The Gestalt of Bookkeeping

Well!  The STC election is over (I won). The spring conference season is over – at least for me, with many successes and then – the one I didn’t do so well at. The home stretch in this hectic season, before relaxing for the summer (apart for some client work to pay the bills) was French tax season.

To do my taxes, I first have to do my books. If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to do a lot of the bookkeeping work. Resolutions, year after year, to keep my books up to date all during the year have all gone down the road that’s paved with good intentions…

Bookkeeping is a simple, boring, annoying task, right? Isn’t that what it’s supposed to be? Funny thing is, each year, when I start this process, so many things come back to me:

The lunch in New York, where I invited two of my former students, from two universities on different continents and from two different generations, because I was sure they’d have something to say to each other, and they did.

The EuroIA conference in Prague that stimulated and excited me.

The Intelligent Content conference in Palm Springs where I not only was stimulated and excited, but got to have a wonderful reunion with an old friend I hadn’t seen since high school (I won’t tell you how many years ago that was…)

The new sound equipment that I bought and have not yet used as intended (real soon now).

The trip to San Francisco that I didn’t plan, after the death of my closest cousin.

The weekend canoeing with my Barcelona friends on a meander of the Ebro River near Flix.

Doing one’s books for the whole year all at once provides the kind of reflection and review that we are supposed to do around various religious ceremonies, but that many of us largely ignore. Holding that receipt in the hand opens a floodgate of memory. It can be a time for nostalgia, for bittersweet reminiscence, even for regrets, or might stimulate us to beg pardon of someone for something we did during the past year.

Bookkeeping. Who woulda thunk it?

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About Ray

Ray Gallon is president and co-founder of The Transformation Society (www.transformationsociety.net), a research and consulting company focusing on helping organisations in business, government, and society to live and work with complexity and the digital transformation. He has over 40 years as a communicator, first as an award-winning radio producer and journalist, then in the technical content industries. His management experience includes a stint as program manager of WNYC-FM, New York City’s public radio station. Ray is a self-described "humanist nerd," and has always been interested in the meeting point between technology and culture, and has used his broad experience to advantage with companies such as IBM, General Electric Health Care, Alcatel, 3M, and the OECD, as well as in smaller companies and startup enterprises. Ray recently helped co-found the Information 4.0 Consortium (www.information4zero.org) and serves as its current president. Ray is a university lecturer and a keynote speaker at events throughout the world. He has contributed articles and chapters to many books and periodicals and is the editor of the recently published “Language of Technical Communication” (XML Press).
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