Mangled Apple Pie

"When I ask a project manager to describe her ethics, I usually get a bit of mumbled motherhood and some mangled apple pie. Sometimes fife and drum music wafts in the distant background. I ask to encourage her mindfulness, not to test her knowledge of what’s wrong and right. I couldn’t possibly know for her, and neither of us are situated, in that moment, to choose exactly what either of us should do. I am genuinely curious, though, how she will go about choosing when that moment comes."

The final installment of my series considering The Ethical Responsibilities of Project Work appeared last week in Projects@Work.

What did I learn? The critical importance that Mindfulness makes, but also how little mindfulness is really needed to make a real difference. I relearned that as a human, I can't expect myself to be endlessly mindful, but I can appreciate just how critical my own mindfulness is. I will find myself stuck and, in that moment, mindfulness will help. Of course, as a human, I'm likely to yank and faunch for a while before I remember mindfulness, but that's okay, too.

The failure modes are polar opposites and exact equivalents: expecting to avoid mindlessness and expecting to be mindful. We can reasonably assume that mindlessness will intrude, but never when. We can likewise depend upon mindfulness, but not always upon where we'll find it.

This is, as I wrote long ago, a sloppy opera and a stupid ballet. If it isn't for the best, at least it is forever. I stumbled upon choice writing this article, as I have stumbled upon choice many times before. Perhaps, I muse, that choice can only be stumbled upon, never jiggered. What we choose to do when we don't know what to do makes all the difference in the world.

blog comments powered by Disqus