You Are Always On My Mind


Mr. NinthHouse has recently begun wearing an Up Bracelet around his wrist that keeps tabs of the duration and quality of his sleep (it monitors and calibrates the integrity of his winks and nods by sorting them into specific groups: amount of time it took him to fall asleep; amount and duration of deep sleep; light sleep; no sleep; how many times he woke up; and so on).

Although it took him only 6 minutes to fall asleep, out of a total of 8 hours of intended sleep, Mr. NH only enjoyed an actual 2 point something hours of deep sleep.

I would give anything to be able to fall asleep in 6 minutes. That very same night, it took me more than 2 point something hours to forget I was awake (in my mentally charged universe, that translates to falling asleep).

My job stresses me out so badly, I need one day (Saturday) out of my 2-day weekend just to de-compress from the aggravation.

When Sunday morning rolls around, the feeling of relaxation is short-lived. By Sunday afternoon, the realization that Monday morning is just around the bend looms large, filling me with dread.

To defuse the dread, I post a blog. About my job. How pathetic is that.

MY DAY JOB is always on my mind. The repetitiveness of the work itself I have come to terms with as one of life’s inevitabilities. Bills need to be paid, and the rest of it.

The real problem is one particular coworker of mine. If you’re familiar with my blog, you may recall the DODO BIRD.


What I cannot come to terms with — no matter how many mantras I chant, creative visualizations I entertain, or Mozart piano concertos I plug into my ears to drown out this mean spirited, bitter, passive aggressive, manipulative provocateur of the DODO BIRD — nothing will stop her from trying to ruin my day, and everyone else’s day.

The Powers That Be — collectively embodied in the GRACKLE — after months of clandestine bill clappering , have bestowed upon the DODO BIRD a new title.


The DODO BIRD has been made a supervisor, in recognition of: arriving late to work every day and leaving early; honing her skills at online Sudoku; daily sprees of e-shopping; reading the entire life story of Dom DeLuise (seriously, and at her desk, of course); and perfecting the art of the 3-hour lunch break.

The DODO’s new title is sufficiently vague and incomprehensible so that no one — not even the DODO — knows exactly where her new responsibilities (if any) lie.

We birds of a different feather learned of the DODO BIRD’s dubious promotion not from any formal announcement. Rather, from the updated telephone extension list.


It so happens, I came across this clip today in the NYT’s magazine:

The Company You Keep

“When it comes to work, less may be more.  A study found that low performing employees were more likely to say that their company was “a great organization to work for” and reported being more engaged than middle- and high-performers did. Those who did their jobs best often felt “stressed and undervalued,” says Mark Murphy, the C.E.O. of Leadership IQ, which conducted the study, because “it starts to undermine the high performers’ confidence that the organization is a meritocracy.”

meritocracy:  1: a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement;  2: leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria.

For about two seconds, the above quote made me feel, I don’t know, recognized? Less alone? But, really, it’s all sort of meaningless, isn’t it?

The meaninglessness of clinging to a belief in meritocracy was confirmed through a bit of googling when I came across a journal article called “The Meritocracy Myth,” written by two sociologists out of the University of No. Carolina:  Stephen J. McNamee and Robert K. Miller, Jr.

An excerpt:

“According to the ideology of the American Dream, America is the land of limitless opportunity in which individuals can go as far as their own merit takes them. According to this ideology, you get out of the system what you put into it. Getting ahead is ostensibly based on individual merit, which is generally viewed as a combination of factors including innate abilities, working hard, having the right attitude, and having high moral character and integrity. Americans not only tend to think that is how the system should work, but most Americans also think that is how the system does work (Huber and Form 1973, Kluegel and Smith 1986, Ladd 1994).

“In our book  The Meritocracy Myth (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), <;, we challenge the validity of these commonly held assertions, by arguing that there is a gap between how people think the system works and how the system actually does work. We refer to this gap as “the meritocracy myth,” or the myth that the system distributes resources—especially wealth and income—according to the merit of individuals. We challenge this assertion in two ways. First, we suggest that while merit does indeed affect who ends up with what, the impact of merit on economic outcomes is vastly overestimated by the ideology of the American Dream. Second, we identify a variety of nonmerit factors that suppress, neutralize, or even negate the effects of merit and create barriers to individual mobility…” 

Reading these two paragraphs reminds me of a line by songwriter Slaid Cleaves:

“No one remembers your name for working hard.”

Maybe it’s time to take a page out the Hummingbird’s book.

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