Just A Minute…..

February 2, 2013

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clockI just read a news article about the grilling that Hillary Clinton got at congressional hearings lately. One of the questioner couldn’t understand why she did not respond to cable citing some staff level concern. In answer she stated that the State Department gets about 1.5 million cables a year and they are all addressed to her. I hope that answered the person’s question but I seriously doubt that it did.

The article got me to thinking about the time we have to do things. There are about 0.5 million minutes in a year. If Hillary spent the entire year at her desk and if she could read and digest a cable in thirty seconds she just might have been able to get through them all. That is if she didn’t sleep, eat, go to the bathroom or anything else.

So we all have about 525,000 minutes a year to spend on what we choose. In the age of gigabytes (1,000,000,000) and such that is not a very big number anymore. Most of us spend, or at least should spend, about 175,000 of those minutes sleeping and about 80,000 eating, grooming and such. Those of you poor guys that still are working spend about 200,000 minutes either going and coming or on the job.

So, what does that leave for everything else?  About 70,000 minutes for a years worth of personal activities. That’s about 12% of our time. How you use that is very much up to you.  Here is what Thomas Edison said about time:

Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. ~ Thomas Edison

5 responses to Just A Minute…..

  1. 

    To be fair, there should be a fairly systematic way to filter cables for “we are about to be overrun and killed – send help immediately!” And if each of the State Department’s civil service employees took responsibility for reading and routing just one per day, problem solved! To your broader point, however, I think time can be our best friend or our worst enemy – depending on how judiciously we use it. And like good friendships, great food and excellent books…there’s just never enough for most of us.

    • 

      Welcome Steve and well said. It wasn’t that 1.5 million cables are impossible to manage but that it seemed the senators who complained the loudest did so because she did not actually read all the cables addressed to her. That was the silly part of all that time.

      Yeah, time is the same for all of us; no one gets more or less than any of us in a given day. It is how we choose to use it that is the difference.

      btw: I really like your blog and it will be a regular on my reading list. Keep at it and they will eventually find you….

      • 

        Thanks; I am a new but ardent fan of your blog, and a huge admirer of your seemingly endless energy and passion. Please keep it up!

        (and, yes, the senators you refer to embarrassed themselves, and the Secy of State has never, in my opinion, looked stronger or more capable)

  2. 

    As a person who has lived through a tragedy that could have been avoided by better State Department communication—during the other Clinton administration—there is an underlaying theme which is “wouldn’t want to offend the guest country”. I know it is hard to see from this side of the computer world- but it has been glossed over by the over in love media. I like Hillary- but this was a basic decision gone wrong- as the same type of decision 20 years ago in Saudi. I think the Clintons see ambassadors as minions.

    • 

      Good morning Janette, thanks for your input. I know you have been traveling and if you are back I hope you had a safe and enjoyable trip.

      I am certainly not saying, and I don’t think Mrs. Clinton is either, that mistakes weren’t made in this fiasco. Better communications is a noble goal for every organization in the world. No one does it perfectly. Being one to always ask questions I kind of wonder if embassies are really getting outdated. In this world of instant communications do we really need to put a group of people at risk for these sort of things. Is there now an alternative to that. I don’t know the thought just popped into my head so I am just asking….