Reliability and predictability…

Yesterday was an eight hour shitshow. There are more polite ways to phrase it, but there are none more accurate so I’ll leave it at that. Don’t let it ever be said, though, that the gods lack a sense of humor. Where yesterday was a colossal effort to make me lose my ever-loving mind, today I found myself wandering through back rooms and hallways verifying that emergency lighting and exit signs were operating in good order during a mock power outage.

I’ve worked in a number of places where the ebb and flow of days was predictable. Whether it was food service with the regular rushes for lunch and dinner to offices that lived by the tempo of weekly reporting they all had some kind of identifiable heartbeat underlying the day to day activities. Personally I’m a fan of that kind of predictability in life. You can count on one hand the number of “good” surprises I’ve ever been party to in my professional life. Come to think of it, I’d be hard pressed to show more than a like number of good surprises in my personal life either. Suffice to say, I’m not really a fan of the unexpected.

I’ve long suspect that at least in part the utter lack of predictability in what the powers that be are going to choose to care about on any given day is one of the fundamental problems we face. Get a little reliability and predictability baked into the system, trash a bunch of archaic process and procedures that don’t make sense in the 21st century, slash half of the management layers off the org chart, and hey, who knows, we might get a little productivity and morale going around here.

Ha. Yeah. Like any of that going to happen.

Humor, or the lack thereof…

Some people are funny – and no I don’t mean in that “Hey, pull my finger” kind of way. There are virtues to that kind of humor too, of course, but I’m think more about people who can turn drop a perfectly aimed barb on a dime. They have the knack. It’s some combination of timing, ability to turn a phrase, topical awareness, and lacing your words with just enough poison to let the point drive home without ever doing more than brushing against a subject.

Sadly, there are another group of people who wield sarcasm like a brute force weapon – a cudgel with which to beat people about the head and neck repeatedly. It’s a pity, because sarcasm is a real art form when it’s done right. When it’s done wrong, it leaves you looking like a total ass. There’s a fine line there and it’s critical to know where that line is at all times.

People who don’t have the gift just really shouldn’t try to force the issue. It shows every single time and it never stops being uncomfortable. There are few thing more awkward than a person standing around throwing out what they think are zingers while the rest of the captive audience is forced to ponder just how much of a tool that person really is. Here’s a hint: if no one else in the room is laughing, you’re probably doing it wrong. You should stop immediately. And you should consider never doing it again.

The world is a big place. Not everyone needs to have the same skills. For the love of God, if you don’t have a knack for humor please leave it to the professionals – or at least to the skilled amateurs. Sometimes it’s ok to enjoy the show rather than try to be a part of it.

Best of breed…

I’ve been using the blog a lot lately to hock my own merchandise. I’m going to spare you from a round of that this evening in the understanding that as much as I wish it might be otherwise, you might be interested in hearing a voice other than mine from time to time. In that spirit, I wanted to take this opportunity to feature three blogs that I read and enjoy on a regular basis because they’re some combination of funny, inappropriate, or informative.
I’m listing these in no particular order other than the way my bookmark folder has them organized:

1. ChowderHead – Wildly funny and decidedly inappropriate. Do you need more reasons to click over and give it a read?

2. 25ToFly – Commentary on life, blogging, and the hilarity that ensues. She’s good stuff.

3. Break Room Stories – I did a four year hitch with McDonald’s, but I was always mercifully protected from the general public by two or three flat-top grills. This blog confirms what a good idea staying in the kitchen was.

One of the things about blogging is that you tend to do a lot of reading of other blogs in your travels around the internet. Some, obviously, are better than others. If you don’t have quite as much time to wander around the internet looking for the good bits as I do, these three blogs are some of the best of breed. Give them a read. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.