Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Dilbert isn't funny when you're living it

Today was a holiday in the states - well, for some people. I didn't get any mail today, lets put it that way. What holiday? President's Day. It was created by people trying to sell appliances as a way to "honor" Lincoln and Washington who both had birthdays in February - neither of which happened to be today, which is a Monday so therefore an extended weekend.

I, of all people, am fond of holidays, but I wish we would just be honest about them instead of hunting for some tenous reason to have a holiday. Americans are overworked in so many ways - we take less vacation than any other industrialized nation except Japan. Even those who are entitled to lots of vacation don't take it. Not this girl - I take my vacation. I would be in need of mental health services if I didn't.

However, although today was technically a holiday I have worked all day. And, wouldn't you know it, have had an incredibly productive day. I completed FOUR tasks I've been putting off and dreading. I had done some work on each of them and as of 3:02 a.m. they are all completed.

I don't intend to stay up this late, but I get into "the flow" of a project and I don't want to stop. If I keep going I can finish it in another 30 minutes. If I stop, it will take me an extra two hours to get back in the mindset where it will take those 30 minutes. Unfortunately, when that happens repeatedly, it ends up being after 3 a.m.

I had a boss years ago who would say, "it's like you do nothing for weeks, then you pull an all nighter and more is accomplished than seems humanly possible in one night." What he could never understand was that 1.  I was not just idly sitting at my desk doing nothing, despite appearances - I was THINKING about the projects all those previous weeks. 2. I got more done when no one was interrupting me so of course I could accomplish a lot of things. 3. If he would have just left me alone and let me do things my own way he would have gotten much more out of me.

My current employers are very good about letting me do my work my own way. They're getting far more than 40 hours a week from me because I devote one of the many tracks in my brain to work all the time - not just 9-5. And I'm happy to do that as long as I'm treated well. When I'm not respected by an employer I just switch that off at 5 p.m.

Having worked in broadcasting for many years I have had some funny work experiences.

At one place I worked you couldn't make any long distance phone calls without the manager's approval. He had severe back trouble and you had to go into his office and ask him if it was OK. He would be lying prone on this table built so he didn't have to bend to sit on it. So, you would bend over at a 90 degree angle so you could look him in the eye and ask if you could make a phone call.

At another place I worked, only the first few people who got their paychecks to the bank every week got paid. Everyone else's would bounce. I was working there parttime and the checks were printed at 10 a.m. Tuesdays. I would go pick up my check, that of the program director and a friend who worked nights and take them all to the bank. Depending on how much money was in the account a couple of other people might get paid. It was paycheck roulette.

That was the same place where one of the sales guys wore this powder blue leisure suit to work every day - I mean every day - for two and a half months. Finally the sales manager pulled him aside and said you've got to get another suit.

At another place I worked, the evening anchor guy was having a torrid affair with the weekend weather girl. The anchor guy's wife was the noontime anchor and knew nothing about this. Maybe because she was busy with the weekend sports guy. Kenny, the sports guy, was, meantime, hitting on every intern that went through the place - including me. While he was awfully cute, I refrained. Who wants to be in someone's love triangle, quadrangle, hexagon or whatever that is.

For the record, Dilbert isn't funny when you're living it.