Anatomy of a Decision (2)

Since there is a part 1, I owe you a second part. Otherwise I would have called this posting:

At the other side of the worm hole.

I once thought that making a decision on a change (*) works like this:

(*) I think the following could be applied to life as such, but I am mainly referring to decisions on jobs and work.

  • Define selection criteria.
  • Evaluate pro’s and con’s.
  • Draft a spreadsheet.
  • Calculate.
  • Select the better option.
  • Take the decision.
  • Period.

From experience I would say it rather works like that:

  • Subconsciousness already takes the decision but you do not notice yet.
  • You might fight the decision and try hard to keep yourself on (the old) track
  • Some external event might allow you to consider a change, often these events are unpleasant ones such as I lost my job in the economic crisis. There was no such event for me.
  • But if there is no external trigger you have to invent one. That’s can be harder than being pushed by inescapable destiny.
  • You start drafting spreadsheets (see above) to catch up
  • You start talking about the decision you are going to take, the first attempts are not rhetorically brilliant – in particular you convince yourself.
  • You are in the middle of a black empty space – a worm hole – a black hole, whatever you may call it. The only way out is through (stolen from Alanis Morissette).
  • You reached the other side of the worm hole and only then you know that have taken your decision.

Of course this does only work if you have a chance to gradually develop a decision rather than being forced to switch gears at once, such as: Search for a new job, quit your old job, take two weeks of vacation. As a self-employed consultant I had this chance and I think I had actually started to work self-employed in field 1 in order to be able to transition to field 2 in the way described above.

I had made my decisions the spreadsheet way before, but I missed some fundamental changes that the lack of development time did not allow me to ponder on. So I believe in spite of all the hyperactivity in our high-speed world (yes, I know this is a cliché)  there are processes that need time and that cannot be accelerated.

I ended up with perfectly reasonable decisions and quite a track record but I was caught in the same type of traps again and again. The feeling of being caught in a trap is a very personal and subjective thing. What is a trap and a dread to me, is business as usual or even fun for somebody else. Actually something that has once been fun has turned into a trap, and you may need some time to realize that.