I Went Off the Grid, and the World Didn’t End!

Since the Fourth of July fell in the middle of the week this year, I decided to take a couple days off after the holiday and enjoy a long weekend.  I told my team if they needed me while I was away, I’d be available.

My family and I drove off to northern Minnesota to spend time with good friends at their cabin in the woods.  Cell service is barely available on a good day but knowing they have WiFi, I was confident I could stay connected.  Upon arriving we did our hellos and got the car unloaded.  After that we were about to sit down and chat when I noticed an email came in from a director with the subject “You Need to Review.”  Since the cell service was bad the message itself wouldn’t open on my phone, so couldn’t read it.

When I asked for the WiFi password so I could pull it up on my computer, the response was “It’s not working and we can’t get a tech out until Monday to fix it.  Sorry.”

Panic.  Fear.  Confusion.  Stress.  These feelings fell upon me within micro seconds.  No internet!!  No connection to the office!!  What the hell was I to do?  I would say it took 4 hours and some therapy from my wife before I accepted my fate.  I was off the grid.

But something happened.  I set my phone down and pretended not to see it (though my eyes intermittently looked at the screen to see if anything came through).  I started playing with my kids.  Then we went fishing.  More kid time.  A long hike through the woods.  I even read a whole book!  We had a blast!

I hadn’t received any emails between Wednesday afternoon and Sunday morning when we said our goodbyes and left for home.  Once out of the woods, emails flooded my phone’s inbox.  I started reading them, convinced something had gone completely wrong and it was my fault.  But instead, what I found was awesome.  When I didn’t respond after half a day, the emails indicated people met and worked out issues to keep progress moving.  Decisions were made.  They worked out their problems.  Status’ were sent without reminders.  Daily updates from key team members were also sent.  No one died!

Upon quickly catching up, I sat back for the three hour drive home happy in knowing I didn’t have any fires to fight later that night Monday (at least that I know of).  It shows me I can go off the grid and not have to worry.  Work will get done and the world will not end!

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