The law of unintended consequences

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Newton’s law doesn’t quite work when we’re talking about human interactions, but it is true to say that every action has a consequence. Some consequences are positive and intended, such as when you make an effort to support a project and it is successful. Some consequences are negative and intended, such as when you choose to support one project and piss off the bloke you don’t like with the other project you now don’t have time to support. But sometimes, your good intentions cause other things to happen, and often they do that without you noticing them.

Like the guy who spoke up to his manager when he was threatened with violence by a client. The manager thought he was being efficient and supportive and helpful by laying out to the guy how he needed to gather facts and get witnesses to come forward with evidence before he could do anything about it.

But the guy only heard the absence of “that’s awful, mate – we believe you, let’s make sure we handle this properly.” And the very next day, he started looking for another job. And once you’ve made that decision to look, you’ve already got one foot out the door….




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