“What is the meaning of work?” a guru asked his friend.
His friend replied, “Well, son, it happens when your wits have reached their end.”
Life is work. Work is life.
Some people, I like to think of them as motherfuckers, would have us believe shit like this.
What is work? Is it something you do in order to survive? Or is it the meaning of life itself? It seems to me that maybe, just maybe, your perspective might be based on who you are. For example, if you are The King and lounge around all day with your turkey drumsticks, your opinion that servants should pursue a life of labor just might be biased. Ya think?
Me? I’ve never been all that enthralled with money and I was born and raised into a culture where work is something exclusively done in the pursuit of money. To me money is something that enables a standard of living and some of the stuff I want. Beyond that? Who gives a shit?
So I guess it’s not too surprising that my work ethic follows suit. I don’t work for fun. I don’t work because it is its own reward. I work because I have to. Period. No other reason. Zip. Nada. Bupkis. I simply see no other choice. How many non-work life paths are there and which of them could meet my needs?
Basically the only reason I work is so I can enjoy the times I’m not working.
And, right now, at this moment in my life as a citizen of the United States, I currently enjoy the maximum number of vacation days as required by law.
Proximo has got to go
Imagine, if you will, a workplace that is roughly the size of a shipping container.
Oh yes, oh yes. Another good time work post is upon us now.
I previously reported on my discovery, the 666 equilateral triangle. It’s a place where dreams go to die. In short, it works like this. I sit six feet away from cow orker. Cow orker sits six feet away from the boss. The boss sits six feet away from me.
Technicolor? Bah! Imagine Fart-O-Vision where you get to experience the subtle nuance of every biological function of your neighbor. Good times, indeed!
It’s enough to make one go barking mad, but I, of course, resist that with all my might. That’s why I’m still completely sane.
So, in honor of Friday, the most deceitful day of the week, I merely have a quick question to ask.
In this post I’m going to refer to my boss as Proximo, mainly because, as he interfaces with my existence, he is so proximous.
The first part of the agony is a function of time. I spend more time at work than doing anything else in my life. (Source: This nifty little graph.)
That only communicates part of the story, though. The other half of the misery equation is one of proximity.
I’ve thought about this and realized that my current situation is truly unique. At some jobs the boss didn’t even work in the building. It would be a big deal when the boss stopped by (almost always by “surprise!”). All the employees were like, “Oh shit. The boss.” It changed the feel of the environment. My last asshole boss lived a mile away from the office, worked from home, but liked to jaunt over unexpectedly quite often, even though he didn’t like being there very much. I guess the necessary evil of fucking with the employees outweighed his distaste for being in the shithole. He’d usually flee as fast as possible after he had made his point.
At one place where I worked for 16 years and over 1,000 employees, the CEO liked to stroll around as part of tactic to be seen as accessible to employees and interested in every part of the operation. I knew the guy because we’d been on some committees together and had worked on a few projects. He’d stroll by and say, “Hi, Tom.” I knew I wasn’t about to get fired but it still somehow felt like it. The CEO walking by and saying your name wasn’t something that happened all the time.
Or the boss worked out of sight in an office around the corner or across the floor. The boss would occasionally stop by from time to time but certainly wouldn’t stay there all day long, day after day, every single day of your life.
I literally spend 40 hours a week six feet away from the boss. He seldom, if ever, leaves that space. It’s his clubhouse, his sanctuary, his home away from home. It is where he goes to escape his wife. It is the one part of his existence where he is the boss. His word is law. (Unlike his home life.) So he just loves and adores being there.
His wife will call him and try to make plans. It’s pathetic to listen to him tell her how busy he is (he’s not) and how he has to work late. He loves to work on Saturdays, too, and bitches when a holiday comes along and forces him to spend more time with his family.
Me? All I think about is escaping that fucked up place and spending every other precious moment of my life with my wife. Another thing I realized lately was that I would never trade places with my boss. (Is that like a positive thought?)
Our workstations are L-shaped so that I can’t see him unless I turn around (thank God) but he can view me and my computer screen without me being aware. My computer is in his line of sight. I know that arrangement is no coincidence. Six feet from my office chair is his office chair.
Here’s a nice little bonus. When he gets up off his ass and goes to the restroom and sits on the toilet, he’s still exactly six feet away. You see, my workstation shares a wall (decidedly not a soundproofed one) with the office bathroom. But I think I’ve already expounded about that enough in the past. (For the curious, research my posting history if you want to know more about what the boss in the restroom is like. Bring a strong stomach.)
So yeah, I’m within six feet of the boss for just about 40 hours a week, every week. It’s like clockwork. I don’t even get a break from him when he goes to the bathroom. And I realized that sort of boss proximity is completely unprecedented in my experience. Does anyone out there have anything even remotely like this?