Dealing with disappointment

In the last few years, I’ve had major disappointments professionally. The collapse of Scalable, some of the positively ridiculous things associated with the aftermath of that, none of which I’ve written about until they are over. Almost over, but not quite. Waiting for confirmation. My job search last year, and some of the disappointment associated with that.

Recently I’ve had different type of disappointments, without getting into details. The way I’ve dealt with these things in the past has been to try to understand if there was a conflict, what could I have done better. Regardless of whether I was in the right or the wrong, to try to look at things from a different viewpoint.

Dealing with the collapse of Scalable has been a challenge, personally and professionally. I can’t get into all the reasons why right now, as we are awaiting conclusions on a few things. Dealing with what came next, from the groups that thought they would cherry pick the remains, and tie me into their organizations on the cheap, was tremendously frustrating.

Value for me would have been help with relief of the personal monetary burden imposed. Not indentured servitude, which what was effectively proposed. Doing due diligence on some of the folks who reached out to me suggested that this would be their behavior. I naively hoped against hope that this time would be different, that their past behavior would not be reflected in dealings.

Yeah, I’ve got lots to write about there someday. This I am dealing with, and I’ll eventually write about it.

How to deal with disappointment … where there is conflict, I try to work with people to understand the nature of the conflict. I’ve found in the past that keyboards and asynchronous messaging systems tend to amplify contact, but personal contact, phone calls, enable you to more accurately express thoughts and listen.

As long as I am conversing with a person who wants to get to a point of resolution or even agree to disagree, I can manage. What I find disappointing is, when this is not the case. When the people involved seem more focused upon the argument, or a narrative that doesn’t mesh with reality. I take people to task for stuff like that. On my teams, on other teams.

As Mark Twain may have once written

A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on

Information asymmetry is a tool of those who wish to manipulate. If you inject falsehoods into discussions, you can get your opponents to waste their energy countering a massive flow of accusations. This is basically how political agitprop channels work here in the US.

It is sometimes called “throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks” but in parallel, with many throwers. Usually done to protect ideologies. The instigators of such know they are on shaky ground. Many are not thinking big picture, and “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”

I try to turn conflict into a way to improve myself. This way, disappointment that a conflict exists become a mechanism for self reflection.

But when that conflict is being seeded with nefarious motives, and people I otherwise genuinely respect and like are actively engaged in it … yeah, not so much I can do there other than to disengage, let their fire cool.

Later on, when they are ready to re-engage, I can decide if I really should or not, as past unprofessional behavior may indicate significant issues with potential future unprofessional behavior. I am too old for drama, and intrigue. I don’t have time to waste on stupid arguments, and ridiculous narratives.

Attack the premise. Not the person. Reflect deeply before attacking the person. Accusations have a way of metastitising. Asynchronous message systems have a positive feedback loop on these, while phone calls have a negative feedback loop.

Someone offers to call you to try to understand your issues, take em up on it. Chances are they’ve dealt with bad stuff before and know that this is the better route to take.

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