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Bob and I were chatting a bit this morning…and we’re both stunned and humbled by what’s going on.

As you may (or may not…and if not, shame on you…pay more attention to us, dammit!) already know, our December 15th event is not only our year-end “Hey, let’s all get together for a drink” event, but we decided that we wanted to continue doing good stuff for local folks.  Last month’s event at the BlackFinn with Goodtimes for Gleaners was a good start…but we wanted to do more.

And as always seems to happen with us, things just didn’t quite go as planned…

See, originally, we were going to do something with Toys for Tots.  I mean, people like kids, right?  Hard to say “no” to doing something that helps bring a smile to a kid’s face, right?  Right.

It’s too bad they’re so damnably disorganized.

Over the course of about a week, multiple emails were sent off, and multiple voicemails were left, trying to touch base and get something arranged.

Look, we’re reasonable people.  We get that it’s your busiest time of year.  We understand that you have a lot going on right now.  We all do.  However, this is what you’re supposed to be doing.  This is your entire essence of being, folks.

So when a week went by, and no contact was ever returned (and just for the record, here we are two weeks later…and still…still…not even a courtesy email or returned phone call), we started kicking around options and figuring out what our next steps ought to be.

Enter Russ Dotson, a recruiter from Qualified Business Solutions who comes to our events pretty regularly.  Now, I’m not here to do a dog and pony show about Russ’ credentials or why he’s a solid guy for how, why and when he enlisted…you go ahead and buy him a soda (he doesn’t drink…and we like him anyway, so that should tell you something) and ask him for the story yourself, and then be prepared to buy him a few more.

Anyway – Russ had the idea that there were guys from his unit still over in Afghanistan.  He also knows first-hand that, unfortunately, most of the “care package” efforts that people do…

Hmmm.  How to put this?

Well, it’s sort of like when your kids bring home the 87th mangled lump of clay from school and announce that it’s yet another present for you.  You can see the pride in their eyes and so you tell them what a great job they did, and how pretty it is, and how awesome it’ll look on your desk at work…and then, as soon as you’re sure they’ve forgotten about it, it goes in the trash.

You know us – if we’re going to do something, we’re going to do it right.  And so this appealed to us.

So, here’s what you do:

  1. You hit the event listing out at http://www.ITinTheD.com/event/december-2011/ and you read.
  2. All of it.
  3. Then you come to the event.

Now, we’ve always said that we do this for the sake of doing it…so just like we say over on that event listing, we’ll say it again: this isn’t mandatory.  You don’t HAVE to participate in this to show up and hang out.  You don’t.  We’re not going to hold it against you, and it’s still a casual networking event for information technology professionals here in metro Detroit.

But that’s where the “humbling” and “stunned” parts come in – so far, response has been off the charts positive.  We’ve got people in the LinkedIn group http://www.linkedin.com/groups/ITintheDorg-Detroit-Networking-Events-IT-91763 not only looking forward to coming and participating…but taking the ball and running with it.  Folks are bringing extra iPods.  Seriously?  Never in a million years did I think anyone would do that…and there are multiple people doing so.  We’ve got people volunteering to help collect stuff.  We’ve got…

…well, we’ve got just about the best damned group of people around, apparently.  Seriously, this is a bit overwhelming to watch happen.

So, for those of you just hearing about this for the first time, get on over to that event listing at http://www.ITinTheD.com/event/december-2011/ and we hope to see you there.

David Phillips is the geek that’s been pushed into management roles over the span of his career. He’s been a helpdesk jockey, a team lead, a systems architect and even a Vice President over the course of his more than 20 years in information technology for a variety of industries. He’s been profiled by CNN’s Money Magazine for his work with the group, as well as being a regular speaker for the Michigan Shifting Gears program, winning 2013’s “Outstanding Contributor for the Transformation of Careers and Lives”.

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