with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I would love to tell you a different version of this story. I would love to tell you that on Saturday night when I was greeted by this infamous icon to the side, there, and the subsequent discovery that my computer had magically transformed from the nerve center of my business into a very expensive paperweight, that I simply got a new hard drive, retrieved my meticulously backed-up files, and went on with my life.
But I cannot tell you that, because I hadn’t backed up my files. Not once. Not a single thing. Because I had an invincible MacBook, and nothing would ever go wrong with it! Because it’s a Mac! And… ummm… Macful!
P.S. Sometimes Macs die, too.
P.P.S. I am a moron.
It turns out that what happened to my computer is actually a known issue, although not previously know to me, of course, and knowing that it happened to others is not particularly comforting to me, either. The only thing that our post-catastrophe research helped me with was the decision not to pay thousands of dollars for a data recovery attempt; my drive did indeed physically break, and the chances of getting any of my files off of it were slim to none.
The nice folks at the Genius Bar gave my husband (I was too busy sitting at home weeping to go out and deal with this, natch) a new (non-Seagate!) drive, and he came home and got me up and running again. I still have a working computer. He also bought a Time Capsule for automatic data back-ups, so this won’t happen to me again. Cold comfort, at the moment, but it’s all I’ve got.
What I don’t have is the last six months’ worth of… well, anything. My painstaking accounting of every business dollar in and out—remember how I agonized, before I bought Quicken?—gone. Every contract I sent out or received this year—gone. Every non-blogging writing project—gone. All. Gone.
The worst part is that I know better. I’ve been through a catastrophic data loss before, and I became a back-up evangelist. After that nightmare with my old hosting provider, I started backing up my blog data several times a week without fail—to my computer, which I was then… not backing up.
I just want to smack myself.
I spent most of Sunday with a file folder full of expense receipts, reentering them into Quicken. Then I went through my online banking records to reconstruct all of my direct deposit payments. And then I sent out a humiliating email to several of my clients, explaining that I’d lost my data, and if there was any way to easily generate a report for me of checks I’d received so far this year, I would really appreciate that. I debated that last step; do I really want my clients to know that I was stupid enough to lose all my data? Well, hopefully they won’t hold it against me. And I’d rather have the information so that I can reconstruct my accounting than go without it for the sake of some sort of misplaced pride.
Monday I spent finding and bookmarking all of the sites I use on a regular basis, trying to remember passwords which have long since been stored in my password manager and forgotten, and pulling relevant documents out of my Gmail account so that I still have copies of a few things. (Thank goodness for Gmail; although the process is laborious, many of the important files I’d feared completely gone are things I’d either received or sent on email, and so they’re retrievable.)
The worst part is that some of the things I’m missing I’m sure I won’t even realize are gone until I need them. It’s a horrible feeling of foreboding—I know there’s something I’m forgetting. Ugh.
I believe this is the sort of thing I love to tell my kids is a “natural consequence.” A huge portion of my anger about this is that the whole fiasco could’ve been avoided if I’d backed up my files just like I know I should, but I essentially made a rookie mistake and am now paying for it, dearly.
The worst part? The reason we didn’t buy a Time Capsule earlier is that I didn’t want to spend the money; they aren’t cheap, and my machine required an upgrade to Leopard (also not cheap) in order to run the Time Machine software. I had decided—in my infinite wisdom—that it would be a poor business decision to spend that money. And look at me now—I still had to spend the money, but for my trouble I also got to kiss six months of data good-bye. Real savvy decision there, huh?
Learn from my stupid mistake. Back up your data. ALL of your data. You do not want the weekend I just had (though I’d happily give it away if only I could).
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