Daily Archives: May 10th, 2011

Hot air from the boss bag

HDR Hot Air Balloon

The boss addressing his employees.

For first time readers of this blog, I’ll start by saying this:

An an employee* my #1 goal every single work day is to keep my mouth shut. And, of course, I miserably fail at this. Every single day.

*Also acceptable here: whore/prostitute (if you accept the definition of employee as one forced to get fucked in exchange for money).

The reason? Attempting to communicate at work doesn’t turn out well. There are two (and only two) possible outcomes. You’ll be interrupted and forcibly and proactively ignored. Or, by wild chance, if you do get listened to, you’ll be told you’re wrong. Usually it’s a combination of both.

By the way, being forcibly ignored is a remarkable treat. But they make the improbable seem so easy.

And yet, as I indicated, I fail miserably at this. It works like this. Even though the previous day sucked, I wake up early ever morning and without an alarm clock. I wake up in a good mood and I wake easily. I roll out of bed and I’m good to go. I talk to the cats and I get on the computer. On most days (like now) I haven’t planned ahead and have to come up with an idea and pound out a blog post. (That along with a dearth of writing skill is how I meet my goal of mediocrity.)

As time runs out the pressure to get ready for work increases. Mornings before work are like riding in a DeLorean at 88 miles per hour. As ol’ Doc Brown put it, “it’s some serious shit.” Work gets closer and my breathing shallows out. Soon I’m gulping for air like a fish. I feel queasy. My back goes out. I get the urge to vomit. But there’s no time to dwell on these pleasantries. I have to rush like my hair is on fire to get to a place that I fucking hate.

Fight ClubIn the door at work, I repeat to myself again and again, “Keep my mouth shut.”

Generally the boss and coworker completely ignore my presence. They’ve learned through osmosis that greeting me in the morning is decidedly not a Good Thing. But if human interaction is thrust upon me, I’ll grunt “morning” and be done with it. (Never precede that greeting with the word “good.” It’s a badge of honor for me to only use the one-word greeting.)

The coworker loves to talk. She’ll tell stories in amazing detail. A morass of minutia about people you don’t know and never care about. No doubt she has never heard of Reader’s Digest because her stories are the exact opposite. Sure, I try to keep up appearances and be nice by pretending to listen, but the truth is her stories bore me to tears. Most of her stories end with the boss and myself oddly in unison by turning our backs on her and interacting with our computers.

Even though I try hard, each day I’ll usually get sucked into some office discussion. These are rather amazing things and can cover a whole gamut of topics. Since the boss and the coworker communicate almost exclusively through interruption  I generally keep my mouth shut. Sometimes, though, they’ll stop to breath and I’ll get to talk a bit.

What I’ve noticed is that the boss disagrees with everything I say. Over time this has led me to the impression that he thinks I’m quite the moron. As usual, the feeling is mutual.

One thing I enjoy is taking limited information and pondering what might be possible. For example, on Monday morning a week ago I put forth the notion that Pakistan must have known about Osama Bin Laden being in their midst. The details from the U.S. raid were still coming in, but based on the “facts” that had been reported so far, I reasoned someone must have known. Plausible deniability is just too damn easy to establish. That’s what makes it so popular. Facts I considered included the fact that the fortress appeared to have been built custom for Osama. Also, I don’t care who you are, human beings don’t keep secrets. Eventually it gets out, either due to self-importance or inebriation and what not. Secrets are like water in that they are relentless and wear down no matter what. Someone knew, at least some neighbors and people in the town, and probably officials in the town and higher up.

The boss, of course, responded by taking a position diametrically opposed to what I was saying. Naturally. That’s what he always does. He must really have a low opinion of me to disagree with so much of what I have to say. That hasn’t gone unnoticed. And yet, when I go out on a limb, my conjectures are more often that not born out.

The New York Times had this to say on Sunday:

The United States government is demanding to know whether, and to what extent, Pakistani government, intelligence or military officials were complicit in hiding Bin Laden. (New York Times: U.S. Raises Pressure on Pakistan in Raid’s Wake.)

That doesn’t prove I was right, but it does show my conjecture wasn’t that far out there, either.

Fight ClubIn closing, my advice here is simple: Believe in yourself. Be open-minded and accepting of facts, and always willing to evaluate them to see how they fit within your beliefs and world view. If facts truly challenge what you think, be open to that and willing to revise your opinions if necessary. At the same time, though, think critically and trust your conclusions. When you feel you are right, don’t allow others the luxury of putting you down, saying you’re wrong, or trying to make you doubt yourself.

By the end of the week, the boss came to me and changed his tune. He admitted that he was starting to agree with what I had said the day following the raid. He’s done that on a few things now. Even better, a lot of shit he says, work-related and otherwise, turns out to be pure horse cookies, and that always makes me laugh my ass off. I’m smart enough to be smarter than most people I work for, but not smart enough to avoid working for them in the first place. That is my lot in life.

None of these discussions have anything to do with work. But the work-related ones go down in just about the same way. Personally I could do without both varieties. Nothing good ever comes of either.

Keeping my mouth shut at work will continue to be my goal.