What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. New and improved. Last week the powers that be implemented a new procedure that was aimed at speeding up the time it takes to get people through the front gate. As far as I can tell all it’s succeeded at doing is creating a cluster fuck of the traffic pattern and made the wait time even longer. Forty years of experience tells me that “new and improved” rarely is… and mostly exists because someone needed a big box checked off on their annual performance appraisal.

2. I’m not particularly chatty at the best of times. When I have Post It notes stacked up like cordwood and a ten page handwritten list of shit to do, I’m even less inclined to want to chat about, well, anything, really. Sorry if the blank look on my face while you’re talking to be about a radom sportsball team I have no interest in at the best of times seems rude, but I have a limited amount of bandwidth. I’d really like to use it to make sure as many of the bits of paper on my desk are on someone else’s desk before the close of business. Unless what you’re telling me is something that’s going to make my life easier, it’s best for both of us if you bugger directly off until I’ve dug out from under the clusterfuck of the day, week, or month.

3. Maryland E-Z Pass. Let’s forget for a moment that until recently tolls at roads and bridges in Maryland were sold to the public as something that would be dropped “as soon as the cost of construction was paid off.” E-Z Pass is one of the ways that many states, including Maryland, have offered up to make their ongoing extortion backed by the full authority and power of the government less obvious to the average citizen… and I only say less obvious because the other option is handing over a fistful of physical cash money every time you drive through a toll plaza. If the state is going to continue to extort money from its citizens for things that have been long paid for and depreciated, it feels like the least they could do is make sure the back office is keeping the books right and not generating a daily email threatening to cut off your account for having a low balance when a quick look at the customer facing website shows there is very clearly both money in the account and a valid credit card from which to siphon more money as needed.

Nervous condition…

I’ve slowly come to identify a condition in one of my new colleagues. Apparently when working on short timelines or under stress, this individual’s default setting is “talk, nonstop.” It doesn’t seem to make much difference that if one is on a demanding timeline usually that means we are all plugging away on our own similarly pressing issues. I’ve tried the usual “polite” responses of keeping my responses short, answering while continuing to peck away at the keyboard, not making eye contact, etc. Next we’ll be moving along to the less gentle “look, I’ve got a lot of work, let’s pick this up later” or the even more blatant listening to my iPod at my desk routine although that’s usually just me sitting at my desk with earbuds in not actually listening to anything. If that fails, it’s possible that I’ll have to bludgeon this person to death with a hole punch and hide the body in the “protected wetland” (aka swamp) behind the building.

I have no earthly idea what would give someone the impression that I’m a good listener and even less of an idea why they think anyone at all would care about the inane prattle that dribbles out of their filthy sewers. Let’s be honest, I’m here to do a job and get paid. If I want to talk about something that’s not work, I’ll call one of my actual friends. While I’m here, all I need you to do is STFU and let me do a day’s work, ok?

Awesome.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.