The Proportional Theory of Time

Time is on my mind at the moment because it’s exactly a month to go until I enter a new decade of life, so I’m spending most of my spare moments counting my grey hairs, browsing cardigans in Marks & Spencer, and filling my cupboards with Murray mints.

(Which decade am I leaving, you ask?  None of your business!)

5th May is notable for other reasons too.

  • Emperor Napoleon died 200 years ago today.
  • Chanel No. 5 was launched 100 years ago today.
  • My brother-in-law Phil was born 43 years ago today.

It’s also the feast day of celebrity Catholic Edmund Ignatius Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers.  This is relevant to me because I went to one of their schools, spending seven years of my life being bossed around and occasionally hit on the hand with a leather strap by unmarried Irishmen in black capes.

I don’t remember my school days with particular fondness, and those seven years seemed to last an eternity.  By contrast, the first seven years of my daughter’s life have passed by in a flash.  One minute she was a helpless babe in arms and now she’s giving out fashion advice and asking for a mobile phone (not going to happen).

So the older I get, the faster time seems to go – and I know I’m not alone in this.  The ‘proportional theory’ of time perception is that each successive day of your prolonged existence represents a smaller proportion of the total than the previous one, so the days feel progressively shorter as your life goes on.  I also subscribe to the notion that our days become so dominated by routine that we go about on autopilot for much of the time, and we’re not ‘in the moment’ as much as we used to be. This article goes into more depth.

Now, it seems to me that the recruitment cycle is also faster these days.  But this time it’s not just my impression – it’s true!  IT candidates with good software experience – developers, project managers, testers etc – don’t hang around on the market for long.  Demand for these people outstrips supply, and turnaround times are quicker than ever.

This phenomenon is real, folks!  Time is of the essence if you’re in recruitment mode.

Good advice would be to move quickly if you see a good candidate, and be flexible when it comes to arranging interview times. Don’t take shortcuts through the process, though.  You know what they say: marry in haste, repent at leisure.

(Which reminds me: my wife is in charge of present buying, so drop her a line if you need ideas.)