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January 29, 2008

Accuracy, Part VI

It's a pain when people don't listen to you.

A recent survey showed that over half of all employers don't listen to their employees. They go with the "I'm the boss, you do what I say!" attitude, and the employees' lives become hell. It's no wonder so many employees are turning to other means of money-making, not all of them legal.

This actually does lead into the next part of this series.

The four steps to accuracy:

  1. Admit you may be wrong
  2. See what is not fully explained, incomplete, or doesn't make sense
  3. Research the material
  4. Be crystal clear
Research is simply seeking out information to determine the truth.

Reasearch can be as simple as asking a question or as complex and time-consuming as searching through a legal library. Both involve getting information to determine the truth.

Where the above comes into play is this: I see employers constantly making a huuuuge mistake. They get a few statements, then assume they know exactly what's going on. In truth, getting a few statements is about as accurate as a coin flip because of personal agendas, fear, and greed. This goes for all levels of employment and management.

I have a friend who found herself the brunt of such a mistake. She, and most of her coworkers, are constantly complaining about the person placed in charge of her shift. The person has many complaints against him, but nothing is being done. Why? Because the complaints are coming from people below him, while the people above him are praising him, and they don't even work with him! Since that's the case, they can't possibly know what they're talking about.

And my friend is the one who was suspended.

If it weren't for Tripod's rules, I'd have a very short, very accurate, and very unprofessional responce to that last statement.

The point here is that they did not credit those who knew better. They tossed them aside for seniority, people who don't know the situation.

Even bigger is that people do this all the time. It's called jumping to conclusions, and we've all heard of it. People aren't willingto take the time to find out what they need to know to understand what's really going on.

All this was dealt with in Part IV of this series.

Here are some rules to follow when doing research:

  1. Reading a book is not research. You have to make sure the book is accurate and the author reliable. Just because he has a doctorate in his field doesn't mean he's done his research, either. Or, it could be filled with postulates and you have to be careful not to assume they're facts. (This is one of the most common problems in this country, today.) A Fundamentalist Christian website portrays everything as connected to the Devil, but their facts are completely wrong; for instance, Buddha's birth is celebrated on the second full moon after the vernal equinox (earliest: April 19), not at the end of March as they claim.

  2. Don't assume you know what something means. It's more likely than not that you're wrong because this is more guesswork than anything else. You may be on the right track, but that doesn't mean you're on the right train.

  3. Don't trust the dictionary. Dictionaries give different definitions than what professionals go by. For example, geologists define a springhead as the point where water emerges from the ground in a constant flow. My dictionary defines it as, "a source, fountain". This is too general a definition to tell me what it is and can lead to misuse. (My original idea was to use "square", but my dictionary is an Encyclopedic Edition that gives a more technical, and overly correct, definition.)
  4. Check what you're told. This was touched on in Part I and Part III, but now I will go into more detail.

    The book you read can be wrong. The person you're talking with could be faking it or have been given misinformation. That carving could be damaged so it looks like something else. This is the importance of checking your sources. This means you make sure your source knows what they're talking about. There are a number of ways to make sure, but here are the three most important:

    • Backtrack. This means to find what the author's sources were and check them. They could be inaccurate, as well. Then, once you've done that, check that source! Go back as far as possible, or until you're convinced one way or the other.
    • Check their credentials. People actually do lie about their background, including education and employment, and they'll be more comfortable talking to you than someone who might actually realize what's going on.
    • See what else they've done. If another writing or speech is something already proven to be wrong, don't bother with anything by that person as a source.
  5. With this, only two more installments remain in this series. I'll discuss clarity next time.

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