Ah, yeah, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Black Friday

“We are aware of a few dozen protests,” said Lundberg. “But [there are] less than 50 [employees] we’re aware of participating.”

It would have been nice if all of Walmart’s employees had stayed home on Black Friday.  But even assuming Lumbergh Lundberg is low-balling his ass off, I’m sure the vast majority showed up for work, along with all of the hordes of shopper-drones who can’t resist spending a little less money on shit they don’t need.

Ode to Work

The dynamic of domination intrinsic to work tends over time toward elaboration. In advanced work-riddled societies, including all industrial societies whether capitalist or “communist,” work invariably acquires other attributes which accentuate its obnoxiousness.

Bob Black

One of the “other attributes” of my job is the yearly employee performance review.  I mention this because I just had mine the other day.  Those of you unlucky enough to work in an office will know what I’m talking about.  Those of you fortunate enough to have no idea what this is, let me break it down for you.  If you can remember as far back as elementary school, it’s sort of a cross between your report card and the parent-teacher conference, except now you’re both the parent and the child, and you’re the one who gets to sit and talk to the “teacher” about how well, or not well, little Johnny or Jane (in this case, you) has performed during the recently expired grading period—or, as they put it in office jargon, “appraisal period.”  It’s a demeaning and degrading little charade in which you and your manager both pretend (because it’s in her interest that you appear to be succeeding, too) that you’ve satisfied your “developmental objectives,” a bunch of hazy goals set forth by your boss to ensure that you continue to “grow” within the job.  You sit there and smile and nod and emit various noises meant to indicate affirmation and agreement, all the while trying to not allow your face to betray the utter boredom and disgust you’re barely managing to conceal behind the silly mask of compliancy you have on.  The apparent point of this exercise is to remind you that you’re supposed to continue to earn what they’re paying you, as opposed to sitting in a cubicle for seven or eight hours a day, killing time, which is what you’re really doing.  From your perspective, the point is just to get through it so you can collect your 4% raise and get back to the article on tomato gardening you were busy reading on the internet before you were interrupted by the Outlook meeting reminder popping up on your screen.

Matriculation Nation

Here at the cubicle farm where I work, whenever somebody gets a promotion, Human Resources sends out a company-wide email congratulating the person on their new “assignment.”  The email always includes a brief biographical sketch, noting when she or he started at the company, what college they graduated from, what degree(s) they’ve earned, etc.  It also notes any degrees they’re currently pursuing, and it’s always phrased like this: “Mary Jane is matriculating in the Master of Business Administration [or whatever] program at the X University School of Graduate Studies…”

After the last email that went out I joked to a couple of coworker friends that I’m starting to develop matriculation envy, although, seriously, matriculation nausea is more like it.  I can’t imagine a more ridiculous charade than a bunch of corporate strivers getting advanced degrees in subjects that have little to nothing to do with their actual jobs, just to impress upon their bosses that they’re suitable material for a promotion.  Now, granted, the company actively promotes its tuition reimbursement program, and even requires—or at least strongly encourages (same thing)—a Master’s degree for certain jobs, but I have to say, I still don’t get why anyone would waste their time on such nonsense.  If spending 40 hours/week in more or less voluntary captivity isn’t enough to demonstrate my fealty to the company, then fuck it.  They’re not getting my free time, too.

When your interaction with others begins to resemble a beer commercial…

…it may be time to stop interacting with others.  Or at least some others.

I went over to a coworker’s cubicle yesterday to ask him a question, and as I was turning to leave I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, that he was pointing a fist at me.  It took me a second to realize that he was waiting for a fist bump.  A fucking fist bump!  I hesitated, seriously considering leaving him hanging, but I decided to play nice.  I went over and tapped his fist with mine and then walked away, waiting for the music to begin and someone to walk over and hand me a Budweiser.

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