Monthly Archives: October 2014

Paying Heed to the Peter Principle

geese v formation during migrationA few days ago I watched a formation of honking geese flying overhead while I walked my dog. They maintained a perfect ‘V,’ with the exception of one lone goose who flew to the far left, almost separate from the group. When the others veered to the right, the loner drifted further to the left for a few seconds before sensing the error and making a correction.

I related to the wayward goose, for despite all the modern tools provided these days to keep my life on course, lately things aren’t going perfectly.

In fact, I believe I’ve fallen  victim to the Peter Principle.

The Peter Principle is a management theory in which the selection of a candidate for a position is based on the person’s performance in his or her current role, NOT their abilities relevant to the intended role. So eventually, most people will rise to their level of incompetence.

originalWhere I’ve petered out, is in the area of technology. And before you assume I’m a technophobe (noun, a person who fears, dislikes, or avoids new technology), I am not. I’ve adored personal computers from the first time I laid eyes on them and played pong until my fingers could no longer twist the knob to move the virtual paddle.

So why  is my head spinning lately?  Could it be because automation is invading every single area of my life…even when the “old” way worked just fine?

This notion came to full light with a recent new car purchase. For over thirty-five years, I’ve backed up by throwing the car into reverse, taking a quick peek in the rearview mirror, and looking back over each shoulder. Throw in one rear-back up camera and my world as I know it has derailed. For some unexplained reason, each time I’d go to back up, I’d fumble. Should I do it the old way? The new way? Some combination of the two? (no blond jokes, please) Within two weeks, I’d backed into a telephone pole in a parking lot. Now I ignore the camera.

And what about the GPS? Like the loner goose,  I should be able to navigate effortlessly. The woman with the lovely voice is leading the pack, right? No, not right. Years ago I’d have looked at a map before going someplace new. Now I’m at the mercy of a “mechanical” flock to lead me someplace. Sometimes want to go right when she says left, but have no idea where I am. Like my goose friend, I always veer in the direction I’m told, though.

CTO_268028Even a simple thing like the outside temperature was a small issue in my house. When our outside thermometer broke in a storm, my husband wanted one of those indoor/outdoor temperature gadgets. A device kept outside picks up the air temps, reporting them to the pretty digital thing sitting on our kitchen counter. Well, rain, dead batteries and a host of other problems would often distort the outside temperatures and I longed for the problem-free old-fashioned kind. Guess what’s now mounted back outside my window? Chalk up one for  good old-fashioned innovation.

How do you find the ever-changing world of technology? Love it or hate it?