Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Three New Psychological Syndromes

Ever notice how some widows will go on about their deceased husband as if he was the most perfect man that ever lived? When you know he wasn't and you know that she knows he wasn't? I call this the Dead Husband Syndrome. Pity the second husband if she ever marries again.

Lately I've been diagnosing with amusement that myself and others have the Dead Husband Syndrome about Pharmacia, our former employer.

Pharmacia no longer exists. It was eaten by Pfizer. Pfizer has been very thorough about making sure that everything Pharmacia is eliminated, including many of the employees. Those of us who are still around indulge in conversation about the good old days and how it used to be. Pharmacia is remembered as the perfect employer. We have no memory for the things we used to complain about. This variation on the Dead Husband Syndrome is called the Dead Company Syndrome.

Many years ago when I first started working as a COBOL programmer, there was a programmer named Nanct who couldn't program. She was a friendly, attractive, pleasant woman. Everyone liked her. Since I was new to office work and office politics, I watched in amazement as my coworkers talked about how poorly Nancy was treated by management. As far as I could tell, all management wanted was for Nancy to write some program code that worked.

One day management gave Nancy a simple programming assignment and told her if she wasn't able to do it they were going to have to let her go. She couldn't and they did. The whole office was in an uproar for days. Poor Nancy! How could they do this to poor undeserving Nancy? Not a soul would listen when I timidly mentioned that Nancy didn't have a clue how to program. All they could talk about was how unfairly she was treated.

Since then, when co-workers are completely blind to the fact that a fellow employee is incompetent, I mentally think of it as the Nancy Syndrome.

Since all three of these syndromes are caused by human nature, there is no cure. If you would like to contribute to my psychological research, leave your observations in the comments.

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