Speculation Is Always Subject To Being Wrong
Especially when it’s secondhand
Heard a pretty odd rumor about myself on Friday.
While talking to a colleague, she off-handedly mentioned that she had told our manager I was “leaving for another opportunity.”
I stared at her, chewing on this statement, trying to compute.
What “opportunity?” And “leaving” meaning what, exactly? Did she mean, like, for the day? Some upcoming business travel? A client meeting? A conference? I mean, seriously, I looked for any other viable explanation — I really racked my brain — because: surely she didn’t mean, like, the company.
As I was searching to make sense of her statement, she suddenly stopped and said to me, with a tone: “uh, yeah — they know.”
I stared at her. “What?”
And she repeated, almost impatiently, as though I was the one playing cat and mouse. “They know.”
I went on staring at her, trying to fit this in. Like, dude. The hell.
Srsly, are we talking about me leaving the company? Because I have no intention of leaving the company.
I’ve done zero research, sent out zero resumes, been on zero interviews, met with zero future potential colleagues, let alone entertained any more than “zero” offers. I’ve not so much as even mentioned wanting to look elsewhere.
There are other employees in the office who are. Some have mentioned it to me and asked if I am too, and I’ve answered straightforwardly: no. (And if someone perhaps meant this blog, I guess I should point out that — lol — uh, it’s not a job, guys. I’ve made like $200 on it to date.)
I said to her, “uh, that’s not true.”
“Well, that’s what I heard.”
And I went on staring at her.
Because, somewhere in this play-pretend game of telephone from fabricated statements I never made, one real and actual fact is this: someone besides me did.
And regardless of who it was “originally:” she was certainly the one saying it now.
The fact that this rumor is wrong is one thing. But it also begs the question: where would this even come from? Somewhere, someone speculated it, or someone had reason to believe it, or maybe someone wanted to believe it… or, in the least and very lowest of motivations:
Someone had the desire for others to believe it.
Which one of these it actually is doesn’t much matter. Because these sorts of scavenger hunts of speculation are not worth our time. (See: this entire post.) But regardless of where it came from, this speculation has been taken as gospel, and now there’s a thread of thought unraveling and running rampant as though it’s true.
We operate on insufficient information all the time
I mean, on the one hand, we have to.
We have to make decisions only knowing half of what we “need.” We have to read between the lines, go off unspoken statements, be able to interpret and skip three steps ahead and understand what’s not said with what is.
But at the same time, sometimes: we can just find out.
Instead of working with unreliable data, or distracting ourselves with hypotheses and diving headfirst into fights over fog, we can just, you know: get more factual information.
My partner thinks we have a mouse in our apartment.
I am not yet sold.
He’s probably right, because he’s right about most things — especially things in domains such as this. (“This” being: “literally most all things.” lol)
But rather than debating this —both when it first came up as well as probably repeatedly over the course of weeks or months or, shit, a year or more, letting it build up and become a THING between us — I opened up a new Chrome tab, went to Amazon, searched “humane mouse trap” and ordered literally the first one that popped up.
I still don’t agree with the speculation, but it took less than 3 minutes and $14.99 (plus shipping) to try settling what could otherwise be a longstanding domestic disagreement.
Until it arrives (and perhaps even after), this is Schrodinger’s mouse: s/he both does and does not exist 🐭🐁 But we’re that much closer to knowing — yes or no; black or white — rather than speculating and letting the whole thing balloon out of control.
And what I’m saying is: I don’t know why people make shit so hard.
People are pretty bad at resolution
I mean, I get it.
Most data doesn’t come to us black and white to begin with, so we have to take what we can get — and when it comes to the flow of information, it’s all a dance, and you learn as you go.
And I know there are a lot of really important, human being questions in life — “are you happy?”, “do you (still?) love me?”, “what do you want?” — that are better left unasked or unanswered, because sometimes there isn’t a black and white answer, and other times even what sounds black and white — “yes”, “no” — can hide a lot.
But too often, we invite conflict into our heads and our hearts and our lives, when a simple inquiry would suffice. We do this at work, but we also do this in all interpersonal relationships — my own included. Family, friendships, work, love, the barista who, for whatever reason, cannot seem to get our order right (does he hate me??)
But if there’s an opportunity — a choice — between a.) speculation and secondhand hear-say; wading around in the murky, reedy waters, or b.) taking simple measures to find out, then it behooves us all — for the sake of our time and energy and peace of mind and, damn, entire lives — to do the latter.
Also: I will report back when I know more on Schrodinger’s mouse.
You are both subscribed and unsubscribed until you do.