austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Where the songs are passionate

What does your work station say about you? For one thing, whether you think you have something that should be called a ``work station'', instead of a desk or cubicle or space capsule or three-dimensional hover-board. It suggests you're putting on airs or yielding to management's attempts to make people feel better by suggesting maybe work evokes something romantic like those grand late Victorian railroad stations where people always seemed to be enjoying things more than you, even if they wear as many as eight suits simultaneously at all times, including while swimming or being murdered in cozy mystery novels.

Your work station's shape affects your job. For example if it's a sphere, you'll find things slipping off constantly, unless you build a set of planks to neighbors' work spheres. You'll want to be on good terms with your neighbors, lest they shove their spheres and set off a catastrophic ``giant defective skateboard'' collapse. There could also be trouble if anyone sneezes.

Even work stations with shapes that exist will have issues. Neatness is always regarded as the ideal because it's people who are way too into neatness who get to set the ideals for some reason. If you want to have any input in workplace standards, such as whether to use metric pencil sharpeners or have all interoffice communications conducted in pantomime, you'll have to organize your station and maybe hold the ideal-specification committee chair hostage. Use some of the plastic spoons that fell on the floor.

If that isn't motivation enough consider Jerry P, pseudonym of Agatha K, who allowed his (her) desk to become extremely cluttered --- piles of ancient documents, weekly planners going back to before the Gregorian calendar was adopted, shiny hubcaps reaching up to the Office of Unreadable Documentation --- and so contracted tetanus from a stolen bicycle not in its correct file cabinet and DIED.

Next consider B---, who asked to be identified, but in a snotty way which sounded sarcastic. B--- is an advanced sneeze researcher whose slovenly habits left lab benches covered with hundreds of overlapping sneezes. When she located a sneeze which showed signs of advancement (very good standardized testing scores but weak peer interactions) it took minutes to pick out. This seemed good because who needs more advanced sneezes given the trouble we have with the basic kind? We need them because advanced sneezes support downloadable apps. Um, also she DIED.

Then there's the no less surprising case of Mrs Van H, in fact Alfred D, an overworked sous-chef in Wilkes-Barre who, unable one day to find ``endive'', discovered a thick binder describing Internet Relay Network Dull Thingies tucked underneath the scallions or scallops or something, and suddenly remembered: he was no sous-chef, but a lava lamp development engineer employed in Warsaw, Wisconsin, Poland, who at a corporate Morale Softening Dinner entered a wrong door, was too shy to ask where the bathroom was, and got caught up in the activity until somehow he ended up here, suddenly deeply convinced that whatever ``sous'' is, it probably doesn't exist. This tragedy could have been avoided if the binders had been kept where they belonged, which was nowhere. What tragedy? I lost my note saying what it was, but I bet you he DIED. It would be just like him.

Much as management wants clean workspaces that doesn't mean they want clean workspaces. Consider David P, whose desk was impeccably clean. He was laid off, just because his boss was feeling peevish that day after contracting an advanced sneeze. He didn't DIE, because he's hidden in the clutter around another desk, and makes a good income playing ``tollbooth'' around the vending machines. Everyone else thinks they're humoring him.

And how many more vague, unverifiable tales of heavy-handed moralizing could be added to this pile? Four. Consider that.

If that's enough attention about what your work station is saying, maybe you should wonder who it's saying this all to. So far, your work station is just talking to itself. Try shoving it and see if you can set off that collapsing skateboard thing, which would be fun to watch. Ignore the alarms you set off.

Trivia: Although the Reverend Edmund Cartwright never made money on the steam-powered looms he invented by 1787, the British Parliament did reward him with a £10,000 grant. Source: Big Cotton, Stephen Yafa.

Currently Reading: Billy, Alfred, and General Motors: The Story Of Two Unique Men, A Legendary Company, And A Remarkable Time In American History, William Pelfrey.


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