I came across this post as a stray draft a few days ago. I have no idea if I published it before or if it’s something I wrote that has been sitting in electronic purgatory for months or years. If I have posted it previously, it’s something that bears repeating. If I haven’t, it’s a post that’s deserves its moment in the sun.
In any case, here I present the following few hard and fast rules to live by that I’ve learned while serving as a cog in the vast recesses of the bureaucracy:
1. You can do it all.
2. You can’t do it all at the same time.
3. Timelines are meaningless and largely serve just to take up additional space in a PowerPoint slide deck.
4. Planning is, at best, a work of educated fiction.
5. At that moment when things seem to be working well, the wheels are about to fall off, the engine to catch fire, and the transmission explode, so don’t get cocky, kid.
6. There’s no such thing as “idiot-proof.” The world strives to always produce bigger and better idiots.
7. There’s no good work you can do that a general officer can’t undo with an offhand remark.
8. People rarely get the justice they deserve.
9. All projects can be a combination of fast, cheap, and good… but you can only have two at any given time, so choose wisely.
10. When all else fails, when you think the situation can’t possibly go any further downhill, when not even the third reorganization in eighteen months gets the results you hoped for, look out, because things can always, always get worse.