Monday, December 2, 2013

Man of Cobalt-based Alloy

Had to have a one-on-one sitdown with my contracting boss today, as he had received an e-mail from my government boss about a potential new project wherein my name was referenced. This is not necessarily the melodramatic power struggle that it may sound like, but more of an opportunity for my contracting boss to pick my brain about where things currently stand, what problems the govvie boss is trying to solve, and whether or not this potential project is a good and reasonable way to get from A to B.

The answers, by the way, would be "A bit of a mess", "Overcoming human nature", and "Good and reasonable in theory maybe but nightmarish in practice", respectively.

Normally I would try to downplay the downsides and emphasize the upsides if the project in question seemed like something appealing to me, which in the context of my current job pretty much means relatively interesting, slightly challenging, a potential opportunity to learn something new, or at a bare minimum something big yet ambiguous enough for me to squeeze lots and lots of fodder for my weekly status reports out of. Unfortunately, the current undertaking fails to meet any of those criteria. It's a rethink of the agency's document storage system and retroactive enforcement of said system onto the existing documents floating around out there, all the way back as far as the paper records in the metal file cabinets around the office.

Much as I'd love to believe that doc storage can be an exciting adventure unto itself, even my overactive imagination can't quite rationalize it that way. It's a dreadful albeit necessary evil that's exactly like cleaning out the deepest and farthest corners of your closet. You have to sort through every item you find and determine if it should be tossed or kept, and if it's to be kept you have to decide where it should be kept. But then also the contents of your closet aren't actually yours, they belong to dozens and sozens of other people. And the contents all look exactly the same, since they're just black and white sheets of paper, so you have to take more than a fleeting moment per item simply to ascertain what you're looking at. And sometimes even a good long look (or read) isn't enough to give you a good sense of whether or where to keep something, but the person to whom it once belonged doesn't have time to tell you anything about it, although they'll certainly blast you for it if they go looking for it later and can't find it. Super fun.

In almost completely unrelated news, this morning my govvie boss circulated the security detail roster which identifies which week of the coming year each employee is responsible for, in terms of staying late, making sure all the classified storage areas are locked up for the night, and generally enforcing the protocols. I'm on deck for the first week of April. The way this connects to the doc storage project is that I really, really need to line myself up a new gig before April, both to avoid the chore of security detail and to get away from the documents task. I think that's a reasonable goal.

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