What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Counting. Look, I’m about as math challenged as any adult human being can be. I avoid dealing with numbers whenever possible, but there are some moments when it just can’t be avoided. Taking a quick look around and finding out how many people should be in a room, how many are in that room, and then figuring out where the balance of the people actually are shouldn’t not create the most difficult task known to man. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes. And it definitely shouldn’t take six hours to arrive at an “inconclusive” answer. Being able to find your people in the event bad shit happens is kind of a hallmark of supervision – or it least it was back a million years ago when I had that particular rose pinned on me. Being forced to admit in public that you can’t count up your people should be a source of great shame to you and your family.

2. Layers. You know what would make an already pretty top heavy organization even more frustrating to deal with? Yeah, adding another layer of management on top of the five already in place between the working level and decision makers. For all of the vaunted effort put in to “right sizing” and “workforce shaping” it’s like no one can get past doing it the same way we’ve been doing it since George Washington was a private… because additional layers of management are exactly the cure for anything that ails a big, bureaucratic organization.

3. Patience. Some greybeard long ago said that patience is a virtue. I can only assume that this individual didn’t actually have anything he was looking forward to. So polite society says we’re supposed to be demure and pretend that the waiting around doesn’t bother us. It’s not something we’re supposed to admit, but in my humble estimation, the very notion that we should be happily patient reeks of utter bullshit.

Joy suckers…

I was served up an article today listing the “10 costumes you must never ever wear for Halloween” unless you want to risk being branded a privileged cultural appropriating racist. Having worn a few of those costumes as a kid, I can only say I’m incredibly thankful to have grown up before everyone started being offended by everything and all dissent can be silenced by simply branding the other person racist. The ideological lock step with which certain segments of the population seem to believe must be adhered to without question or deviation is chilling. Especially when you remember a time when that same group rallied regularly in support of radical free expression in the arts, in public forums, and on the airwaves. Then again, perhaps that really just meant freedom for those enunciating approved, doctrinaire ideas.

Here’s the neat thing about being a grown ass adult: I’m old enough to not have to ask anyone’s permission before wearing anything, especially not when the point of the day is to dress up in such a way as to come as you aren’t. I’m also old enough to remember when the ending of a popular children’s poem was “But names will never hurt me,” though that’s probably a topic for a different post. In any case, I heartily thank the gods I haven’t gotten a cease and desist letter from the punk rockers, or the new wave kids, or the grunge bands demanding that I give up my beloved Doc 1640s. Surely, based on how the idea of cultural appropriation is being applied in the early 21st century, I’m guilty of absconding with late 20th century English heritage, no?

Maybe you won’t hear it anywhere else this year, but you’ll hear it from me – if you want to dress as a samurai, bandit, cowboy, cop, biker, construction worker, sailor, Indian chief, or whatever else happens to tickle your happy place, go forth as you will and enjoy your Halloween festivities. My advice to you is to not let the fact that some small segment of the population wants to act as judge and jury of a self-appointed inquisitorial hurt feelings goon squad get in the way of your enjoying the day. They’ve clearly managed to suck the joy our of their own lives already and you’d be well served not to let them do the same to yours.

Not a sermon, just a thought.

No idea…

I have no idea what’s happening in the world. That’s not an exaggeration. At the moment, anything that is happening outside my immediate line of site might as well be an undiscovered country. I’m assuming the North Koreans haven’t bombed California and Donald Trump is still president because those are the kinds of stories that would have made Facebook explode.

I didn’t set out to cut myself off these last few days from global events, but I find that I don’t regret it all that much either. I find increasingly that if I’m busy tending to me and mine, the amount of time available to be all that interested decreases dramatically. I’m mostly OK with that… which is easy to say as I sit here in the fading light of this grand sweep of days off. Tomorrow is going to bring be back to wall to wall televisions spewing what passes for news all day long. I’m guessing it will take me about 24 minutes to get all caught up on whatever it is I missed.

I’ve heard it said that ignorance is bliss. That may or may not be the case, but it seems that I’m a happier and probably more sane individual when my consumption of current events is held to a bare minimum.

Should have known…

I should have known what kind of day it was going to be when I woke up 20 minutes before the 5AM alarm – too early to be awake, even by my standards, but not nearly enough time to make going back to sleep a worthwhile endeavor. I should have known then that it was a sign to pick up the phone, make a call, and burn off a sick day. But instead I pressed on with the morning routine.

The day fired one last warning shot across my bow when I got to the office and was met with a message that someone had sent me what they thought was a very important email and they needed to talk to me about its contents immediately (or when they got in at 8:30, whichever came first). Of course the problem there was they might have sent the email, but as we all know communication only happens when information is transferred between the sender and the receiver. Whatever it was their very important email said, it had been lost in transition from their mailbox to mine. As a rule I try not to comment on documents I haven’t had a chance to read, so the 8:30 phone call was, shall we say, a bit brief. I really, really should have pulled the plug at that point and called it a day.

Instead, in the middle of trying to prepare for a meeting (with the person whose email finally showed up around 9:00), I was then shanghaied into seat filler duty for 75 minutes. That led into a 30 minute pause before the next hour long meeting, which led to 20 minutes of frantic post-meeting emailing, which begat the next 75 minute long meeting. By now it’s 2:30 and that’s when I finally sat down to shove a sandwich and a few handfuls of crackers into my face today. That may be perfectly reasonable for some people, but tends to be a little late when your official day started at 7:30 and you’re legally obligated to leave the premises at 4:00.

I at least got to leave on time this afternoon. As I understand it “on time” was just a few minutes ahead of the last violent shitstorm of the day. I missed getting covered in that one by the skin of my teeth. Unfortunately, now I know what’s sitting there waiting for me when I wander in tomorrow. I was definitely a happier human being before I knew what to expect, but I’ve been at this game long enough that I should have known better than to have any expectations at all.

Expectations. That’s where the day really started skidding off the rails. Yeah, I really should have known better.


I’m sitting on the back porch enjoying a cold beer, pulling on a Cohiba la Habana, tapping away on the blog, and keeping one eye on the dogs who always seem to always manage to lay squarely on my feet. It’s probably 70 degrees and there are no bugs to speak of this early in the season. I had a reasonably well cooked steak for dinner and interesting conversation with colleagues I respect. Things will look different at 4:30 tomorrow morning, but right now all is right with the world and that is a beautiful thing.