Endless Confrontations, Part 1
The good news is that I’ve solved my mystery.
The bad news is that I don’t see any solution other than
homicide threats on Bert’s family peaceably getting Bert to put a stop to his sabatoge somehow.
It takes me a month to figure out what to do about that particular situation and in the meantime, my run-ins with Cthulhu remain universally ugly. I’ll try to limit myself to a small set of them. If I listed out all of the disagreements and uncomfortably insane interactions I had with this brainless subcreature, there’d be enough content to fill an entirely new blog. I’d call it Living With Cthulhu and it would be chock full of this awful stuff.
If you’ve been reading this series, you know that Wednesday is my meeting day.
That’s not to say I don’t have meetings other days. I absolutely do, to the tune of three hours, minimum.
But Wednesday is special. Wednesday is eight or nine hours, straight. I start at eight and end at four if I’m lucky, five if I’m not.
Toward the end of May, after a long Wednesday of meetings, I head back to my office around five fifteen and start doing the work that really needs to be done. I check in with my consultants to make sure they’re on top of their daily task lists and then respond to a few status requests from our clients.
Close to six, Cthulhu literally runs into my office and pulls up at my desk. Even by the standards of a god full of unceasing and indiscriminate hatred, he looks pissed. Also: somewhat out of breath. Cthulhu needs to start an exercise program.
<LIVINGAFI> WE HAVE A CRITICAL ISSUE
What is it, Cthulhu. Is there a production problem?
NO YOU HAVE FAILED TO DELIVER AN MBO
Okay, yeah, I probably have. Which one is it?
KEY CONFIGURATION PROJECT
Right. That’s the inventory thingie. Listen, can we talk about this tomorrow? I’m trying to finish some time sensitive work and go home.
NO IT MUST BE DONE A.S.A.P.
Why? It’s just paperwork.
I PROMISED DELIVERY TO OUR DIRECTOR TODAY
Crap. Look, Cthulhu, I can do it by end of Friday.
YOU WILL DO IT TONIGHT I HAVE RESET EXPECTATIONS FOR SUBMISSION TOMORROW MORNING
I have plans tonight, Cthulhu.
YOU HAVE NO FAMILY WHAT ARE YOU DOING THAT IS SO IMPORTANT
Freeze the frame. Up until this statement, we’re having a fairly typical employee-manager conversation. He wants something done and we’re having a discussion about when I might be able to finish the work. Never mind the fact that I’ve already put in ten hours that day and I’m technically staying late out of the goodness of my heart. I’m pretty all right with it until this point.
But as soon as he tells me that he expects me to work all night because I have no “family” — well. Let me just say I was suddenly sure that I’d be unable to complete this task at all. Ever. Asking me what I’m doing on my own time is also off limits. The clear message is that time spent on myself (and not “family”) is valueless: He expects me to be working instead.
Cthulhu, I have a commitment tonight. I can’t do this work. You’re going to have to talk to the director and reset expectations. And while we’re on that subject, I can’t have it for Friday either. I just realized my calendar is mostly booked for this week. If you want me to get it done, please contact meeting organizers to clear space on my calendar so I can do the work during the day — I will not cancel meetings I’ve already agreed to attend just to take care of this. And by the way, I’m officially busy every night after five for the foreseeable future.
THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE THIS WORK MUST BE COMPLETED
I have to get going now, Cthulhu.
At this point he’s propelled himself to the side of my desk and there’s no way for me to get out — he’s blocking my path.
So I stand up and literally push him out of the way to get by to the door. I don’t touch him with my hands, I sort of bulldoze him with my chest instead, until there’s enough space to slip by. I can smell the seaweed on him as I pass.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING
WHAT IS YOUR COMMITMENT
I don’t bother to respond to this. There’s just no point. Talking to Cthulhu is like having a discussion with broken ATM. There are only four transactions available for processing, and half the time the input keys are stuck and unresponsive, but you try to make use of it anyway because that’s the only way you’re going to get your money.
I never did finish that MBO.