so happy it’s thursday

Many years ago, My mom worked for Racal/Vadic…  they were (are?) a maker of modems and did a pretty brisk business…  As a matter of fact, we even had an old Racal box around here at work…  So even though she hasn’t worked for them for years and they never made much of a dent in the “home user” market – unlike Hayes and … what was that other brand? … Anyway, it was interesting to see – at least for Me – a Racal modem in use.

At the particular location she worked for – they did a 4-day work week.  Monday through Thursday, 40 hours a week, off on Friday and the rest of the weekend.  Now, mind you, this was in the late 70s and early 80s – not too long after a fairly famous – and campy – movie called “Thank God It’s Friday”.  A little disco-era flick starring Jeff Goldblum, Debra Winger, Donna Summer, The Commodores, and a few other faces from the Funk and Disco era of pop music.  Even a girl known as Terri Nunn – soon to become famous as a singer for the “alternative” – New Wave – group BERLIN – best known for the ballad “Take My Breath Away” from the Tom Cruise flick – Top Gun.  I think it may actually have been Jeff Goldblum’s first BIG role….

The movie gave rise to a quick and fun little acronym – TGIF – Thank God (goodness, whatever!) It’s Friday – meaning you had the weekend to go and have fun!  It was Friday night, you could go out to a disco and dance your stress away or drink yourself into a stupor or do whatever else it was you wanted to do on a fun and potentially fun Friday night.

Back to Racal/Vadic.  Since they only worked 4 days a week, their Thursday was a lot like everybody else’s Friday…  So they came up with a great concept – “Let’s get a slogan and put it on a shirt!”

So they did.

So Happy It’s Thursday.  S H I T …  Ooops!

Of course, it was known that the acronym would be … well … just that.  And it was a big joke and a great laugh for the manager that approved and had the shirts made and given out and sold to the employees…  Big letters down the front of the shirt:


Ah, yes.

OK, now the reason for this tale of fun with words…?  Well, it kind of goes back to My previous blog about TOOLS and using them, and how we can give people these great tools and show them the fantastic benefits of those tools, but if they don’t use them, we’re lost.

This morning, on My commute, I was annoyed…  And that is an understatement.  I was nearly hit by a woman with her cell phone to her ear.  Then there was the erratic driver – also with the cell phone pasted to their ear.  And then at least 3 more people with cell phones attached to their ears!  Yet, in that other blog, I’d talked about those wonderful tools – that Bluetooth or headset – and how those tools can make life so much better…  Easier…  Safer.

And now you’re asking yourself – what the heck is this guy going on and on and on about…?  What does a blog about TOOLS have to do with an acronym that sounds like a “dirty word”…?  What is it all about, Alfie…?

And I’ll tell you…  It’s all about making lives easier and better – through the use of TOOLS – and giving up the “old” and embracing the new.

These days, so many people still stick to the old way of doing things – kind of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” line of thought.  No need to make a better mousetrap, because the original works so well.  Everything old is new again.  Blah, blah, blah.

As you’ve maybe read in the past, I’ve been working on the 810 spec for our accounting department.  It’s been … a struggle … and I think I can finally see some light at the end of that tunnel.  Of course, it’s been interesting to see how some of the attitudes and concepts have changed in the accounting department; one of the first supporters of the concept has now turned into one of the hurdles and roadblocks we need to overcome.  This accounting manager was all gung-ho for the concept and yet now is throwing up new requests and changes to a report that has already been finalized.  Or at least HAD been finalized…

And then there’s the flip side – the accounting clerk that was happy with the “old way” of inputting invoices and didn’t want to change, but is now a major proponent of the NEW way.  “Oh, my job is so much easier now!” is a regular comment…

Then I can go back to the cell phone users I talked about earlier – they’re still clinging to the “old way” – having that little electronic box in their hand, at their ear, yakking away.  But it could be SO MUCH EASIER if they just did a headset.  The NEW way IS better.  And safer; and easier.

“But I don’t want to change!”

Same can be said of any new concept that comes along to make life better; easier; more efficient.  Over on the EDI-L Yahoo! group, one of the posters mentioned – or rather asked – if anybody had a kind of “EDI FOR DUMMIES” presentation or similar that she could use to explain the concepts of EDI to a sales director.  She was looking for a way to explain – what can be – a fairly technical concept to a completely non-technical person.  Something that could show the sales director what value existed in EDI.  But in his terms and in a way he could understand.

To the sales director, the concept is outside of his bubble – his sphere of knowledge and understanding.  And it’s not really something he’s interested in.  And the only reason he’s probably asking about it is because some possible new client is asking about it.  And he wants to look smart and with-it and in-the-loop and not appear to be a dolt.

And it’s something new and different.  At least it is to him.

The concept of the 4 day work-week is “new and different”, too.  Or at least, it was.  But it was shown to have a benefit.  And it worked.  And it made people’s lives better.  Telecommuting is “new and different” to some people’s ways of thinking, too.  But it can make things better and easier. 

Think of all of the things that have changed in just the past – 10 years?  20 years?  Think of where we were before the advent of the cell phone; before DSL; before iPod.  We did things the “old way”.  We used pay phones, we walked next door to talk to a neighbor; we used dial up or didn’t even have “the Net”.  We read books, listened to portable radios, bought CDs.

Things HAVE changed.  In many ways, things HAVE gotten better.  But things have also gotten more complex and not always easier.  We’ve advanced as a society and as a world with some of our technologies and our changes.

All that it took was a brave soul (or two or two-thousand!) to make and accept the change and go with it; to use those tools and to better their lives.  To understand what benefits could be had by using the 4-day workweek, the telecommuting, by using EDI.

And sure, there have been some … pitfalls … with those advances.  People’s attention spans seem shorter; driving can be more dangerous; EDI communications can fail.  Some of those advances can seem to have made us take a step back; or at least a step on a wrong track or in a seemingly wrong direction.  But if we stay that course – follow through, use those tools and keep looking to the future and watching out for those pitfalls – imagine what can happen.

Shi…  Um… I mean So Happy It’s Thursday.  At least the weekend is almost here.

Author: Craig Dunham – EDI Coordinator
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