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Human Factors

How Facinating!!! – Or the story of The Rumor Weed

The soft harmonics of then powerful 1200hp turbine harnessed right in front of me were almost like a quiet, soothing hush to my mind. Sitting at FL200, basking in bright rays of sunshine, I was at loss.. How could this happen? How DID this happen?

Only a few days ago, a small event had occured. A non-event. But decisions were made and actions taken, and despite the best of intentions, all hell broke lose.

Why is it that human nature is so pervasive of mistrust, conceitedness and so hungry for tales and stories of destructive natures? Or is it? I think we all have a choice and the power to make a difference in our personal and professional worlds. I was quickly made to realize  the mistake in how I had dealt with the situation and it was a very Facinating experience!

In my story, it only took two misplaced phone calls with wrongful information, a delayed email and a drop of misunderstanding to plant the seed of sedition, anger and frustration.

If you are part of a group of professionals, rumors are prone to happen. However, even if it is not part of our day-to-day training, we should be asking ourselves questions before a) getting involved in somebody else’s situation or b) spreading information that has not been verified and could be potentially dangerous to one’s reputation, career, or in any other way. A professional attitude not only means repeatedly carrying out our duties in a safe and proficient manner, but also demonstrating  strong, genuine character qualities (notice I didn’t use the word ”traits”). Everybody knows about a talented guy who can’t hold a job because of his attitude or character. So always keep in mind, even when not at work, that what you say is who you are. Despite work-dictated ranks and responsibilities, always carefully examine your dealings with your coworkers and treat them as you would like to be treated. Simple enough yes? 🙂

The second part of this little exercise comes from the old adage: Never Assume, for you will make an Ass of You and Me. Even if this proverb has been used and abused, it remains an intrinsic truth to our every day dealings, be it at work, home, or any dealings with peers. Before you decide to escalate a conflict because of the information YOU have, be sure that you also have the other side’s perceptive, information and reasons. Going into a conflict head-on without first understanding the reasons behind it will most often end up in an escalation, and eventually, a breaking point. As aviation specialists and professionals, we are trained to gather and interpret information. We are also taught to take decisions based on partial, incomplete, or sometimes even biased information.

It’s often rare to obtain 100% accurate, hard facts about a situation, but when you are dealing with your coworkers, bosses, friends, etc, don’t forget that unfounded rumors, incomplete facts and assumptions can and will most likely create a lot of damage, wether it’s immediate or sometime later on. Remember this proverb: ”Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.”

Some of my all-time favorite cartoons are the Veggie Tales. Some of you might know them. One of them depicts the hero  of the story fighting a weed, called the Rumor Weed. A small assumption is mentioned, and as the rumor spreads like wild fire, the weed grows to incredible size. It’s a very simple cartoon to illustrate a very simple truth: Do not spread the rumor. If somebody comes to you with some ”juicy bit of information”… be the one to kill the weed!


About jdmarcellin

Professional pilot for a major Canadian operator. Interested in helping make a better world for all my fellow pilots out there. Passionate of aviation and all things that fly. Caution: I speak my mind loud and clear! All views are my own.



  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Rumor Weed « Right Seat -- Topsy.com - February 9, 2011

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