Wednesday, January 04, 2006
OM Sri Ganeshaya Namah
About five year ago, I was in a software project kick-off meeting, and the facilitator asked us the question "How do you eat an elephant?" It's an old saw from project management (The answer: one bite at a time).
But before the intervening four years had passed, the elephant had become our mascot, the symbol of his massive undertaking. Over time, the generic elephant grew in significance, and became Ganesha.
How did Ganesha come to be our patron? Somewhere along the way, while searching for elephant images, I discovered Ganesha. He is, among many other things, the god figure one invokes at the start of great undertakings. Um, let's see. Three to four year time line, $10 million budget, uncounted requirements and design documents and lines of code. Yep. One major undertaking.
And so, Ganesha became the patron of the Consumer Loan Imaging Re-engineering/Automated Loan Processing System.
Now, I want to apologize to anyone who feels that a guy baptised at St. Dominic and confirmed at Pius X, a guy who counts himself a Catholic school survivor (Pius, Christian Brothers, De la Salle '75), that such a guy has no business appropriating your (or any body else's) gods.
It started off innocent enough, and we always meant well. And that multi-year, multi-million project succeeded. If you know anything about the software industry, you know that constitutes a miracle more surely than does the Virgin Mary appearing on a piece of toast.
The Ganesha statue no longer graces my office. It was only mine temporarily. It was bought as a present for my boss the project manager. When she left the bank, she left it (temporarily) in my care, in the small shrine-like corner table containing the desktop zen garden and lucky bamboo, in the corner where stands my elephant-headed walking stick from Africa.
And as it sat there in the quiet corner, no major milestone of the project passed without offering Ganesha a rice krispy bar. Ganesha has a thing for sweets, in particular for a certain sort of sweetened rice ball, but I substituted rice krispy treats from the Wheel of Death vending machine. (I can almost hear the devout mobs gathering at my door with torches, shouting "rice krispy bars!", but please know this: I only meant well.)
When the project was over, I returned the statue to my friend, and whispered as it left the office Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
But still, when we are about to reach another project's large milestone, I ask my Hindu friend and colleague Yasmin in St. Paul to say a little prayer to Ganesha for our success. And she does.
So where the hell, you might ask, is he going with this?
Today, my wife boarded an airplane in Fargo, N.D., bound for a job interview.
In New Orleans. New Orleans post-Katrina.
I can't think of any larger undertaking, or any thing more in need of good luck, than the decision of an upper Great Plains girl who ten years ago said "no" to New Orleans, to turn aound and--now of all times--yes. I can't think of any greater challenge than jobs, a home, schools for the kids, all of the things that would have to come together to make a move back to New Orleans possible
So as I type, a picture of Ganesha sits behind me on a table. On a plate are two Butter Toffee Rice Cakes. I'm sorry, Ganesha, but its the best I can do on short notice in Fargo, N.D.
OM Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
So, if you find your way to my blog today, please join me for a second. You don't have to be a devotee of anything in particular. If anything, I think an upbrining in the Saint-obsessed Catholic church probably helps. I think in the end you only need be sincere.
So, if you choose to join me:
For Rebecca to find a job.
For Mark to find a home in New Orleans for his wife and kids.
For Killian and Matthew to find schools and new friends to carry them through the second decade of their lives.
OM Sri Ganeshaya Namah.
P.S.--Dear St. Jude, I promise to make sure Rebecca puts that ad in the paper this time...
They made her an offer. She is accepting.
See y'all in New Orleans.
OM Sri Ganashaya Namah.
I am so jealous.
We're in the same situation. Wife is looking and looking (for architecture jobs), but no interviews yet. But she knows how important this is to me and she wants to be part of the rebuilding herself.
Are you going to work? Are you still in high tech? 'Cause that's the other end of the equation, which is what the hell kind of job can a Java guy like me find in New Orleans? Maybe it's time to learn carpentry.
Wish I could help your wife. My dad was a prominent local architect (senior VP of Curtis & Davis, and president of the AIA during the riverfront expressway battle--you can read a bit about that story in my other blog, FloodStreet.blogspot.com, under The River. ) But all those connections are long gone. My dad, if still alive, would be 83. Yeah, I have no idea what tech jobs might be like in NOLA. I'm hoping I can continue to do my current job, at least for a while, remotely. If not, I understand Chase has a large presence in NOLA, and I'll start looking for any tech jobs I can find in banking, given the old "you can't get a job in banking without experience" to my advantage.
Ganesha and the Catholic Saints, the Buddhas- ALL ONE!
End false divisions imposed by the dark ones!
Greetings again, another humble contribution in Honor of the Lord Ganesh. May all the world chant to Him and benefit from His Infinite Mercy.
Thanks for this wonderful blog..it's well read
best wishes to all Devoutees and Followers ...Ranjani
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