"Now that the joke has
Wellesley professor Julie K. Norem believes, and I concur,
that having a negative strategy works as well as positive
Having acquired physics and M.B.A.
degrees, I worked first as a metallurgical observer in
the steel mills and later as a rayon research physicist.
As an Army Reserve officer I served in WW II, working
to develop an early-warning mobile radar capability, and
in the postwar years as a manager in the Air Force Research
& Development Command, developing advanced weapons
systems. Based on these various experiences, I believe
it is possible to be both an optimist and a pessimist,
depending upon one's job pursuits. Varied assignments
are much more interesting than being tied down to one
type of employment.
Of note here: I scored 50 on Norem's
test, and I am sure that high-ranking military retirees
who subsequently served with distinction in top-level
federal assignments possess this dual capability and would
score in the 30-50 range on Norem's test.
I believe that having more federal
and congressional leaders who have worked at both low-
and high-anxiety levels would help in passing optimal
legislation for solving long-standing domestic problems,
from reducing corporate bankruptcies to providing cheaper
It appears graduate studies in managerial
accounting, production management, and improved interagency/congressional
communications, especially during wartime, would be of
great benefit to the nation's leaders. Universities could
establish executive programs similar to those now given
to executives in finances.
I think it would be of great importance
if Norem made a follow-up study of the ability to function
using both positive optimism or strategic pessimism as
the job requires. It would encourage universities to set
up the requisite programs and encourage more attendance.
Nicholas M. Masich,
Woodbury, New Jersey