September 7: problem solving

In the Seventies the world was not so rife with business-speak. The only thing that people used to trumpet, as though it was the latest in high-tec analysis, was that people at work were either people-oriented or task-oriented. It was the people who were task-oriented that most liked to make this distinction. The people who might be people-oriented didn’t quite understand the distinction. You don’t hear it so much nowadays, this fancy nuance. These days the term that bemuses me is problem-solving. It is a term that people who have studied sciences have always used to distinguish a certain type of question, I believe, but now it has made its way into everyday life to characterise a kind of no nonsense attitude to getting things done, and the new problem-solver types are a bit like the old task-oriented types. They are the kind of people who think that popping a pill will be a simple solution. They say things like: I’ve popped the pill. End of. Or I’ve popped the pill. Full stop. Or Period even. Or they use the prefix Job done. Or I’ve popped the pill. Next. Or Been there. Done that. Got the tee shirt. Oh, it’s tiresome stuff. Problem-solvers must have such manicured minds. But the worlds of ambiguity, ambivalence, compromise and complexity (ie the real world and the world that actually makes life worth living) are closed to them.

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