I re-read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol every year. This timeless classic novella was first published in 1843, and the message has echoed every holiday season for the last 178 years. Especially after two difficult business cycles, I have enjoyed Dickens’ reminder of what should be important as the days and months roll by in our lives. You probably know the story. Ebenezer Scrooge was a stingy, mean-spirited, money-grubbing old man without awareness or compassion or connection to anything but his work and his bank balance. During the Christian celebration of love and salvation, his only emotion was “Bah, humbug!” Then he had a message from the ghost of Jacob Marley.
An Intervention—Complete With Moans and Rattling Chains
Jacob Marley was Scrooge’s partner, dead for seven years. Yet on Christmas Eve as Scrooge was unlocking the front door to his home, his door knocker became the head and face of Jacob Marley. Scrooge brushed this off as indigestion until the spirit, the ghost of Marley came up the stairs and through the double-locked door into the bedchamber. He was heavily weighted by a chain made of “cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.” His mission was to advise that there was still time for Scrooge to avoid a fate like Marley’s, doomed to roam the earth for eternity and unable to help others in need. Marley foretold the coming of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. He urged Scrooge to pay attention and to rethink his choices.
This Story Is About The Weight of Regrets
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” Marley moans. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard.” “No rest, no peace . . . incessant torture of remorse . . . no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.” I feel that Jacob Marley is one of the most pitiable characters in literature. In life, he had opportunities to do good things for others and to participate in the larger community of mankind. The result of those choices was to see the needs and not be able to respond—forever. Now, in real-time, we are faced with all those same choices. With so much uncertainty caused by a potentially deadly disease and the ripple effect on world commerce and politics, it might seem prudent to not be generous. The cost of not helping now, when needed, could come back to haunt us. (You see what I did there, right?)
Go For The Gratification. Pass On An Eternity Of Regrets and What-Ifs.
This is the message I give myself every holiday season after re-reading A Christmas Carol. So much happens from the end of one year to the next. It’s easy to be charitable and expansive after a strong business year. It’s much harder when there is so much uncertainty and fear. I’m looking again at those additions or needed upgrades for my own enterprise, and I understand why other small business owners might be reluctant right now to make a move on theirs. When it comes to the computers and network infrastructure that drive your day-to-day productivity—please don’t set yourself up for an eternity of regrets and what-ifs. Make the phone call to Aptica and at least have a conversation. Then you can look forward to a fresh start in a new year. 260.243.5100. It’s unlikely you will have the benefit of a visit from the ghost of Jacob Marley. I guess I’m doing that for him.
Jason Newburg, 260.243.5100, ext 2101, is the founder and owner of Aptica LLC. This IT management and support company has been serving small to medium-sized businesses for 19 years in the region that includes Angola, South Bend, and Fort Wayne, IN, Battle Creek, MI, and Toledo OH.