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Pamela E Wiedenbeck

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Member Since: Apr, 2010

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Blogs by Pamela E Wiedenbeck

The Tao of Tsau: Are you on the right bus?
8/11/2010 12:47:26 PM
"The first rats off the ship are the ones that swim the best."

I came across this quote in the late 1980s -- so long ago that I have lost the reference.  My recollection is that it may have been in one of David Gerrold's novels.  The reason that it stuck in my head was that I was questioning whether I fit in the world of consulting.  As Jim Collins would say, I was looking very closely at whether I was "on the right bus".

As I was working my way through the usual pros and cons to my current situation, Yung happened to have lunch with me.  As usual, he knew the right thing to say in the situation.  He did not try to convince me to stay.  He did not invoke loyalty or guilt or any other emotion that usually surfaces during a discussion like this between supervisor and employee.  He simply asked me to evaluation whether I was 80% or more satisfied with what I was doing.  If that was the case, then what of that other 20% was within my power to change.  He pointed out that I could change employers, or that he could get me a new assignment. However, I was unlikely ever to do much better than 80/20.  And if I was already ahead of this ratio, then I should feel very lucky that the match was as good as it was.

He said that if there were things that were both out of my control to change and were impossible to live with, then I might be better off finding a new bus.  However, if I could improve my satisfaction by working on a couple of things and the rest of the stuff was not overwhelmingly outside of my comfort zone to live with, I might be better off staying -- until at least the balance changed.

At that point, I remembered my promise to my husband which was that I would try consulting "6 months at a time".  I promised myself that I could always change if the next 6 months did not improve.  So, I continued my work as a consultant, as a manager, as an account liaison for 14 years -- 6 months at a time.

However, as I watch the turmoil in many companies today, I am reminded of the quote that started this discussion.  If I were wearing my manager hat today, I would watch carefully to be sure that key people and key skills were not leaving the company simply because they had the power to move.  I would endeavor to find that 20% that is driving the best people from the ship and having them either head to shore or to another ship.

A small part of Verse 23* of the Tao suggests that change is inevitable. It is possible that 6 month from now, your 20% will have changed.  Then how would you feel, if your move had let you escape from the best experiences of your working life?

" A strong wind does not blow all morning
A cloudburst does not last all day
The wind and rain are from Heaven and Earth
     and even these do not last long
How much less so the efforts of man"

*Tao Te Ching, The Definitive Edition, Lao Tzu with Translation and Commentary by Jonathan Star, Jeremy P Tarcher/Penguin, 2001, page 36



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More Blogs by Pamela E Wiedenbeck
• Life Interrupting Writing - Saturday, March 19, 2011
• NaNoWriMo Day 26: 50025 words - Friday, November 26, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 25: 48776 Words - Thursday, November 25, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 24: 47072 Words - Wednesday, November 24, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 23: 45313 Words - Tuesday, November 23, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 22: 43022 Words - Monday, November 22, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 21: 40973 Words - Sunday, November 21, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 20: 39285 Words - Saturday, November 20, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 19: 37,423 Words - Friday, November 19, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 18: 35478 Words - Thursday, November 18, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 17: 33714 Words - Wednesday, November 17, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 16: 31977 words - Tuesday, November 16, 2010
• NaNoWritMo Day 15: 30109 words - Monday, November 15, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 14: 27162 Words - Sunday, November 14, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 12: 23087 Words - Friday, November 12, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 11: 21941 words - Thursday, November 11, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 10: 20201 Words - Wednesday, November 10, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 9: 18516 words - Tuesday, November 09, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 8: 16883 Words - Monday, November 08, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 7: 15198 words - Sunday, November 07, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 6: 11754 words - Saturday, November 06, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 5: 10122 Words - Friday, November 05, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 4: 7198 Words - Thursday, November 04, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 3: 5471 words - Wednesday, November 03, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 2: 3483 Words - Tuesday, November 02, 2010
• NaNoWriMo Day 1: 1767 Words - Monday, November 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Effect of Your Decisions - Monday, August 30, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Sense of Humor - Wednesday, August 18, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau - The Learning Journal - Tuesday, August 17, 2010
•  The Tao of Tsau: Are you on the right bus? - Wednesday, August 11, 2010  
• The Tao of Tsau: Progress - Tuesday, August 10, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Timing - Monday, August 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Flexibility - Thursday, August 05, 2010
• The Tau of Tsau: Living - Wednesday, August 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Vacation - Friday, July 16, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Knowledge - Wednesday, July 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Attitude - Tuesday, July 13, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Urgency - Monday, July 12, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Collaboration - Friday, July 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Patience - Thursday, July 08, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Common Sense, The Sequel - Wednesday, July 07, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Deadlines - Tuesday, July 06, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Leaving a Legacy - Friday, July 02, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Status - Thursday, July 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Conflict - Wednesday, June 30, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Micromanagement - Tuesday, June 29, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Low Priorities - Thursday, June 24, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Creative Panic - Wednesday, June 23, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: My Punishment - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: The Island of Dreams - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Listening - Tuesday, June 22, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Winter - Monday, June 21, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Are you doing the right thing? - Monday, June 21, 2010
• The Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: In Memoriam of Lauretta Delisle who died May 16, 1910 - Friday, June 18, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Servant Leadership - Friday, June 18, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Boy's Dream of Thanksgiving - Thursday, June 17, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Business - Thursday, June 17, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Farewell to the Brook - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Surprises - Wednesday, June 16, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: Forget-Me-Not - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Common Sense - Tuesday, June 15, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Summer Maid - Monday, June 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Ongoing Communications - Monday, June 14, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Scope - Thursday, June 10, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Durocher: Nothing at All - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: An Epitaph - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Satisfaction - Wednesday, June 09, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Tools - Tuesday, June 08, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: A Kiss - Monday, June 07, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Priorities - Monday, June 07, 2010
• Poetry of Esther Parent Durocher: My Little Man - Friday, June 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Second Chances - Friday, June 04, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Knowing - Thursday, June 03, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Commitment - Wednesday, June 02, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- On Teamwork - Tuesday, June 01, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- The Unexpected - Friday, May 28, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Value of All Work - Thursday, May 27, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau: Consulting Engagements - Wednesday, May 26, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Productivity: Persistence - Friday, May 21, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau -- Productivity: Others - Thursday, May 20, 2010
• The Tao of Tsau - Centering - Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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