Many years ago, I had an appraisal at work. I liked the guy who was giving me my appraisal and he liked me so I regarded this little interview as a formality that would tick the right boxes and satisfy the corporate powers that be.
Usually with such interviews, the appraiser has to ask people who work with you what they think of your ability to do the job. Again, nobody had ever told me that I was useless and at the time I thought that I was good enough at my job not to attract negative vibes from my co-workers, so again I was happy that the boat would not be rocked.
It wasn’t – but there was a little wobble.
If you read my post called Mr Motivator Strikes Again, written earlier this month, you will no doubt remember Dirk, my former colleague who climbed the corporate ladder then promptly fell down again.
He had something to say about me at my appraisal.
He told my appraiser that when it came to estimating software effort I was absolutely rubbish.
My appraiser brought this up and I laughed.
“Why are you laughing?” he asked.
“Is Dirk suggesting that I can’t estimate?”
“Yes,” he said. “He says your estimates aren’t accurate enough.”
I laughed again.
“Listen to what you are saying,” I said. “How can you have an accurate estimate? An estimate by its very nature is a guess and you cannot accurately guess every single time. It’s an oxymoron.”
He agreed, particularly when I reminded him that many people struggle to estimate.
“How long will this take?” is a very difficult question to answer. You can guess and sometimes the guess is reasonable. The problem is that there are so many factors that will affect your guess. That’s why major projects overrun, such as the construction of Wembley Stadium a few years ago. Sometimes they are earlier than expected but ultimately the most you can hope for is an educated guess based on previous experience.
How can it be accurate?
This got me thinking about other oxymorons. Here are a few I found while surfing the web:
A fine mess
Poor rich kid
Alone in a crowd
Alcohol free beer
The world of politics throws up some good ones:
And my favourite:
The favourite one I have actually heard was during a discussion about religion was a menace to society and the cause of a lot of trouble in the world. One of the protagonists actually said the following sentence without blinking or considering the words he had said:
“I think people who follow religion are just deluded. Thank God I am an atheist.”
You are now immortalised on this blog, my friend.
And that’s terribly good.
Now over to you, dear reader.
Have you got any good oxymorons to share?
Or bad ones?