A light-hearted look at ‘Murphy’s Law’
Something that crops up in business every now and again is ‘Murphy’s Law’, so I thought I’d shed some light on this in a humourous way.
Murphy’s Law states that “If there are two or more ways to do something, and one of those ways can result in a catastrophe, then someone will do it.”
In other words, if there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong .
Extreme version: If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the FIRST to go wrong
Murphy’s Law happens on a daily basis, for instance:
• When you drop buttered toast it will land butter side down (unless it is strapped to the back of cat and in which case the cat will land right way up on all four paws).
• When waiting for a bus, every one that turns up is not the one you are waiting for. When you pop into the ladies or gents for two minutes, that’s when your bus turns up and goes without you.
• When you drop a valuable item such as a diamond ring, it will fall down the only drain visible in five miles!
And in business you may have experienced Murphy’s Law in action when:
• The photo-copier jams when you go to use it after functioning perfectly all morning for other people.
• Your printer cartridge runs out just when you have an important report to run off.
• Your boss walks in just as that personal friend rings for a chat.
Where did Murphy’s Law originate?
Interestingly, it was Edward A. Murphy, Jr. one of the engineers on the rocket-sled experiments that were done by the U.S. Air Foce in 1949. To test human acceleration tolerances (USAF project MX981).
One of the experiments involved having a set of 16 accelerometers mounted to different parts of the subject’s body. There were only two ways each sensor could be glued to it mount, and somebody methodically installed all 16 the wrong way round!
Murphy’s pronouncement of what had happened was quoted at a news conference a few days later. Within months ‘Murphy’s Law’ had spread to various technical cultures connected to aerospace engineering.
Quantized revision of Murphy’s Law says that: everything goes wrong all at once. Murphy’s Constant: matter will damaged in direct proportion to its value. The Murphy Philosophy: smile … tomorrow will be worse.
Best wishes for a brilliant weekend and for those pessimistics amongst you – thank goodness it’s Friday!