Wednesday, October 24, 2007 is an Idea

One of my main jobs at work isn’t doing what I was hired to do. I was hired to do sales and drive company profits. What I find myself doing most of the time is helping other people out who seem to have misplaced their common sense.

These colleagues of mine are not stupid people by any definition of the word, on the contrary, they seem to be some of the best informed and intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure to be around. They just seem to lose their common sense when they walk through the front doors. We have people who can build circuit boards for complex electronic systems, we have people who can write miles of code to make those circuit boards do what the engineer wants them to do, however none of these overly intelligent people can count, tell time, or trust themselves to be right.

So I spend a lot of my days just answering questions that these people already know the answer to, but are to unsure of themselves to make a decision. It is the bane of the corporate world. Most corporations regardless of size, or number of employees, or perceived size, have employees that will make critical and non-critical decisions for fear of making a mistake, or retribution after the mistake has been made.

Why do we allow people to not make mistakes? When did we as a society decide that making any mistake was tantamount to success? The old saying goes…”Everyone makes Mistakes”, and we all DO make them. But why is it when we get into a situation where a decision needs to be made, we all freeze like deer in the headlights or scatter like cockroaches?

When we were kids no one lambasted us for making mistakes, it was how we learned that the stove was hot and we would lose lots of skin and be in pain if we kept touching it, or that no matter how big the towel Mom tied around your neck , you were never going to fly off the roof like Superman. These were some pretty big lessons to learn for anyone, so why is it that we don’t allow smart people to make the occasional mistake so that they will learn?

In all reality what is the better lesson, you will get burned if you touch that hot stove, or “Holy Diver Johnson! You just said the word pork to our new Muslim Airline account!!, I’m sorry but for that you are fired and you will now lose everything!” I’m pretty sure that had we not learned to STOP touching hot things, we would be a nation of blistered, painful, angry people, who are all working for Johnson and Johnson making Bactine!

I realize that somewhere we need to draw the line and that there should be SOME mistakes that aren’t allowed to continue from childhood (DO you really have to touch the wet paint after reading the “Wet Paint” sign?), but there should be a life long learning curve, to help increase the self reliance that our parents all wanted us to have. It would also allow people to use their brains more and possibly increase the common sense factor because they wouldn’t feel like they were going to get yelled at for making a mistake, or not seeing a solution to a simple problem. If this was possible, then I would have more time to do my job and possibly make the realization that I may not be the smartest man on the planet, however I can still walk, chew gum, and help the corporately repressed all at the same time.

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