looked out-of-this-world that were brought down to an Earth level by a stiff constitution and a determination we can all aspire to. And maybe a large whisky.
3. Are strong. You don’t have to pull a cart round the town centre to demonstrate your lack of fragility. Being strong is about making decisions.
Challenge for you: Go for a month without saying ‘I don’t mind’, or ‘it’s up to you’. Within reason – if it’s his/her birthday, you might choose to forego making the choice once or twice. But seriously this stuff is gold: not only does seizing the day, or Carpe Diem to you Romans, make a big, positive impression on S/HWMBO – it also makes you enormously aroused as to your potency. Try it: it’ll make everyone smile.
4. Can cook. I’m totally down with this one. I have this secret hankering to be a chef. I read Londonelicious, and all those blogs where people go to restaurants every flickin day and rattle on about how incredible their dining habits are. And you know what? It’s because there’s an invisible connection between eating and loving. You eat good, you love great.
Secret 1: Oven avoiders can make a huge impact by following Delia Smith’s ridiculously simple How to Cheat at Cooking book. Get yourself a basket of pre-concocted ingredients from M&S (mince beef in gravy in a tin) and a bag of spuds, and you got yourself a lush cottage pie. And a juicy lady or guy who will adore you forever (or at least until you burn the ice cream on your next culinary adventure).
5. Have fun. Don’t be serious – be a Lebowski, dude. Be prepared to poke fun at yourself, to laugh big.
Here’s secret numero 2: the bigger you laugh, the better you are. In business, in the bedroom. Shocked? Think about it. You network to a serious level, you get into a conversation about work – the economy, greenhouse gases, why Gordon Brown is an utter ‘tard, something like that. One of you sparks up with a light-hearted aside – you bellow like a fool. It’s a way of diffusing the tough times and making a new friend. And snatching a contract from under the nose of your staunchest competitor. The same rules apply at home – kind of.
6. Can say sorry. In the kitchen, in the car, in the conservatory – be the first one to apologise. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, just clear the goddamn air. Disagreements are natural and part of life but don’t get bogged down in the detail. I know this: whatever you’re arguing about isn’t what you care about. You just want a snarl, and now you got it. So drop it, move on, make a little love, cook a little pie. But for heaven’s sake, crack a joke and motivate yourself out of your rabbit hole of uselessness. Debates are fine – disagreements are poisonous. See their side, and whether or not they see yours, you’ll be doing yourself a favour to get rid of the situation. And make a note to next time chew on a rope instead.
7. Have a smart inner geek. Everyone knows the ladies love a smartly turned-out gadget herbert. To be a technologist you have to be extraordinarily clever. Girls and boys love the intelligence thing. It means you’re an expert communicator (even if you don’t have the confidence, you ARE, believe me) and can see like Superman through problems that other homo sapiens would struggle with. Man/woman, you’re incredible. So covet and treasure your ample abilities and go shine on your cohort.
8. Think alternatively. Lateral cogitation is like your sixth sense. Your friends in manufacturing may have an aptitude for sproggets and bobbins but you, my friend, are in the zone when it comes to new ideas. They say you need to conquer your inner entrepreneur, technician and manager: but people look to you to spark inspiration. This applies equally to your love kingdom. Switch off the TV and show him what the lounge was really built for. Guys, recreate the cover of Scandal ready for your lady friend to return from work. Learn parcour and go jump off a building. I tell you one thing that works above all: making a picture of their face comprised of tiny little pictures of the places you’ve been and the things you’ve done together. Man, that rocks. I want one: Princess?
9. Help others. Get down the soup kitchen, rock out with those less fortunate than yourself. Help the homeless in Haiti with a contribution of your skills, be the next Chris Moyles and join your local Talking Newspaper group so the blind have to suffer current affairs junk, too.
10. Read widely. Don’t do what I do, do what I say… I have a library stacked full of business propaganda masquerading as fine advice. It’s not big or clever to bury yourself in manuals, guides and Dummies books the whole day long. Experiment with fiction.
Secret 3: there’s a mind-boggling site that sends a few minutes of stunning reading material to your inbox or RSS feed every day. It’s called DailyLit and it means it’s safe for folks like you and me to fork intellectually without leaving the comfort of our screens. Books and pixels in perfect harmony!
11. Can write. Evidently ‘can count’ is missing from this list, for personal reasons. A message a day keeps the counsellor away. After making the Coco Pops sing as they endure third-degree burns in my scalding pot of milk, popping a Vit C, dishing out the Actimel and packing a lunch fit for a tiny queen (for she eats like a sparrow with constipation) I create a piece of prose on a green slab of cardboard. It is thrust with adulation into the carrier bag containing such miscellaneous digestibles as a foil-wrapped pair of Oreos (neither of us like them but I can’t bear to throw them away – all those hungry people…) and perhaps some Haribo Starmix. It makes her day and it kickstarts mine. Ready to foist myself into the hot seat to create a blog post worthy of your time.
Well, was it? Let me know if any of these tips, y’know, resonate. If not, why not?
Posted via email from 10 for 10