A time and motion study of my working day

18 May 2010

7:15 – Alarm goes off. Lie on sofa-cum-bed-cum-home while contemplating calling out of work with bad hangover or plague. Used both excuses this month. Get up.

7:25 – Shower. Sit under hot water while ruminating on the emergence of the white-collar wage slave as a new underclass. Brush teeth in the shower in an attempt to shave valuable seconds off morning routine.

7:40 – Out of shower too late. Scour room for correct black belt. Upon failure put on brown belt and wear glasses with unfashionably thin black rims in an attempt to make up for it. Curse my choice of lightly-stained shirt and third-wear pants out of single twitching eye.

7:43 – Miss L2 bus as I exit building.

7:45 – Stare at bus schedule pensively while deciding if the additional $.95 to take the metro is worth getting to work on time. Do this until the next bus in fact arrives. Congratulate myself on being so decisive.

8:30 – Work starts. Just now changing buses at Lafayette Square. Think bitchy comments about political elites on issues of the day I don’t understand. (Oil spill, financial services reform, Armenian genocide etc.) Hope no one sits next to me on the X2.

8:40 – Stew all the way through Chinatown about crushed hopes.

9:00 – Arrive 30 minutes late. Check e-mail, Facebook, news.

9:30 – Check work e-mail. Examine paperwork for jobsites I didn’t know existed.

9:32 – Close work e-mail.

9:40 – Leave to get coffee and bacon egg and cheese croissant.

10:10 – Return with coffee and bacon egg and cheese croissant. Uncap coffee and blow on it. Try to save portions of croissant to go with coffee. Fail.

10:35 – Take impudent phone call from person interested in free labor. Engage in second bitter anti-capitalist mindrant while explaining that twelve hour days, while economically desirable, contravene guidelines and goals of program, law, Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

11:00 – Tab between Facebook, gmail and YouTube as I stare into the distance. Imagine that I look very thoughtful, penetrating and majestic. Fantasize about leading potential future dictatorship with accompanying fashionable clothing paid for by other people. (Masses recently released from capitalist oppression?) Wonder if all Communist regimes must have the same color red. Prefer burnt orange. Unsure of the symbolism of burnt orange. Research.

11:40 – Begin processing paperwork from yesterday.

11:42 – Someone trips over dangerous extension cord hooking my computer up to inconveniently distant electrical outlet as the outlet under my desk continues to be mysteriously non-vital. (T+ 3 months, 1 week, 2 business days.) Dangerous extension cord finally breaks and is rendered unusable.

11:44 – Complain to superiors about dangerous extension cord and continuing outlet injustice.

11:50 – Accuse co-worker of stealing back-up extension cord. Co-worker uncomprehending and incredulous. Coded passive-aggressive conversation about missing cord, general job performance, life and family history. Resolve to satisfaction of neither.

12:00 – Look for new extension cord.

12:04 – Grow frustrated and steal extension cord from unoccupied computer.

12:24 – Unoccupied computer apparently not so unoccupied. Convince myself that I am a more important part of the organization. Play dumb.

12:30 – Restart paperwork.

12:35 – All paperwork done improperly. Return to original senders with questions. Confident this will be the last I hear of it.

1:00 – Seethe over Michael Lynche being voted off American Idol.

1:05 – Co-worker calls with work question. Spend 30 seconds on this. Spend subsequent conversation on injustice of Michael Lynche expulsion. Expound theory of ethnogeographic voting patterns preferring contestants from the rural Midwest and South living in economically depressed and racially homogenous areas. Complain about my hometown’s lack of spirit. (Think better re. economic depression and racial homogeneity.)

1:20 – Corrected paperwork returns. Horrified.

1:40 – Relief as corrected paperwork evinces further errors. Return to sender.

1:47 – Someone has come into the office and begins to sing in a suggestive fashion. Co-workers are applauding. Subsequently they begin a heated discussion about the taxation of prostitutes.

1:55 – Angry participant misdirected to my desk as a result of colleagues’ sex worker summit. She is seduced by obsequious apologies and officious civil-servanty manner into thinking the mistake was hers.

2:10 – Another call. Mother. Witness and reflect mutual anger about Michael Lynche. Offer unqualified legal opinions about defaulted mortgage.

2:43 – Get mother off the phone in time for kickoff of major soccer match.

3:03 – French team highly disappointing. Begin sorting backlog of other paperwork.

3:05 – Papercut requires immediate emergency medical attention.

3:10 – Convalesce. Write a blog post as part of healing.

3:13 – Abandon blog post. Begin desultory Gchat conversation with infrequently-seen friend. Conversation fails as weather, job and future plans occupies barely five minutes including typing time and friend does not watch American Idol. Fail to muster passion for philosophy, international relations and all other topics.

3:30 – Go for a walk.

4:00 – Missed three goals and a red card.

4:10 – Angry phone call about site visit. Say calm, reassuring things to complainant while I scribble increasingly vile profanities on my notepad. Caller placated by the time I reach the lower intestine.

4:30 – Frantic e-mail from superior regarding statistics for which no one has the necessary information. Write 300 words explaining this in lieu of “No.”

4:50 – Concerned about increasing backlog of work, initiate time and motion study of my working day. Determine that most productivity lost is a result of repetitive attempts to placate angry callers. Resolve to cease answering phone.

4:52 – Decide I am a servant of the people and time and motion studies are in any event part of the edifice of capitalist oppression leading to escalating white collar wage slavery.

5:15 – Inadvertantly stay past closing time, missing parade of punctually-departing employees past my desk. Angry at continued exploitation by bureaucratic capitalist superstructure, resolve to come in late tomorrow as a retaliatory gesture. Congratulate myself for being fearless standard-bearer of the revolutionary vanguard.

5:16 – Leave.

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