Good Macro, Bad Micropost by Ilemauzar · 2021-06-04T04:30:52.937Z · LW · GW · 2 comments
So this is a concept that I noticed while reviewing a preventative maintenance manual for the product I support at work. To give a little context, this is a manual that goes out to 500+ power plants around the world, to be used by operations and engineering teams to ensure proper functionality of their installed system and minimize downtime. This is what I would call a “good macro” skill. Being able to think about complex systems and how to create a document that applies to all of them despite their variations. Now, for the irony in all of this, the “bad micro” skill. I don’t have a maintenance schedule for my car. I have a 1988 Suzuki Samurai that has been sitting in my mom’s garage for the past 5 years and I haven’t touched it. My daily driver is a newer car for which I don’t even have a maintenance record. I couldn’t tell you what the oil change interval dates are, and I haven’t rotated the tires ever.
My point here is, it’s easy to be good at macro stuff, writing manuals for general systems. When it comes to micro stuff, my own possessions, I just don’t do it. Incentive could be a factor; I write a manual at work that gets me recognition and praise that in the long term makes it easier for me to advance my career (and pay grade). Maintaining my car, on the other hand, has no obvious benefit other than avoiding issues in the future. There is no praise or recognition for keeping record and following oil change intervals, tire pressure checks, rotating tires, etc. You could argue that neglected maintenance on my car could result in more expensive repairs, decreasing value of the car or in the most extreme cases death (tire blowout resulting in a severe crash). Neglecting the maintenance manual (macro) on the other hand would result in possibly a worse performance review, less recognition and in the worse case getting fired. What’s worse, dying or getting fired? Unfortunately nowadays some people act like losing their job is worse than losing their life. You have an OSHA card but you don’t wear a seatbelt. You speed on your way to work at the crash safety institute (you don’t want to lose your job right!)
I’m not trying to ostracize the bad micro, good macro people. I don’t want everyone to become a safety freak, or live life cautiously at all times. This is too new to me to have any practical advice on how to approach this, I just wanted to externalize it and bring it to discussion.
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