Contraxioms. Basically a simpler way of saying you’re both right, but you both have very different approaches to the problem. As the reading outlines a geek looks to the future by finding a way of how to obtain the future first piece by piece. A non-geek on the other hand would look to the future in a result first type of mindset. By that I mean they look at the end goal and worry about how to get it later, in a backwards approach. In order to better explain what the heck I’m talking about and for you to be able to visualize the situation I’m going to try to tell a story about contraxioms. Now before I start, contraxioms don’t only apply to geeks and non-geeks. This can apply to many different scenarios where the problem is trying to come up with a solution with two different approaches.
In this scenario there are two smart classmates, who won a national science fair as lab partners. One kid, let’s call him Jimmy, is rich. Jimmy’s parents would buy him anything he wanted whenever he wanted. Then there’s the other kid Timmy, who was just getting by financially. The two classmates were invited to a once in a lifetime opportunity to study abroad in Europe but were only able to go if both of them went, as they were lab partners who won together. The only problem was that the whole year program cost a lot of money. Upon hearing the details of the trip Jimmy’s eyes lit up, and he was ready to pay his deposit right away. Jimmy was thinking about all of the adventures he would experience, the food he’d eat, and the people he would meet. Timmy on the other hand, was focused on the price.
Instead of the trip, he was thinking about how he’d be able to pay for it all. He started to calculate everything in his head. He thought if he worked “X” amount of hours for “Y” amount of days for “Z” weeks he’d be able to put down his deposit. As Timmy was rationalizing things in his head Jimmy turned to him wondering what was taking him so long to say yes. Timmy explained to Jimmy that he didn’t think the trip would be possible because he could not afford it. Jimmy replied by tellingTimmy not to worry about money, that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and that he could worry about the money later.
Timmy stood by his statement and told Jimmy that he couldn’t think about the future (the trip) unless he could justify a way for him to make it possible now (have the money to go on the trip).
Pause. That is a contraxiom. This contraxiom can be seen through the character’s perspectives on the trip. Jimmy thinks about the future and the trip without any worries about getting there. Timmy thinks about the price of the trip and how he could pay/afford the trip, before even thinking about the trip itself. Both of their approaches to the trip is fueled by their financial standings. Jimmy’s point of thinking about the opportunity first is a valid way of thinking, as well of Timmy’s approach of thinking about the money first. They both contrast in each other’s reaction to the opportunity they received. Although this story isn’t the best representation of a contraxiom, it can be used to explain contraxioms in the work place.
Contraxioms in the workplace occur every day. Each employee brings a different approach our outlook to a company. In the workplace there are different positions that each have their own respective roles. The important thing about contraxioms in the work place, is that it can bring light to different perspectives. The next step in order to make the most of contraxioms is finding a way to get the two parties to work together, or compromise. When this is accomplished both perspectives can be honored and may even solve the issue better than just picking one side. When it comes to contraxioms one should not just pick a side, and call the other one wrong. The thing about contraxioms is that both sides of the argument are valid, just different approaches to a problem. As a manager of technical people one should always be open to understand how their employees see problems, and find a way to get them on the same page. This way the realists can help the dreamers accomplish their dreams, and thus helping the company as a whole.