Thursday, October 5, 2006

From the Archives: 1997: Portrait of a Workoholoic as Young Woman

From the Archives: 1997: Portrait of a Workoholoic as Young Woman

Portrait of a Workoholoic as Young Woman
(With Shame Filled Apologies to James Joyce)

Once upon a time and what a very good time it was there was a werktrap coming down the hallway and this werktrap that was coming down along met a nicens little girl named baby Maven...
Her e-mail told her that story: Her email looked through the monitor glass: its had blurry words.
She was baby Maven. The werktrap came across the cubicle where her office mate sits: He drank black coffee.

O, the wild keyboard clicks
In the little dark cubicle.

She sang that song. That was her song.

O, the green font blows it.

When you stay late first the coffee is warm then it gets cold. Maven put on another pot. That had gravely grinds on the bottom.

The first cup had a nicer smell than her last. She played on the office boombox a certain Pete Gabriel tune for her to work. She worked:

Don't Give Up
You've Got Friends
Don't Give Up
We like who you are.

Windows95 and the application had an unrecoverable error. They were later versions than older versions, but the application was older than Windows95...

First came no vacation time and then work and then no vacation time again but you could go in the hole for 48 hours and then again even more work and then again no vacation time. It was like a commuter train going in and out of tunnels and that was like the noise of a cpu fan spinning when you opened and closed the flaps of the ears.

The manager of the department gave his presentation above her computer monitor and her memory knew the responses:
O Lord, spawn many pages
And that spawning shall create a need for more pages
Budget for more head count
O Lord I am doing work for many

The Confessional

- How long is it since your last confession, my child?
- A long time, father.
- A week, my child?
- Longer, father.
- A month. my child?
- Longer, father.
- A quarter?
- Not since Q2 last year, father.

She had begun. The Priest asked:
- And what do you remember since that time?

She began to confess her sins: lunches missed, friends not called, family not seen, voicemails not returned, nervous twitches.

- Anything else, my child?

Sins of anger and envy of co-workers, gluttony of workplace sodas, website vanity, not answering e-mails, falling asleep at meetings, annoying verbal ticks.

- Anything else, my child?

There was no help. She murmured.

- I ... have committed sins of project creep.

The Priest did not turn his head.

- With yourself, my child?

- And... with others

- With other departments, my child?

- Yes, father.
- Were they profit centers, my child?

She did not know. Her sins trickled from her lips as she decribed an illicit detail of who really stays late and when the lights go out automatically. One by one, her sins of getting sucked into other departments projects oozed out like festering sores. The last sins, sins of project overload and worker angst were sluggish an filthy. There was no more to tell. She was overcome.

The Priest was silent. Then he asked:

- How long have you been with this company?

- A year, father.

The priest passed his hand several times over his face. Then, resting his forehead against his hand, he leaned towards the grating and, with eyes still averted, spoke slowly. His voice was weary and old.

- You are very young, my child, he said, and let me implore you to give up that sin. It is a terrible sin. It kills the body and it kills the soul. It is the cause of many crimes, misfortunes, and worse, worker bitterness. You cannot know where that wretched habit of overwork will lead you. As long as you commit that sin, my poor child, you will not be worth one farthing to the company, especially if you are hallucinating and bringing down worker morale. Pray to the saint of job recs to help you. Pray to the Human Resources Department when that sin comes into your mind, I am sure you will do that, will you not? Pray to our Mother of Delegation to Other Departments. God Bless you, my child. Pray for me...