Friday 12 December 2003

Timekeeping by bean counting ...

One, twee, trois, cuatro, funf ...
Imagine you had to keep time in seconds by counting beans out of a large sack with regular monotony. By the time, you have counted 3,600 beans an hour would have passed.
At 86,400 that would be a whole day and a leap year, one, which we are leaping into in 2004, would total 31,622,400. Multiply that, by the number of your years and you could be in the Guinness Book of Records for bean counting.
Well, I spent the whole morning bean counting each hour of work I had done for 49 weeks. The context of my emails in the Inbox and Sent Items is more or less a picture of my year at work.
Archive for review
I used to archive my emails every month until I realised that the world out there amongst the employees of the same firm is a fierce and vicious charade of people whose published ability is to stitch you up, you will have to be a multi-Houdini to come out unscathed.
The morale of being caught in that kind of setting is to document every concern you have no matter how trivial and call on it 4 months after when some smart chap tries to point evil fingers at you for what they should have done properly in the first place. Luckily, we have no limits on our mailboxes.
So, I bean-counted my 49 weeks and presented the results to the pen pushers who were going to extract the nutrients of my timesheets for the PowerPoint - the final PowerPoint of the year - see my previous blog about PowerPoints.
Toiling without reward
As for the nutrients, I know that in the summer months I averaged 6 weeks of work for each month and most especially in August when I was away for 2 weeks on holiday, I still ended up doing 4 weeks work. Therefore, accounting for all the time I had off sick and my leave, my extra hours has given me a balance of no time off this year.
Now one would think there is some compensatory value for all those extra hours of toil, and there is - my boss was not particularly interested in the number of hours I booked, rather, he was interested in the number of hours he could cross charge to other departments.
Obviously, creating opportunities for cross charging is a great benefit for the department but why recognise the dramatis personae involved in creating value, we are paid a salary, we should be grateful to the point of pouring in goodwill for more abuse. Masochism per excellence is supposed to be our core skill.
I might be able to count beans faster in Mandarin...

A major crisis averted
When your mobile is not handy you realise you can think fast.
Just afternoon, I noticed my phone clip did not have my mobile phone attached, so I went round the office enquiring about my phone and everyone suggested I call the phone and that would signal where it is.
Being the considerate citizen I am, I usually have my phone on vibrate mode, being discreet and responsible on the trains belies the fact that I expect others to behave likewise, but the Dutch society is built on everyone exercising their individual rights without recognition of the fact that it is everyone considering the other that makes society work.
What if we all littered the streets with our rubbish, deigned to clean up after using public facilities, let our mobile phones belch out those unfortunate tunes which should have the bearers certified, rushed at everything without order and so on?
We would have chaos beyond comprehension, but there is always someone who knows his or her rights but nothing about their responsibilities.
Where is that phone?
Therefore, every smart person at work suggested I call my mobile phone - Que! - It would have to be on some empty barrel to make enough noise for me to notice it.
Thinking, worry, desperation, panic sets in - if I have lost the phone, all those numbers are not stored anywhere else, I have to take out a new contract for the phone is not insured, the service provider would want to sign declarations with more gravitas than the UN Charter to retain my old number.
The police would offer to take a statement in 3 days (after the lucky pilferer has run up a mammoth bill calling Jupiter and holding a conference call with the aliens of the Andromeda galaxy) they might help more if your have the IMEI number [A unique manufacturer's code on your phone] with which they can flood the phone with messages as to make it unusable for anyone who perchance picks it up.
Calm down! Man ... you were charging up the phone at home last night and you might have put on the clip without picking up the phone. More so, you have not taken any calls today, so it might as well be at home. A life crisis might just be averted for me to get on with work.
Five hours later, the phone is fully charged - bliss!

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