Monday, August 22, 2016

the wheel of the year.

I'm a few weeks back at work now, after a long medical leave. We got Leela on my first day away, so I've been sitting in my home office, having a pretty good transition back, but generally skeptical of this thing where I work all day instead of napping with my dog and taking her places on off-leash walks.

Work is quite a bit better; my old manager left right before I came back, and the new one is wiser, and as a result I am learning stuff again, which is fabulous. About half of it is stuff I want to know, even.

There's a concept in organizations called the Peter Principle. I first encountered this as a kid, where it was listed as "a person rises to the level of their incompetence," which never made any sense to me; but books and the Internet have since explained it. It suffers from imprecise language, even as English goes, and would be better phrased as "a person rises just past the level of their competence." Someone does a sequence of jobs well, or well enough to get by, until finally they get promoted to a role where they cannot perform well at all. No one wants to take responsibility for promoting the wrong person, especially if everyone involved is white men, so a person can just flounder along for years and years, in a job they have no hope of succeeding at. This is how good engineers wind up as bad executives.

I've been cranking away at some fantastic fiction books, but I've had a much harder time finding narrative non-fiction that holds my interest. I ended up with an overflow of emotionally-demanding psychology books, plus the ongoing projects A People's History of the United States and Anti-Intellectualism In American Life. Cubed and NeuroTribes are fine books, but they're not holding my attention quite fully. I started re-reading The Inheritance of Rome: Illuminating the Dark Ages, 400-1000 and I plan to finish it this time, but it's a bit more academic, though nothing like The Horse, the Wheel, and Language.

Things change, other things change more slowly. That's one of our functions as parents, maybe: the children change so fast that they can't see us changing more slowly, and that's close enough to real that we can be stable references points for them to stumble blindly into, forget about entirely, hang clothing on, or use for support, depending on the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment