The rat race

At last week’s staff meeting, one of my co-workers declared that the level of dysfunction in our organization is so profound that it eludes words, which I took as a personal challenge. Game on.

The reason this comment about dysfunction was brought up is because, at that particular staff meeting, all of the Mucky Mucks attended so that they could give out service awards.  When you work at some companies for 20 years, you might get stock options, but when you work for the government for 10 years, you get a 3 x 3 tinted glass tile that has the agency logo on it, and when you work there for 15 years, the tile is 4” x 4”, and, at 20 years, a 6 x 6 tile.  I guess if you work there long enough you could create a shower stall or something. I’d like to point out that the surface area of tile increases rather steeply, which must have meaning.

But one of the reasons that this was such an unusual presentation is that the biggest mucky muck of all had been fired (oops, I mean she resigned to spend more time with her family), the way it happens when the new elected official wants to make his mark. This person didn’t do anything in particular wrong, is my point. She is a smart, dedicated, hard-working person, by the way. Only the merest mention of her pending departure was made during the awards ceremony, which I think was me asking what she’s going to do next, and her saying, oh, I don’t really know, something completely different, and me saying, maybe you could be a rock star? Which seemed to please her, I like to think, and caused my boss to give me that bewildered look, like, “what is wrong with you?” But mostly everyone laughed nervously because it was so far-fetched of a suggestion and there was so much nervous energy in the room already.

The word, “ceremony” makes it sound like we weren’t just sitting around a table in a grim meeting room; it makes it seem like maybe there was a snack, or coffee at least, but that would be incorrect. Some of the people in the room, including some of those getting the service awards, had been laid off, and had about a day left at the job. This wasn’t mentioned during the ceremony, either, which, well, can you see how that would be a little surreal?

To summarize: the director is leaving, and we don’t know if we’ll get another one, or if that means the plan will be to eliminate the whole agency, or maybe scatter people to different agencies, or lay everyone off. A bunch of the people already did get laid off, and all this is coming down rather soon, like, for some people, in 24 hours. So at the meeting, management gives out what basically amounts to attendance awards, with no mention of anything else going on. No, “hey, thanks to the rest of you who’s last day is tomorrow, by the way.”

That’s the backdrop, hopefully I can a little more of this story, like the part about how the secretaries have all been laid off except for one, who, well, she hasn’t been around much lately because she’s been taking driver training classes offered by the Community Services for the Blind. Yes, that’s true. When I asked my boss if he was at all concerned that the community services for the blind offers driver training, he said no, not really.

Yes, hopefully I can tell more of the story without boring you, or getting fired. My son says that it would be the most pathetic thing ever to get fired for this blog. Like, “yeah, I got fired. Yup, wrote a blog that seven people read. Got fired for it. My kids and I live under a bridge now. Totally worth it, though, that blog.”


  1. It can be lonely here in the blogosphere, but I, for one, enjoy your stuff. Just make sure you keep posting once you're living under that bridge!

  2. Make sure it's a bridge near a local coffee shop or a library or some other place that offers free WiFi.

  3. You won the eludes words challenge! You get an 8x8 inch tile, from!


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