2020-01-02 | Subject | Pause If Weird
One of my big life lessons is to stop and think carefully when things don't seem right, rather than just continuing on, assuming that my approach is reasonable. Usually this shows up at work. As an example, I might observe that it is odd that there are a bunch of files with names similar to the accounting files in a directory that I'm deleting. This is a good place to stop and consider if I am deleting the right directory. If a part seems to be taking a strange amount of torque to remove, perhaps I'm removing the part wrong, or it doesn't actually come off. The assumptions about what is happening when things are odd is often initially wrong. (I am cleaning up old files like I've done millions of times to save space on various systems, or: well... some penetrating oil will fix anything.)
The shift this last month to understanding the limits of cognition, and how assumed shared models, whether the models are frameworks of words, like an engineering perspective*, or cultural models, seriously mess up communication. I think this is the answer as I pause to wonder why things don't seem right about engagement over ideas about industrial civilization. I can see this happening in so many ways. BUT, it doesn't matter too much at this point. What matters is that I focus on the handbook model and get it done.
* On my first job doing design/architecture, my project manager asked me for a document that detailed my plan for implementing a solution that solved some application latency issues. The CIO had made an executive decision on exactly what needed to be done, and cornered me and the PM in her office, telling us her decision, and asking for a timeline. I said two weeks to implementation seemed fine. My PM got very agitated at this. After the meeting with the CIO she found me and lectured me that the timeline was way too short, and I was on my own. At the time, I didn't understand just how complicated new systems were in a big environment. This was much different than every other job I had had until then. She demanded that I come up with a plan to meet the deadline, so I emailed her 9 bullet points in an email. To me, this was appropriate. This lead to a big confrontation, but my boss helped me out by coaching me on what a solution description should look like. I use the same model to this day. Later I learned that the PM had worked at NASA on the Space Shuttle project. There are many model disconnects in this particular lesson.ouroboros handbook