A Day in the Office

April 21, 2014 9:32am

The temptation is to dig into your inbox as soon as you get to work on Monday. All the idiots that have no life create a pile of shit for you to deal with over the weekend. You leave work Friday, give yourself the weekend to relax and rejuvenate, but that’s not what everyone does. Maybe they have no friends. Maybe they’re boring assholes with nothing better to do than to send work emails. If you can skip that temptation and start working on something useful, you’re all the better off. Your inbox can wait.

I get to work 15 minutes early just about every day. It’s that or a half hour late. That’s just when the trains roll through. Works out for the most part. Most of my coworkers get in 15-20 minutes late so that gives me a half hour of quiet time to get a jump start on the week.
Once my co-workers start pouring in, one of two things happens. It’s Monday and they know the pile of shit that awaits them so they either a. put their heads down and dig in, or b. push it off and shoot the shit about their weekends. Today is one of those days where they put their heads down and get to work.

After a 45 minute sprint where I knock a few things off my to-do list, I’m ready for a break. It’s only 9:36 am and my day is already dragging. Is it too early to grab a smoke? Maybe now is when I get a fresh cup of Joe.
The coffee here is awful. It’s those godforsaken K-cups that are destroying Mother Gaia and have lowered the bar into the dirt for coffee in America. What brilliant capitalist mind thought up this shit? There’s a saying that goes, “No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people.” I’d modify it. Most people that have a ton of money, like the inventor of K-cups, make a habit of underestimating the intelligence of the great masses. If someone pitched the idea of a K-cup to me, I’d laugh them into the dirt. “You expect people to pay how much for that coffee maker and how much for these single servings of mud water?” This is why I’m a lower middle class employee and not a wealthy capitalist. I think entirely too highly of people.

I know the coffee is shit and yet I drink it. Why do I torment myself? There are a couple reasons. 1. It’s free. 2. It kills time. 3. It’s caffeine and I like to fill my body with all the working class, legal drugs I can.

April 21, 2014 10:29am

Cleaning my desk feels good. It feels really productive. I think it has something to do with interacting with the physical world. Working on a computer, clicking around in software, sending a dozen emails over the course of an hour doesn’t feel like you’re really doing anything. You’re just creating noise, generating static. Sitting here, staring at this screen, moving my wrist a few inches back and forth in this direction or that, clicking a button here, punching some keys there doesn’t make me feel like I’m actually doing anything. You don’t feel the pleasure of a job well done. At the end of the day, you feel sore from sitting for 8 hours straight, but it’s not like the soreness you feel after chopping wood or plowing the fields. There’s satisfaction when your body is sore and there’s something to show for it at the end of the day. You just feel like a shlub when it’s from sitting at a desk, staring at a screen all day.

April 21, 2014 11:59am

It’s that time of the day. Now I have to decide how I’m going to stuff my face. Sometimes I ask around the office to see if anyone is going to a nearby sandwich or burrito place. When I’m feeling frugal, I’ll hitch a ride to the grocery store and buy bread, deli, hummus, baby carrots and some soups for the week. Not only does this save me money, but it saves me decision making power. It’s lunch. It shouldn’t be complicated. There should be no wasted energy of any sort on how I’m going to keep myself nourished while I’m here in my well paid prison. I’ve been spending money like it’s water, eating like shit, and feeling generally spent. I’ll try and hitch a ride to get groceries today.

April 21, 2014 12:31pm

The thing that sucks about not owning a car and working in the suburbs is not being able to get around. The whole reason the suburbs were created was to stuff the pockets of Henry Ford and whoever the hell started the other car companies. The ‘American Dream’ was created to turn humans into mere consumers. People that bought shit and then worked harder to buy more shit.

But look at me. Here I am complaining because I have to wait for my coworker to finish whatever he’s working on and give me a ride to the grocery store. I’m a child of an even later, more sinister myth, the “EVERYTHING NOW! RIGHT FUCKING NOW!” myth. It’s the myth that I should have everything that pops into my head now. This myth is fueled by the internet, by smart phones, by online shopping and next day delivery, by big box stores with giant stock levels of everything the advertisers have tricked you into wanting. Back in the day, people had to wait for everything. You couldn’t click and have something. You couldn’t send an email and get a reply within minutes.

So I have to wait… so what?

Now my self-righteous brain is kicking in. You’re wasting employer’s time. You’re not optimizing your time to the fullest, waiting around for your co-worker to finish what he’s doing.

That’s another thing that irks me. Everything has to be optimal now. You can’t just work. You have to be as efficient as possible. It’s computers. Well, it started with the assembly line, but computers are even more efficient than the machines and workers on the assembly line. Computers can get things done instantly. And so we expect the same from the people that use them. It’s a funny thing. Our expectations match the tool. If you see someone using a big heavy cumbersome piece of machinery, you expect the same from the person using it. You expect their output to be along those lines. You see someone using a finely tuned piece of machinery, you expect their output to be precise.

April 21, 2014 2:53pm

Right now there is a piece of bad news that I don’t want to give to my client. Long lead times are expected on one of their recent orders. No one wants long lead times. Like I was saying earlier, we live in an age of instant gratification on crack. We’re so accustomed to getting everything exactly when we want it. We don’t want to wait for anything, especially not 5 weeks.

There’s only one way to deliver bad news: make it look like someone else’s fault and you’re trying to do everything in your power (which in this case is exactly zero) to “expedite the process.” Use lots of big words to mask the fact that you have no control over the situation and show your enthusiasm to please them and right this “wrong”.
Business, and life for that matter, is full of this. Telling people sweet lies to make them feel like you’re trying. You can’t say to your clients, this shit sucks and there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s not an option. There are always other options in today’s world. You can buy from someone else, you can harass your vendor until they pull something out of the clear blue sky and give you what you want; you can do pretty much anything other than wait for what you ordered. I blame McDonald’s. They got this whole trend of not waiting for orders with their fast food.

So now I have to harass my vendor. I hate harassing people. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. Business would be so much simpler if we could just take people at their word. When they say they don’t have something, we could believe them. In the words of Christ, “Let your yays be yays and your nays be nays,” or something like that. Just be straight. It’s only money we’re dealing with here. No one’s lives are at stake. No starving children will perish in the meanwhile. No animals will be harmed if you don’t get your order by the end of the week. Wait is a four letter word.

April 21st, 4:35pm

It’s about now where I’m spent. My mind is a mush from jumping from one task to another, answering phone calls, replying to emails, all the while trying to do one or two actually productive things. So to make matters worse, I jump on my social media feeds: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, reddit, RSS. I do the loop, scanning through my feeds looking for something interesting. I open new tabs with links to things that I think might be worth investigating further. Half of them get closed after the first five seconds of watching or reading because they weren’t as interesting as expected. I could do this in about 15 minutes a day, but for some reason, I keep going back. It’s like an addiction. You get a quick bump of pseudo-socializing. There have been days when I’ve done the loop dozens of times a day. At the end of the day, I feel worse. It’s all fake. It’s not real socializing. It’s not real information. It’s like trying to get nutrition from candy. You get an initial sugar surge, but you end up feeling gross and fat.