Friday, January 21, 2011

Witnessing 1/5 of #IBM100 History...

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

...Practically First-hand

Our rabbi likes to use the occasion of High Holiday services, which our synagogue hosts at the Javits Center in NYC, to remind us to be awed by being part of something so much larger than ourselves, rather than being alienated by it. She asks us to look around the mammoth space where our services are held and somehow helps us feel akin with the thousands of worshipers that opt in to these services.

This past July, just 10 days after my 45th birthday, my IBM service counted for 20 years; I was with a joint-venture till '96, but IBM's influence was giant there, too. When it became a joint-venture, for example, all of the sudden, there were learning options galore. The prior company, on its own, sent me to one class in three years, to learn to use a text-processing product for writing my EDI user guides.

Rabbi Kleinbaum's talent for warming up a crowd of thousands comes to mind as I consider IBM's Centennial year, which is starting to be celebrated today. There are ~400,000 IBMers worldwide. Oy! So big! How do we not all get lost?

Picture a really, really, really huge virtual Javits Center, with a mashup of the enormously charismatic IBM leaders from around the world, plus a phenomenally large quorum of warm, interesting, global colleagues and I can't help but feel awed, rather than alienated when I consider the company I work for.

It's the same company that said yes to my helping start up a first-of-its-kind business development team, serving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) B2B market; the team celebrates its first decade this year...the same company that sent me to India for six months to help design and deliver accelerated leadership development learning to the region's GM and his direct reports, including a spousal allowance for my female partner, Pat, who accompanied me...the same company whose global non-discrimination policy protected and welcomed Pat and me within IBM's four walls throughout our Indian sojourn...the same company that is sponsoring my part-time Master's at Columbia University's Teachers College...the same company that encourages its employees to engage in social learning online, both internally and externally through blogging services like this one from Google, and through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook...and it's the same company that has enabled me to make real/true global friends including from Austria, China, United Arab Emirates, Israel, India, Japan, United States, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, Canada, UK, Thailand....

Too bad for the weather and inertia that keeps my partner and me from heading out to Shabbat (Sabbath) services this eve, but I'll still end now to begin enjoying Shabbat at home with Pat and our two, sweet cats anyhow. No doubt, alas, it will be TV-and-online-community-infused, rather than liturgy/music/f2f-community infused relaxation, but we'll still take it on this windy winter metro-NY night.

I'll repeat my YouTube comment, which I posted upon seeing the film that's accessible from here:

"I'm an IBMer. That means that I get to make my good ideas real, and I get to be myself in all my humanity...."

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