The Backup’s Backup

Backup is another way of stating you have a contingency copy of your work. All the British scientists from all over the world have, unarguably, reached the conclusion that first you need to experience a very unpleasant situation in order to seriously consider backup. This may concern family photos, the documents created during your entire career or an actual career back-up. They are all back-ups!


In the picture you just saw, I was merely highlighting that the first few minutes nothing worked. The green screens were a direct hit to my liver, though the tests, audio and video back-ups worked perfectly on other occasions. After passing through all the usual panic stages and the relentless questions in my head: What the f… am I supposed to do now?!; I recomposed myself, improvised something (can’t even remember what), until my presentation started and regained my normal breathing and heart rate.

Urban legends state that there was once a traveler who used both trips of the paper ticket, although he/she was riding the bus by himself/herself. Yes, in the old days we used paper tickets and you had to validate the trip in a ticket punch. Anyway, another person who was on that bus and witnessed this, asked:

Hey, mister Nice Guy, I noticed you travel alone, why validate two trips?

Well, you never know what might happen and if I lose one, I still have the other.

True, but what do you do if you lose both? Replied the fellow laughing.

I also have a season ticket, naturally…

Well, the same happens when you have to manage the back-up issue. No matter how silly the example may sound, most of the times it’s good to have a back-up. At least for the things you claim are important to you, such as having a Nutella jar in every kitchen cabinet. Including the office kitchen, of course.

Imagine that you are working on the most important project ever and after two months of ongoing work, you learn that the presentation will be held in a secluded area, somewhere in the mountains. On the most important morning of your whole career, you wake up and it’s heavily pouring outside. You don’t let it affect your mood, a few drops of rain can never stop you.

After figuring out that you spend a little too much time in the shower, you realize that the presentation hall is located in another building. By now you start hurry things up as you need to do a last check before your grand moment.

You shaved on the notes of a motivational song while picturing yourself as lead singer. You get your spirits up when realizing you used the toothpaste as shaving foam, but then things get real when acknowledging you have only 8 minutes to reach the presentation building.

You run in the rain and slip on the wet stairs, exactly what you needed to smash you briefcase on the stairs. Even if things seem to play in slow motion, you still have the presence to break the fall with one of your legs, hoping you might still catch it. No use, it falls on the stairs and you desperately open it – yes, there is a little crack on your laptop. Your impeccable outfit has a big mud stain on the left “cheek” and half of your body hurts like hell. You feel like invoking the whole genealogy of the Rain God.

You reach the meeting room and start the laptop a little frightened. The screen shows a total eclipse with some special black and white effects. And that’s all it shows.

You are aware by now that there is no chance to mend this and you ask the first person who shows up to let you use their laptop to recover the cloud backup presentation. The download speed blinks “48 minutes remaining” and you suddenly remember that in your right back pocket there is a storing device – the back-up’s back-up. You hardly manage to scratch it off your “cheek” and notice it left behind a 3D tattoo. You connect the USB.

When everything is settled and you see the presentation title on the screen, you swallow your tears and start. After the first two slides, you notice that you mistakenly took the thunder for applause; the power is off and along with it, the projector.

You don’t panic anymore, there is simply nothing else that can go wrong. You take out of your bag the printed version of the presentation, you have enough copies for everyone, and you regain your posture and start explaining the power point you just handed out. The audience is impressed by your evolution, they really appreciate your crisis management abilities and they are curious to learn what you would have done if everything was working from the start.

There is an unspoken curse unrolling in your mind while you smile and tell them it would have been all too easy and it’s not your style. By the end you have the gut to pull out an East European accent and state “Danger is my middle name”. All’s well that ends well and you got to be lead star in the company for quite a while.

Maybe if you’d have listened to your horoscope, you would’ve understood sooner what the planets are trying to communicate.

Health – the planets are smiling at you.

Love – the planets are laughing at you.

Career – the planets shit their pants laughing.

Back-up means also having a plan B in case A is not working that well. You’d better cut the crap with ‘I am doing this right from the first try!’ because it’s a matter of minimizing and managing risk.

Now, without being paranoid, a healthy back-up (meaning many of them) can save you a lot of trouble.

Have you backed–up your success?

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