May 25, 2012 STC Karma

Serving Karma

It was one those 21st century California moments. I was on my way to STC Summit in Chicago and stopped at a restaurant for a quick bite. The waitress came to the table and said, “Hello, I’m Karma, how may I serve you?”

I just smiled and said, “I’ll have the usual.”

The incident set the tone for the trip. I thought back to the STC Summit in Baltimore some ten years ago. The events had become so huge that I had friends use small digital cameras record all the events I could not cover in person. I discovered that some of what I had missed was worth missing. Some people gave presentations designed merely to justify their trips or jobs. Technical communication was a racket to them. They had it all figured out. They were over-confident. I remember checking in at a hotel and seeing on a nearby television the image of a man standing on an aircraft carrier in front of a banner saying “Mission Accomplished.” Saying something does not make it so.

One of the advantages of long experience is that when someone says something is over, you can bet it probably isn’t. I knew things were changing rapidly and changed with them. I worked with many people and organizations to survive the economic collapse. One of them was STC. This year those old presentations were gone. This year there were rock solid presentations by stone cold professionals. The bailout worked, more because of dedicated members than money.

I was able to help the organization that helped me. Some call it payback. Some call it karma. I think of paying it forward. Just because someone is having trouble now does not mean you abandon or turn on them. See the big picture. Think long term and you will win in the long run.

Nothing is ever over. The work continues. When I got back to San Francisco, an STC member wanted me to help them get a job at a company. Because we knew each other through STC and I knew people at the prospective company, I was able to help. If you have the ability to help, you help.

As I realized at the restaurant, sometimes you serve karma and sometimes Karma serves you.

By the way, I tipped really well.

Copyright 2012 DJ Cline All rights reserved.