Saturday, November 15, 2008

Unplanned Landing

In aviation accidents, there’s something called a “chain of errors.” A chain of errors is a string of seemingly innocuous missteps that lead to and add up to an accident that, in aviation, is rarely innocuous. An “unplanned landing” is not a slight error.

I cheated on myself this week. As a stufessional, I promised myself (and the entire Stufessional Society) that I would not do any class assignments on work time. Well, yesterday, I did just that. How did I get here? How did this happen? How can I prevent it from happening again?

My chain of errors began on Monday night when, after finishing the bulk of my assignments, I decided to leave the last one to Tuesday. The first misstep was the blatant procrastination. The second misstep was that I had a previous commitment on Tuesday night that would not allow me to put in time on homework. So, on to Wednesday. I couldn’t do homework on Wednesday night either because I had work work to take care of. Another mistake, even if it was unplanned.

Thursday rolls around and, after the kids went to be, I buckled down. “I’m going to bang this assignment out right now!” I said to myself. Read the assignment, analyze, start planning my approach. Uh-oh, The Office is on. I know I’m recording it, so I’ll just watch this first segment then get back to work. It’s now ten o’clock and I’ve just watched all of The Office and sat right into 30 Rock. (Did I mention that I was recording these so I could watch them later? I did mention that, right?)

No worries, I’ll just finish this up by eleven and call it a night. Now it’s 10:30 and I can’t keep my eyes open. Damn.

So, there I am on Friday afternoon, just got out of a meeting at three, I have lots of office work to do, but that last assignment is staring me in the face. OK, just this once…

And there it is. One excursion from my plan on Monday night led to my doing homework in my office. One small misstep started my very own chain of errors that ended in my unplanned landing.

What have I learned and what can I pass on to the other stufessionals of the world? Make a plan and stick to it. If you don’t, you may have your very own unplanned landing.

(I hope no one at work is reading this.)

- Jim

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