Friday, March 23, 2007

Pavlov's Determinist

I carry a support phone for my company. It usually rings at inconvenient times, like at a restaurant or at 3AM in the morning. It has a distinctive ring, I think it's the default one on that phone.

The people on the other end are looking for solutions to their problems, and are usually facing a telco company that could be losing money or don't have a phone service for their two to twelve million subscribers. There is a bit of pressure involved and calls from a CEO or head of some department are pretty common.

On a walk to work the other day, I went by a bus stop and someone else's phone went off and they had the same ring.

Late nights, slogging through source code, looking at customer configurations, being tired to the point of hallucination all came back to me and ruined my morning.

Pavlov knew what he was doing. It doesn't mean we have to like it, but it probably means that we respond this way to everything. Think about the last time you were in a bad mood and see if there is anything that triggered it.


andychilton said...

I used to do on-call for a company, but in that instance, it was because the software controlling a satellite wasn't working.

At the start, my phone used to ring Beethoven, but then I started disliking Beethoven - which is bad. I changed it to plain old 'ring-ring'.

About half a year afterwards, I was on the train and someone else's phone went 'ring-ring' and my heart jumped a mile. I hated that phone and I hated being on-call.

Paul said...

Hey Travis!

Still have my email address? If so, drop me a line.

- Paul

Violet said...

I used to hate my bleeper going off, to the point where i refused to buy any new alarm clock that sounded anything like one. I also used to startle if I was in a McDonalds and their timer went off.

Determinist said...

Andy - I know too well what you mean. The whole Beethoven thing sounds like "A Clockwork Orange" :-) At least you aren't a psycho-maniac.

Paul - I may have it - I just sent to where I think it is - let me know! :-)

Violet - I think we all agree, it's not hard to form a negative feeling towards something like a beeper or buzzer (or bell I bet). From reading about "Neuro Lingusitic Programming", these things are called anchors and it's pretty easy to form anchors for good things along with the bad.

So, the next time that you're feeling especially well, or loved, or damn happy, pinch yourself on the earlobe. Then, when you need a boost, try pinching your earlobe again. I've tried this and it seems to work quite well. I don't know all the rules though. Have fun.

Determinist said...

Hey Paul - I sent an email address to the wrong Paul - a last name would be useful. :-)

Paul said...

bah, I'll have to rely on google's spam trapping. You can use my gmail account, pauldwalker. (I'll let you work it out how to figure out the domain :)