WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT. 24, 2013
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The Backstabbing Time Travellers

I’ve learnt on more than three occasions the importance of backing up my work - two viruses and the art of having one too many glasses of wine before I knocked it onto my laptop. Being a writer especially, it is vital I have things such as memory sticks or systems where my work can reside safely, without viruses affecting me. 

Almost everyone nowadays works on some sort of technical device – computer, laptop, iPad, MacBook, you name it. We trust these devices to save our work, to send e-mails and not gobble them up, and to help us find documents we may have misplaced. We have no choice but to place trust in these machines. 

And then what happens when one day it crashes? The screen you pored over, loved, cherished, turns black and everything is gone. This happened to me one night when I had written - what I believed to be - the best chapter ever and then, just as I finished the last line the computer switched off. Then came the cursing, the screaming, the want to punch it as I turned the computer back on and realised all of my work had gone and I had a virus.

My work was lost forever but I found a way where I could turn back the clock to eradicate this virus from nesting in my computer. Turning back the clock - being a time traveller - is the stuff of fantasy and science fiction but not on a computer. You can log on and bring your laptop back to a time where it didn’t want to crash and burn under a virus.

Admittedly, however, your work is not back, just your computer.  Then we’re back to our original problem – the work you’ve lost. The briefing you’ve spent hours tweaking til it’s perfect, the proposal you wrote until every line was wonderful. We put all of our trust into these devices. Laptops, computers, iPads, all of them, can be back-stabbers. A virus comes along and it surrenders, gives up your work. Therefore, with all kinds of trust we need to protect, we need to have a back-up. 

The days of paper and pen are behind us, now it’s digital, it’s e-mail and this all happens with technology. I've learnt that printing off a copy isn't even the best idea because you need a scanner to put it back onto the computer or will have to dedicate an hour to typing it back up again. Be a megalomaniac when it comes to work. Keep copies on all kinds of storage devices. Don't, I repeat, don't let the backstabbing time travellers fool you. 

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