Sunday, December 23, 2012

We Can Pickle That!

Lured by the siren song of a paycheque and a misplaced sense of purpose, I venture daily into the massive rectangular structure. Most of my waking hours are spent plugged in to the system, shaping thoughts and products that I hope will please my superiors. By way of swift and systematic feedback I become trained in their ways. Slowly, irrevocably, my thoughts become one with those of the hive brain; little by little, I am made one of them.

They let me keep my own face and stuff so that's nice, but otherwise it's pretty much the Borg in there. Resistance is futile.

One of the interesting side effects of my indoctrination is the inappropriate application of work concepts in every aspect of my life, "mitigate" being among the worst offenders: look like total arse in the morning? Mitigation measures include makeup; hair styling; artful use of cleavage to draw the eye away from the haggard face. Feel like total arse in the morning? Mitigation measures include more makeup; caffeine; handful of ibuprofen. (Crunchy!) Lousy day at work? Wash down your ibuprofen with a light sprinkling of tears and something chocolate. Supper looks like/tastes like/totally is arse, and/or too tired to cook at all? 310-0001. Plus ibuprofen.

The list goes on. No matter the problem, We Can Mitigate That! And if it can't be technically or economically mitigated? Well, it probably wasn't significant anyway, so, y'know, whatevs. Here, I'll show you how that beautiful piece of magic works:

"Oh, gawd, I'm dying to eat a slice of cheesecake right now. But it's too late at night for me to mitigate this slice of cheesecake with a workout, so I'd better evaluate the significance of any potential effects before proceeding with this poor nutrition choice. Let's see... based on the the basal metabolic rate of the ingestee; the gym membership she could (theoretically) deploy to healthful effect at any time; and the 5% Lycra in her clothing, it is concluded that this slice of cheesecake will have no significant cumulative effect. Dig in." Simple!

Note the sliding baseline (i.e., my 34-year-old physique with its decades of accumulated kummerspeck was used as the point of comparison) and the examination of the cheesecake effects in complete isolation of the larger dietary/lifestyle context. Contrary to what your gut feel on this might be, it's actually a strength of the argument, not a drawback: you can explain away anything in the entire world with this. It's the single most powerful piece of illogic a person can hold in their arsenal of self-talk, even more so than whatever my mother uses when she buys all those shoes.

And I wouldn't have learned it if it weren't for work. Thanks, guys! I offer up my humble blog for co-opting into the collective workplace mind in return.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feels Like the First Time

Welp, the Powers That Be recently kicked off a formalized mentorship program at work. There's a little matchmaking questionnaire, some PowerPoint presentations, some billable time allotted, and poof! No employee left behind. Sweet, eh? Plus, they somehow decided I would make a suitable mentor. Me! This gives me a warm, fuzzy and mildly terrified feeling inside, similar to the one I got when I managed to trick the bank into giving me a mortgage - they think I’m a grown-up!
What gives me a decidedly less-fuzzy feeling is the actual mentorship process itself. I mean, the people are great, that’s not an issue, but the atmosphere of the whole thing is so... ‘ow you say?... awkward as all get out. It’s like I’m first-dating these people. But a very pointed first date: first-dating with a purpose, which is wildly different from any first-dating I’ve previously done. Historically, I’d say that I’m actually really good at first-dating. I realize this seems contrary to my purported social awkwardness issues, but it always seemed to me there was a well-defined set of parameters to work with for dating: it goes poorly, you bail. It goes well, you get naked. Easy! This new first-dating has no such tidy exit or move-forward strategies. And like I said, it’s so - purposeful. We’re talking about our resumes. We’re sharing five-year plans. We’re planning our next phase together.
This must be what first-dating is like when you’re in your thirties: Listen, my clock is ticking here. D'you want a big wedding or what?

By way of a timely tactical shift in my early twenties from aggressive sport dating to serial monogamy I thought I had managed to dodge that particular bullet, yet here we are, and I have to confess I'm at a bit of a loss for how to deal with this thirty-something purposeful-dating business. I had simply never considered the prospect. Plus I know they're going to talk about their experiences with other mentees in the company so now it's a competition on top of everything else. I find myself trying for super-cool-and-fun purposeful-dates. The cognitive dissonance is killing me.

And if it doesn't go well? No matter, we simply continue purposeful-dating, quarterly, for all eternity or until one of us un-friends the other person via an HR intervention (and you thought the dates were awkward!), whichever comes first.

There's one small way in which these purposeful-dates have the edge over other dates: don't tell my mentees, but I'm so not shaving my legs for them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Charlie Brown Christmas

You know the way waitresses will just ignore you altogether when your food is too long in coming? (I can still see you, this is not a problem that's going to get any better while you refuse to make eye contact or refill my soda.) Oh gawd, that drives me crazy! But I realized that I've been doing the self-same thing myself for a little while now and I've got to come clean: we put up the Christmas tree over two weeks ago.

(cue crickets)

If you've known me a while you'll know that we were forced to give up on real trees at Christmas a few years back because we couldn't stop Small Fry from eating stray needles and drinking out of the tree stand. Thinking that it was the 'real' part of the Christmas tree situation that was the problem, we bought a 'forever' tree the next year, only to find out that, nope, it's just Small Fry + any kind of tree that causes trouble.

But the thing with kids is that they get older every year, right? Surely he would be over his tree fetish by the year after that...?

Nope. No luck.

This year I thought, what the hell. I don't have to clean fir-filled diapers anymore, I'm getting a real tree again. Then I fired up my laptop and waited for Small Fry to lob me an easy seasonal blogging opportunity.

But the thing with kids is that they get older every year, I guess. As I was saying, we put the tree up over two weeks ago: DH brought it home, I strung the lights and the chillies decorated it together without incident. Small Fry even had a little chuckle at last year's gingerbread amputee ornaments - "I wemember biting those!" - before shaking his head sagely at the foolishness of his younger self and hanging them on the tree, thus marking a surprisingly bittersweet end to a somewhat dubious Christmas tradition.

Humour me for a moment here and pretend we're making eye contact: sorry, folks. It's a sad fact that your order is not forthcoming. D'you want a refill on your Diet Coke with that?