It started out like any other day at my office. Staff trickled in and immediately made their way to the break room to pour that first cup of coffee. We have one of those on demand machines hooked up to the main water line. It is usually nice because no one has to wait for a new pot to brew. Then it happened. The machine broke.
We have a spare machine for just these sort of emergencies. It was immediately hooked up and brought on-line. Disaster should have been diverted, except, the back-up too soon proved to be out of service. It didn’t take long before my usually calm, collected, and professional colleagues devolved into crazed individuals as the news spread. No coffee. How could we possible conduct business! Our vice president joked that he was considering closing the whole office down for the day. At least I think he was joking.
I typically bring a large travel mug of my own from home as the machine’s settings, which we are not authorized to change (the machine could break after all), don’t match my personal tastes. It was easy then to shake my head in judgement at my co-worker’s melodrama as I sipped on deliciousness from my mug. That is, it was easy until another half hour passed without a plan C. Suddenly it was like I was starring in the plot of a post-apocalyptic story. In an office filled with the walking dead, I was one of the few fully awake. The sounds I heard as colleagues stumbled to their desks certainly were in line with the sounds zombies make on film.
I barricaded myself behind my desk like any good survivor should. I knew that any sign of perkiness or alertness would give away my status as a ‘have’ in a world of ‘have-nots.’ It would make me a target for immediate attack. Meanwhile the moans and groans outside my door grew louder. Just as it appeared the day would be lost entirely, a hero emerged.
That hero was our executive administrative assistant. She valiantly journeyed home only to return with her household coffee maker. The break room had already claimed two machines, but she was willingly to sacrifice her own for the greater good. Caffeine flowed freely once again. We were saved! Life in the office was able to return to normal. If some might start squirreling away a little instant, who can blame them. We all learned a little about ourselves (and the company we keep) that day.
There isn’t much of a moral to this story, other than crisis being one of life’s best/worst teachers.