Tuesday, July 19, 2016

living off a laptop

Driving back from Christchurch yesterday, it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve only managed one day working at my office desk, surrounded by my books and files, in the last 4 weeks. Certainly not planned!

First, there were 9 days of block course intensive in Wellington. This was followed by that one day at the office – in which I scrambled to prepare printed resources and organise for the next major piece. That was 15 days on the road. This involved 8 meetings and 5 speaking engagements, spread across 2 countries, 8 cities and towns, made possible through 5 flights and 2 rental cars.

canterbury It wasn’t something I intentionally planned. Rather it was simply what emerged as I tried to make sense of a range of commitments and a set of practical realities.

A desire to be Knox national, rather than Knox Dunedin, combined with a rugby test in Dunedin that sent accommodation prices through the roof, made Wellington a logical option for a KCML blockcourse. An academic conference in Melbourne, made possible a few days of recovery in a friends holiday house near Sydney. A request to speak in Wellington for two days to a group of ministers (Give us this day our daily bread: spirituality of eating) made sense as a stop over coming back from Sydney. A need to connect with incoming (2017) interns and explore potential placements in the Christchurch area, made sense as a next stop after Wellington. Interns and potential placements spread between Rangiora and Geraldine made logical a rental car and so a drive from Christchurch back to Dunedin (mixed in with a lovely few nights restoration at our family holiday home). During which the realisation hit me: one day working at my office desk in the last 4 weeks.

Which meant that today, one of my team cheekily asked the rest of the team if anyone knew who I was. While another asked if I deserved a desk!

Living off a laptop is made possible because of:

1. A flexible family, willing to come with me to academic conferences and join me on holidays and road trips between Christchurch and Dunedin.
2. A focused, competent, self-sufficient work team, very secure in their roles, who get on with their tasks, whether I’m present or not.
3. Evernote and Google calendar, which helps me keep track of a range of details and notes.
4. A computer (Mac) which enables me to access material for speaking engagements as I go, allowing me to be responsive to context and room, to prepare a talk in a hotel room or beachside holiday house.
5. A cellphone, which I can tether as a hot spot and deal with email.

When I began as Principal, I wanted to be a national Principal, not a Dunedin Principal. However I never envisaged the type of movement and travel that would result. I love the richness, the mix of developing leaders, presenting research, offering professional development and dreaming futures with churches and leaders.

But I also love being home and having an office and seeing my books and settling back into the regular routines of running and (snack) writing.

Posted by steve at 08:23 PM

1 Comment

  1. Desks are so 20th C! My last semester at Carey I had no desk or office, a couch in the corridor at Carey and a couch by the fire at home. Paperwork did not suffer, rather the opposite, after all little of it IS actually paper now and that can (often) be shifted fast when it needs to be (to clear space on the floor). Books mainly come from Google or e-texts from libraries… When I think of the resources we tie up in offices, and the time they demand to keep them fed… If I were starting again I’d ask the desk be removed, and just two couches installed. Any paper could be scanned with my phone and binned, job done 🙂

    Comment by Tim Bulkeley — July 20, 2016 @ 5:53 am

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