Monday, April 18, 2005

My Life With Boss and Cabeza de Queso

Today tastes like the aforementioned chocolate cake with raw beef liver frosting (and for those of you who are wondering; that’s a buttercream frosting, with raw beef liver ground fine and blended into the mix) except that now it has been garnished with raw onion, and served with a glass of warm gin.

Rotten pistachios, anyone?

I have reached the conclusion that a particular ex-boss of mine is a monster in the Latin root sense of the word* – every time I see him, things are about to go terribly wrong. It’s ironic—we work in the same neighborhood, and frequent the same Starbucks at about the same hour of the day. Well, he “frequents” it, I “very seldom” it any more. Today was the first time in . . . uhmmmm . . . well, since before Thanksgiving that I’d gone in for a cuppa.

And there he was in the scales, feathers, and fangs. (He only breathes fire on his days off.) We civilly ignored each other—we spoke once since the relationship was dissolved, and that was enough closure for me, thanks. But I knew that today would be one of those days that cracks rocks open to get to the bones inside in order to have something to REALLY gnaw on.

And I was right. About ten minutes after I sat down at work, I was ready to clean my desk extra-well, take an early lunch . . . and then take my chances with the want ads come Sunday.

My boss is deeply involved in an extensive (and expen$ive) suit that goes to trial the first week of May. (He’s a lawyer—go figure.) So of course that means El Queso Grande is also involved in the matter. (Firm is “Queso, Boss & Associates,” more or less.) Well, Cabeza de Queso has his own particular little ways of dealing with complex litigation whereby he takes an organized file and lays it out in one layer of papers scattered all over the office. That would be why there’s a ping-pong table in the employee’s break room.

C de Q conscripts every employee whose job it is to deal with the filing and puts them to this task, which means that not only the file you are dealing with on a urgent basis has been torn apart and flung to the four winds, but all the other filing is not being done and is piling up in drifts in the file room. Alphabetically stacked and separated drifts, to be sure, but drifts just the same. How many last names begin with s, m, or r? More than you’d think.

And C de Q is totally helpless without someone to be there holding his widdle hand and providing energy. Guess who was elected?

I've been listening to the Dahli Lama's Art of Happiness at Work and that has helped crystallize some of my vague feelings about what I do and why I do it. I prefer work that leaves me space to think my own thoughts -- maybe I don't make hella money at it, and it may not be a job whose title is spoken in hushed tones of reverence, but really, if those were the most important aspects of my work, I would have made other choices. Or, in the alternative, I would make different choices starting right now--to drop the art balls and go back to school to get the training for a job to make scads of money or become respectable or both.

So I guess what's important to take along at times like this (because pain IS inescapable and part of the human condition) is that there are choices. There are ALWAYS choices. You just have to decide your priorities.

* “Monster” from monstera, to point out. Monsters are not the noun lurking under your bed, they are swats on the head from the divine, demanding that you wake up and not just smell the coffee, but notice that the kitchen has caught fire and that the house is burning down around you.

No comments: