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Monday, September 19, 2011

Bring Me A Rock

One of the reasons I work – aside from the pleasure of a roof over my head and/or eating food that I have not found in the streets – is the analytical flexibility this “working” thing fosters.

I enjoy a good puzzle.

What would I be doing, after all, if I wasn’t wracking my brain trying to figure out what in the world was just said to me?

When I’m not translating some garbled, handwritten note into English or using my supernatural powers to get you direct flights every time you travel regardless of dates, length of time between the decision to travel and the actual date of travel or company policy regarding what constitutes reasonable and unreasonable fares, then I’m playing a game that I like to call “Bring Me A Rock”.

It goes a little something like this:

Boss: Hey, no rush, but if you could bring me a rock, that would be great.
Me: How soon do you need it?
Boss, looking at watch: Well, it’s 4:00 p.m. now. If I could have it in the next hour or so?
Me: OK.

Five minutes later:
Me: Got you a rock!
Boss, inspecting rock: Do you have a bigger one?

Five minutes later:
Me: Bigger rock!
Boss: Can you get it in gray?

And already I’m wising up, which is why I get the many benefits (ie, hourly pay and my own chair) that I do.

Me: Are there any other properties that you require in this rock?
Boss: No, no.

I don’t believe him, of course, but what can I do?

I depart the corner office, clutching my chest and pondering stress-related coronaries at work.

Five minutes later:
Me: Here it is! A fairly large, gray rock. Anything else?
Boss: Can you get five more of them? And if they could be in my hands by the end of the day, that would be great.

And that would be great, wouldn’t it?

As an old friend used to say, I’m going to get on that just as soon as I get back from Chicago…

42 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

And if you need anything, I'll be at home, asleep.

Kristy said...

I love this get me a rock analogy. No need to pretend that most daily work tasks are not so ridiculously mundane.

haphazardlife said...

Aaaaaaaaarrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Pearl said...

Simply, I'm right behind ya...

Kristy, it works, doesn't it?!

Haphazard, and SO fulfilling!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Voice from the change room. "Could you get me a pair of 34 30 jeans please". "These are great, do they have them in Levi's?" "Fantastic, do they have them in straight leg?" "Marvellous, do they have them in black?"
"Do you want supper tonight?"

Shelly said...

Then they might ask you to get a hammer, bang said rock into smithereens and rebuild it, exactly as it was, from the fragments. That kind of how it is in education now. This is why we need those calming pursuits like running and yoga, so we don't take the aforementioned hammer to our own heads...

Pearl said...

Delores, :-) Post worthy!!!

Shelly, I'm over here, nodding vigorously. Physical pursuits -- and don't forget the creative pursuits! -- are what keep me healthy, on all fronts!

Argent said...

Aw, just how sissyphian our work days are!

Audubon Ron said...

In case you never seen one, that -> O, would be a round tuit.

WrathofDawn said...

I used to have a boss who'd come out of his office and say, "Did you see that piece of paper I had yesterday?" We worked in an insurance office. It was the 1980s. EVERYTHING WAS ON PAPER. When you'd try to narrow down the search by asking, "What kind of paper - typewritten sheet, receipt, report...???" he'd be genuinely puzzled as to why you'd need that information. *sigh*

Russ said...

I used the "Lumberg" voice from Office Space for the boss voice over. It worked very well!

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Oh dear. I have SO BEEN THERE. See, this is why I stopped writing my "Psychotic Secretary" blog. The craziness was making me very stabby. :)

It's why gin and tonics were invented, Pearl.

CarrieBoo said...

All I know is, never be a designer in the marketing department. It would follow something like this, "I want you to work late and make me a rock. Something rectangular and round, soft and hard, make it zip and zap, put lots of smaller rocks in it, maybe some shells, maybe some peanuts. No, not peanuts. Rainbow coloured seeds. And make up some text to go with it. You're the designer."
Some time later...
"What the hell do you call that?"
"Uh, this is what you asked for."
"I know what I asked for. I don't care what I asked for. You're the designer, you should know what to do."

*quietly sobbing, rocking back-and-forth, and chewing hair*

Leenie said...

Oh, man! I've played "Bring Me a Rock" for years with clients who want graphics designs. I finally resorted to Spock's Vulcan Mind Meld. Unfortunately a lot of the clients didn't have a mind so the boss requested I stop it or be fired.

Glen said...

Sometimes you simply have to find a rock that fits up their hard place.

Andie (aka Yandie, Goddess of pickles, but not signed in) said...

Best metaphor ever.

jabblog said...

- and all the while you smile and smile . . .

Douglas said...

My favorite exchange was:

Boss: "How long will it take to fix this?"
Me: "15 minutes, maybe less."
Boss: "Great news!"
Me: "Of course, it may take me several hours to figure out just what is broke but once that is done..."

There is a reason I think that the natural state of (this) man is retired.

Belle said...

Never having worked in an office, this post makes me happy about that!

Lo said...

Pearl.....you are so brilliant it amazes me.

Best thing to do with that rock is either hit yourself or your boss in the head with it....repeatedly.

Healthy Mom Project said...

Bring Me A Rock sounds familiar - I think I've played it once or twice too! I'm with Lo - hit your boss over the head with the rock.

Eva Gallant said...

I'm so glad I'm retired. Great post, Pearl.

Crystal Pistol said...

This is why some people would rather be homeless...

aBroad said...

Let me know if you need some Paper or Scissors :)

Middle-aged Mormon Man said...

I look at this as an employer. I actually pay people to bring me rocks. If they don't want to bring me rocks, they don't have to. There is a huge line of people that would love to bring me rocks.

Happy Frog and I said...

This feel scarily familiar to me. They call it 'scope creep' at my place, I call it a pain in the butt! Then again it's good keeping a roof over my head so tell me to jump and I'll grab my skipping rope.

Leslie said...

I just sent this to my my current and past assistants...and thanked them for the rocks. :)

Gigi said...

This is the(one of the many)bane(s) of my existence! I don't mind getting the rock. I'm happy to do it. But dammit! Give me all the requisite information from the get-go!

The Bug said...

Last week I had to change the date of a couple of flights for my boss (direct only of course, $150 for the change). After I handed him the itinerary he said, oh I can leave a lot earlier than that to come home. So I changed that. Then the next day he said, um, I have to get there a lot earlier. 150 more dollars later I think we have what he wants. But I expect him to tell me the dates have changed again tomorrow. Sigh.

Nessa Roo said...

I once worked as a waitress for a man who thought it was my duty to bring him five pieces of gum scraped from the bottom of the dining tables. (Yes, I know. That's disgusting.) I would surely consider rock-fetching to be quite a promotion.

Susan in the Boonies said...

Nothing. is. ever. _____. enough.

Is it?

Vapid Vixen said...

Oh this is hatred but I have to selfishly admit I am SO glad there are so many others that get this. I'm not alone!

jenny_o said...

Loving the post, Pearl, and the comments too!

Bodacious Boomer said...

There's a similar conversation in the movie The Cookout.

A woman wants a ham and sends someone to get one. They bring back a ham.

But she wants bone-in. (1st trip back to the store)
Then reg sodium, not low-sodium (2nd trip back)
and so on and so on...

Jocelyn said...

You remind me why I've never wanted to be a Boss.

Diane said...

I think I worked for your boss!!!

ipenka said...

Wow, fancy meeting a co-worker in the blogging world. When did you start at our office?

Symdaddy said...

I'm still waiting for the other five, Perlchen!

And don't forget the ice-cream ... the one that looks like pizza, tastes of liquorice and cleans your insides out quicker that a Walmart Home Enema kit.

Yeah, the one you gave my the last time I wanted rocks!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

You're so right, Pearl! I love your story that gives such a vivid sense of being back at work. My last boss was of the "Beulah, peel me a grape!" variety, She wouldn't -- couldn't -- do anything herself. It was so frustrating and obscene. That's what makes me crazy when people talk about how Boomers should truly welcome the chance to work longer. Most people do have jobs not dissimilar from your rock story and it's such a relief not to have to deal with that bs anymore!

BlackLOG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat said...

Does he dare to make eye contact through out?

darlin said...

My response: "Do you have a requisition for this order? Boss or no boss, you told us to get requisitions for EVERYTHING!" :-)