Hejira

barry and the big picture

July 21. 2000

There's a reason I haven't mentioned the name of the company for which I am working for this summer.

Here's why:

I have to take classes at my workplace. Now, I am classified as a seasonal worker, as in one who works only seasonally, i.e. summer, i.e. one who has no future at said company and no desire to have a future at said company. I do not care about what happens at this company and I do not expect to be expected to care. I am hired help. I am the butt in the seat. Do not expect me to be enthusiastic about it. I come to work, I get my paycheck. Yet I, the seasonal worker at this company, is forced to endure long meetings about 401(k)s, quality management, ISO 9002 standarization and other such, well, for a lack of a better name, corporate bullshit. I am expected to care about this company. And I do not want that.

I think the breaking point was today at my Quality Management class. It was taught by this complete bore of a guy named Barry. He is the kind that will drone on and on and then occasionally break his stance for an unfunny joke, you know, just to keep us on our toes. He wears a shirt with a little alligator on it. He probably drives an SUV and wears Oakleys while doing it. I'm sure you know the type.

Barry makes a joke about David Duvall and Tiger Woods. Barry is also the type that will spend his idle hours playing golf.

On a quick tangent:

I have nothing but contempt for the game of golf. I mean, sure, I can appreciate the hotness of Tiger Woods and his whole schtick making golf suddenly the uberhip thing to do, but mostly all I can see when I think of golf is fat, sunburned wealthy men. Golf is for pussies. Golf is the game for the slow and sedentary, who lack the guts to try any other sport, and think they can make an excuse for this by calling golf a sport. I'm sorry, golf is not a sport. Sport indicates some sort of physical exertion, and no, walking from hole to hole does not qualify. Swinging the damn club, the motion of the arms, the swivel of the hips is not exercise. I would think of golf more as a game of strategy and accuracy, kind of like chess. But let's not equate it to, say, baseball or soccer, okay?

Golf is the sport for the wealthy and the pampered, and not that I'm saying there's anything wrong with being wealthy and pampered, but I'm sorry, people. Laying waste to some former farm or forest to make way for a perfectly manicured chemically enhanced lawn and the pristine whiteness of sandtraps so fat men in golf carts can spend their Saturdays riding around on a multimillion dollar piece of real estate is, to me, a bit offensive.

/end tangent.

So Barry goes on and on about quality management, all these little ridiculous rules and guidelines we must follow. He hands out a little card with the Quality Policy, and says we must memorize it. He goes on and on about the importance of things being uniform, ISO blah blah blah. It troubles me is that he is actually interested and concerned with all this ridiculous minutia. I always knew there were people who lived their lives according to this sort of thing, and I guess Barry is one of them.

I look at this people, and I wonder what has happened to them. What happened to the big picture for Barry, I wonder. I'm sure it didn't start out for him like this. My theory with most people in Barry's position is this: They start out with big dreams. They have an eye on the big picture. Then somewhere along the line, Barry started compromising this big picture he had for himself. And his line of vision began to narrow. I'm not saying this is all his fault, because we all have to make sacrifices to get the things we want. But in the end, the most important things in Barry's world have becoming quality management at this distribution center in South Central Pennsylvania. He regurgitates the information to us, and even worse, he believes it. He believes all this ridiculous, unnecessary minutia that has nothing to do with the 99% of the world outside of the door that he is currently ignoring.