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Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Time Event
Working Hard or Hardly Working
I received a compliment the other day. One of my co-workers was talking with a person from the US Geological Survey and my name was mentioned. The guy from the USGS said about me, "Oh yeah! He's a hard worker." And no, it wasn't sarcasm. I do quite a lot with this person at the beginning of each year pulling together all of the pertinent data from the previous year for our big mega report. I just smiled as I was told what was said about me. Inside I was thinking, "Yay! I snowed another one!"

I am a big fan of self-deprecating humor. I try to not take myself seriously at all. I just wanna live and have fun. I try to tell it like it is and I expect people to do the same to me. I identify with Peter from "Office Space" because I myself probably do about 15 minutes of real work every week. OK. That's an exaggeration, but here I am updating my LJ and getting caught up on my Friends page. Sometimes I'll get on chat and yerf with friends for an afternoon. Yes! I am damn lucky! I count my blessings every day. The key is to make yourself invaluable to your employer. You may only be responsible for a few tasks, but without you, things would fall apart. There's your Uncle Bear word of advice for today.

Now some of you would be ashamed at the prospect of "doing nothing" while getting paid. That's very noble of you. You should be congratulated for such a strong work ethic. But never forget that if money got tight, they would probably fire your ass in a heartbeat. If you have such a strong work ethic, you should go into business for yourself. Your drive should make you a great success!

I do see an important task for myself. I am the cutter of bullshit. You see, there are people who believe that if you are paid for 8 hours of work, you should do 8 hours of work. It doesn't matter that the work you're doing is meaningful in any way, you should just do 8 hours of work. I have seen this at all levels. When I worked in a factory during my college years I was told to sweep up. The factory closed for a week and the assembly line was down. I still came to work. And so for 40 hours I swept up the factory. Was it meaningful work? No. You can just sweep up so much. Here in the white collar environment there is a different form of "sweeping up." You write reports to pencil pushers in DC. You develop training plans for yourself. You compile data for some manager's pet project which will probably go nowhere.

I am currently working on another bullshit cutting project. We have been responsible for the accounting of Indian and non-Indian water in a small reservoir. The current method is disliked by one pueblo since it unfairly charges them. In a meeting with the Bureau of Indian Affairs my boss went on and on about the difficulties we faced. The BIA started getting ticked off because she was only focusing on the problems not the solutions. She left for another meeting and I proposed a possible solution. The BIA loved it! It shifted the burden to the non-Indians who seemed to be the source of the problems. I developed a simple accounting method and the boss seemed to come on board. I look at this as a little victory. The methodology is ridiculously simple, it does the job, and it makes my life a whole lot easier. No need for endless meetings to discuss things. No need for complexity that is hard to understand and modify at a later date. So yeah. That's what I am getting paid for. Keeping the bureaucracy to a minimum while providing a necessary service to many users.

Current Mood: complacent

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