Friday, July 14, 2006

The ability to feel guilty

Feeling guilty is often derided in pop culture as unhealthy and not leading to good self-esteem. I disagree. I have as healthy a sense of self esteem as anyone I know, yet if I feel that I've done something wrong, or caused someone a problem, I have the ability to wallow in guilt for days.

A recent experience I had at work illuminated this. I worked with somebody who categorically said that a certain feature (I work with computer systems) wasn't possible. And they were in a position to know. This feature would have saved a huge amount of time, so I did some extra research, to satisfy myself that this feature was indeed not possible. And lo and behold, it was 100% possible. So, you'd think that the person who originally had stated categorically that the feature wasn't possible would feel, if not actually guilty, at least a little perturbed. Discomfited, perhaps. But no. Once they were shown to be wrong, the story became, "Well, it won't save that much time anyway".

Something like that can really change your desire to work with someone in the future. Feeling guilty is a valuable indicator that the person will probably take pains to avoid that kind of situation in the future. Hopefully they'll take what they say more seriously. On the other hand, not showing any remorse at all is a danger sign - don't trust this person.

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