Thursday, February 14, 2013

abnormal dreams

Two years ago, there was a sysadmin candidate that was introduced to me for Minted.  He came with great references and a solid resume.  Due to being gated on another decision, we delayed a few weeks in getting back to him, and of course by then, he was snatched up by another company.  He was very polite in letting me know that we were a few days too late.

This is all very normal.  The abnormal thing is that I then obsessed over this lost candidate for over a month.  I spent hours lamenting this candidate I had never actually met.  

Eventually I realized that I was doing this as an escape fantasy to avoid the harsh reality that I still had to hire someone and it was tough to find someone good. 

Last week, I caught myself doing it again with another person.  I conjured up an entire blissful working relationship in my head, only to find that it did not match the person's real-life interests at all.

I am wondering if this is the dark side to having an active imagination.  Maybe it is the side effect to the skill we cultivate by looking at a blank terminal window and imagining a beautiful framework of code.

I think companies do this too.  They imagine a partnership with another company, and fuel it on dreams instead of day-to-day reality of how well the technology integrates.  They pin their hopes on unlikely PR blitzes instead of repeatable user acquisition.

The only way I have found to cure this is to spend time getting to know the situation (or candidate) with all their foibles and flaws.  Nothing kills daydreams like cold facts.

The sysadmin story ended happily.  A month later, we hired someone amazing and my baseless obsession went away immediately.

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