Thought for Thursday – Compromise and ‘Seven Wants’


Happy Thursday – I hope everyone had a great day on Wednesday, whether you ran because it was Wednesday or ‘National Runner’s Day’, or engaged in another activity, or didn’t because you are hurt or didn’t feel like it, or maybe had a nice big tasty ice cream … whatever you did, I hope you had a great day. The picture is from my Wednesday run – I tried to mix things up a bit, but really … it was just a Wednesday run. As I was filling in my ‘Wants’ for the ’10 Day You Challenge’, compromise came up – I was thinking of a discussion Lisa and I had a couple of times this week about not compromising our moral or ethical standards as a core value.

One of the early projects I worked on with Corning was technically excellent but commercially doomed – due to the timelines of two stages of innovation required for short and long term solution. Then there was a full team meeting – and they killed the project. Period. Sure they could have extended the program, changed the focus, sought different goals for the interim and so on. It made me think of a quote:

“A Compromise That Makes Neither Side Happy Is a Bad Compromise”

At my old job … there were NO projects I ever saw explicitly killed. Sure, people were moved off, maybe they eventually withered away, but there was always at least one person who had to deal with continued interest from customers and commercial people who pitched the project initially. In those cases (one in particular that I can’t discuss involves a project that would have been niche anyway, had a terrible technical flaw, but had one important customer with interest regardless), the customer isn’t getting focus or attention, the company isn’t seeing revenue, and the people working on it get neither satisfaction nor help in their efforts. That non-decision is a great example of a terrible compromise.

I have talked about compromise before, and the two very different potential meanings:

– an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
– to make a dishonorable or shameful concession.

For some people the word automatically has one meaning or the other, but for me it can mean either one given the context. Coming back to the posts from Suz, and Sara, when I talk about the little regrets through my life, many of them are times I compromised my standards, taking part in things I wouldn’t normally do or saying things I disagreed in deep down, all for the sake of instant social gratification.

But the other type of compromise – the one of finding a common route of success by letting go of the need to control 100% of everything – happens all the time. But the time you read this it will have happened around me perhaps a dozen or more times at work … and compromise and negotiation are a daily part of parenting and any long term relationship such as marriage.

I’ll say it right now – if you don’t ever compromise in your relationships, either it isn’t really true or everyone else is forced to compromise all the time (in which case they all hate you either secretly or not, and you are building a box because no on will ever want to deal with you unless forced). Specifically to marriage – a marriage where one person refuses to ever compromise is a bad marriage – because the other person is then forced to compromise all the time, at which point we move from one type of compromise to the other. And yes, I have known people like that … and no it never ends well.


10 Day You Challenge

OK, so now I am up to Day 4, and the theme is Wants. Here’s the thing – when I thought about this, nothing materialistic came to mind. On the one hand that tells me I have my needs met in that regard, and on the other that it isn’t a primary focus for me.

Day Four: Seven Wants

1. Our boys to be happy adults – that is vague for a reason. Things like college, degree, job title, address … none of that really matters if you are miserable. If they are happy with their lives – I will be happy.

2. Lisa and I to grow old together – sure this is the natural complement to my ‘fear’ … but doesn’t that make sense? If you noticed, divorce wasn’t one of my fears, sure marriage requires work, but I just don’t even see it as a possibility at this point in our lives. So if we remain healthy we should be able to enjoy a long life together … and to me, retiring and walking the beach on Cape Cod after hearing how wonderful our boys are doing … that is a dream I would love to see come true.

3. Having enough money to never really struggle – We are lucky in that we have always been employed, and have a beautiful home, nice clothes and plenty of things … sure we struggle and money is always a concern and consideration. All I would ever want is to be able to do things that we really want to do – not extravagant, but be able to enjoy.

4. To be able to run every day for as long as possible – I don’t pretend I will be running into my 80s … but who knows? I have said at my 25th ‘runner-versary’ that I would love to be running for another 25 years, which would make me 73. That would be pretty awesome.

5. To have a job I enjoy (enough) until I retire – let’s face it … it is a JOB; it is what we do to make money to provide an income for whatever we want to do in life. If we are lucky we enjoy it most of the time, and if we are really lucky it satisfies our passions. I have had a relatively few jobs since college, and have generally liked them, the challenges and the people. Many people are not so lucky, I know – our economy remains crappy, millions of jobs are never coming back, and it is a struggle. So I just hope that I can remain in a decent place for as long as I need to work.

6. Enough time for my other hobbies – I am enjoying having my little music studio running again, but really haven’t had much time yet. Life is very busy between a more-than-full time job, marriage, kids, house and yard, and so on. I have largely stopped playing video games, have a strong running focus (no duh), but definitely want to make sure I give myself time for music as well.

7. A more peaceful and tolerant focus for our country/world – We see progress, but it is really hard – and we’re not as far as I would have hoped by now. We just passed the 95th anniversary of the 19th amendment, and yet there remains a wage gap, job discrimination, and so on. I have seen gay rights move from ‘Anita Bryant’ and some very wide-spread hate in the 70s, through Reagan and the ever-hateful GOP shutting down funding on AIDS in what was essentially war on its own citizens, to now having legal protection in many states as well as the right to marry in a bunch of places. But at the same time I see us more polarized as a country – for some it seems they would rather the economy stagnate and people starve rather than cooperate. So even as we see forward progress in some areas I see us sliding backwards. That is just sad.

So what is your idea of compromise? And what is on your ‘want’ list?