Monday, May 07, 2012

View from the Treetops (6 May '12)


It has rained almost non-stop since the hosepipe ban was introduced last month and even the feral cat has developed a tendency to stay inside, keeping dry and sometimes affectionate.

The drought appears to have migrated from the outside world into our minds, true propaganda for a civilisation that is fast descending into intellectual illiteracy.

While the reported lack of water appears to be contradicted by the weather, my writing has suffered a real drought and become scratchy and meagre.

April was a strange month, one spent under the cloud of a kidney stone the size of a poppy seed which effectively reduced my mobility to the proximity of the nearest urinal.

After the petty firing of our lead engineer for voicing that which management did not want to hear, my workplace resembles a small anarchist enclave. Leaderless, we all appear to be trying to do this thing to the best of our abilities.
But in the workplace, things are never quite what they seem and the work itself continues to inhabit a weird grey moral area where all is not equal, democratic or anarchist, there are always those who will do more than others and there are always those who will take advantage of the chinks in the corporate armour.
I’ve spent my life under the burden of a work ethic whose mantra goes: if you’re gonna do it, do it better than anyone else, so it is unsurprising that I’m no team player. I have, however, learned how to cooperate. Which leaves me curious as to the motives and behaviour of those around me.
One thing that has become clear to me is that it is a misconception to believe that all designers and engineers are equal - qualifications mean little and experience can deliver strange and varied results.
For example:
• There are those that choose to remain in staff positions, unwilling to live with the perceived uncertainty of contracting, and there is a minority among them who, like the long-term prisoner, take it upon themselves to get educated in what it is we do.
• While lack of effort may be forgive in those serving life sentences, there are those among us contractors who spend a lifetime consciously making the minimum effort to produce the goods; I have met guys in their sixties who have never been known to complete any task with anything resembling competency and yet they continue to be hired.
• There are always those who seek power – engineering operates on the borderline between them and us ; management and workers, so it only takes a minimal amount of bullshit in order to cross the line, to go over to the darkside – those who do so are usually the ones who are least interested in getting the job done.

Enough about that – for a more satirical view on the world of the office worker read An Atom in Wonderland.

This weekend I have stormed the bastions of empty pages; I will get back into my dry husk, hose myself down while hoping the neighbours do not report me to the thought police, and swim the flooded river back into my life.
Forgive me the diary entry - but hey, during a drought, any rain is good rain.

The effects of drought on The River Colne near Colchester April/May 2012


Shearwater ~ Breaking the Yearlings



Pouting Bear said...

Good to see things back in Blighty haven't changed; the drought nonsense continues. Enjoyed reading your diary entry :)

Garth said...

Het Curtis - yes the all round nonsense continues as the Torys enact a Scorched Earth Policy on national resources - basically finishing off the asset stripping that Thatcher was unable to because in those days there was an opposition party.

Pouting Bear said...

It really is sad, things aren't much better over here in Europe either (well nearly Europe), but I'm guessing that can be said about everywhere. Capitalism is failing, and has been for a very long time, and it seems no one is interested it trying to change it.

Mr. Charleston said...

Engineers should be hired by other engineers, not human resource types. They are the only ones who recognize engineering BS when they see it.

Jenny K. said...

that was before cellphones

Letitia Coyne said...

All over. The Aus drought broke, too. Also, we have the burden of New Labor, not named as such of course, but simply the centre right in place of our old socialist stalwarts. They are all that opposes the extreme right and 50 yrs of building social justice has been swept away.
Surely Capitalism hasn't failed? It has succeeded blindingly. It has returned us to the fuedal state and all the last and lingering benefits of the failed revolutions 1850-1950 have been willingly traded away for the promise of a ticket to the upper middle class. The rich get richer, the poor die. Such is life.


Garth said...

Curtis: nothing changes under capitalism until change becomes profitable.

Mr C: Problem is we are governed by idiots (and that goes for work and country)

Letitia: You're not wrong there - Australia's Labour party has followed Tony B-Liar's nu-labour and become red conservatives.

Harlequin said...

i liked this post very much. it has a poignancy and edge that is soothing.... perhaps i can relate too well.
nice touch on the rain ....
and fuck twitter made me laugh out loud. a welcome laugh.

Laura Tattoo said...

incredible song... enjoying your blog, man. xoxooxxo

Harlequin said...

fuck twitter, i got my carrier pigeons.
i will have to put that on my office wall.

loved your reflection and insights.

and, of course, the paradox.