So I spent some time reading in a park today…

… because I had a total of two tickets in the morning and then nothing else until the end of the day (more on that later) and I was sick of snoozing in my car in The Automotive Company™ parking lot while listening to President Bush’s press conference on NPR. Though if I have to give President Bush credit for something it’s that he’s an excellent means of making yourself drowsy when you’re sitting in a car waiting for the next six hours to creep by so you can go home from work. So when I finally woke up at the end of his Q&A session I decided to do something I’ve not done in years and stop by the local mall to wander around for a bit. I went into the GameStop to look at the used PS3 games and I ended up at Borders where I picked up a copy of Mary Roach’s book titled Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers because I enjoyed her other book Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, of which I will be writing a review soon.

After purchasing my book I decided I didn’t want to drive all the way back to the campus, but I didn’t really have any place else to go and read my book. Then I remembered a small park not far from the office that would be perfect for sitting back and reading a few dozen pages in and so I headed there. When I pulled in and found a spot to park I couldn’t help but notice that there was a smattering of other cars already there that all seemed to have someone who was doing exactly what I was doing. Namely goofing off because they were technically working, but had nothing better to do at the time. I counted no less than six fellow book readers, four guys who pulled in to eat lunch in their cars, three people who appeared to be snoozing, and maybe five people who were legitimately doing park-related activities such as actually getting out of their car and playing with their dog or something. Those of us who appeared to be goofing off easily outweighed the number of people who had actually intended to do park related things. I was greatly bemused by this and, seeing as I didn’t recognize any of the other people, I started to wonder what it was they did for a living that seemed to be as full of downtime as what I currently do for a living. Then I pondered if any of them were actually following the classic SitCom storyline where they’d been laid off, but hadn’t been able to bring themselves to tell their families yet and so every day they got dressed and drove off as if to go to work when instead they went and sat in their cars at the local park wondering how the hell they were going to get a new job in what is the worst job market in the country.

I was there for a good couple of hours myself before I finally got a call from the office saying they had something for me to do. Naturally this call came about 45 minutes before we would normally pack things up and head back to the office for the final check-in of the day and, naturally, it involved no less than 17 machines to be decommissioned. Nothing for almost six hours previously and then just before the end of the day they hit us with 17 tickets at once. Fortunately I wasn’t the only idle employee and by the time we got done calling each other we had five of us to work on the tickets. We should be able to bang out 17 machines in an hour’s time with no problems and they were going to let us leave right from the campus when we were done instead of having us check back in at the office as per usual. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.

Which is when, naturally, it became clear that whoever set up these tickets had somehow had their brains replaced by CheezWhiz without anyone noticing. It seems the vast majority of the users of the machines listed on the tickets were not actually aware that their PCs were due to be decommissioned. That some, in fact, had only just gotten their PCs after weeks of waiting and were understandably concerned that a troupe of nerds had shown up with the full intent of taking them away again. One man seemed almost on the verge of tears as he explained how he could possibly work on his laptop but it would take weeks for him to get the permissions to move the software he’d need from the desktop to the laptop and he’d be dead in the water until then. I always love the overly emotional ones.

Needless to say we didn’t take away anyone’s PC, but we did grumble a fair bit about how this was an obvious cluster fuck. All told I think we packed up four or five PCs out of the 17 on the list. It was a whole lot of last minute rushing around to accomplish very little, but at least they gave us something to do I suppose. I so need to find a better job soon before this one drives me insane.

2 thoughts on “So I spent some time reading in a park today…

  1. I’m about 3/4 of the way through Mary Roach’s ‘Spook’.  I like her somewhat ascerbic style, and some of her assessments are hilarious!

    Sounds like your job superiors are an example of the Peter Priciple: Corporations promote people to their level of incompetence.

    Another thought to ponder.  Businesses, I have been told, often run by the rule of 2/3:

    For the following three properties, pick any two and ignore the third:
    (1) Quality
    (2) Speed
    (3) Low price

  2. I finished “Spook”. I liked it.

    As a review – The book is about the quest for proving that there is life after death. So she (Mary Roach) adventures through reincarnation cases in India, explores the phenomenon of ectoplasm, takes a trip to a haunted site with electronic surveillance equipment, etc. Each one leaves her unconvinced of the truth of reported positive outcomes (too much nebulosity, wishful thinking and fraud).  So don’t expect a proof yes or no, merely the author’s explorations of and participations in each method that has been used to try and determine if we have an immortal soul.

    Her tone is light hearted and had me chuckling at several points.

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