After I had forcefully expressed my extreme frustration with my insane boss at Microsoft a manager higher in the chain of command told me, “It’s good to have clarity.” Although I was infuriated at the time the phrase stuck with me and I see it’s application to many situations.
Obviously, with clarity of the problem the solution set is smaller and more likely to succeed. What’s even more interesting to me is that in so many of the cases the clarity of widely varying situations lead to the exact same, obviously correct, solution.
Some examples will make my point. The following are not even half of the things that immediately come to mind. But some were close enough telling the stories would have been somewhat repetitive.
Nearly a dozen years ago I met a young woman, Patrycja, at a party who after learning I was an engineer cheerfully told me of all the money she had been making recently. She was a stripper at a club (no, she wasn’t working the party I was at, she was fully clothed) and although she made very good money there it was nothing to what she made from a recent “gold mine” she had been working. Some middle aged engineer who had near zero social skills and had never had a girl friend had been paying her for private visits to his home. No, she never had sex with him. She would strip and/or just spend time with him a couple times a week for a few hours. He had lived alone and frugally for many years while making good money. He had a lot of savings. In the last few weeks he had paid her over $20,000. He had another $80,000 or so left in savings and in a few months she expected she would have collected all of it.
Maybe the guy thought he was getting his money’s worth but my thoughts were different. I never, ever, wanted to have anything to do with this person again. I knew I probably wouldn’t remember what she looked like a year (or 20) later but I wrote down her unusual name so that I wouldn’t forget.
It was good to have clarity. That relationship, even though just a few minutes at a party, needed to be terminated.
Over 30 years ago my boss repeatedly told me, “You’re the project engineer on this, make the decisions and get it done.” But then a few weeks later a group meeting he was telling us how important my project was and how it was going to make such a huge impact to the company and especially those that had stock options. “Who gets stock options?”, I asked. His answer floored me, “I of course have stock options and at review time the company allocates options that I can distribute to the people I manage. I give them to my project managers.” I was shocked that he would say this in front of everyone in our group because most of them were clearly not project managers. Still, it would be good for me even though I hadn’t been awarded any stock options yet. But then he continued, “And my project managers are Jim and Bill.”
When he told me I was the project manager on the project he just meant he wanted me to assume that role. He didn’t mean that was my actual title or that it meant anything beyond assuming responsibility for making the decisions. And further research indicated that the two people with the actual title of Project Manager were more than we really should have for the number of people in the group. I wasn’t going to be promoted anytime soon.
It was good to have clarity. I terminated the relationship and moved on to another company.
For many years I unsuccessfully tried to get my wife to go to counseling with me. I finally got a highly recommended book for couples and we listened to it as we driving from the Seattle area to Idaho. After a couple chapters she asked me what I thought of our marriage and what needed to change. I told her we needed to work on some things and I enumerated some items that could be improved. She unfastened her seatbelt, opened the door, and tried to jump out as we were driving 60 MPH down the freeway.
That was sufficient clarity that something was seriously wrong and further investigation was instigated. There were compelling signs there was a personality disorder involved. If true then there was no chemical imbalance that drugs could mitigate. Counseling and therapy is so rarely helpful and problematic that most therapists refuse these type of patients.
I was 95% sure but not entirely convinced it was time to terminate the relationship. Within an hour and 20 minutes after having been served papers she tried to kill herself again.
A few days later when talking to my counselor she said the last suicide attempt pretty much confirmed my suspicion about the personality disorder. But what was odd, she said, was that my wife had only one husband for 35+ years. Most women with her condition would have had three or four by her age. “Mere mortals,” she said, “Would have left her years ago.”
It was good to have clarity. There are no second thoughts or wondering if terminating the relationship was the right thing to do.
The government deliberately gave and let sales go through for thousands of guns to known violent criminals hoping to “recover them at crime scenes.” And just what sort of crime scenes would they expect those guns to show up at? It sure wasn’t going to be jaywalking, tax evasion, or running a lemonade stand without a license. If they had two or more brain cells to rub together they had to know some of those guns would be used to murder and injure innocent victims. Hundreds died from the use of those guns and there are laws that if enforced against the government for those gun transfers would put people in jail for decades if not life sentences. As far as I know there are no exceptions in the law for government agents and I know for certain there aren’t going to be any prosecutions for those gun transfers. Those people believe they are above the law. U.S. Attorney General Holder and President Obama all but.admit that by refusing to cooperate with investigators.
Although it is not yet certain the leading hypothesis for the motivation was to justify another assault weapon ban. The direct infringement of a specific enumerated right under the color of law which results in the death of innocent people is punishable by death under 18 USC 242. Hence, a case can be made for the death penalty for the government perpetrators. But that will not be given even a second’s thought by prosecutors.
It was good to have clarity. It was clear to me but perhaps not the general population who really don’t know the law and the details of Operation Fast and Furious.
The day Obama Care was ruled constitutional Ry told me something like, “Things are clear now. There is no mistaking where we stand.”
The constitutional limits of power are relegated to the status of a myth. If taxes and/or penalties can be levied and collected for failure to buy a product or service imagine the corruption that enables. What kind of return on “investment” can made by a company which bribes enough politicians such that every family or person in this country had to buy a particular service or product?
The only limits to government corruption and power in our country are the limits of physics and economics.
It’s good to have clarity. It’s time to terminate the relationship.
I need a new frontier.