From: Bill Polhemus <bpolhem(--nospam--at)swbell.net>
Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 12:14:15 -0500
Chuck, I hear what you're saying, and this is an age-old dilemma.
For instance, I as a conservative Republican, encounter members of my political persuasion who despair that their party leadership
will ever change the status quo, and so they decide to "jump" to an obscure third-party. My own feeling is that you have to work, as
Sir Thomas said, to make things better.
Having said that, I think you have to pick your battles. There are some things in life that begin to lose their importance in your
own perception as the reality of just how much difference you can reasonably make begins to dawn. In such instances, expending
energy in trying to make things "less bad" seems a waste of your precious time.
I think that's where Dennis is at, if I may be so bold as to conjecture.
Now, I rate only as a semi-interested bystander, because I don't practice in California or the Northwest, and don't deal with the
critical issues related to seismic design that you do. But based on what I've gleaned from my "interested bystanding" it seems to me
the gist of the problem is the inordinate amount of effort that needs to be expended vs. what a client is willing to pay, and I can
see how Dennis, with his one-man operation and (one must assume) tight project budgets and schedules is going to find this a
If he doesn't feel that "his" organization is behind him in this, and if he perceives his own interests and theirs as diverging,
then what else is he to do? Admiral Rickover needed an entire crew of worthy seamen to turn his aircraft carrier; he certainly
couldn't have done it himself.
One man can make a difference, but with so many priorities in one's life competing for time and attention, how can you not expect to
say at some point "enough, I expend so much effort to so little result, I have otherwise to do with my time"? And what, if you sense
that others are not only failing to support you, but even making your aims less achievable, are you to do?
I guess you could call Dennis' position on this "sour grapes". But I think I understand where he's coming from. I just lost a major
"policy battle" myself, and I'm out on the street as a result. I don't regret the time and effort spent in the struggle, but I'm
awfully glad that it's over, and I can concentrate on more immediate things in my life.
Might this not be what Dennis is doing?
Charles Greenlaw wrote:
> Of all contributors to this list, it is easy to say that Dennis Wish leads
> the way in energy, dedication, and passion.
> Adm Rickover concluded several points with, "A common thread moves through
> all the principles I have discussed: It is the desire to improve oneself and
> one's surroundings by actively participating in life. Too many succumb to
> the emotional preference of the comfortable solution instead of the
> difficult one. It is easy to do nothing."
> It is clear which of these courses Dennis has taken.