Dysfunctional functions

I had to attend a work function yesterday evening. Work functions puzzle me. I mean, what’s the point? If work was so fabulous, they wouldn’t have to pay you to show up in the morning. Okay, I know there are some people who love their jobs and can’t bear to tear themselves away from the grindstone. These individuals are not normal and I’m fairly sure that they are in the minority. So why do the Powers That Be think that after-hours gatherings are so essential to employee well-being and happiness? Spending additional time with people that I am forced to endure for eight to ten hours a day does not strike me as much of a morale-booster.

One of the things that makes these get-togethers so intolerable is the mind-eroding level of conversation. You would think that a group of (apparently) intelligent people could manage to sustain a discussion on some or other topic unrelated to work. Unfortunately not. All subjects find their way inexorably back to work matters. This seems to be an immutable law, like gravity. To extend the metaphor, it’s like work forms a conversational black hole that sucks up all other possibilities until nothing else remains.

For example, you may mention that the Cassini probe has found the words “Hi Mom” inscribed in 500m high gold letters on the surface of Titan (it hasn’t yet, but it still might) and without fail, you’ll be hearing about project budgets within a minute or two. It isn’t too surprising that the liquor bill is always so astronomical.

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