When you work on the road, you spend a lot of time alone, and it is very easy to forget that you are part of a team.

I am reminded of part of a poem by John Donne (1572-1631) English metaphysical poet:

No man is an island, entire of itself,

every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

If a clod be washed away by the sea,

Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,

as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were.

Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;

it tolls for thee.

Mr. Donne’s words are as relevant today as they were 400 years ago when he wrote them; the only thing that has changed is the environment we life and work in.

It is a tad indulgent of me to quote the work at such length, but I found it particularly poignant recently when work started to get on top of me and I didn’t know which way to turn. The jobs started to pile up, deadlines were getting missed, and consequently the phone started to ring continuously. When you are backed into fire-fighting mode it is very hard to get back on top of the job queues, until I decided enough was enough and I called around the nearby engineers to ask them for help.

After the first two calls I was kicking myself for not calling them earlier.

One of the guys was kicking his heels, wondering what to do next. Another had already attended one of the calls and dealt with it, and I had only received the call as an administrative error. By the time I ended the third call, my work queue was back to a manageable level and I started to enjoy the day, and that’s the most important thing. If you don’t enjoy your working day, what is the point of working?

I think the point I am trying to make is this: there are people around — use them, support them, and value them. We are greater than the sum of our parts.