The Critical Eye

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Dear Employee

I recently called the Human Resources (HR) department to discuss what to do about your tired behind. You see when you were employed, we gave you a job description. Yes, it's that piece of paper that outlines the very things that you are expected to do for your paycheck. It's not very complicated. You do this, we'll do that. I'm still struggling with the you do this part, because as of today, I'm wondering what we pay you for.

In my conversations with HR they have failed to recognize the fact that I really don't think you have any leg to stand on. I firmly believe that an illustration of your mediocre work ethic and Venn diagram of where your tardiness and laziness intersect would convince anyone to fire you. After all, you're trifling, constantly late, barely here when you are here and as they say in the vernacular, suck. Being around you has become like sucking on Zimbabwean lemons in a drought. I apologize if these letter comes as a surprise to you, but my smile has simply been because if I cried, it would happen every day and I might get committed.

I am convinced that somewhere in your past you must have been adopted by sloths. You see the sloth predominantly lives in one tree. He is so lazy and slow that fungi grow on him. That accounts for that greenish film on him. In fact there is a particular insect that is able to live its whole life cycle on a sloth. The easiest way to locate a sloth in the jungle is to look for a pile of dung at the base of a tree and then look up. You see, once in a while he makes the slow decent down to the base of the tree to relieve himself and then slowly goes back up. Did I tell you he hangs upside down for most of his life? I have to confess, I have come by your desk looking to see if you have a pile of dung underneath it. Your work seems very reminiscent of someone who has blood rushing away from their head and to their lower extremities ala sloth.

Personally I have nothing against you except your employment. You see I was raised to understand the relationship between work and compensation. In the bible there is a parable about a servant who is given one talent (coin) by his master and told to do something with it. Well when the master comes back he has done nothing with it. So the master basically rebukes him because at the least, he could have put it in the bank and received some interest. The master also takes his talent and gives it to the servant who had the sense to multiply his talents. Of course the lazy servants argument is that the master is a hard man and he was scared etc. Moral of the story? You -my one talent returning friend- are lazy.

Most lazy people have one thing in common, an entitlement complex. A root disease that leads them to believe that there is something about them that should make other people put up with their crap. Some believe they can get by on looks, friendship, personality or good grace. It is a deep seeded misconception that takes root and doesn't seem to allow said person to see through the shrubs. In most humans we have a subconscious, conscious, and creative subconscious. Our subconscious acts automatically, our conscious makes us aware and our creative subconscious ensures that we act like us. The creative part is the part that tries to keep us normal -as we believe we are. That's why there are many crazy people who can't stand their medicine, because it does not make them feel like themselves as they see themselves. Normal. See the irony? So in your case, you're lazy. You draw the inference.

Now please understand, life is quite complicated I am aware of that, but it appears that you have more turns than an Irish maze or an Arab sheikh picking a wife for the night. Your ethical myopia allows you to collect a check for negligible output and professional sabotage. You're what we call a professional terrorist, blowing up productive environments in your wake. Just to be helpful I'll give you some much needed advice. Work has some very simple rules I'd like to help you understand;

  1. Come to work on time.
  2. Leave work on time.
  3. Lunch is an hour long.
  4. Do what the boss tells you to do.
  5. Complete your work on time.
  6. Come to work regularly.
  7. Write in English.
  8. Speak clearly and effectively.
  9. Come to work regularly.
  10. Leave your #$%^ family problems at home.
I realize that leaving this letter laying around for you to find seems harsh and cruel, but I'm sure the severe slapping fit would not have sufficed either. I am recognizing more and more just how lucky our organization is to have found me. Given your track record, how would they have made a profit? Nevertheless, you are here and we have to find a middle ground between jump starting you or throwing you out a window. This is my attempt at the latter.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Economics 101

It has become quite clear that no matter what George Bush says, we are in a recession. I don't blame him though for thinking otherwise. After all, he doesn't buy gas, has been living rent and mortgage free for almost eight years, has frequent flier miles on the most comfortable aircraft in the American skies and probably doesn't shop for clothes. His food is free, and he doesn't pay for laundry detergent. So it is quite apparent that he would not recognize a recession if it slapped him in his wallet. This in one of the most economically trying times in many years and it is amazing to hear that the esteemed President is clueless. According to him, we're in an economic slow down.

Laced in the vitriol of conversation is the acknowledgment that every conceivable good and service has been affected by the price of gas. From milk to the soft ice-cream cone I buy every year at the start of Spring costs more. Yes, even the kiddie size one that used to cost $1.25 is now $1.50. Forget about the groceries and consumables that us everyday folk require; messing with my ice-cream is just unconscionable. Recently, George "Dubyah" traveled to Saudi Arabia. His visit must have had some impact; because the price of gas has gone up. I imagine he said something to tick them off. Something like, "We're not pulling out of Iraq," would do the trick. As a common man I have been beaten down by what clearly appears to be the most oppressive economic downturn in the past 30 years.

Dubyah isn't feeling it though, he's in the top three percent. Three percent? That's that oily film that floats to the top when you make a really good stew. Those are the guys that congress is calling to hearings and questioning. The white dudes in suits, that run the oil and mortgage companies. Their sheer arrogance in the face of questioning shows that they are a direct product of the very system that has created and is benefiting from this mess. No amount of eloquence and clever prose can mitigate a broke pocket.

My twenty six mile one way commute has become a $70 a week gas excursion. I may like my job, but somehow parting with close to $280.00 a month to get there, wasn't in my plan. It's called budget defying economics. How to stretch every dollar so that it meets your needs while circumnavigating the beltway, has become a version of economic roulette. If you're not getting ticked off at being cut off, then the price of tomatoes will make you blow a gasket. So now, I'm not as tolerant of my boss or co-workers. My employees are getting on my nerves with their questionable work habits and timeliness valuelessness (now that rhymes). Can't quit the job though, it's barely paying for the gas to get me there.

Consider me a skeptic and pessimist. I have a huge suspicion that while we have been watching -with keen interest- the terrorist warnings levels go from orange to red, to green and back up again; the terrorists have been watching our gas prices go from $3 to $3.50 to $3.71. We have ignored the fact that this may just be a new form of terrorism. There has to be some satisfaction in watching us squirm and complain about gas prices. There must be some deep satisfaction in knowing that thousands of Americans have and will lose their homes. That the system of credit dependence has allowed smug looks like the ones of the oil and mortgage company presidents we saw on television. Someone is happy watching our economy implode. Evidently it might be some of our own people. We all know the government is not doing enough to mitigate this situation. I love the economic stimulus package, but it won't go to pay for my gas. I have a mortgage, wife and kid. It would be uncivilized to use any of it to pay Hussein El Bin Al Sadab to build another palace or diamond earrings for his ninth wife.

So as rhetoric builds about how to fix this royal mess, I can only sit in awe at how we will survive. If the housing crisis isn't an indicator, then leaving my car at home and using a moped should be. We're sick and tired of being sick and tired. The way I see it, I need to call over to Pennsylvania avenue and ask if I can move into one of the guest rooms for a spell. It's closer to work.