Patterns in the Pictures

9Oh what a slippery morning, oh what a slippery day, just as I was carefully driving, someone came sliding my way. I warned a visiting client to be extra careful about traveling by foot or vehicle simply due to his not being used to the extra slick layer of ice. Fortunately he followed my instructions and managed to get through the day without fail. I’ll never understand why some drivers consider themselves masters of winter driving by traveling as though they’re speeding along thinking there’s dry pavement under wheel and likely believing it’s just a sunny day in May. Three different times today I noticed near collisions simply due to poor judgement on the drivers’ part. For some reason or other, there comes to be times when the weather is the most nasty and I find myself out on appointments.

Late this afternoon I met with a client at the office who had to drop off some documents I needed. Somehow we migrated to the subject of teaching people to think. He gave examples of how often times in his workplace there are people who know how to do something well, but really don’t understand why they are doing their work in prescribed manners. He went on to say that many really don’t look at the whole picture of why his company does things in their given fashions, so when a problem arises, there are the questions of who’s going to fix them. Likely if those asking the questions would’ve understood the entirety of their jobs, they could have solved the problem themselves.

I couldn’t help myself in speaking about the so many long years ago when I worked in a computerized accounting department of a bank. After not so long a period of time, I learned as much about the beginnings of the processes, the middles, and the subsequent ends. There were those who’d done similar jobs as mine for years before I arrived and just couldn’t get past a limited understanding of accounting problems before them. Whenever an account was out of balance, I would sometimes have to stop what I was doing and go help one get a folio back into balance. I used to say to some of them, “Human errors are often times tied to either haste of hands, or a mis-read of numbers.”

Time after time, I would have to remind them of those causes, and to stand back and consider what would have likely occurred. For example, the number 9 is for some reason a troublesome number for the human mind. Any transposition of the number 9 or a number divisible by 9 is the one that more often than any chance happening, creates an arithmetical error. Say $45.00 was used instead of $54.00. That’s an error of 9. How about $130.00 instead of 103.00. That is a difference of $27.00 which is equally divisible by 9. And lastly we’ll say $75.00 instead of $57.00. We have the difference of $18.00 which is also equally divisible by 9.

This is simply one example of how we become easily distracted from paying closer attention to entering the appropriate numbers, but even more so, in not realizing when attempting to find the errors, there was likely a common transposition that took place. With that said, I’m convinced that far too many of us haven’t taken the time to investigate the causes and effects of our work to the point of understanding the whole process, and I mean to have dug deeply into the nuts and bolts of it all. I’m sure many will find themselves much more proficient when they find patterns in their pictures.

Joe Chodur

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