October 06, 2005

My wife to murder, and Gilder to frame for it.

I'm starting (starting?) to fantasize about not being here. Like Count Rugen, I'm swamped. My employers and co-workers have really taken to the idea that if you have something that needs doing, you can give it to Dianna because she's good at doing stuff. They've taken to it like ducks to water, in fact, or Fezzik to rhymes. I now demand triage data on all new tasks that are given to me because otherwise it's utterly impossible to get anything done.

The faint recollection of a job in which one's assigned tasks will by definition take only as much time as is provided is occupying a place in my mind much like the legend of the Garden of Eden. $13.75 be damned. I'll live on noodles and canned beans for $8.50 an hour, and love every minute of it, if it means I can peacefully shelve books and not worry about my head exploding.

The essential problem is one of diminishing returns. It is actually possible to make one person your secretary, receptionist, facilities manager, accountant, human resources department, and grand guru of all construction administration paperwork, but you can only put two or three ands in that title before they start turning into ors. At the moment I'm buried in accounting and construction administration and everything else has turned to shadows. Timecards? I know nothing about timecards. I am not at home to Mr. Binder Setup. I cannot be reached for comment regarding equipment leases.

Speaking of leases, a term often used in reference to vehicles, I've recently calculated that it takes me 11 hours to work an 8-hour day because my commute eats up an hour each way. Fuck that too, in case you were wondering.

Posted by dianna at October 6, 2005 11:50 AM

Do you fall into that trap, too, of assuming that when people keep piling work on you it's because they somehow comprehend that you are in fact a rockstar who can do everything, frequently all at once?

I keep falling for that. I think I'm starting to figure out, though, that it's not because they think we're amazingly capable goddesses of efficiency. It's because they think we're suckers.

Posted by: katie at October 6, 2005 01:06 PM

I am the queen of falling into that. It makes the fallacy of the work-pilers into a valid assumption, actually, because I really am as much of a sucker as they think I am.

I really, really understand now why your work-seeking mantra last summer was "no responsibility".

Posted by: Dianna at October 6, 2005 01:25 PM

It's only vaguely tangentially related, but since you mentioned the library: I'm having coffee with John Thomas tomorrow. Is there anything you'd like me to pass on to him, or may I extend a generic "Dianna says hi?"

More on topic, I think you're paying efficiency too short a shrift. That is, I've found that if you're looking really amazingly together people are far more likely to dump their crapwork on you than if you look harried and overwhelmed. It helps to develop a harassed "Oh God, what have I done to deserve this?" stare for when people are standing over your desk with a new pile of work to do. Maintaining an artfully messy desk also does wonders.

Posted by: Zach S. at October 6, 2005 04:30 PM

It's a good general plan, but it might be industry-dependent. What do you do if you work in a field where the default setting for absolutely everyone is maniacal harried chaos? Like academia? Or a design firm?

Hide under the desk, I suppose.

Posted by: katie at October 8, 2005 03:15 PM