Sunday, July 24, 2011

On professionalism, and...

Still busy here, still living up to a number of commitments, still not getting paid for most of that...

Other than that, How was the play, Mrs. Lincoln? eh hem... most of the problems of recent have followed this form:

*If* you are paying me to advise you on your conduct of (a presentation; your business; your NGO; your politics), I certainly consider it part of my job to be as informed as possible on the matters that you are asking me to inform you on. However, I'm one willing to try your idea or mine, no matter how unprepared, in a crisis. Time criticality trumps optimization (or to quote the surprisingly layered statement of one old instructor of mine: "If you hurry, you make mistakes."). I'm failure-motivated as well... Things done on the fly that fail are answered by hours, days, weeks if necessary of preparation so that the next time a similar situation comes, the rehearsal is already finished; the sources of materials and expertise necessary are in the files; the response goes from full-stop to full-speed-ahead on day one. Lessons stay learned.

*If, instead* I am paying you to advise me on a course of action or to provide access to facilities and materials that your certification allows you to use (that I legally can't), I'll expect the same from you. Be as good at your job as you can be; be responsive in a crisis outside your normal routine; analyse your mistakes and learn well from them. Usually, that's 'nuff said. Except... When I discover that the advice given was sub-par, and especially when I discover in the process *that I know more than you do about YOUR job* and the only thing that puts our relationship in the order extant is that some worthless sack of shit credential hangs on your wall, then there is going to be a scene. On the best of days, I'll simply pay you off on the spot and get someone who knows more than Jack about the matter at hand; when that isn't an option or if I think somehow you might be at least slightly redeemable, then there are going to be some strong words said (cf. Humane Mule Training) and then I'll take the time to explain to you how to do your job.

But don't expect me to be nice about it.

Just to pick an unrelated example, some otherwise critical mistakes *are* recoverable, albeit extraordinarily. Usually, when such occurs, the savable are not saved, the living die or are unnecessarily maimed in the name of treatment, the innocent condemned to death... and the responsible "professional" goes on working with neither self-reflection nor penalty... and that is wrong.

I've worked with the best in their fields and my respect for people of that calibre is boundless. To pick one in the civilian world that some CompHyp readers know: 'Dr. Pat'. They are also remarkably few and far between. I've far more commonly had to spend my time and effort winnowing through the chaff that fills so many professions that deal with dangerous, critical, and / or essential matters... sometimes taking years to find one specialist expert or to climb high enough in the hierarchy to get access to one of those competent by vast capability in a craft, only to ascertain that a able junior should have known the answer. The truth is, basic competence is rarely basic any more. Out of ten doctors trained to have passed the medical license examination, I'm lucky to find one that learned ordinary reductive methods to identify when a differential diagnosis has to be further excluded... or may be worthy of consideration. Don't even ask about a capability for multidisciplinary analysis; hen's teeth are more common.

This isn't about how one designs a restaurant menu or makes sure all the paperwork in their bank branch is completed in time to be sent to the reconciliation shift. These are lives we are talking about. If I have to teach one more supposed "professional" that making irreversible uninformed choices in a situation where time is *not* critical is wrong on both an ethical and practical basis, then I'm going to...

...suppress the entirely justifiable urge to throttle them and teach them.

Damn it.

And when I mess up so badly, and heaven knows I have and do, I hope someone will treat me exactly the same way.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

At some point, it's just another noise

Happens to soldiers; police officers; parents with infants; ...heck, it might explain why the Motor Licence Bureau (DMV) staff acts how they act... when the same sound or shock keeps hitting, at some point one ceases to notice or even care *unless* it is a significantly different matter.

Same-Same here. Mag 7.0+ hit off the coast up north and no one even got out of bed to look at the TV news for almost an hour. It is Sunday morning here, after all.

No reports of death or injury yet, so let's go with Reuter's version that focuses on the matters at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi Power Station.

Now to start checking around and see if any of the shelters, temporary housing, rail lines, or roads essential to continuing relief efforts took a hit.

Me? Fine. Thank you for asking.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day, U.S.A.

And in celebration, here are two pictures:

How Tories saw the Yank...

...and shortly thereafter...

...How the Yankees saw (off) the Brits, at least from Boston.

Happy Independence Day, U.S. of A.