Wednesday, June 14, 2006

doors slam shut

Here is something to file under ridiculous, but strangely true: I do not think I ever mentioned it here, but someone now reports to me, and someone else soon will. If I cared about this job, I suppose I would find this an accomplishment of sorts. Unfortunately for my direct reports (what a wholly distasteful term, btw), I mostly think of it as a nuisance.

So this woman that reports to me can be a bit of a harpy at times. I wish that when we wrote annual goals, I had offered up calming the f*ck down as one of hers. The work I do, meaningless as it is, requires a certain demeanor at work. It's the kind of demeanor where you quell people's anxieties at a meeting, and then go into your office, shut the door, crank up Welcome to the Jungle and yell, "Stupid motherf*ckers!" at the top of your lungs. But the point is that you have the meltdown in your office, not in your meeting. And this meltdown should last approximately the length of Welcome to the Jungle and no less. By the end of that time, you should have grasped that all of this is just absurd, no sense in letting it bother you.

But this woman seems to let everything get under her skin. I guess that does not even bother me so much, because that earns her my lecture on how there is no point in taking it all so seriously. What bothers me more is that she can be mean-spirited at times. I think I have realized finally that, even though I am an a$$hole more often than not, I am really not a fan of making fun of people. And for me, there is a pretty thin line between good-natured and mean-spirited when it comes to teasing. I was talking to my direct report (blech!) about a fellow colleague. And, yes, he carries himself a little like a merry sprite who shops at J. Crew but he is quite good at his work. I just mentioned his name, and before I could even say a word about his abilities, she burst out with a shrill, "he's weird looking."

What annoyed me so much is that we were talking about work. This was not a watercooler chat, where, perhaps, such an observation might have been acceptable as an entitled opinion. Instead, here we were talking about work, and she had made a snap judgment about someone based solely on their appearance.

Look, I am not fooling myself. I know that appearance does influence how a person is perceived. And I would not even try to claim that I am not guilty of letting a person's appearance sway me into having a bias of one sort or another. But on the other hand, I do have the awareness to know that I ought to try to correct for that in my thinking. Sure, sometimes I go too far- like how I now have this programmed response to think "total jerkbag" whenever I see a guy who is really attractive.

Anyway, from all of this, I think we can conclude that I should not be supervising anyone. More proof that my department is run by idiots.

Because I have kind of turned myself inward since completing the milestone for The Goal, I have diagnosed some other issues. Yesterday at around seven o'clock at night, the guy in the office next to me said I needed to go home, and that he would write me a note if I needed one. I think I am run down.

And I am also in need of getting back into some habits of mine that kept me in line. It occurred to me this morning that I cannot remember the last time I turned on my oven, but I know it has been longer than a month. I think that might have been to heat up a frozen dinner of some kind, so it has probably been even longer since I have baked anything. That makes me feel like the scary dude that lives two floors up from me. He chain smokes in the apartment lobby (which is not allowed and pisses me off because he is giving me lung cancer), unwashed and barefoot (and let's just say that no one wants to see his bare feet) with a vacant look in his eyes. Sometimes he also reeks of PBR, and I can just imagine that the entire contents of his refrigerator consist of a six-pack and maybe some beef jerky. Except that I suppose you don't keep jerky in the refrigerator. The point is that I need to get it together, people!

This is shaping up to be the longest post ever, which is what happens when I allow myself to complain. It also runs parallel to something I heard this morning on (and I'm not even going to start my rant about how I may have to break up with) NPR. Researchers are concerned that all the hoopla surrounding avian influenza is leading to a shift of resources away from other important infectious diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. My idealistic, drowsy morning mind arched at this assertion- why could they not just increase the amount of research funding altogether instead of favoring one at the expense of the others? Now that I am more lucid, I am more pragmatic and know that funding is finite, as are the number of researchers. You have to make choices, even if you are making the wrong ones at times.

I am feeling a little like that about words right now. When I was on supposed blog hiatus, I was emailing more, catching up with more personal correspondences. You can see where this is heading. But at the moment, blogging feels uncomplicated and easy, and my lazy a$$ is all for that.

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