I was really hoping not to post two “baffling conversations” consecutively, but with the recent holiday, this post really makes more sense to get out earlier. Also,now that I’ve started blogging about the ridiculousness of work around me, I’m finding the craziness and misalignment of values stands out more. Just this week, I can recall several. However, given that the workweek is five days long, I’ll just pick my favorite five:
1. A manager talking about how her kids eat breakfast in the car at 5:30 am when she drops them off at daycare. She brought this up to complain about the food that they spill.
2. An older engineer talking about a great new derivatives investment he just started using, but could not explain how it worked to his colleague in the locker room.
3. One of my better acquaintances telling me that my bike commuting made him sad – sad because of all the modern luxuries (like cars and AC) that I was wasting.
4. One of the corporate planners down the hall telling me how she had planned for this Saturday to be her off Saturday.
5. Some friends posting a facebook picture with a fat stack of Benjamins (i.e. $10k), having just arrived for the weekend in Vegas. (Ok, I know this one is not an office conversation, but it’s so egregious, it makes me want to call a “flagrant” frugal foul.
As someone who has not yet pulled the trigger on early retirement (for a number of reasons, but that’s another post), I get the benefit of going to an office everyday. An office is a weird, singular place for a number of reasons. As an adult, where else could you spend so much of your time and energy yet have so little control of said time and energy? Where else could you dedicate so much of yourself to someone like the ubiquitous “shareholder”, yet never feel like you really met the customer’s needs (or even met the customer)?
On the positive side, where can you (when managed effectively), spend so much time with a group of people (dare I say “team”) so energized that they spend a majority of waking (and some non-waking) hours devoted to singular goals? Where else can you find devoted, driven, intelligent people and spend all your time tackling some of the world’s toughest problems? Finally, how else would you meet so many diverse people, people whom you would never have met or associated with otherwise?