I get a kick out of people when they ask, “How are you?” It’s a question that we all ask and I get the intent: to start up a casual conversation.
Still, it seems silly all the same.
Ask someone running a company (at least me) and they’ll say, “Living the dream.” I think it’s a perfect metaphor for what’s actually happening — a surreal, pinch yourself experience that is largely uncontrolled. How am I running a company, directing people while also putting the dirty dishes away?
Work life is controlled chaos. You might be able to have some effect on the actors or the subjects (who you work with and what type of things you solve) but the story unfolds in a curious way. It’s just like a dream.
Knowing the outcomes is almost impossible. Will you win a deal, will the architecture decision that you made scale, will a feature get used? While experience makes you more accurate at guessing what happens, we don’t know how the movie runs.
We often look back with a “we should have known that” attitude but don’t fool yourself — it’s creeping determinism. We look back and find the factors that shifted our thinking from an educated guess to a fool’s errand. Those events and milestones were often assumptions or milestones and are therefore unfair to use in learning to make better judgements.
So how are you?