A Project Manager’s Game Plan for Dealing with Incurable Cancer

Segment Thirty-Two—Goofy Things that No-One Really Knows, but Should…

And no, you don’t have to “wait till the end.”  That’s a pet peeve of mine.  “Wait till the end.” I see it on  Reels and TikTok, and there’s never a worthy payoff.  In this segment, you’ll learn ten silly things that I’ve picked up on during my careers (lessons learned), that really should be common knowledge, and you need not wait to get them:

  1. In taking multiple-choice exams, the probability is higher that the longest answer is the right answer.  I passed the PMP.  I passed the air traffic controller’s exam (with insanely high marks).  I’m a risk expert, and know something about probability.
  2. John Homer wrote one of the best papers of all time, titled 51 Names for Time, emphasizing the need to clarify what type of time you’re talking about in any situation.  When someone says “it’ll be a couple days,” it’s our job to clarify if they are talking about working days, working days when they have time available, calendar days, 8-hour days, 24-hour-days…  You get the drift.
  3. Fred “MisterRogers” Rogers gave me one of the most valuable insights I ever got in an interview.  Before the interview, he asked me, “When we’re done here, how does the world look different?”  I use that question for almost everything.
  4. When you can’t open a new pickle jar or other vacuum-packed jar, slap it on the bottom with the heel of your hand.  That often loosens the vacuum just enough to make it relatively easy to open.  (I picked up that one tending bar at the Foxes’ Den in Salem, Ohio in 1980).
  5. If you want to make a big candle by melting down a bunch of little ones, do it in small stages.  If you do it all at once, you’ll get a huge, annoying indentation in the middle of the new, big candle.
  6. If you’re trying to tie very tiny knots (like my dad did building the rigging on his model ships), get yourself two pairs of hemostats (doctor’s clips like scissors), and start the process with those.  It’s a great deal more precise than your fingers.
  7. When you’re filling up your gas can for your garage (mower, chain saw, tiller, etc.) buy high-octane fuel.  If you happen to forget about it and leave it in your garden implement through the winter, high-octane fuel is less likely to turn gummy and ruin the engine.
  8. If you need to squeeze a few more words onto a piece of paper, consider a font change or italics.  Without changing the font size, the different fonts have wildly different letter sizing, causing paper consumption to go up or down.  (Bonus point:  While tempting, never use the font called Comic Sans.  While it sounds ridiculous, this font actually will drive some purists around the bend, and you’ll lose your discussion point over something as ridiculous as font choice).
  9. Be careful about wearing a striped blouse or shirt on a Zoom or other webcam meeting.  If the lines on the garment are just right, they’ll cause a waving or rippling effect as the camera attempts to reconcile which line is which.
  10. If you’re thinking about throwing out that old bread machine in the garage/attic, don’t!  Check to see if it has a “DOUGH” cycle.  If so, it should also have new life.  The dough cycle allows you to put your yeast-driven longings (pizza dough, cinnamon rolls, elephant ears) into high gear.  Let it take care of the kneading and rising and kneading and rising.  All you have to do is shape the dough and make what you’ve been waiting for.  (Bonus point: get a ceramic stone for your oven, and preheat it while the machine makes the dough.  Your pizza will have a real, proper crust or your bread will be truly Italian.  Don’t forget to dust it with cornmeal).

This may seem out of line considering the other topics that I’ve covered in these blogs.  It’s not.  Since my diagnosis, I live under a constant fear that some of the most brilliant insights of my life will be lost to the ages.  And while these might not seem like treasures to last through the ages, they’re things that have mattered at one time or another, and have gotten me out of difficult situations (or into delicious ones). 

We need to spread the good (albeit sometimes goofy) news that we have at our fingertips.  When we’re gone and forgotten, at least someone will be around who can open the pickle jar.

Up next?   Losing a leg, and other very real fears.

If you want to review the previous elements of this e-book or blog, they’re all posted at www.carlpritchard.com/blog

If you have insights you’d like to share or comments or conversations, my e-mail is the best way to reach me at carl@carlpritchard.com.  I’ll always get back to you within 24 hours.  Always.  And if you think I missed the mark?  Check your spam folder.  Thanks for joining me on this journey.