The Scotty Effect: Doing too many miracles makes them ordinary.

I found myself rather unnerved this week which is unusual for me. I had a client that took me to my wit’s end with no reward. I’ll go back and explain my problem.

scotty.jpgIn the TV show Star Trek in the 1960’s James Doohan played a character lovingly referred to as Scotty.  Scotty was the head engineer on the starship Enterprise that was the biggest baddest ship in the known universe. Seeing as how every week the Enterprise or it’s crew were put into a dangerous situation Scotty’s character was always asked to do something miraculous. If the repairs were assumed to take 5 hours he’d only have 3. If the crew was stuck on a planet in danger Scotty was desperately asked, “Beam me up Scotty” even if all known physics said he shouldn’t be able to. The problem with Scotty is that he made the unthinkable happen so much that he wasn’t a focal point of the crew. His miracles became background noise to the plot of other things going on.

As a computer guy that works in a lot of stuff I am suffering from the Scotty effect.  I’ve done things at companies in the past and present that have made people almost faint with awe. I’m the person that just knows I’ll find a solution. The company in particular that I went to has seen too many miracles happen. Therefore when I pulled off something that I couldn’t even find enough Google results to help me I had to pat myself on the back for once. Went to his office expecting praise only to be met with disappointment at why it took me as long as it did when even his internet provider told him that maybe it was possible but they’d never even been asked for that. To make it even more miraculous, the client of theirs that this was supposed to be for thought it was space age stuff they’d never heard of.

I’m calmer now but I guess it all comes down to real grattitude. It’s the cheapest fuel for the human soul that gets the best results and your local miracle worker is running out of gas. I grew up even hearing the story of Jesus being at a wedding and being asked to turn water into wine. I picture even this person patting him on the back and just walking away while Jesus stood in awe of what his own hands had done.

4 Responses to “The Scotty Effect: Doing too many miracles makes them ordinary.”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I agree with you… this is especially true in employment that they would expect you do magically things instant fast.

  2. phillip says:

    Jennifer I’m guessing you’re in HR. That’s a rough area sometimes.

  3. raph says:

    I agree. I have a similar post with a similar interpretation of “The Scotty Effect”.
    http://www.galaktor.net/2011/10/scotty-effect.html

    All the best

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