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polydad
Okay, *MY* Problem: I've got 20 years of hard training to explain my ideas to a live F2F audience and gain consensus with them before pursuing them. Consensus is a difficult and inefficient means of getting buy-in; much like was once said of democracy, its only advantage is that it works. In the "Real World", we often don't have the luxury of waiting for consensus, which is why Management was invented.

Management pisses me off, especially as I was once well-paid to do it. The part of the job they would teach you in a B-school is reasonably simple, easy, and fulfilling; it just consists of mapping resources onto job requirements,fiddling one or the other 'til they fit each other, motivating your people to apply the resources to the task, and reporting to your boss about whether you have what you need to get your part of the job done on time. In actual practice it turns into upper-management pressure on mid-level managers to cheat like hell, which is why the system eventually collapses. Everybody Else Is Doing It, and you do too or you get fired for low performance. If you saw the SciAm article on the Prisoner's Dilemma a few years back, that's what it's like.

And right now I have a whole bunch of great ideas I need to get out of my head, and an equally big bunch of practical jobs that need me to do them, and my head is preparing to shut down with a tension headache. If I had a People to serve (kinky people reading this are welcome to think of me as a service-oriented Dom), conquering my pain would be relatively trivial, but assembling the People is about Job #3 on the list. So who is my audience, and how do I know if I've addressed my idea to them in a comprehensible fashion? I don't know how to measure comprehension of hypothetical audiences; I'm not sure it's possible.

Not at all sure I'm being coherent,

JOel


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Sure. You going to bother calling, or just show up? Welcome, either way.

best,

Joel

I was asking what F2F means.

Although lunch would be good too.

F2F means Face-to-face.

What is your job?

I had been a full-time Daddy and full-time IT project manager, with the occasional hour off for sleep.

Since the Ugly Nastiness, I've been chasing my kids. I'm 48 and not a member of any protected class, so finding a job gets sort of difficult. (I stopped counting after 6K rejections.) I'll take whatever work I can find, but this is sort of the human equivalent to what happens to the Majestic Silverback Gorilla after he's a year past his prime.

best,

Joel

Alan once opined:

"As your sensitivity improves, your options actually reduce. But in my experience the synchronicity kicks in just enough to keep the show on the road."

I was somewhat distressed to discover that my sensitivity had developed to a point where I was unemployable by 22! As for keeping the show on the road, I really would like to be supported by a less rickety platform than the current combination of benefits (social security) + 'parental dole', but I don't see any options on the horizon.

To the outside world I'm keeping up the pretence that I believe myself to be "mentally ill" (which seems fair enough - I satisfy all their wretched ticky-box criteria lists), and I'm going to "rehab" once a week where I get to practice that all important skill, "how to work in a room with six morons without going postal." It's not helping, the homicidal urges just won't go away. I can't see myself ever returning to a conventional workplace. The synchronistic assist is going to have to pull my arse out of the fire on this one, I can't do it on my own :(


It's not helping, the homicidal urges just won't go away.

Come play shinai with me sometime; it's a great way to deal with the urges. Feel like killing something? Go ahead and try! Discover first-hand just how goddamn hard to kill we are!

The synchronistic assist is going to have to pull my arse out of the fire on this one

As I'm sure you're aware, it won't do anything unless you twist the crank on *your* end of the gadget.

best,

Joel. Who's amused at the number of Zen proverbs that deal with hitting people with sticks.

Joel. Who's amused at the number of Zen proverbs that deal with hitting people with sticks.

Yeah, I'd noticed that too. I don't think the great masters were all serene calmness at all, I suspect they were often actually rather grouchy, and beating the hangers-on and acolyates was probably very stress relieving ;-)


I'm 50, and had the "luxury" of not needing a job for a while (which was good because last "manager" pushed enough of the right "wrong" buttons that I'm not capable of *dealing* with typical management types anymore) -:

So I'm gonna be like you all too soon. And while I *could* claim "protected class" status, I'd *really* rather not. Especially since it doesn't have anything to do with any job I could do.

I'd be happy with a nice job as a backroom computer tech, fixing and assembling systems for a small shop. But the odds of getting *that* and an income I can live on... :-(

Portland isn't a good location for what you describe, but using a "city mouse/country mouse" model, and a city base of operations in San Francisco or Seattle, you could earn your years' income with 3 months of on-call work in the city and then move out to the countryside to enjoy it, while your shiftmate moves into the city to take the next season.

Do you have network and/or server experience?

best,

Joel. Happy to set up a shop for us if we have use for it.

Moving isn't really an option. Besides the fact that I *loathe* moving, I'd also lose such "support network" as I have if I did.

Moving isn't really an option.

The Portland area would be a fine country-mouse location for city bases in SF and/or Seattle. It'd require you moving back and fort *between* homes, but the homes could remain reasonably constant.

best,

Joel

My server experience is *way* out of date (Netware 3.1). I really need to get around to upgrading my home Netware server to Netware 4. I've had the disks for ages, just never got around to backing up the system (a royal pain) well enough to risk an upgrade.

The rest of my home network is an OS/2 box (which refuses to talk to anything but the Netware server) A Win XP laptop, a Win 98SE laptop, a couple of Win98SE desktop boxes that need to be upgraded to Win2k (the XP on the laptop was an accident when ordering) and a DOS box. Plus an oddball linksys file server, and a WAP. And various switches and routers. :-)

There's also other even stranger gear that's not currently in use like the Cobalt Raq4 server.

(Sorry. Put this in the wrong place before.)

Actually, you are in a protected class. The Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits discrimination based on age and protects persons age 40 or older.

Good luck proving discrimination, though.

Good luck proving discrimination, though.

Yeah, that's the catch; all I usually find out is that I'm not the one they hired. Not enough data to prove anything.

best,

Joel

I'm wondering whether I would be able to bear reading Narcissistic Process and Corporate Decay, or whether the memories it would bring back would make me chuck my guts up. The Ferraro 'know thyself' paper mentioned on progstone a while back is highly relevant, too.

My suggestion would be to brain dump the ideas onto paper or PC, no matter how scruffily - I often find that I'm unconsciously worrying that I'm going to forget something that seems important if I don't keep going over and over it, so shunting it into some form of offline storage helps, and I can get on with the rest of my life (such as it is).

If I understand you correctly, then finding a bunch of people that are worth serving is also my current problem. The Taoists say that great leaders lead from behind, but they don't say what to do if you are apparently completely invisible to the people you want to help ;-)

I'm not at all sure whether I'm about do say this right or badly, but there's only one way to find out:

I'm wondering whether I would be able to bear reading Narcissistic Process and Corporate Decay, or whether the memories it would bring back would make me chuck my guts up.

From what I remember from R about enervation of the torso, chucking your guts up every now and then may not be a bad idea.

I've added both those papers to my reading list.

My suggestion would be to brain dump the ideas onto paper or PC

I've tried, numerous times. I *can't*. It's borderline possible I might be able to do it as email or chat if I had someone handy and ready to respond, but if I don't get a checkable, right and proper "Okay, got that. Next?" signal, I oscillate out of control and produce gibberish.

Learning how to do this writing without any outside assistance would be the most powerful thing I could think of to do with my life. For the same reason, it might also kill me; if I can do that without any outside stimulus or error-checking, how do I continue to hang on to my contact with the human race? This is not trivial to me.

Keeping the off-brain storage organized so that the bits can be found again is also crucial, and not something I have set up yet. Conceptually simple, but much like folding and putting away the laundry is conceptually simple the simplicity doesn't mean it'll always get done, and to be effective it *has* to get done. (I sit next to a basket of laundry as we type.)

If I understand you correctly, then finding a bunch of people that are worth serving is also my current problem.

And from what I understand of your other posts, you're doing your damndest to make sure you never find them. You're skilled at avoidance behaviors; I can recognize that because I am, too. What I'm looking for is folks bright enough to catch me at it and willing to call me on it; I then have to have the reciprocal honesty to assess their calls and respond to them appropriately -- sometimes "Yeah, you're right, I was goldbricking;" sometimes "I have no clue what I was doing," sometimes "No, you're wrong, I wasn't goldbricking, I was doing X;" and sometimes "Well, I *was* goldbricking, but the pressure of responding to your call has caused me to find a very interesting phenomenon under this brick,which I am now going to pursue..."

The Taoists say that great leaders lead from behind

...Possibly explaining the conceptual similarities between leadership and buggery...

but they don't say what to do if you are apparently completely invisible to the people you want to help ;-)

A challenge to you, Steve: Tell me who you want to help, how you tell if a given person is within that group, and what it is you want to help them do. For bonus points, tell me *why*.

Extra bonus points: Why do *they* want to do it, and for what reason should they accept your help?

*I'm* willing to work with you on this and I think you'd be a valuable guy to work with. I *also* think you've set yourself up an impressive network of power-games to protect yourself against ever having to actually go out and *do* that work, and unless you're willing to put your shell aside you're never going to get it started.

This describes parts of me, too. I'm trying to dismantle some of my own defenses, and your assistance in doing so would be valuable. Someone who isn't a skilled and experienced psychological-defenses technician is not useful for that job.

In warmer friendship than I've yet been able to display,

Joel. Who has fought in full plate mail and knows exactly how much of a pain in the butt it is. And also why you want it when you *do* want it.


Pity we are on opposite coasts. I'm great at doing stuiff on paper and communicating online, but *suck* at doing it in person on anything other than "techie explaining to user" level.

Sounds like between the two of us we'd make great person. :-)

Sounds like between the two of us we'd make great person. :-)

I have greatly admired your comments here for some time. Feel free to contact me at your pleasure, 732-249-4034 (home); 914-374-8142(cell).

I don't know when I'll next be out to Portland, but had we met two months ago I could have been there now. (My son was travelling in your area and I would've had the option of joining him.)

best,

Joel

Well, as I said, I do a lot better online than in person (or on the phone). And right now I'm in a bit of "don't want to deal with "social" stuff" state again. :-(

I'm gonna chunk this, 'cos there seem to be two quite different issues.

Is the need for feedback an approval thing, or because you feel the need for somebody else to "sanity check" what you've got so far, or just because it doesn't seem worth doing if nobody's listening?

Maybe also you're trying to move from a loose, fuzzy "unconscious map" to a precise, systematic "conscious map" (theory) before you've actually got all the puzzle pieces you need to solve whatever question it is you're trying to answer (doubly difficult because figuring out what the question is is usually part of the problem)?

R is very much an attempt to systematize Alan's understanding of the world as far as possible, and after I read it, I spent quite a while trying to do the same thing with all the stuff that's in my head. Unfortunately I kept seeming to spin around and about in circles, and I eventually exhausted myself. Luckily with my amazing magic powers I synchronistically summoned up a certain Mr. Hargreaves last autumn, who got me running off in all sorts of interesting directions which were much more purely mystical.

(On the subject of mysticism, did I ever point you at the MiWR stuff? It's about 2Mb IIRC, but useful for getting an overview of the different traditions and the common threads between them. Some of the indexes are missing, but all of the site is reachable one way or another.)

Anyway, the upshot of all that was that I realised that conscious mapping is not necessarily the be all and end all. It's quite possible to let the fuzzy logic-based Bayesian quantum computer that you've got between the ears deal with each situation as it comes up, without necessarily consciously understanding what it's doing. Theories are perhaps still useful as a language to discuss the patterns you can see with others, but they needn't, and perhaps shouldn't, be the drivers of one's action.

Having said all that, I have still felt the need to do a little work on the dopamine stuff, and you'll have seen the results of that both on my journal and posted to mapdot. But that mostly came by not forcing it, and I still want to get the "theory monkey" off my back entirely. If you're not ready for that yet, though, have you thought about blu-tacking (is that a British-ism?) some large sheets of paper to the walls (the back of old wallpaper works well) and drawing mind / concept maps? That might help.

Finally, what is so important about hanging onto contact with the human race? It's not all it's cracked up to be you know - a bunch of naked apes running around picking each other's nits and throwing shit at each other. As the Tao Te Ching,/i> says, "the wise are impartial; they see the people as straw dogs." Maintaining whatever protective camoflage is necessary for survival is one thing, and occasionally one may even find oneself feeling affection for the them when they're not being too obnoxious, but struggling to retain herd membership at all costs seems like a singularly pointless exercise.

And from what I understand of your other posts, you're doing your damndest to make sure you never find them.

Ah! You must have been on the same mind-reading course as Mr. Moon attended..

You're skilled at avoidance behaviors; I can recognize that because I am, too. What I'm looking for is folks bright enough to catch me at it and willing to call me on it; I then have to have the reciprocal honesty to assess their calls and respond to them appropriately — sometimes "Yeah, you're right, I was goldbricking;" sometimes "I have no clue what I was doing," sometimes "No, you're wrong, I wasn't goldbricking, I was doing X;" and sometimes "Well, I *was* goldbricking, but the pressure of responding to your call has caused me to find a very interesting phenomenon under this brick, which I am now going to pursue..."

This "avoidance behaviour" concept is very interesting. It seems to be the central weapon in the armory of packer psychologists and "therapists", and because mappers are generally honest and concerned with getting things right, they tend to take it on board as at least a possibility to be considered when analysing their own behaviour, but I'm actually not sure how useful that is.

Assuming the "brain as Bayesian processor" idea is near the mark, and subjectively it seems to be, then we build up assessments of probabilities based on all of our experience, the observable results of our actions and those of others, etc., etc. I'm sure you recognise the feeling of "that just ain't going to work" that comes when you see people going about a task in a hopelessly naive way, or getting into pointless circular arguments - that's where it comes from (I don't think we're born with the knowledge).

I left school at 18 and worked for a couple of years at a software house, which to start with I was good at and enjoyed, but towards the end I was starting to get frustrated with the tools, technologies, and languages I was forced to use. I started to spend more of my time investigating new techniques (functional programming, C++ templates and the STL, the "extreme programming" ideas) and finding ways of writing more and more robust and elegant code, but I couldn't actually use those techniques on the projects I was supposed to be working on, and I found I could no longer tolerate the environment I was in; there's been a horrible pair of simultaneous trends in the industry recently: dumbing-down (e.g. Java was C++ with all the useful stuff taken out), and then adding back loads of shallow, pseudo-complexity (like running programs on virtual machines, reimplementing windowing systems in slow interpreted languages, using ORBs for everything regardless of the performance hit, etc., etc.), and I couldn't hack it.

So I went to uni, and dropped out after about 9 months — what on earth is the point of teaching people about "professional software engineering techniques" when they can't even write "Hello, World" in Java (they'd stopped teaching C++ and Prolog to 1st year undergrads the year before because their poor brains exploded and leaked through their ears)? It would be like teaching forestry management techniques to people who couldn't tell an oak from an elm, let alone switch on a chain-saw.

I fell into a dot-com company about that time and did some back-end web work, systems admin, etc., etc., but ran into pretty much the same problems as before - I was interested in increasing the quality and robustness of our code base and systems, but this rather interfered with the "make as much money as possible, and at any cost" ethos that I'm sure you remember. Eventually my health declined, and a few years of more-or-less continuous nervous breakdown and dazed wandering around the country staying with relatives followed.

(continued in next comment due to length restriction)


After a while, I got my act back together somewhat, and started investigating different stuff. Given that people seemed to be the major causes of my problems, and also to see if I could get a handle on my own issues, I went off looking at psychology (which I had also briefly studied at uni). Berne was a great find, and it was also about this time that I came across R. So I decided to go and do a counselling course - just basic introductory stuff. Bad move. It was ritualistic mimicry gone mad, again - basically teaching people to make the right noises, turning them into Eliza-like automatons (the most educational part of it was the 20 minutes in the last session where we actually got to watch a video of the brilliant Carl Rogers in action with a patient.) There was no way I could face several years of that.

So what next? To return to the original question, who is worth serving? What is actually worth doing? Damned if I know. Most people will die before giving up their rituals, it seems, and the neurotic cognitive lockdown that they seem to dive into the moment one tries to bring up any of the relevant issues, no matter how gently, has to be seen to be believed. Alan's always said that the only way he was ever able to improve things was when he was the boss and was in a position of power over people; he didn't abuse that power, but rather used it get them to sit still for five minutes and *think*. How do I get into that position? My CV is unimpressive, I've got big gaps due to past mental health issues, and to be honest I no longer see helping people to help companies to make money, or even to help people to help companies produce vaguely cool tech, to be particularly constructive endeavours.

Regardless of all the shit I've been through, I've always been prepared to take risks and do things that made me nervous in the past, when I thought it was at all likely to be constructive. Like Neo at toward the end of The Matrix: Revolutions, I keep getting up, time after time. Why do I do it? I'm not sure. Perhaps, as Neo realised, the time has come to stop fighting. Avoidance behaviour? My brain is the product of the millions of years of experience that my genome has of dealing with the real world. Packer psychological gibberish has been around for at most a hundred, and I know which I'm trusting. As Antero Alli put it, "It's far too late for anything but magick." Maybe that'll mean something temporarily nasty happening to me to bounce me out of the current local minimum that I've settled in, but so be it. Contriving at activity, i.e. pulling something at random out of my butt and going to do it, would seem like the height of foolishness.

(As you may be twigging, I'm about as angry and radical as Alan — the recent disagreement has been over details, not the horror of the current situation..)


Argh. The place I work is rapidly heading from a startup producing real quality code and treating its staff decently into exactly this kind of Dilbert zone. I AM SO WITH YOU.

I AM SO WITH YOU.

I accept and thank you for the moral support; as to the literal meaning, I notice a distinct lack of gorgeous women hanging around my immediate vicinity.

Care to brainstorm with me about starting our own shop? Given that we're starting in different countries, we'd have to generate a large enough level of activity to support that, unless you're gung-ho to move to the USA, which would cause me to seriously question your sanity.

best,

Joel. In search of scrambled eggs...

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