Miz Shoes

Received via E-Mail

I received this joke today, and it isn't funny, it is sad. So sad, that I thought about putting it up on my political blog. Then I decided that this is not political in nature, merely a take on corporate stupidity. That fits here. So without further ado, I present to you The Joke:

An American automobile company and a Japanese auto company decided to have a competitive boat race on the Detroit River. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day, they were as ready as they could be.

The Japanese team won by a mile.

Afterwards, the American team became discouraged by the loss and their morale sagged. Corporate management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A Continuous Measurable Improvement Team of "Executives" was set up to investigate the problem and to recommend appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, whereas the American team had 1 person rowing and 8 people steering. The American Corporate Steering Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure.

After some time and billions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that "too many people were steering and not enough rowing." To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the management structure was changed to "4 Steering Managers, 3 Area Steering Managers, and 1 Staff Steering Manager" and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat to give more incentive to work harder and become a six sigma performer. "We must give him empowerment and enrichment." That ought to do it.

The next year the Japanese team won by two miles.

The American Corporation laid off the rower for poor performance, sold all of the paddles, cancelled all capital investments for new equipment, halted development of a new canoe, awarded high performance awards to the consulting firm, and distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.
Miz Shoes

The Little Red Hen

When I first got the job of webmaster at this fine institution, it was by default. Default of my own big fucking mouth. At the time, I was merely the art director, and I had a new Director of Public Relations as my boss. She tossed me out of a meeting to discuss the possibility of doing a web site saying, and I quote: "I don't want you at this meeting. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say. You will only tell us what is wrong, and this doesn't have to be done right, it only has to be done."

So I found someone who did want to hear what I had to say, and I said it in a three-page "Jerry Maguire"-type memo. The person on the receiving end of said memo immediately stopped work on the "it only has to get done" web page and convened an oversite committee with my memo as its starting point. My PR director promptly fired me. The CIO (the guy who DID want to hear what I had to say) took that opportunity to merely have me moved to another department where I was tasked with building the web site.

Which is where the Little Red Hen comes in. Nobody in the PR office wanted to give me content, but they were the department in charge of content. I had to steal it from all the brochures I had ever produced as the art director.

Once the site was up and running, there came a battle for control between my new department (business development) and the PR office. Now that it's done, said PR, it's no longer a developent issue, it's a PR device. The CIO split the baby, and sent me and my website to the Medical Network Services division.

Well, that was two years ago, and I'm still in the Medical Information Services department, the PR department still can't stop the Miami Herald from hemmoraging bad ink about this hospital, and yet, even though one would think that possibly that group of vicious little people would have better things to do with their time, like, say, brushing up their resumes in anticipation of our first new president in 15 years, and one who has a mandate to be a new broom, they are back flogging the same dead horse as ever. To wit: That I am someone that none of them wishes to work with and I'm difficult.

To which I say, I may be difficult, but you are idiots. And I'd rather be a bitch than an idiot any day of the week.
Think about this. You are with a couple hundred of your computing peers. At a conference about a single product. In this instance, Adobe Acrobat. This is two full days of all about PDFs. There are many men in shorts and sandals. And t-shirts. There are presenters talking in depth about form fields. There are more computer nerds from schools and government agencies than any other conference I've ever been to. At the opening night mixer there was more beer drunk than wine. People hung out at the nosh bar and didn't mingle. Of course they didn't mingle. They are computer nerds.

And so am I. I must be, I'm here, aren't I? And scarily enough, learning things that will be useful at my job.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Fortunately we are at a Disney resort hotel and they have a wonderful theme bar. The resort is the "Coronado Springs" so the swimming pool has a forced perspective Mayan temple (with water slide). The theme is "Mexican Fiesta" so they have terrific frozen margaritas. And that's where this little conference attendee is headed right now. To the bar. Arriba! Vamanos!
Miz Shoes

Why? Why Do I Care?

I'd like to think that what I do has some meaning. Granted, my whole career has been one long orgy of ephemera, but still, I like to delude myself that what I do matters. Somehow. To someone. I've won awards for my work. I have had a photo used as an album cover (for Jimmy Buffett, and that is a whole other story). I have a t-shirt I designed in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution. (Another story, but it was for the Y2K team and went to the technology museum... or was it American History?)

But now, well, the web is even more ephemeral than traditional publications. And since I work for a corporate site, not even a very (literally) Flash-y site, my work tends to be a lot of brochure ware. So what am I complaining about today?

This: verbatim from our employee newsletter, an announcement of Passover services. Read it. Then parse out the second sentence.

Passover celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. It celebrates the victory over freedom from slavery. The story is retold at a "Seder," a festive meal in which freedom is raised as the highest deal in the human family. For more information, contact the Pastoral Care Office, XXX-XXX-XXXX.

As I read this, that means that "freedom from slavery" was the loser in that conflict. I also question the use of quotes around the word seder. I have visions of Dr. Evil using finger quotes. And finally, freedom is the "highest deal" in the human family? Can I get a clarification from some religious leaders about what constitutes a deal?

When I questioned the generating department, they conceded an "i", as in the "highest I-deal" in the human family.

But still, how much more disspirited can I get when this is the level of drivel I am reduced to publishing? And my friends and family wonder why I drink.

I don't wonder. I only wonder that I haven't started bringing a fucking hip flask to the office. Do you think I should send this to Dilbert?
Miz Shoes

Corporate One-Upsmanship

Here in my office (and I use the term loosely to describe the institution) there is a game we play. Who can get out the last e-mail of the day, or the last phone message. Here's how it goes. Just before you leave, say at 4:45, you fire off an e-mail that requires action on the part of the receiver. The next morning, you check to see if the person read the message yet. If not, then they left earlier than you did and you can continue the game by either: sending another e-mail, or calling the person. If they aren't yet in, then you can have even more pleasure by letting them know that you A) work later and B) come in earlier.

It doesn't matter if the job that needs to be done has been sitting on your desk for a week or two. What matters is that you got in the last e-mail of the day.

The spoiler to this game is when the person not only receives the message, but does the work, and sends you an e-mail back with a time stamp of something hellish like 7 pm.

It's almost 5 and I just got tagged. Someone from purchasing sent a report that needs to be converted to a PDF and placed on the web site. If I don't do it now, then tomorrow morning I'll get another nastygram, insinuating that I'm not doing my job. If I do it now, I'll be late for a board meeting on the other end of town.

I'm going to the board meeting. But I'm going to throw a high stick here and tell purchasing that I got their request and will do it in the morning. That way they can't complain. Well, they can, but I responded, so neener neener.
Miz Shoes

Violence in the Workplace

If looks could kill, today I would be surrounded by little piles of ash. I would unleash the sneering face of scorn and death on those around me.

What do you mean the Herald has a calendar of events with information in it that I never gave you for the web? Send me a link to the paper.

I don't know what they would do without me. Can't even find the freaking Miami Herald web site and a calendar. Of course, navigation on the Herald's site could be dificult. After all, clicking on Local Section - Neighbors might take you anywhere. Not just to the section it says it'll link to. And from there, to find a calendar link? Well, you might have to look and read. Much easier to demand that the information be driven right to your fat, lazy nose.

Really. Maybe I should have just stayed home today where I could stay out of trouble.
Miz Shoes

My Invisible Tattoo

Years ago, when I was young, single and living in NYC, I discovered that I had been born with an invisible tattoo in the middle of my forehead. It says:


I realized that it was there because people were, and people did. I could be sitting on the subway, minding my own business, and the next thing you knew, the freakazoid with the tin-foil helmet was cozying up next to me, explaining about how cats are Martians and are here to control the dogs.

I'd meet someone and we'd date and then it would be like a bad teensploitation film. They wouldn't go away. Or worse.

I'd find myself pinned to the wall by the girl down the hall, telling me that she thought I shouldn't be dating men, and she was the answer to my social problems.

The funny writer would ask (displaying no humor, and a bad sense of timing) what I wanted to be whipped with, once he got me to bed. The tattoo seemed to be particularly visible when I was drinking at the Lone Star Cafe.

It hasn't gone away. Yesterday after work, I hopped on the train and there was an Adam Sandler look alike in the car. And then he lit up a blunt. Yes. A blunt. The reek of reefer filled the car. A few passengers looked at each other. I coughed politely and said. Um? Sir? There's no smoking on the train.

Right. That got his full attention focused on me. WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP DANGER WARNING WILL ROBINSON! Sounding like Adam Sandler in the Waterboy, the guy proceeded to announce to me that he was "a man, who can do what he wants" and that he was "just smoking some weed here, do you mind?" Cause he wouldn't mind if I took myself off to the other end of the car. And then he cranked up his radio to some station that I don't think any one else in Miami can tune in and told me how the world would be a better place if there were more people like the ones on that station. See? He waved the radio at me. It didn't have a view screen, but I said yes, I saw.

He left about three stops later, still dragging on his blunt. It was generally agreed that if he'd only passed the duchy on the left hand side none of the unpleasantness need have occured.

This FUTTM tat seems to be showing up at work now. I was just e-mailed the following:

I am in the process of collecting all the pre-printed Physician order sets that are being used within the (hospital) system. I have been encountering some problems, and after speaking with R*****, she recommended that I contact you. She told me that she had sent you copies of order sets, which you would have on your computer. I am asking if I could have a copy of these so that we can move forward with the building of orders, of which this is a very important part.

OK. So, if the person sent me order sets, which they did -- electronically -- why aren't they on their computer? I just post these things to the intranet. Which begs the question, why not send the person to the medical forms center on the intranet? And why think that I keep everything on my hard drive?

Why? Why me? Why do I have another 15 years before I can retire. I don't think my liver will hold out that long.
Miz Shoes

Another Day Another Office

It's time for my annual office relocation. This morning we packed up our computers and what not and moved across campus to the Towers. OOOOOOHHH. Sounds scary. The Twin Towers. The Two Towers. More like Fawlty Towers. But I am most definitely NOT complaining. From my new desk I can see Biscayne Bay and the skyline of South Beach. Hell, I can see. Period. My last uh, one, two, three offices were bunkers with no windows at all. I'd leave work and see puddles and feel like Sherlock Holmes: It must have rained.

Now I have carpet and windows. And a kitchen. And my own bathroom that I don't have to share with the sort of riff raff a public hospital is prone to. Answer me this: Have YOU ever seen shoe prints on the seat of the toilet where YOU work? I have. I don't like to think about why.
Miz Shoes

My fingers are numb from

My fingers are numb from the cold. The truly sad thing is, I'm sitting in an office in Miami. It's the freaking air conditioner set to meat locker that has me in a sweater and polar fleece sox over my brogues. Red ones, for those of you who keep track of my shoes. With neon green sox.

Here's a rhetorical question: why do my coworkers insist on saying things to me like: "You need to tell your boss to do..." or "You need to make your boss do ..."

Hey! If he's my boss, then, by definition, I'm not the one doing the telling what to do. Get it? See, crap runs downhill. I'm downhill. From everyone it seems, some days.

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