Friday, February 29, 2008

The Greater Good

Last year, I worked for Let’s Go Publication as part of a small team of students who together published a travel guide of various destinations in the United States. I traveled for two and a half months covering the Southeastern states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. I independently researched destinations I wanted to write about and included my findings for budgeted accommodations, food, and outdoor/ indoor sites. In order to honestly write about these sites, I tried out all the locations I planned to recommend. I was the sole person examining these places in the team and I had to cover everything as accurately as possible.
Weekly, I was responsible for submitting a rough copy of the write-ups of all my research and new findings. I worked very hard on my first copy batch, spending many hours perfecting it. I planned to submit an immaculate copy for my editors and those in my team. As I was about to hit the send button, my computer crashed. I restarted my computer but all my files had been erased including my entire copy batch, which was about 70 hours worth of work. I immediately contacted my editors and told them what had happened. My writing editor who was also new to the business was flabbergasted and told me to contact their IT department. I contacted the IT department and after several attempts was unable to retrieve my test copy. Knowing that everyone in the organization was dependent on this information, I then contacted my brother, an IT specialist for Microsoft.
Even after that attempt, my copy batch was completely gone. I had a moment where I doubted my own abilities; I felt that if this happened to the first copy batch what else could go wrong for the next months of my traveling all alone to a foreign states. I decided to take a small walk to gather my thoughts. As I walked, I realized that I was part of a team depending on me and I must ensure my contribution to the organization. Realizing that I was working for the greater good of the team really helped me put things in perspective.
I contacted my editor and told him that I would need a couple of days to rewrite my copy batch. He agreed that this would be the best idea. Since I knew that my team relied on me I stated that I would consider my time working on the rewrite as part of my days off. I spent 14 hours at a coffee shop for two days rewriting all my work. Luckily, I had taken extensive notes on my research and much of what I had written remained fresh in my mind.
I submitted my copy batch in exhaustion, but accomplished. I was very proud of myself for accomplishing something crucial and not letting down my team. My route was finished on time and the book was published on time. We all endured various struggles but we persevered and ultimately we produced a one of a kind travel guide.