What is there to say? I'm not very interesting. I'm not a good writer. I don't even dress well. If you insist on knowing something about me just wander through the archives. It's all there.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

On working with pessimists

I was talking to someone the other day that was describing a troubled project he was supervising at work. It seems that the consultants who had set the initial parameters had grossly underestimated the time and money needed to actually complete the project. Since the project was not properly budgeted or scheduled, it was a huge mess that he now has to fix.

We started talking about whether we preferred working with optimists or pessimists on large projects. We both agreed. We like working with pessimists. It seems a little counterintuitive since being labeled a “team player” generally implies an optimistic, upbeat attitude. Contrary to the corporate mythos, this can cause more problems than someone who is more skeptical about the good intentions of others and just a tad, paranoid. In the real world, the only way to prepare for the unexpected is to expect it. It is a lot better to be pleasantly surprised when things turn out well, than to be blindsided by unexpected problems.

“Pessimist: One who, when he has the choice of two evils, chooses both.” Oscar Wilde


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