Office Space


I currently have very little time to write when I’m not tired. We are staying focused and generally positive following a paycut (at least I currently have a job–that’s the feelgood phrase, right?) and diminishing obvious opportunities. But the tools–at least online tools–that companies have developed to sell or link people are available to all of us (self-begetting selling and marketing tools) to use for commercial purposes, from simple things to selling books on Amazon to helping people market their businesses using social media. Once you start digging, connecting, trying things out, you find more that you can do, and then can start sorting opportunities into things that can generate income now or in the long tail, or things that don’t seem to have income potential but are very interesting and may reveal a new location on your treasure hunt map.

It also may keep you from happy but pointless fantasies of tazering Republican politicians. But that’s not fair–we’re in this mess because we stopped being citizens and started basing our lives on getting the lowest price. There’s no such thing as paying little up front without someone–eventually each of us–losing in the long term. And that’s where we’re at. Maybe this is a good opportunity to learn how to be profitable as citizens.

Did I contradict myself in these paragraphs? I don’t think so–the first is about the need for surviving short term in a way that doesn’t damage other people (I hope), the other involves long term learning, thinking, skills building, and, hopefully, understanding and helpful and meaningful action.

Ripped from a recent job description for tech writing (instructional materials) for the Oregon Dept. of Justice. Everything you need to know about the job is in this snippet:

“Relies on limited experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals.”

You don’t necessarily have to squint to glimpse the author’s intent. If you grant them intelligence and insight (perhaps more than they may have–better to see the glass as half full, even if it’s half full of arsenic), you can read it as a test. Maybe it’s a test of truth: they’re describing what you do every day, making something out of nothing, listening to your gut (if it growls, don’t do it!) or cherry picking from a few low hanging goals and slippery facts, or, god help you, producing whatever you think will please your employer most. Do they just want a functioning human being who can work with document templates? Or maybe they don’t want any big heads running around (as technical communicators), preferring instead humble friars. Or, as a friend said, maybe it means that they’re not going to tell you what you’re supposed to be doing.

Regardless, I think it sounds like a dream job. Especially if they stick you in the basement by yourself. You have no supervision. You have your own lab space. There’s probably medical marijuana stored nearby.

Written for an Editor friend on her 40th.

QUEEN OF THE EDITORIAL JUNGLE

FADE IN:

SHE is sitting at her computer, with marked up papers scattered in loose piles about her cube floor. SHE is wearing headphones, and is frustrated and mumbling to herself.

HE stands in her cube entrance, dripping sweat from dysfunctional glands, tangling up his therapist’s advice with the feverish influences of lonely nights fueled by super heroine graphical novels (She Bantha, Tiger Twins, Ms. Victory, and Lightnin’ Streak), his adrenalin fired by a Venti latte, 50 sit-ups, new power tie, narrow nylon rimmed glasses, and red Pumas, he blurts the completely inappropriate observation he’s been girding his loins for days to get the balls to make.

SHE turns, pulling off her headphones. (more…)