Thursday 31 May 2012

making your mind up...

I've mentioned before the report that I have to write at work every week.  It's boring and pointless and almost nobody reads it, so I've taken it upon myself to try and make my section of it a little more interesting.... for my own entertainment if nothing else.

The results, I'm told, are becoming increasingly surreal and stand out somewhat from the other contributions.  Well, thanks for reading.  Occasionally -- as with the picture of a mug with my boss's face obscuring a naked man's penis -- I hear mumbles from one or two people that I might be crossing the line... but at the end of the day no one is interested enough to attempt to change what I write, so I've just kept on doing it.

Anyway.  Last week was even drier than usual, so this is what I came up with:


There’s an awful lot of change going on at the moment. The new financial year always brings with it the excitement and the mystique of new budget lines, often coming hand-in-hand with a flush of amazing new processes, emerging blinking into the light of the brave new world: new job profiles, new performance management routines, new estimating models, a new and improved budgeting process. Like many people, I fear change. Or I did… but then the Monte Hall Dilemma changed my life. Allow me to share the insights that changed the way I look at the world forever: imagine that you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, donkeys. You pick a door, say No. 1 [but the door is not opened], and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a donkey. He then says to you, "Do you want to stick with your original choice, or do you want to pick door No. 2 instead?" Should you switch?

The answer? You should ALWAYS switch. You can read a detailed explanation here, but in short, the first door you pick has a 1 in 3 chance of being the one with the car. When the host opens one of the doors and reveals a donkey, then if you switch, your odds of picking the car improve from 1 in 3 to 1 in 2. Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to win the car by changing your choice. Worried about the new method of assessing your performance? Don’t be……Don’t fear change; embrace it and you might win a car. Of course, we can’t guarantee that there will be a car behind the door here. Or even a donkey. But still…. You can’t argue with the math.

Next week: The Millgram Obedience Experiment and the Leadership Team. If you’re going to read this email, you might as well learn something, right?


Random?  Yes. Absolutely.  And?

Word is out.... people outside of my department are asking to be added to the circulation list so they can read it every week.  Great... except I noticed that my boss was being a bit pissy about the mug again this week, a few months after the incident.  I mentioned this to one of our customers, who mentioned that it might be his fault.
"Oh really?  Why?"
"Because I was in a meeting with him and he was being stupid.  So I told him not to be so stupid.  And then he pretended to be upset, so I told him I didn't mean it and that he should stop pretending to be upset.  After all, I told him, it isn't as though I've published a picture with your face over a naked man's penis...."
"Ah.  Thanks for that."

This, my friends, is how to manage your career.....

[kudos probably due to LB at this point, incidentally.  I think it was him who introduced me to the Monte Hall dilemma back in the day..... credit where credit is due.]


  1. I thought I had been subjected to this mathematical blah blah blah elsewhere...

  2. I should add, btw, that I know the theory is usually about goats, but this formed the middle part of my Shrek trilogy (puss in boots the week before and Lord Farquaard this week), so donkeys it was.

    Someone said that these reports were more like blogs than anything else. I, of course, said nothing....

    (and yeah, Di... you certainly have!)

  3. The theme of my bit, in case you're wondering about the title (eh, Ian?), was Eurovision. I also got in a "boom-bang-a-bang" and "love shine a light"... but the stories in question are either too dull or too specific to mention here. Nul points.