Jekyll and Hyde: Decision making and the London Commuter

The rush to get home is something that every commuter is familiar with, and I for one, think of it as my daily exercise, mainly because of all the people I have to dodge, all the standing I have to do on every form of transport I encounter, and all the complaining I have to do about it afterwards. So, whilst everyone else in London is enjoying the never-ending heat wave, I have some reservations. Hot weather and London’s public transport system seems to turn even the most rational and logical mind into a crazed animal with fourteen flailing limbs and rather smelly armpits. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that the ability to make good decisions is left at the office door at 6 o’clock, and waits there patiently for you to return like a small dog left whimpering outside a supermarket.

The Decision Making Process is a huge part of working life, whether you’re doing it on your own, or with others, those decisions need to be made. The people around you right now, they make decisions all the time. They might even be doing it right now – look closely, see if you can spot their decision making face, everyone has one. Don’t stare, that’s rude. Now they’re trying to decide why you’re staring at them.

You can reduce the Decision Making Process (or DMP if you’re one of those peeps that like to abbrev. everythin’) into 5 simple steps: Situation, Options, Choose, Act, Evaluate. We do this subconsciously, it’s completely engrained in us to weigh the options before us before we act, and so we can do it in a split second, but not after 6pm. Apparently.

Think of the Situation, you’re walking onto the platform to get the tube home. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of millions of people. All of you want to get on that train, which, by the way, is already packed. What are your options? Well, you can either attempt to get on the train, or wait for the next one, which will arrive approximately 24 seconds after this one. Choose. Simple Enough, I’m getting on that train, says every commuter on that platform. Act: Push and shove forward (whilst somehow allowing others off the train at the same time) until you get on that train being very careful not to pull the emergency alarm that has somehow ended up under your arm, and with your face buried in some other commuter’s armpit. You’re now stuck like this for your entire journey while more commuters squeeze themselves in, and probably get their heads stuck in the doors.

Evaluate: You’re stuck, sweaty, unhappy. But hey, you got on THAT train, which coincidentally happens to be going in the wrong direction. Go you.

Imagine if you approached your working environment in the same way, and by not weighing up your options for longer than a second, you resign yourself to having to follow through with a judgement made in error by a desire to get somewhere faster. If we all behaved in the office the way we behave on the tube, no decisions would ever really be made because somewhere along that line, we’d realise we’d got on the wrong train and just have to do it all again. Moral of the story? Don’t be a commuter at work. Take your time with your decisions, work with people, not against them, and try your hardest to make sure you get on the right train.

Extra moral of the story. Don’t be a commuter on the Tube either, no one likes it.

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About delightfulinconsistency

Anthropology Graduate with a head full of nonsense and comic books.
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