Getting It Done… Without Statistics

“But we managed to get it done, right?”

I did manage to take care of the customer – through a combination of luck, skill, hand gestures, and their extremely rudimentary English skills. They’d been sent to us with a basic explanation given by another employee, in a different area, who just happened to speak their language.

We sent for a professional interpreter.

Still, our insistence on an interpreter kept being seen as vaguely unreasonable. “Okay, maybe they needed an interpreter for a consent,” the justification goes, “but if it was just our bit… we could have gotten just our part done.”

Which reminds me of Dan. Dan is a very nice guy who I know on a little bit better than acquaintance basis. The last I heard, he quit a higher-paying job so he could go and follow his passion. Which is good and wise. And he doesn’t wear seatbelts. Which isn’t either good or wise.

“A seatbelt has never helped me,” he reasons. “I’ve never gotten in a wreck before, and I drive well, so why should I wear a seatbelt?”

In both cases – regardless of outcome – they’re risky behavior. The former is even worse, because the customer will have a hard time expressing their desires and concerns. Dan, at least, is able to tell someone how he feels.

I expect that kind of “it won’t happen to me” philosophy from teenagers. (I still think it’s a bad idea, but I expect it.) I can accept someone knowing the risk – say, of surgery – and still taking it.

But justifying risk by saying “the bad stuff didn’t happen, so it’s okay” is horrible logic. That kind of fallacy is the prelude to eventual – and preventable – tragedy.

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