Memories make me grateful. Remembering work before the Internet helps me appreciate so many things we have to to be grateful for now.
It had its own room.
I would stand at one end of it feeding in pages of scripts for television commercials. Sometimes they were for cars, other times it was tea – PG Tips. A long-running series of commercials in the UK featuring talking monkeys. They were simpler days back then. Talking monkeys sold tea. The room was windowless and usually hot because of all the heat being kicked out by the rather large and noisy fax machine. It was relatively new. A way of communicating far faster than the postal service. It sped up business. I took it for granted because it was already there when I started my first job as an account executive at an advertising agency in London.
I took a fax machine for granted. A technology that had revolutionised the lives of my older colleagues. The speed of the fax machine meant that they didn’t as often have to get in their cars and drive to client meetings; probably not wearing a seat belt and smoking all the way there. The TV scripts I fed it would appear on sheets of shiny paper wherever I needed to send them. It was revolutionary. But I took it for granted. I knew no different.
That room was useful. I could hide in it. Sometimes I even slept in there. Most often after we had been to the pub at lunch and I’d drank at least 3 pints of beer. Different times back then – monkeys sold tea, you could drink at lunchtime without anyone thinking you had a problem, and there was no Internet.
No searching, browsing, streaming, or downloading. No email. No email!
If you wanted to communicate with somebody you picked up the phone. A landline. Today my landline sits on my desk behind a stack of trays. I have never answered a call on it because nobody has ever rung it. Ever.
I remember work before the Internet. Before everything and everyone was immediately accessible, always on. Work was still full of the same politics, stresses, highs and lows. Except there was no Internet and monkeys could sell tea.
In the time you have read this more data has been produced than existed at all back then. Think about that for a moment.
We live in the most revolutionary, advanced times the world has ever seen. The pace of change is increasing; far faster than we can see.
Sometimes it is only by looking back that we can truly appreciate how far we have progressed. What we have. What we take for granted.
Every morning I think of three things that I am grateful for, and I write them down. It makes me more appreciative of life, calmer, and more creative. It’s a habit I learnt when Gratitude saved my life.
I remember work before the Internet. So today, above anything else, I am grateful for the Internet – it has utterly transformed my life, and continues to do so every day. I am grateful that I don’t take the Internet for granted because it makes me think of other things I shouldn’t take for granted – like the mini-computer I am writing this on. My iPhone. Or the fitness tracker which is helping me stay healthier.
The Internet changed everything for me – and so has being grateful every day.
There’s only one thing from those simpler days that I’m not grateful isn’t around any more. One thing I miss.
Monkeys don’t sell tea any more. Tell you what – I’ll look at some of my old commercials on YouTube.