Adolf and chums during their working bee. Hard to believe what these guys are responsible for!
I was told by my mechanic to send him a text today if I hadn't heard from him. So I did...
Me: "you told me to text you if I hadn't heard from you"
Reply: "yes have found a whole car to get bits off will call him again now please text again in two"
4 hours later...
Reply: "yes you're a couple of days early but you got the right idea"
Me: "Ambiguous... Wasn't sure if you meant 2 min, 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks. So I chose some middle ground :-)"
Reply: "Awesome you should do a blog on ambiguity"
Me: "great idea!"
And here we are!
It's really important that we are clear with the instructions we give to one another. The English language is a complete bitch and most statements are subjective rather than objective purely because of the plethora of multiple meanings english words have.
Simple misunderstanding like the example above have little serious impact on this earth (unless you subscribe the the butterfly effect.)
However there are examples of ambiguous statements that have had severe global consequences.
Picture if you will...
Austria, August 26th 1939.
Adolf Hitler is having a working bee at his Austrian holiday house. There's beer, BBQ and numerous german sausages (take that as you will) The day had been hugely productive, they'd got the landscaping done, planted the gardens and got the deck up. All that was left to do was the love seat for Adolf and Eva and the lovely white pergola they had planned for the back of the section. Never mind, these jobs will have to wait until next weekend.
Anyway, old Hitler was chillaxing with a cold brew talking shite with his buddies (General Franz Halder, chief of the general staff & General Walther von Brauchitsch, the commander in chief). Hitler simply mentioned that he needed to get those "poles" by next weekend. Referring of course to the poles he needed for the pergola, his half cut chums thought he meant "Poles" and set forth to make it happen. The following Friday, September 1st 1939 the two Generals invaded Poland, and the rest is history.
Now, if only Hitler had made himself clear, then millions of lives could've been saved and he may have become famous for his landscaping prowess rather than for being an ego manical, xenophobic arsehole hell bent on world domination.
Picture if you will, Hawaii, December 7th, 1941.
The U.S. Navy are all chilling out on shore leave, not just some of them but the entire Pacific Fleet! Anywhose, the rest of the world is at war and there are certain precautions the Americans have taken to ensure their little corner of the world stays the hell out of it, so they can sit back and profit from the sale of food, weapons, munitions and vehicles. These precautions include numerous lookouts strategically positioned around the Hawaiian islands. During the morning of December 7th it was business as usual, Commander Tosspot was radioing the lookouts as per his daily routine and thought nothing of it when Private Tardo replied to his request for an update by stating "there's a Nip in the air".
Commander Tosspot obviously thought the young private was referring to the ambient air temperature, alas he was not. If young Private Tardo had been clearer with his report then 3124 navy and marine personnel may still be alive, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 3 destroyers and 161 planes would not have been destroyed, not to mention the 4 damaged naval vessels and the 102 planes that were damaged but not destroyed. I guess there is a flip side to that, had the Americans not joined the war then how many millions of others would've been killed in Europe, Africa and Asia, oh but because they did join an estimated 300,000 people have died in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH! Schrodingers cat meets the butterfly effect! there's a mind &%# for ya!
I think I've made my point here. Let's work towards clarity!
If you can think of other examples, (positive or negative) please email them to me or post them as a comment.
Stop and Think!
I was reading an article online today about a British survey which showed that email gaffes saw 1 in 20 people being reprimanded or even fired from their jobs. I wish it went on to elaborate a little about the kind of dumb things that were leading to disciplinary action, but it didn't, it did mention the fact that men are more likely to make these faux pas than women, 28% vs. 17%.
What kind of things do you need to send and to who to get yourself fired?
I'm guessing that the 95% of these people suffer from some form of frontal lobe damage or disease, 4% are careless and 1% the victims of evil co-workers. Let's look at these 3 types a little closer...
Type 1 or the 95%ers have little or no ability to reason or to weigh up actions vs. consequences. This is a common complaint when someone has suffered damage to the frontal lobe due to accident, disease or the fact that their parents were a little too closely related. These people have more than likely received porn or similar NSFW attachment and deemed it a good idea to share. This is a great example of when "sharing is caring" does not apply, and forwarding this kind of attachment to you GM/CEO/Regional Manager or HR Dept. is not the brightest thing to do.
The other most common scenario these people fall victim to is the "You're an idiot and I'm gonna tell ya..." scenario. This happens when type 1 employee has to deal with someone they don't agree with, angry customer/client, uppity co-worker, corporate directive or perhaps they weren't happy with the quality of the viagra they bought from that very legitimate looking email marketing company. Once again the frontal lobe fails and a rather heart felt and honest email gets sent, sometime to the correct people sometimes not, sometimes these people get caught by sys-admins when the mail client flags it due to the enormous collection of expletives. These people should be flipping burgers... On second thought, I don't think I want these people handling my food.
Type 2 or the 4%ers are a completely different kettle of fish. Generally quite intelligent and quite capable of playing the actions vs. consequences game, these people fall foul of superiors when they hit reply instead of forward or compose a nasty email as a cathartic release never intending to actually send it, but as a force of habit they address it and, "click" jobless!
Type 3 or the 1%ers are the ones I truly feel sorry for. These people are the victims of office terrorism, 1 of 2 things happen to these people, They either compose a cathartic email and then go for a walk to cool down, which leave these terminal open and unguarded, terrorist enters cubicle and addresses the therapy email, "click" fired! The second scenario is when they leave their terminal open and unguarded and the terrorist composes, addresses and send email from victims account.
I must admit that I have been known to be a type 2. I have replied when I should've forwarded (to my GM no less) however I'm very careful not to write crap in black and white. I have also composed those cathartic emails and left them unsent while I cool down. This activity will cease immediately. I think I'll take up tennis or start writing a blog instead.
Let me know if you've done any of the above or if you have stories of people who have.
Stop and Think
Sometimes I wonder if I should be left alone to think unsupervised. I was hanging out on the balcony having a coffee thinking about nothing at all when gardening popped into my head. Now most people would shrug it off or wonder where it came from, but not I, oh no! My brain then goes into overdrive and decides that we can save the world with the cunning implementation of gardening...
See, I thought, 'If I had a garden I could grow my own veges' Yeah I know, no duh! But, growing my own veges would be good right, because I could save some money. Great idea! I'm obviously a genius, call MENSA. This is the point that 99% of people who had the "gardening" thought would leave it....
...I on the other hand decided to delve into this gardening thing a little more. "What other positive effects could gardening have?" I would reduce landfill because I could compost food waste. Excellent! Surely theres more to it than that though. Mmmmm? Well I guess the natural progression in this train of thought would be, if I had access to cheaper fruit and veges then I probably would consume more fruit and veges and consume less processed crap from the supermarket, meaning I would be healthier.
I then remember reading an article about gardening reducing stress. Great! I'd be less stressed out! So advantages so far. Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy & financially more healthy. This is going well so far. What else...?
Digging gardens, hoeing, planting, harvesting etc. can be quite physical work, therefore I would become fitter and stronger physically. Awesome! Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy x 2 & financially more healthy. So this is why Grandad is still going strong at 85 years of age. He's always had an amazing vege garden. What else...?
The whole family could lend a hand, me, wife & kids. Good quality family time, working together building something positive. Teaching work ethic, gardening skills, team work, pride in work. Creating a sense of achievement and everyone in the family gets the benefits of having the garden, Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy x 2, financially more healthy and now the family is stronger and socially more healthy. Brilliance! Nobel prize coming my way for sure :-)
Now, if we applied this gardening thing globally imagine how much better off the world would be. Less famine, less stress, less obesity, less cancer, fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, less land fill, happier people, happier families, better people due to the practical skills, social skills and ethics learned, smaller carbon foot print since there'd be less need to transport large quantities of produce to supermarkets leading to a healthier planet, reduced need for mental health services, less need to pump medications into people since they'd be healthier and therefore keeping them healthier, reduced need for gym memberships (yay no more sweaty weight machines), financially healthier people.
So as you can see there are 2 very important points...
Point 1: We can save ourselves, our families, our communities, our planet and our wallets simply by growing our own fruit and veges in our yards.
Point 2: I'm frickin' amazingly awesome.
Stop and think!
While strolling through a local supermarket today I had a rude retail awakening. It is an awakening I've experienced before but I must've fallen asleep again. Why the hell do we pay so much more for so much less? Seriously! And we seem to just accept it!
According to www.woolworths.co.nz a 2.25l bottle of Coke is $2.79. A 750ml bottle of "pump" water is $2.35. That's 12.4c/100ml for the coke & 31.3c/100ml for the water. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but water has the following ingredients... water. Coke has water, sucrose, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, natural flavours, caffeine and of course bubbles.
My next assumption would be that sucrose, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, natural flavours, caffeine and of course bubbles would cost more than water, and I would also assume that the process of combining these ingredients would cost more than filling a bottle with plain water.
Conclusion: Why the hell is coke cheap and water expensive!
Sports water and supplement water is much the same if not worse. Same scenario, take water and add, sugar, vitamins, minerals, something hip and trendy like taurine or guarana and is often cheaper than the plain varieties.
Organic fruit and vegetables vs conventional mass farming (CF), CF = plant, cover in expensive chemical fertilizer allow to grow, cover in expensive chemical pesticide then harvest. Organic farming = plant, let cows crap on them, let birds eat bugs then harvest. I'm not understanding here. Is it just me or is this just plain ridiculous?
It's not limited to drinks, oh no. Canned fruit, in juice vs. in syrup. Or canned asparagus in water vs. brine. I believe there is a formula here.
(product x) - (ingredient y) = product z or (x-y)=z
Step 2: Cost of x ($x) - cost of y ($y) = cost of product z ($z) or ($x-$y)=$z or at least it would in any normal universe. The correct and amended manufacturers formula looks like.
Step 3: (Also know as the "pull a random number out of your arse to multiply the initial price by")
The next thing that irks me about this problem is the fact that we tolerate it. I would even suggest that we expect it. When I mentioned this to my wife she nonchalantly said. "Well all healthy foods are more expensive..." and continued doing what she was doing without giving it another thought.
This just doesn't seem right to me, we're being had by these companies which will possibly lead me to write a conspiracy theory blog. It's no wonder that obesity and it's related illnesses are at epidemic levels in the western world when it's so cheap and easy to fill up on sugar and chemicals and so expensive to eat the whole foods our bodies were designed to use.
What can we do about this?
Stop and think