After posting my “Reset” post, I had the following conversation with my boss back in October:
Kevin: we’ve discussed the difference in mentality of an infielder and an outfielder?
Jason: no, don’t believe so
Kevin: infielders (which I was for most of my years – although i was a catcher too and with catchers nothing applies) are risk takers at heart. They dive for everything. outfielders on the other hand better not be trying to catch everything or a lot of runs are going to be scored. outfielders are risk averse by nature. And every team better have some outfielders or you are in deep… I like the systems folks to have more of an outfielders mentality. 🙂
Jason: this might explain why I always liked the outfield better — although I played 3rd all through little league and 2nd base in softball but I like seeing more of the field and having more time to react, which is why I like the outfield 😉
Kevin: Well, i’m not sure that baseball translates perfectly to all life situations. but i was reading that Death by Devil’s Advocate post. i played some outfield too. That’s where i learned that you had to have a different attitude. In the outfield you say, “what’s the worst thing that can happen here…” In the infield you just go for it. but in the infield you better know what you’re going to do with the ball before it gets hit to you. That’s why a lot of Little Leaguers throw the ball away.
Jason: I just hate being a “no-no-no” IT person I have to be careful with that
Kevin: Not a problem at all. Every team needs people who yell at some one to “hold the ball!”
Jason: that’s a fantastic pep talk though — thank you that’s about as good and relevant a pep talk that I believe I’ve ever heard, honestly
Kevin: and all through IM. Guess that was my way of saying, “I appreciate you!!!”
Jason: thank you 🙂
That conversation will likely stick with me the rest of my career. Obviously, given that I name everything with baseball names, and that I’ve even quoted Field of Dreams during project and goal setting exercises — the whole baseball theme resonates strongly for me. I think that I suffer a fair amount of “work schizophrenia” in trying to be a system administrator that’s always pushing the envelope. Systems people are notoriously conservative, and I don’t want to that traditional “systems person”. I can settle for being the outfielder, because every so often they’ll surprise you with a throw to first on a right field hit, or a throw to home to nab the runner when you least expect it.