Friday, March 13, 2009

Jargon Riff - Part One

It's a cold misty day outside, perfectly suited to my current activity: Drinking a cafe' au lait at the coffee shop in front of one of the better fake fires I've seen in a long time. 

I'm doing my best these worrisome days just to be, to enjoy what the day brings, and to be mindful of my good fortune.

And thank the universe that I'm not part of the jargon-filled world that surrounds me.

My understanding of the need to sit with my life crystallized this week when, making my daily drive past various plants and office buildings, I happened to glimpse - literally - the writing on the wall.

"Wait," I thought, "How do you manage a process? Why would you want to? Isn't 'process management' an oxymoron?"

A little googling alerted me to the "true" meaning of that word duo (PM even has its own international journal), and I slapped right up against what I miss the least from my days in university administration: jargon. I flashed back to those horrid meetings - program evaluation, task forces, assessment reports, and mission statement creation. I can feel my pulse rate increasing as I type those words.

As a writer, I was constantly frustrated with the clunky diction and obfuscation such gatherings generated. I'd take my pen in hand and eviscerate cumbersome paragraphs, peeling them down to their essence; sometimes I'd prevail, but often others clung to catchphrases or worried that a pared down version didn't sound "smart enough." Insert graphic of me virtually banging my head against the wall. Why couldn't we just stop and go back to our work with students? Back to true process, which tended to manage itself on its own timetable?

But back to the present.

What are our lives if not process? What are our days if not process

All around, I see pain and difficulty as people try to manage their process down to the last tiny detail and attempt to control events and individuals.

Granted, some planning is necessary. But isn't the joy of life to be found in its unfolding? Its unfolding, not our attempts to shape circumstances to fit our needs.

Every time I drive by that building, proudly broadcasting its commitment to total control, I pledge to remind myself to let go. To just be.

Stepping away can be the best process management tool I know. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliant. And you see, without jargon, how would be continually convince ourselves there was something to know? Or rather, that there was anything we didn't?