busyness v. shallowness LO30836

From: Douglas Merchant (dougm@eclipse.net)
Date: 12/03/03

Replying to LO30826 --

I am reminded of an old cartoon. One amoeba is saying to another,
"Simulus response! Stimulus response! Don't you ever think?"

Many years ago I worked in a telephone company rate and tariff group
that occupied eight or ten desks around the perimeter of a large open
office. One day a co-worker was leaning back in his chair with his
feet on his desk, seemingly deep in thought. Someone yelled, "Hey
Bob. What are you doing?"

Bob looked, "Strategic planning" and then looked down again without
another word. This immediately brought a peel of laughter from the
group and was considered the joke of the day.

Later, when I asked, Bob told me that he really was thinking about the
long run implications of a proposed tariff filing but figured he'd get
a lot less grief letting folks think he was relaxing.

I fear that in many (most?) U.S. organizations thinking is not really
accepted as legitimate work. "Doing" is legitimate work but thinking
about what you are going to do is at best a necessary evil, one
usually relegated to the morning shower, the commute, the commode or
the bar. Of course, if thinking is not accepted a legitimate work,
thinking about how you are thinking (the stuff of mental models) must
be play. And who has time to play at work?

doug merchant


"Douglas Merchant" <dougm@eclipse.net>

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