Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Career Self-Destruct Button

Humans are not meant to spend forty-plus hours in a cubicle maze with a disparate collection of other human beings.

If fifty percent or more of those people are career-government workers, the interactions deteriorate to something less than pre-school level. This is because many are about fifteen years into the pension plan and too lazy or incompetent to seek employment elsewhere.

Three years ago, in the last throes of my so-called career, I was working for a local government entity. The place was a microbrewery of trouble. Clans had formed, claims filed and lawyers were sharpening their fangs.

Management, in its infinite wisdom, decided we all needed sensitivity and diversity training. I'd argue that everyone was already too bloody sensitive to start with and the problems weren't caused by racial differences, but instead because we couldn't stand the sight of each other.

The training, btw, was actually "Sensitivity and Diversity Awareness" training. Awareness, righty-oh, which is another way of saying some idiot MBA took a couple of psychology classes and pulled a new management theory out of his butt. Pop! Now he's selling his program to government entities everywhere for the price of a third world nation.

This was how I ended up in a classroom with about thirty of my not-peers listening to perky Human Resources guy read from the training manual. Mr. Perky was big on audience participation.

Most other participants, fools who still believe there is some thing called a permanent record, played along feebly. The remainder blinked dully at Perky or watched the clock.

I decided to perfect "rude." I'd brought a yellow pad and several sharp pencils and was filling the empty paper with drawings. Hunched over the table like a kid with a coloring book, I worked away-- Draw, draw, draw, draw.

"I'm sorry, what's your name?" said a voice. Somebody nudged me and I looked up. Perky was looking at me.

I feigned a yawn. "Huh?"

He pointed at the blank, self-stick name label that sat on my table. "You're not wearing your name tag."

No shit, Sherlock. You put labels on junk and sell it at tag sales. I stared back, eyes blank. He shifted his feet and pointed at the overhead projector. "Exercise three. Bob tells Mary she has a nice ass. What do you think her reaction will be?"

"Glee," I said.

"Wh-what?" He took a moment and forced a smile, probably searching for a sports analogy. He seemed unable to speak unless in the form of a sports analogy. "You really think she'd be...happy?"

"It's a complement, innit?" I said.

I might as well have hit him with a brick. A few of the more feminist-oriented members of the class made angry hen noises. "Uh, yes." He smiled at a woman a few seats away. "Can you see why it might be offensive?"

"Yes," the woman said, smugly. "It's unwanted sexual attention."

"Exactly," said Perky. I suspected he was looking at me, triumph in his mud brown eyes, but I was busy drawing. Ten minutes later, he was back, this time handing out another exercise.

"What are you drawing?" he asked, dropping a role-playing exercise on my desk.

I sneered at the exercise. The only role-playing I do involves hot elf men and me, naked. I leaned back enough to let him see my masterpieces. He gulped and said, "You're an interesting girl." His voice picked up an adolescent squeak.

I almost smiled. First, I'm way past the expiration date on "girl," and he was younger than me. Second, he was afraid. It's not like I was drawing a schematic depicting planes crashing into tall buildings. Instead it was the usual stuff: dragons, claws, and monstrous horses. Maybe it was a gender thing. "Girls" are supposed to draw cute bunnies and lollipops.

At any rate, Perky left me alone for the remainder of the class.

Working on...
Writing a synopsis before actually writing the novel. What a concept. Brain hurty.


Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005