Monday, November 5, 2012


Still trying to think of a suitable blogonym for my clueless, solipsistic co-worker. I was recently toying with Ms. Nonsense, which doesn’t entirely capture the peculiarities of her worldview but hits on a couple of points nonetheless. A lot of what comes out of her mouth is pure nonsense, which she generally fails to realize, of course. And yet, amazingly enough, she was recently hurling around the accusation at others.

Last week, after all the government offices were closed for the hurricane on Monday and Tuesday and we all resumed our duties around Wednesday or so, my contracting boss sent out an e-mail to all of his subordinates reminding them of the policy for filling out timesheets in case of official government closures. It was good management on his part to do so, even though the policy is pretty simple and most of us know it by now. He even included some special instructions for a few of us (myself included) in special labor categories; he didn’t say “if this applies to you, you know who you are” but that was implied, and he did explicitly reference employees of our company specifically, as opposed to employees of other companies who are sub-contractors.

Which, of course, Ms. Nonsense is. And throughout the day she could be heard braying to any co-workers who wandered into her general area, “Hey, did you get this nonsensical e-mail from the boss? What am I supposed to make of this? It’s impossible to understand!” And so on and so on and so on. OK, so she’s new here, and what I take for granted with regards to the inclement weather policy after several winters at this gig may not be transparently obvious to someone with less experience. But Ms. Nonsense escalates things by arguing with others (as people like her are wont to do) not so much about the facts of a case but whether or not those facts make sense to her which is clearly the be all and end all of whether or not the world is working correctly. So people were trying to explain the administrative leave policy to her and kept getting tangled up in whether or not the boss’s e-mail said the exact same thing they were saying by way of explanation … it was a mess. (I stayed well away from it all as you can imagine.)

But I am still a terrible person, so when the boss sent out another e-mail later in the week I succumbed to an involuntary thrill of satisfaction. The follow-up people, in a not entirely patient tone, reminded everyone that if they ever have questions about one of his messages, particularly about company policy or contract implementation procedures, they should go directly to him and he will answer those questions. What people should not do, he went on to stress, is air their questions out to all and sundry including government employees and contractors from other (competitor) firms who happen to work for our agency as well.

Did Ms. Nonsense learn her lesson? Well, I’d like to think so, and I can say for sure that I haven’t heard her bringing up the finer points of time tracking at the top of her lungs this week (yet). But that may also be because she spent a large chunk of today talking about the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church, and institutional pedophilia. At the top of her lungs. And there’s only so many hours in the day.

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