Assumptions - yeah, those.I had a revelation while I was getting prepped for the Martin City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I have no idea why it hit me then; maybe there’s something about my green Master’s jacket (thanks, Dad – it’s my favorite jacket) that just brings out the introspection side of me, or maybe it had to do with me reviewing my interviews from last week (I like to do that to see what I could do better, etc.).  But either way I was pondering and realized there are some things I’m good at…and some that I’m not.  And then there are some that depend entirely on context.

One of the things I’ve found I’m good at is learning.  I have an inescapable curiosity about things which helps me pick stuff up quick and – for the most part – retain that information.  If I ever make it on Jeopardy! maybe I’ll have a chance to use some of that miscellaneous knowledge; until that point I just use the pertinent knowledge I pick up to help me get up to speed on something quicker at work or be more useful/fun/entertaining in a conversation (unless the topic is “music” in which case apparently it doesn’t matter how much I learn – my teammates on Tuesday night Video Bingo are all better than me and will still make me the least-useful person of the group).

One of the things I’ve found that I’m not so good at is wardrobe selection.  I still don’t understand why orange and green don’t go together, and you cannot convince me that Lloyd & Harry’s tuxes are not stylish (and yes – I would wear something like that if I could find it…and if I wouldn’t get disowned by my friends for doing so).  Anyone who’s ever met me knows that my fashion sense is measured in terms of “how bad” and, my interview attire aside (nice black suit, white shirt and a great blue Jerry Garcia tie), even a color-blind three year-old can dress themselves better than I do.

And one of the things that’s heavily context-dependent seems to be my assumptions.

[QUICK, COMPLETELY-UNRELATED ASIDE:  You need to read this post (find it here).  It’s not part of The Paul Gillespie Experience – it’s a friend of mine’s blog – but it’s absolutely hilarious, especially if you happen to know the subject of the post]

In my jobs I do a pretty dang good job of making assumptions.  It takes a little time to get up to speed, but once I start to recognize trends and patterns in what I’m doing or the data I can pull it’s easy to start making good assumptions. Over time I got to the point of making assumptions in a conversation based on the knowledge I’d stored up from past deals, and even in situations where there wasn’t any pertinent data to leverage my team and I could still talk through and get comfortable with an assumption (it also helped that I had a rock star team).  In the programming/process improvement stuff I do I can apply my business acumen to a problem and get reasonably close to what folks are looking for most of the time.  And in interviewing I seem to do well enough in my up-front assumption of what folks are going to ask me that I don’t typically stumble.

But when it comes to personal stuff…yeah, not so much.  I don’t know why, but I make assumptions all over the place that would lead you to believe I’m completely clueless.  Sometimes I get it absolutely right on and it’s like the heavens opened up while the angels said “yeah, Pauly – you NAILED it”.  And then other times my assumptions are about as accurate as predicting snow in July (which, I will say, may not be quite as inaccurate this year as it should be).  I don’t know why this is – but it perplexes me to no end.  Even people I’ve known for years I have difficulty assuming correctly on.

Nothing really interesting here – just one of those “I was getting ready and thought of it” posts.  I’m sorry if you were looking for something insightful – it ain’t here today.

(post image courtesy of PMP Study Resources)

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