Monday, April 26, 2010

Boring Job-Related Vent, or Why The Thing That Makes Me Good at My Job Makes Me Very Slow at My Job

I spent all day working on a project that was supposed to be easy, and I was very happy because almost nothing I work on is simple. It's like I have the magic touch, only the opposite of that. Even one of my coworkers who I don't work with directly but who sometimes looks over my stuff for me has commented, "how come you get all the weird stuff?" And other coworkers randomly offer me condolences. And like most of my work assignments that are supposed to be easy, this one turned out to the kind of project that lures you in with it's deceptively easy appearance, all "hey, work on me today, I'm a Greenpeace boat, it'll be so easy," and then you start working on it, and it turns out to by very "why the face" and in fact NOT easy. WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME?

I can only blame myself for spotting the problem under the surface anyway. Nobody else involved in the matter brought it up. But I spotted the problem, and now I’m obligated to address it. This afternoon, when I went by the office of the senior attorney I work with and told her, hey, I think I spotted a problem, and told her what it was, she said, "yep, that's a problem," and then she looked at me and said, “why do you keep doing this?” Like it's my fault!

But it feels like it is. Because I keep spotting problems that are, shall we say, challenging to solve. I spend weeks working on it, then I give up and go talk to the senior attorney, explaining why it's so difficult to me and hoping she, in her wisdom and longer experience, can give me some guidance, and she inevitably says, basically, “I don’t know what to tell you.” And then we go have this conversation with our boss, and at the end, she’s like, “hmm, yeah, that’s a thinker.”* And then we sit there in silence until someone comes up with something else to talk about, and they think about (I'm guessing) how glad they are that someone else is taking care of that problem.** And I go stare at my office walls for awhile until I come up with a plan. Which I always do. But not before thinking at least once that I'm just going to walk out right then and never, ever come back.

And then I find a solution and everything is great. Until the next one.

So, anyway, I’m a little irritated with myself because if I had not spotted the problem, probably it would never have become an issue to not address it, but now that I’ve spotted it, I have to take care of it. Also, I’m irritated because earlier when I was complaining to my friend and said, “My stupid brain!” I knocked on my forehead with my fist as I was saying it (because that made it more dramatic) and gave myself a headache, which I still have, hours later.

And right after I did that, I dropped applesauce into my computer keyboard. Fantastic.

I really shouldn't be surprised at the way work goes. I've been, for years, the person in the group that ruins everyone's fun by shooting down someone's great plan with a "that's never going to work" and then an explanation of why this person's bright idea is doomed to fail. As you can imagine, I am very popular at parties.

On a brighter note, RR and I were cracking ourselves up today via email over the idea of peeling bananas. We were talking about peeling fruit to reduce allergy reactions, and I told her that I kept picturing myself peeling a banana. Not taking off the banana peel, but getting a vegetable peeler and scraping off the outer layer of the part you eat. For some reason, this was hilarious to me. RR, being RR, thought it would be an excellent idea if I did this at work one day to see if anyone said anything. And I told her that was an excellent idea, but I needed to come up with something to say if anyone did say something. The best scenario is to not explain, but obviously if someone asks, I cannot say, “I just wanted to see if someone would say something.” So far my best suggestion is to say, “I just don’t like the bumpy part.” I think I could say that with a straight face, and RR and I thought this would be very funny.

I think maybe RR and I need more sleep.


*Don't think badly of them for leaving me to fend for myself. The reason they don't have an answer for me is because there is not one.

**Do not think badly of them for that, either. We all do that around the office. There is always, always at least one project that someone else has that you are at least secretly, but usually openly glad that you don't have to deal with. I think the unofficial motto of our office is, "dude, I feel bad for you, but better you than me. Have a donut."

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