Monday, January 10 2000
What with the additional drinking I'd done last night, I'd simply postponed my Sunday hangover for today. I found myself suffering badly during the weekly company meeting this morning. I would have much preferred to be at my desk working, but there I was, a dutiful employee, absorbing my weekly dose of company propaganda. We were sitting patiently in chairs we'd brought up the elevator to a gutted floor of our skyscraper, doing absolutely nothing but clapping occasionally according to peer pressure. My lack of mental activity left my mind free to focus on my pain and hangover-induced mental imperfection and it was horrible.
I snuck out for awhile to take a horrendously fragrant shit and then do some work at my desk, but since the offices were virtually empty, I felt funny and eventually returned to the meeting.
The meeting ran much longer than a normal company meeting, actually extending into the afternoon. It started off with a proposal by the Grand Pooh Bah for the creation of a charitable fund, the sort that would no doubt make for some killer press releases. After this was well received (in that typically nervous way all things are well received at company meetings), various people from "the Audit Team" and Operations presented refinements to the management system under which we work. The major development here was the emergence of a new incentive system to encourage people to work harder. The job performance of each of us was now being quantified, based partly on how many projects each of us takes on and partly on how successful those projects have been. While the first factor could possibly be objectively-determined, the second in most cases cannot be. None of this would matter except for the fact that these figures are now posted for everyone to see by the door.
My score (80-some-percent) was pretty average for my "resource," reflecting a combination of factors including hard work, mediocre project performance, and utter incompetence on the part of Operations in counting projects for which I've worked. The worst thing I did for my score in the past quarter was work on projects for the E-commerce team, which (because of its failure to meet laughably unrealistic goals) was considered a gross failure under our management system. That failure showed up like a bad grade on my "report card," even though it could probably be argued that if I hadn't contributed to the E-commerce project, it would have been an even bigger disaster than it ended up being. My colleague Jonathan Iba-Jiba was even more tainted by E-commerce work than was I, and his poor showing on the "List of Worthiness" actually ruined his day. It was completely unfair, of course. Throughout the Fall Jonathan was systematically tortured and hounded by the utterly ungrateful E-commerce team, yet he thanklessly toiled for them anyway because he was led to believe that it was the right thing to do. For example, he spent last Halloween night working on an E-commerce project for which he received negligible bonus compensation. Meanwhile, my co-worker Al (scoring 60-some-percent) was tainted more by bad luck than anything else. Again, his "grade" was grossly unfair. Al works long hours and has unusual dedication to his projects. On the other hand, the greatest successes (in terms of grades) under the management system (Mary from QA and Eric the Web Developer) are actually part-timers, people working 40-hour weeks and less!
I watched Freaks and Geeks on teevee tonight and liked it. I'm a sucker for comedy shows that lack laugh tracks.
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