Monday, January 30, 2012


perspicacious \pur-spi-KEY-shuhs\, adjective:

1. Having keen mental perception and understanding; discerning.
2. Archaic. Having keen vision.

Perspicacious is derived from the Late Latin word perspicācitās meaning "sharpness of sight."

While I was working at HUD, the state director, Terry Goddard, described me with this word and I thought "uh-ho" my chances at continuing with the HUD Tucson office are now doomed for sure. I knew that my director (she who shall not be named) was already "nervous" about me and feared that I wanted her office director job which I definitely did not. And yes, my HUD career ended with my two year Fellow contract.

As this word popped up on my daily word email, I wonder if this characteristic has become "archaic." More and more in my community development profession, I have concluded that an emerging asset is to not see too much or say too much--but to just know enough to get along, get the "job" done. Yes, this is a cynical conclusion which is one of the main reasons I am shifting my professional efforts into writing which, I hope, is still an area where having keen sight is a strength not a weakness and certainly not a liability.

In your profession, is being perspicacious valued?

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