Neo

The team cleaning trainer is Neo, from the movie the Matrix.

He doesn’t know where he is, how he got there, or what he is supposed to do, but everyone keeps telling him that he is going to be awesome.

This is the story of my life. At least, it was. Life has become quite blessed and meaningful since I started attending Open Door Baptist Church. It was October 2015 if I remember right. I heard Mary the Piano player sing beautifully then Pastor Don tore into a hell fire and damnation sermon. I walked out of there that day knowing for sure what I needed to do. This made everything fall into place and I finally got my priorities straight.

Han Solo

Patton’s second in command is the Director of Custodial Services, none other than the swashbuckling space pirate, Captain Han Solo.

Han hasn’t got any custodial experience but he has dodged every trap and escaped from every tight spot that the enemy has ever tried. He is mostly concerned with keeping the desperate band of rebels on day shift together, and he is usually busy avoiding asteroids and evading Imperial Star Destroyers.

George S. Patton

The cast of characters begins with the Associate Vice President Chief Cook and Bottle Washer, General George S. Patton, as portrayed by George C. Scott.

He is an engineering true blood and has staked his reputation on a swift and efficient transition from clumsy inept day time cleaning, to lean, mean effective night shift teams. He considers that this will be a slam-dunk, and couldn’t possibly go wrong.

George S. Patton personified my mentor, idol and friend that had implemented the same program at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This was the team that won the program of the Year Award in 2006. In September 2009 we began implementing at Wake Forest and we ran into problems from the very beginning.

Sleepy Pasture University

And here we are, nobody recognizes this place because it is entirely fictional.

These are the images that I used at a National cleaning industry symposium in 2011. They tell the story of implementing a new cleaning system at Wake Forest. This was the reason that I came to Wake in the first place. It was an exciting time but also very challenging. These images and their captions are at time a raw reminder of the great difficulties that we faced, and ultimately overcame.

Symposium 2010

A big moment for me was the opportunity to give a presentation at a National Cleaning Industry Symposium in 2010. The location was Portland Oregon. I spoke about my experience rising up through the ranks from cleaning worker to manager.

As a way of illustrating my point I compared the management styles of Darth Vader and Yoda in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

To my delight the crowd loved it and I had many of them in stitches. It secured me a place to speak again at the following years symposium. The gist was That Darth Vader had been a poor manager when he strangled Admiral Ozzel for coming out of light spped too close to the Hoth system instead of sneaking up on the rebels.

  • Darth Vader: The rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of light speed too close to the system.
  • Darth Vader: He is as clumsy as he is stupid. Admiral Piett, you are in command now.

Lessons learned on how not to manage like Darth Vader:

  1. Darth Vader didn’t explain to Admiral Ozzel that it would be better to approach slowly.
  2. He didn’t give any opportunity for re-training.
  3. Dead (or fired) employees can’t be developed.

This was the first time that I used edited images in a presentation, and I had made 3 Star Wars themes ones for the occasion.

We’re moving

We just got to the end of Biblio’s Blood on Instagram (the story so far) and I’m getting ready to start a new series. I have to say I’m really excited about the Christmas holiday, as it’s going to be all about Biblio’s Blood, including moving to a new domain! Between now and then I was thinking about running through all of the Matty’s Paradigm material again, but I’m pausing to think for a moment. I love sharing Matty’s Paradigm on Instagam because it’s a safe, friendly place where I can relax and let it out in the form of a casual conversation. Instagram is non-judgemental and supportive. Not like Twitter.

Matty’s Paradigm has been slowly bubbling away for many years until a year ago I began blogging it. Twitter immediately became the battleground where all of the issues and ideas have been subjected to hard fighting. In some ways it is reminiscent of wrestling with God, perhaps like what Jacob experienced in Genesis. Wrestling perfectly summarises Twitter, but I have to give it its dues: there is no better forum for ideas. I feel like Matty’s Paradigm is being rigorously stress tested. It’s been a year of fierce battles and huge success, so in the run up to Christmas I’m going to chill out. I have decided to begin to pull together all the material I have that is based on my life in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Wake Forest University. I hope that you’ll enjoy it.

Chapter 7

Carlton knew the perfect place.  A hip counter-culture coffee shop with an independent label brand.  The kind of place where poets and students hang out.  To Carlton the coffee had a very slightly burnt taste, like they were trying too hard to be cool, but it was cool because it was local.  Carlton liked it.  It was in downtown Salt Lake City, an hour away, but Carlton lived near there and it turned out, Rachel did too.  This was the place where, in his daydreams, he had gotten down on one knee and asked this woman to marry him many times.

Rachel was a constant bubble of questions about the computer, Salt City, and Carlton’s life.  She kept it up quite easily which was fortunate, because if the conversation was left up to Carlton it would probably been a few nervous murmurs.  Carlton felt like a kid again.  They laughed about old times, old friends, and 10 years of lonely life evaporated out of Carlton’s mind.

She would not stop asking about the computer.  Every time the conversation strayed to some childhood event, Rachel steered back to Carlton’s computer at the library.  It wasn’t so bad, Carlton got to explain how it worked, and how he had developed the systems that ran it. Let’s not forget that he was the genius who had revolutionized computing. Even though, however, the revolution had turned out to be a minor blip in the march of progress. He felt self-conscious and he checked over his shoulder more than once.

Carlton had rehearsed conversations like this one, with Rachel, in his daydreams.  He had played out his scene in a way in which he was completely prepared, composed, in charge, and directing the action. Now that he was speaking with her for real it was strange, not like he had thought at all. He was nervous, disconnected, and frequently exposed, unaccustomed to any scrutiny or expectation of accountability, suddenly being scrutinized and held accountable. He had imagined her gazing at him with big school girl eyes like a star-struck kid.  Not so.  Here was a mature woman who was not going to take any crap, and was certainly not going to swallow Carlton’s usual line of bull.  Yet she kept on asking questions, and he kept on answering them.

At times his answers became deeply technical and he was afraid he was boring her. Rachel, however, did not seem to have have any difficulty grasping the details.  Rather, she was quite familiar with the back story of how the blood-based computer system came about.  She knew about some of the recent breakthroughs and developments too. After a while he relaxed. It was delightful that all the time he talked he could gaze into her face. It was too much to be true. Not only was she sitting here with him, but he actually had an excuse to look at her, and looking at her was what he wanted more than a dying man in a desert wanted a glass of water.  It was the face of his dreams, both awake and asleep, but now it was not a girl in his memory, but a woman in his presence.  It was a far more beautiful face than his imagination had dreamed of, it was a woman, not a kid, there were lines and a seriousness that was startling, but there was a girl in there too and at times if emerged with a flourish. The best part of it was that she kept on smiling, listening and asking questions.

As time ticked by Carlton noticed that the coffee shop had emptied out.  They were getting irritated looks from the Barista, who clearly wanted to be elsewhere.  Carlton tried once or twice to wrap up the conversation and move on, out of a weird sense of wanting to do the Barista a favor and let him close up the shop, but Rachel was a lively stream of questions and comments so he gave up. They talked and laughed. Carlton felt himself falling in love, for real, not in an imaginary way. Yet he could already feel the pain of another failure, it brooded at the edge of his thought. He lived the emotions of the whole cycle of acceptance, trust then dismissal and being crushed. But this was Rachel. He would go through all of it for her, that was his dream come true.

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