Sunday, September 4, 2016

case studies in stoicism: the $1M issue

while enjoying my vacation in colorado, i would occasionally log into my work email and check my inbox.  most emails were low priority, but there were two issues that appeared to be brewing.  one, i could manage when i returned to work.  the other had the potential to impact a project budget by $1M;  to put it in context, a $1M issue is somewhat of a 'big deal' with the project manager.

the issue was complex enough that i did not immediately react to the email, nor did i respond to the email.  i decided i needed a clearer head and that the issue was not so urgent that it could wait until i returned.  then i put on my stoic glasses and tried to view the issue in context.

was this anything in my control?  should i worry about this for the remainder of my vacation?  was the $1M 'real' or was it a non-issue?

i decided it was not wholly in my control and even if it were a real issue, i would still need to gather second and third opinions to confirm before any communication up-line to project managers and management.  i focused on enjoying my vacation.

when i returned from vacation, i re-read emails, talked to people and held meetings to fully understand the issue.

as it turned out, it was a non-issue.  it was a 'behind-the-scenes' accounting task that was not going to cause the project to go over by $1M.

the pre-stoic version of me would have worried and stewed over this email all during my vacation and up to the point of confirming it was a non-issue.  the stoic version of me was able to focus on the present (my vacation) and had less worry.

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