Friday, February 29, 2008

I Have A Permanent Face-ache But It Pays the Bills, or Dark Tales from the “Synergy Lab”

My face hurts.

I’m not trying to be funny and I’m not trying to make a self-deprecating dig at myself, so do us both a favor and please spare me the requisite smartass "Yeah it does!"

Because it literally hurts.

In fact, I can’t believe I’m even able to write this. I’ve got a dull ache in my forehead that sort of extends its mean little arms back to my mid-head. I want to rub my temples or look up at the sky or go chill out in a dark closet about every 2-3 minutes.

And you wanna know why? It’s because I have a fucking desk job. Yeah… one of those. The kind you don't necessarily dream about as a kid. All day long I get paid to sit in a faux-leather (ok, it’s vinyl) chair and stare at a computer screen. Well, I take that back, it’s not all day long, and I'm not really staring. I'm writing emails and g-chatting and making important decisions about what my Facebook picture should be.* I get up to pee, and to heat up my lunch, and to wander. But in between bathroom breaks I’m at a damn screen. Waiting for something great to happen.

And it seems my workplace hazards seem to finally be catching up with me. I’m actually looking away from the glow of my janky Dell screen (talk about hazard, right?) right now, my eyes darting around the room. Doing my best to let my fingers do the talking.** I feel like a little bird sitting on its perch trying to tie a piece of ribbon in a bow without the luxury opposable thumbs, simultaneously trying to stay aware of bigger enemy birds that might come harm me.

Uh-oh, not looking at the screen is distracting.

Ha. I just noticed I have yogurt on my shoe. Gross.

I’m not the only one who has to deal with the very monotonous problem of the desk job. I think most of you reading this probably have one, too, and for that I am truly sorry. I pity you almost as much as I pity myself…and that’s a lot. The corporate world is not only ruining our visual and orthopedic health, it is also damaging our ability to focus, and forcing us to create imaginary places in our minds where we can run to escape from the doldrums of the 3:00-5:00pm stretch of afternoon.

Places like the Synergy Lab.

Ok, so maybe you haven’t imagined this place. You haven’t imagined it because it’s real.

And I’ll hedge my bet is as scary as it sounds...

You see, the corporate world has built up an arsenal of awful buzzwords and tools that most of us eventually get used to. Those tools are things like Outlook Express, meetings planned for the sole purpose of planning meetings, and phrases like “Per John, we unfortunately must reschedule our previously rescheduled meeting. I'm retarded.” I’m pretty used to all that bullshit, so it’s fun for me whenever discover new and terrible businessy things.

You can imagine my delight when I was at Disney for a meeting on Tuesday. If you really care about what happened there I can send you the follow-up notes I took and subsequently emailed to my "internal team." But you're not going to be impressed. Instead I'll tell you about the one shocking, horrifying moment of the two and a half hour afternoon...

In the course of the business discussion (that I of course was not a part of because what do I know and fuck if I care), my patience was admittedly wearing thin. And then out of nowhere I hear the woman across the table say something along the lines of: "Blah blah blah, we've been discussing strategy with our retail placement team, and they just got back from a week in the Synergy Lab, blah blah blah..."

Hold on just one second lady.... Did you say Synergy Lab? SYNERGY LAB?!!!

She said it like it was nothing! I looked around the room, again my eyes moving frantically. Up popped the scene from Office Space on the movie screen in my mind where those terrible efficiency consultants come into Initech to teach all the droning, miserable employees about the benefits of inter-office teamwork.

Ew. Teamwork. Now there's something that'll make your face hurt.

Am I the only one who thinks this term is like, over the top white-collar nonsense?

I hope not.

No one has all the answers, and we're all just living our own really messed up version of The Dream. I don't know what I want to do with my life. I don't know what my next job will be. I don't know when I'll have kids, or buy a house. I don't know what my "strategy" is.

But I know I sure as shit won't figure it out in any damn Synergy Lab.

Yeah, fuck that. I just need my face to stop hurting.

*One could argue this is akin to updating one's resume. Facebook is a important "business tool."

**I’m also congratulating myself because it’s surprising how accurately I can type when I’m not looking. Thank you, Mavis Beacon!


TheTOB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheTOB said...

No one has commented. Here is my question to all of Lisa's readers,

When Lisa inserts her little asterisk footnotes (GOD SHE DOES THEM ALL THE TIME), do you immediately scroll down to read the footnote? Or do you wait till the end to read the footnotes?

If you are the former, answer this:

Do you make sure not to read the INEVITABLE second footnote, or do you read it, too, and try and remember what it was the next time you come to an asterisk so that you don't have to scroll down again, or are yo careful to not read the next footnote and then scroll back to where you were before you hit the footnote?

If you are the latter, answer this:

So, you wait till you get to the end of her blog to read the footnotes, like myself. You're a good person. My question, though: When you get to the end and you read the multiple footnotes, do you then scroll back up to see what she was referring to (because of course she writes like 10 pages and it's impossible to remember what she was referring to), or did you do your best ahead of time to take a mental note of all the times she wrote an asterisk and what she was talking about when she did so, so that you'd be able to remember what the footnote was referring to when you read it?

How you answer these questions says a lot about you as a person. Be honest.

RichterSauce said...

Dear theTOB,

According to your comment, I am a "good person" as I always wait until I have finished thoroughly ingesting the goodness that is the blog of This Hot Salsa before referring to the asterisked items* tailing each entry.

In addition, I take extremely detailed mental notes (on pieces of "mental paper") to better trigger my recall of the referencing asterisk in order to decipher the aside(s) that inevitably come at the end of her entries, which in turn assists in decreasing the risk of injury due to excessive back and forth scrolling**.

I hope I have been of service in helping you make it one step closer to the answer of all answers.


*i'm lying. sometimes i check right away.
**i'm planning on suing lisa for reckless endangerment of my wrist caused by her forcing me to scroll up and down her page to match asterisk with appropriate asterisk. your blog is not ergonomically pleasing ziner.

TheTOB said...

I like you, Ms. Richter.

Lisa said...

Really, Kristin? Are the asides really giving your carpal tunnel? I think my asterisks are the least of your worries.

TheTOB said...

Is that a thinly veiled masturbation joke? I say yes.

Lisa said...

you're right.

i'm so clever.

RichterSauce said...

your mom's so clever.

*Ryan* said...

I read the whole post, including both footnotes.
As for the actual post...
I actually LOVE the buzzwords..."strategy", "synergy", "web 2.0" and my personal fav "moving forward..."

And for the record, I actually invented buzzword bingo for my office 2 years ago...i was sooo pissed when that IBM commercial came out...bullshit.