le chaos

“In common usage, “chaos” means “a state of disorder”. (Chaos theory, Wikipedia)

I know there are mathematical theories about chaos (Butterfly Effect anyone) but this rant simply describes differences among people. It amazes me how some people can thrive amongst chaos. They ignore mess, deadlines, plans, schedules, complex systems and just dive right in seemingly with no logic or reason.

I have had co-workers and bosses who were the most disorganized, messy and scattered individuals you would ever meet. (Nice people in most cases though!)They were among some of the smartest people I know but to work with them required patience. I’m sure they are why I developed bruxism – why my teeth aren’t ground to nubs I’ll never know!  One of of my bosses had a huge paper hoard piled on her desk, each layer going back another year. I don’t think I ever saw the surface of her desk the entire time I worked with her.  I was tasked to keep things in order and be able to retrieve some atom of information on a second’s notice. (You never know when you will need a sticky note!). I worked for another man who had no filing system for his thousands upon thousands of photos which I had to sort and categorize. He also would wait until the very last second to start projects, run around in a frenzy and stay up all night trying to get the work done. It made my head swim just to watch him. Why not plan a project and implement it step by methodical step? You know you have a deadline – get on it already! messy-desk-sipress

The funny thing about people like that is their indelible memory and their love of detail. You assume that they are neglectful, forgetful, maybe even “not all there” most of the time. They are absent minded when it suits them such as when they disappear inexplicably for hours at a time or not show up for meetings. They will remember some obscure fact or detail about something and it is usually something you have forgotten to do or neglected to do because you are so busy sweeping up after their chaos and exercising damage control. ( “Did you remember to check the tiny red switch …… or do you have that document from 1972 I was saving?” )

Of course if you are too orderly, too anal, that can almost be as bad as the other end of the spectrum, if only a bit neater.

“We adore chaos because we love to produce order.”
M.C. Escher


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