We Corrupt Ourselves

We have developed a society where interruption takes precedence over planning and where activity is mistaken for action. OK, I will admit it, I have had a messed up week. Too many things going on in all the wrong directions. But here is the thing – too many people think that if there isn’t constant motion going on, then you aren’t doing anything. This not only leads to lots of people running around spewing nonsense, but it also means that no one is sitting down and forming a plan.

We have met the enemy and he is usI am working on a project at the moment that is running behind. This is a software installation where for the most part we are at the mercy of the vendor. That is bad enough. But every week I hear from people at my office complaining about the delays. Well, the delays were caused by requested changes to the software. If we had been willing to take it as initially demoed, there would have been no delays. But we wanted changes – so there are delays. So people complain about those delays.

Next problem. The software is delivered and there are some bugs. Oh my, how can that be?! Software is supposed to be perfect. And there is no documented training program from the vendor and the installer is not familiar with how the changed system operates. Not a great situation to be in, I agree, but one that is understandable due to our making changes and then pushing the programmers to finish faster. But wait, the complaints from my office are now on the order of, “why don’t they have all this figured out? Looks like they just rushed it out the door. They should have slowed down and made sure everything was right and everyone was trained.” Excuse me? You are the same people who were screaming to hurry up and threatening to withhold payments.

Yes, we corrupt ourselves. We rush and rush and then complain about our stress levels and the lack of quality in our lives. We yell at traffic and scream at the dogs and then wonder why our children are so loud and insensitive. We put tree hugger stickers on the bumpers of our 15 mile per gallon SUVs that are larger than some houses, and that never haul anything bigger than a book bag. We carry our cell phones everywhere with the Bluetooth headset stuck to our ear and then complain about the lack of quality time with our kids and the interruptions from our work.

As Walt Kelly’s Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.