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Bad Luck, PC Hell and Healing From Grief

Risk management is all about preparing for and expecting the worst. But how well can you handle risk management when not only what was expected happens, but also what was unexpected (and much worse than what was). Consider the tale told by Kimberly Wiefling, who not only experienced the frustrating problem of a dying computer, but so much more afterward: My old laptop was tattered nearly beyond recognition. The ESC key had flown off a couple of weeks prior, one screen hinge was busted, most of the frequently used letters were worn off so that only a touch typist could use the darn thing, and the only thing holding it together structurally were a bunch of visitor name tags I’d collected from lobby receptionists during client consulting engagements. With just 2 weeks to go before a 35 day stint working in Japan, I sprung for an expensive new laptop. Spare no expense, I got the best I could find. After all, this was my primary business computer and a vital tool in earning my living. Four days, 12 downloads, 7 updates, 4 CDs and lots of glasses of wine later my laptop was ready to use, almost as good as the old one! The next day when I pressed the power button, nothing happened. OK, there was a little green LED that lured me into thinking that something was going to happen, but not so: it was completely dead. R.I.P. After getting a new one (which took 4 days to set up), she found it also died only a mere day after set-up (with her unfinished book in the hard drive, and due to the editor in short order). Through a series of dropping, freezing, and shouting, she managed to re-awaken the doomed machine just long enough to get the files out she needed. So what’s the lesson? Keeping your cool (something she admittedly “sort of” did) can pay off when things go much worse than what you were expecting, and learning to move past those big realized risks is probably much better than dwelling on them.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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