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“No rush, but as soon as possible”

May 24, 2005

My job is in research.  I find things for people.  I explain things to people.  I analyze complicated information and turn it into stuff people can digest (i.e. the best way to succeed in business is to be profitable).  And, of course, I often have to do so in extremely compressed timelines.  As such, one of the first questions I ask upon getting a request is when it needs to be completed.

Replies I’m used to:

  • ASAP
  • EOD
  • Tomorrow AM
  • 3 PM
  • Tuesday
  • I don’t understand the question.

Recently, however, I’ve been getting this one quite a bit:

  • "No rush, but we want it as soon as possible."

Okay.  What does that mean?  Aren’t those two contradictory by their very nature?

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