Thursday, July 03, 2008

Reframing Our Big Dig

For the next 18 months, our organization has a Big Dig going on outside our office windows. This enormous excavation started last week with a ground breaking ceremony that launched our new building, one of the greenest in Europe. A hard hat zone, the roar of big machines, the sound of crunching as tons of cement blocks get pulverised into bite sized pieces for carrying away (and giving away), and an absolutely enormous hole. What will they find? Roman coins, medieval dumping grounds, dinosaur bones??? (We are after all located in the foothills of the Jura mountains, home of the original Jurassic Park!)

Of course the intense noise, clouds of dust, and soul shaking vibrations are different than we are used to in our work at headquarters, located in a quiet Swiss town on the banks of Lake Geneva, so this situation is ripe for reframing. If I think about some of the workplaces of our colleagues around the world - on storm-tossed boats in the ocean as they collect specimens in marine biosphere reserves, in deep field offices with dodgy water and intermittent electricity, in work sites near war areas and oil spills, and on and on; I guess this experience helps us imagine some of what our colleagues in the field and other parts of the world get to integrate as a part of their work for our organization. Flexibility, resilience, keeping our sense of humour? All useful workplace survival skills!

Of course, it's easy for me to see things differently, I write this blog post from Australia where I am on a work trip, half way across the world from our Big Dig. And still on Monday, when I was last in the office, I got to feel the thrill what it might have been like to work beside a Tyrannosaurus Rex feeding ground!