We live in a universe that is always changing – yet we have to make decisions, have to choose paths, and yet we can’t see the future. We have to settle on making decisions based on the available information.
But we are always getting new information.
I once worked in a job where this was often the case. We would work for months on a project – get new information – and find ourselves back at the beginning of the process. Scraping some or all of the work that we’d completed and starting over. There was no fault, no blame, just new information or a new way of looking at the data.
It was a stressful environment to work in.
I remember hiring for positions on my team and asking the question of what they would feel like if they had to start over again on a project they had just spent three months on – not because they failed but because they were presented with new information. If they twitched or jumped they were off the list. If they were too caviler they were off the list. The response I was looking for was something in between.
It is hard to change – to adapt to situations – to admit that the decision you made at the time was right but now that you have new information, it is wrong. So I always try to fail faster.
There is a point here – I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
I got drawn into yet another discussion about interrogation tactics and the US’s treatment of prisoners of war. The topic always leaves me a little queasy. Not because of the content, not because of what was done, but because we are looking for scapegoats. And because no one seems to be talking about what brought us here.
As I said in my posting last week we did this to ourselves. We wanted answers so badly that we were willing to give up our liberty and privacy – allow tapping of phone lines, the delay of notice of warrants etc (I’ve been reading the Patriot Act – full text here). This was just the beginning of the slippery slope. We slid – our government authorizing more and more powers to the agencies and military tasked with the job of finding terrorist and protecting us.
Thank goodness we didn’t slide so far that we rounded up all Muslims and American’s of Middle Eastern descent and put them into camps – at least we learned that lesson.
The rules have changed.
New information has been brought to light. The administration has changed. Why punish those who did what we asked. The harder thing would be to look at how we got here, understand it, and place safeguards so that we don’t do it again.
So back to my insane job.
We would work on a project thinking we knew what we were doing. As we progressed we would start to have questions. Answering those questions brought new information to light that caused us to change how we did the project. Trust me – we felt angry and foolish at times – occasionally downright stupid. But we moved forward and let the past go.
Sometimes you simply need to move on.
~ Tess Anderson