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Daring to speak the unspeakable


Life runs in parallels, work and home. At work, I am usually the outsider paying a visit. I speak my mind, because I do not fear repercussions. I am leaving anyway, and if they want to make me leave faster because they do not like what I say, that’s just fine. Today I spoke of the reality of large software implementations, that most implementations which do not fail outright, will take twice as long as originally planned, and cost three times the original budget. That’s just reality. But few customers’ management teams want to hear it, because it means they miscalculated. And most of them miscalculate, because they have never done it before. Their worker teams appreciate hearing it, because they are under intense pressure to meet impossible deadlines. I tell them that if they fail to meet those goals, then they’re just like everyone else who fails to meet goals like that. All’s well that ends. And it will end, eventually. And no one will die, even if it goes badly. So I speak the unspeakable, and the workers like it. The management, not so much, so we keep our voices low.

At home, we live in a desert between the jungle and the sea. It’s a pretty place, and it was supposed to be our final assignment before we go home to Mars. But now we realize that we are tired of the desert (which is hot), and of the jungle (which is wet and buggy), and of the sea (which is boring when it is not trying to leap up and kill you). We also tire of the rude tourists who visit, because they are unhappy rage-filled rats in a cage in the Northeast, and when they come to visit, they spew their rage and their hate indiscriminately.

We realized that we miss mountains and trees and snow and isolation. One of us broached the subject, knowing we were violating our agreement that our station by the sea was permanent. And now we are relieved to know that it does not have to be permanent. We may yet abandon it and seek a mountainside among the trees, where we can watch the stars at night, and listen to the wind whispering among the peaks. Maybe we’ll be able to hear the aurora borealis hissing, near the edge of space.

It’s nice to think about, after we dared to speak the unspeakable.

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