My worst nightmare

There’s this person I met a long time ago. Everyone on my team got into an argument with this guy at one point or another. He was kind of the unofficial poster child for all that is wrong with the workforce.

I’m not saying he didn’t work or didn’t do good work when it matters. But that’s the thing. This is someone who had been so ass-fucked by corporate America that he gave the exact minimum. No less and certainly no more.

When my team was working late and say sent a late-timestamped e-mail that would be acknowledged between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., people like him (if not him directly) would whine that YOU PEOPLE MUST LIKE WORKING LATE.


In any event, one of my people got into such a heated argument with him that I could hear the yelling down the hall. Not my people, mind you. YOU PEOPLE, as I would say.

This was a long long time ago. But I haven’t forgotten it. It was when I decided to eliminate their job.

Not as their supervisor, because I wasn’t. But to teach myself enough so that I’d never have to talk to them again.

There’s a company in Seattle that said it’s raising everyone’s salary to at least $70,000. It came out today that two of their top performers quit. After all, why reward the clock-watchers without commensurately (at least) rewarding the stars?

I give them credit for quitting. I probably would too.

I think it would go against everything in me to scale back and let others catch up to me. I get that you have to be a good corporate citizen. But I just think of it as something else to excel at.

Sometimes, though, I do worry that I could become so disenchanted with being a corporate citizen that I could become that way:

  • Overimpressed with my own output.
  • Guarded when it comes to my not just off-work time, but also work time.
  • Even more guarded where it comes to sharing ideas.
  • Or just not even having any ideas anymore. Or any good ones.
  • And being too pissed off at the world — or too numb to it — too care.

I don’t think it will happen. I still worry and question everything and work hard and do my best. But I see myself fizzling out.

Something tiny happened today that only I would notice. (I intend to keep it that way — fix it, but shut my trap about it and fix it rather than whine about it.)

And I thought about that guy none of us could stand. I could hear him saying, “Oh well. Not my job. Someone has to take charge of it but not me.” Because, I’ve heard it before.

Lord, never let me make it to that point.

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