Critical Decision
Two months ago, I needed to make a big decision. After a job interview, I knew they were going to make me an offer. The workers and company were fantastic, but there was a glaring problem. This company fully embraced the “open office” layout. This configuration places all employees in full view of each other. Even the conference rooms and managers offices had enormous windows. They actually called it “the fishbowl.”
I have an aversion to being watched and get distracted when I see other people working. However, it was a great opportunity. So, how did I make my decision? I thought about the choice while exercising, watching television, and while going to sleep. I focused on what was best for myself, my family, and my career. Plus, I talked with my wife and friends. After two days of deliberating, right before I want to sleep, I thought, “Yeah, let’s do this.”
The final decision did not involve logic, a compelling reason, or a pro/con evaluation. I did not use a whiteboard, notes, or sound opinions. Instead, I jumped into the unknown. What was my precise motivation? It was right there in my “yeah” statement. I had no firm meaning behind my decision. Did I stand by it? You bet! Why? Umm, because I committed myself. Could I justify my decision? I could repeat all the pros, but my decision’s core contained no logic.
On a side note, the company never called back. This is a new trend called “ghosting,” where companies fail to contact interviewers with their decision. Dang!
How would an author describe such a critical decision? “After the harrowing job interview. (I added tension.) They left Bill with an ethical quandary. Should he take the job? His family encouraged him, and so did his friends. But there was an issue! He hated working in an open office. Bill wrestled day and night, trying to decide. Finally, throwing caution into the wind, he leaped successful employment!”
My story needed a happy ending, but why did Bill leap? That reason is not apparent. Thinking back on other big decisions, many were “gut reactions.” The problem was that I did not have enough information to make an informed decision. For example, I could not accept “half” of the job or try working at the company for a week.
Characters need to make rational decisions. “Bill took the job because it was a great opportunity.” The writer would not mention an open office because few readers have an issue with this awful business trend. It is important not to distract the reader with confusing or unpopular motives.
What if it mattered? The writer would spend several paragraphs describing the issue with a series of apparent considerations that lead to a firm decision. This might include a pro/con evaluation, taking the advice of a friend, or having a primary deciding factor. For example, “Bill needed the money.” The reader would see all the sides of the decision and fully know why the character made their decision. Otherwise, the reader would be confused and leave a critical review.
Can a character make a random or gut decision? Readers would call this “lazy writing.” All character decisions must tie to a core motivation, which is why “bill needed the money” is a perfect decision and simple explanation.
We make critical decisions all the time without logic. Should humans be more logical? If we were, society would become organized but less fun. Another way to express this is that we would take fewer risks and make fewer discoveries. It’s nice to mix things up and make crazy decisions, so I keep blogging.

You’re the best -Bill
April 26, 2023
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