Thursday, September 22

Good Advice

It's a terrible URL, and it's a worse title, but "hugh macleod" at said some pretty cool stuff about a year ago on how to have smarter conversations. It's good advice, and an interesting piece; his point #6, "Ruthlessly avoid working for companies that think they know better than you", struck me as particularly non-obvious. That said, I understand exactly what he's talking about. It's hard to have smart conversations, to advance the state of the art, in an environment that's not centred on doing so.

What I'm not certain about is whether that situation -- your employing organization thinking it knows better than you -- is discernible from personality conflict between you and your management. Sometimes organizations do know better than you, because they have experience you don't. Sometimes that experience isn't obvious at first glance; sometimes it's baked into processes that are there to make it difficult to do the easy, but wrong, thing. Is that conflict resolvable? Should Hugh have made a distinction between companies that think they know better and don't and companies that think they know better and do? How does a peon go about determining which case they're dealing with?

John Unger's comment on the post had a Quotable Quote in it too, on the subject of bathroom graffiti: "there's a disconnect between the idea of seeking wisdom and finding it on the shithouse wall."

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