Saturday, February 11, 2012
Let’s talk about BS, which is different than what my Grandma Norma would call BM. BM is the real physical thing. BS is BS, the stuff you have to put up with, but you hate to put up with in real life. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to think in ideals and possibilities, which are wonderful, and free from BS completely, which is precisely what makes them separate from reality. Life has BS wrapped up in it because life is about working with other people, and working within institutions, which are the things that give you money in exchange for work. I tend to hope for a job that does not include any BS, but I’m beginning to come to terms with the fact that that exists only in the realm of unicorns, fairies, and Spotify.
BS is simply a part of making an income, it’s wrapped up in the word, “work.” The “B” and the “S” are silent, and are also invisible, but they’re there, between the “O” and “R”. If you see it under a black light it clearly spells, “wobsrk.” There are home BS and work BS, but for the purposes of this post, I’m only concerned with work BS.
Work BS can be placed into a few categories:
-The person you work with who always loudly trumpets their successes, and passive aggressively puts you down in meetings. He’ll slip in personal victories that you’re certain your boss has to be rolling her eyes at behind her glasses, but will never cop to. “Well, since my event was such a big success, we ran out just about everything. Terry, I could learn a lot from you, you’re events are so quaint and cute.”
-Micromanagement. Bosses come and go in waves in terms of micromanagement. Even the most trusting boss wakes up from their daily afternoon nap periodically and thinks, “Oh my gosh! How do I know if my employees are doing their work properly if I can’t see how they’re doing it?” This is a big source of work BS, and one you just have to plow through. It will pass, and if it doesn’t, you will, right out of that job. You will pass like a kidney stone, painfully.
-Birthdays. There is always one person who somehow likes to take care of the BS duties. That person, usually, a female, for whatever reason, likes to keep track of everything. You respect her for it, but you avoid her when she’s coming around with a birthday card to sign. The normal population has a birthday exactly once a year, but your co-workers seemingly each have a birthday six times a year. What new thing can you write on the birthday card this time? “Happy Birthday Kathryn! Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” No, you know Kathryn will be spending her birthday with her cats dressed up as US presidents hosting a pretend gala in her honor at the pretend White House ballroom. Mr. Jenksie, dressed as Millard Fillmore in fact, does something you would do when vomits on Catvin Coolidge.
-People who call to complain. Every business within every industry has these people. You know them as complainers, when in reality, they’re just the retired. You could work in pencil manufacturing and everyday you would have someone who calls in to complain. Often, you come to know who this person is, and factor your work decisions around this person, even though you are loathe to admit it because it means they won.
-Rules indiscriminately changing. You’ve always called the front door, the front door, but it’s not anymore, now it’s called “Greeting Center.” Unbeknownst to you, your boss went to a conference and learned that “front door” is not a term that sits well with customers anymore, ergo, greeting center. You sent out an e-mail saying, “Please advise that I will be assembling a group at the front door tomorrow.” In response, you get an e-mail from your boss saying, “Do not attempt to usurp my authority. Meet me at the greeting center in five minutes.” You don’t know what that means and have to ask the birthday card lady, she knows.
-Casual Fridays. It’s somehow demeaning when you have it, and infuriating when it is taken away.
You know what though, in my limited time on Hollywood sets, it’s clear that the BS is flowing even there. Mostly, actors have to put up with waiting around forever and doing things over and over, but there is much more than that. Why? It involves people and working for institutions. If it is in a supposedly dream job, then it’s everywhere, even if you work for yourself. It’s best to just accept it’s existence, and do the job you want to do while you roll your eyes and power through it.