Wednesday, August 12, 2015

My Personal Bane: Parkinson's Law

Remember Murphy's Law?

Early in 2015 I attended a SCORE seminar presented by Larry Hunt. He introduced the audience to Parkinson's LawWork slows down to fill up the time available.

Google showed me that Parkinson's Law was first described in 1955 in an essay in The Economist.  It opened with a simple story.  It goes like this: "It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and dispatching a postcard to her niece."
Here is how her time goes:
  • An hour will be spent in finding the postcard.
  • Another hour to hunt for spectacles.
  • (Half-an-hour in a search for the address) 
  • An hour and a quarter to compose the postcard.
  • And then twenty minutes to decide whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the [mailbox] on the next street. 
The total effort (4-1/2 hours) would "occupy a busy man for three minutes..."


Parkinson's Law is the challenge I face today.

I had requested a 6-month sabbatical from my full-time job 2 years ago, in 2013. That ended up to be an "unpaid leave of absence," because my employer was unable to figure out how to do that within their contract. The best solution they could come up with was to have me quit and they would offer me a letter with right of refusal for any job that opened up when I was ready to return.

I just quit.

The 6 months ended around the Christmas holidays, and I realized that I didn't want to go back to that particular job.

In 2014 I kicked off my Social Security benefits and started withdraw the cash in my 401K.

The unintended consequence of my sabbatical is that I'm acting like an elderly man of leisure because I'll take 4 hours to write and mail a post card. But I don't think of myself like that.
  • I own a company (A Better Computer, Inc) that I'm not marketing, yet.  
  • I'm writing a book about my Home Owner's Association. I'm trying to work around all the unexpected "help" that Microsoft Word volunteers. [Note: The book was finally finished December 2016]
  • I began college courses in 2014 for the joy of it.
    (I probably don't need a degree to get my next job.) 
    This fall I've enrolled in Creative Writing and Digital Photography courses at St. Pete College.
  • I'm spending weekends working at a horse barn. (I can muck a stall with the best of them!)
  • I'm attending 3-4 SCORE seminars throughout the month, and later this month I will be interviewing for a mentor position with the group.
    (SCORE was formerly known as "Service Corps of Retired Executives")
This blog is the beginning effort to increase business for A Better Computer, Inc. - I'm working on a new website

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