Several times over the past few months, my boss has instructed me to attend meetings on his behalf. One may be tempted to think that he is starting to entrust me with greater responsibility, but this conclusion would only be half right.
You see, the meetings in question have all arisen as a result of some project-related calamity and I’ve been sent as the designated company shit sponge. The thing that clued me in was the fact that I hadn’t actually worked on any of these jobs.
You know that unfortunate idiot that your typical customer service department trots out whenever an irate complainant demands to speak to the manager? Yup, that would be me.
Hand me the antiseptic, please.
According to makers of motivational posters, the secret to a fulfilling career is to do something you love. This is great advice if you enjoy starving to death in a ditch, but not all that useful for the rest of us.
On the other hand, you’ll probably stand a (marginally) better chance of finding that dream job, if you actually know what you like. Take this dude, for example:
He has a simple, straightforward (albeit ambitious) goal. Fortunately, that annoying law against killing people is more of a guideline here in South Africa, so no worries there.
Consequently, if he applies himself, he could probably manage it in about five years. Assuming, of course, that he is able to secure some kind of sponsorship for his genocidal rampage AND if nobody fights back, runs away or hides.
However, his biggest obstacle will be staving off boredom. Repetitive tasks really do become deathly dull after a while.
If you’re like me and regularly find yourself trapped in a room full of corporate drones (aka the Wednesday morning meeting), you may also begin to think that “expanding client interfaces to synergise profit vectors” is a perfectly normal discussion instead of the complete bollocks it actually is. This is the insidious nature of groupthink: it slowly erodes your ability to think critically and you end up being pulled along in the current of consensus. Woe betide the individual who dares to swim against the prevailing direction of the stream, for that wretch will be cast into the pit of non-team players!
A similar phenomenon occurs on Twitter. The hive mind has a low tolerance for dissident opinions. These are crushed with a brutal efficiency that would have given Stalin a raging boner. Regular Twitterers may be forgiven for believing that they are changing the world with the latest hashtag, but that’s to be expected from people who are active participants in an enormous virtual incarnation of the human centipede. The harsh reality is that most people don’t really care too deeply about today’s trending topic. Especially if it involves a Kardashian.
This can be illustrated with the following handy infographic* (and who doesn’t like infographics?):
What this tells us that in a room containing a hundred people, one of them will be standing in the corner fulminating against the Bad Thing du jour. Of the 46 who are actually in a position to do something it, only four of them might be interested enough to pay attention. The rest may possibly catch the odd phrase here and there, but the majority will be too busy counting all the fucks they don’t give.
* Source material:
What do SA’s 24.9 mil internet users spend most of their time doing online?
What Twitter in South Africa looks like
IEC voter registration statistics
I recently discovered that I had issued the wrong revision of a construction drawing to site. The contractor has already built the affected portion of work, so there will be delays and additional costs while he fixes the cock-up.
The actual amount is negligible – it’s about 0.2% of the total project cost – but when I told the client about it, he started behaving as though he’d caught me enjoying carnal intimacy with his dog in the master bedroom (Hah! As if I would ever get caught!).
I was tasked with compiling the necessary facts and figures relating to “the case”, so that he can – I don’t know – brandish it threateningly and foam at the mouth some more.
There is no doubt that he’s justified in being pissed off, but it seems a tad sadistic to demand that I provide him with the very stick he intends to beat me with.