Limited technical skills
October 8, 2006
I don’t have a real demanding job.
What little knowledge and skill it requires I learned the first couple weeks. The actual volume of work varies between light, and sleeping under my desk. I’m not even sure what it is my company does, and what role I might have in facilitating it. It would seem, to me at least, that this near total ignorance would impair my performance, but it really hasn’t. I consistently get stellar work reviews, so whatever it is I do apparently I’m good at it. It’s like they hired me by accident and now it’s just a waiting game until one of us cracks and admits there is no plausible reason I should be paid to come in and sit at my desk.
I think part of the problem is that I’m not qualified for any proper job. I posses limited technical skills, no vocational training, and my previous work experience is confined to the most basic menial labour. I don’t even remember applying, or being interviewed, for the position I hold. One day I just woke up with a security badge and bus directions to get here. It’s been six years and no one has ever questioned that every other person has an It degree, or programming experience, and I went to school for psychology and hate computers. Every year we get this training checklist to monitor our skills and qualifications; since I don’t have any of either I wind up filling the margins with profanity and covering the back with elaborate boasts about my bedroom prowess and swordsmanship.
In my defence I do at least make an attempt at being professional. I am punctual, very rarely call in sick, and work whenever they need me to. I figure if I’m doing nothing then I should at least do nothing at their convenience. Despite these attempts at engagement I am beginning to resent my vauge employment status. I feel like some sort of corporate latchkey kid; given an excess of freedom and unaccountability, when all I want is some boundaries and tough love. Am I so unworthy of responsibility? Do I project some air of fragile instability that’s shunted me into office purgatory? I have become so desperate for validation I now yoyo between lashing out against the company, and doing random projects that I think might win their approval. An example from day planner a few weeks ago:
7am-11:30 am: Construct Popsicle stick diorama of office with hand carved replicas of coworkers and upper management. Stage play where everyone gets effective feedback and positive reinforcement for doing their job. Company stock soars.
11:30-12:00 – Block bathroom toilets with rolls of toilet paper. Smash mirrors so judging reflection has to cease taunting.
12:00- 2:00pm- Create dozens of spreadsheet and pie charts showing relationship between rising oil prices and the hoarding of secret rage and shame. Attempted to combine into power point presentation but am confounded by lack of actual technical skills.
2:15-3:00pm – Try to recollect what happened during 15 min blackout. Give up and bake tiny cakes in hidden easy bake oven.
3:00pm-4:30- Randomly call people from corporate directory and tell them they are doing a good job. If they sound smug remind them their wife/husband hasn’t loved them in years.
I left out some the more banal stuff but that should give you a general sense of my workday.
To complicate matters even more I believe I may have been recently promoted. After a series of cryptic meetings last week my paycheque got bigger, and coworkers have been dropping their completed work on my desk, then requesting guidance on future tasks. Initially I tried to drive them away by constructing a Sasquatch costume from the excess reports and stomping about the halls. They proved unexpectedly fearless and resourceful though, organizing hunting parties and laying traps, so I decided it was best to give them what direction I could. Each day they are given a quest to prove their worth and loyalty. These quests can be anything from “capture a dozen pigeons by sundown” to a more robust “Battle the toughest guy one floor up to prove the supremacy of our work group”. There was some initial resistance to the new dynamic but, after a few setbacks, the team has really gelled. I think management may be my true calling.
 Coincidently it turned out we had a previously undetected sasquatch on the premises who was captured in their pursuit of my artificial one. He has since been press ganged into mail room work and has shown a real knack for it.