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Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Silver bells
As if this time of year didn't have enough white knuckling to satisfy the most avid roller coaster enthusiast, I received my self-assessment form today for completion by Friday. It's simple enough. All I have to do is describe in detail what my job is and how I could do it better. Oh, but wait, there's more. With words of "contribution," "expectation," "core responsibility," and "cross functional team leadership," it's an absolute Christmas joy to sludge through this as I struggle everyday to figure out what the hell I'm doing. If I could just write the simple statement: “Look. I show up everyday and I somehow don't assume a fetal position in the middle of my office. Isn't that enough?”

Christmas time for me, in the last two seasons, brings a mixture of contributions, expectations, and responsibilities that when mixed together creates a cocktail worthy of Hitler's last drink. The shopping is fun. I walk through a store and see shirts or underwear or a silly little ornament and I think, Aw, Billy is gonna love this!, and then I get slapped. Hard. But that certainly doesn't stop me from going into the next store and spotting a stuffed animal or a card and thinking, Oh I can't wait to give this to him!. Smack! If I look at something intimate, like a bathrobe or some socks, the kick in the nuts can bring me to my knees. However, I'm in Macys and a kneeling middle-aged man crying his eyes out is, at best, unseemly. Maybe I should save that for the ride home, huh?

Last year was an absolute breeze in comparison. There were no expectations from me whatsoever although I did make a large contribution to a charity Billy cared for. I donated a thousand dollars to the LASPCA in Billy’s honor. They planted a tree at their new facility with his name on a plaque. and sent me fifty cards to share with my friends. Everyone last year on my Christmas list, whether they wanted to or not, contributed to the SPCA and no one asked any questions. Most thought it a nice gesture. But this year is different, far more complicated with new relationships in business and in my personal life, and time has passed for most, if not all, of our friends, and it's time for me to start acting like an damned grown-up.

But I don't want to. This is all too grown-up for me to wrangle and I'm haplessly ill prepared to function well in shopping for Christmas. It's not that I don't like buying gifts. I love giving presents, and I'm usually skilled in the art of finding just the right thing for that person. This year is all-thumbs shopping. I've found myself some good bargains but when it comes to others, there's really only one person I want to buy for and I'm ashamed to admit it but I have. I bought Billy a little red heart that has the word "Angel" embroidered in script across it. I couldn't help buying it. When I get back to Los Angeles next week, when I go to Rose Hills, I'm going to hang it from his tree above his memorial bench ten paces from his headstone. If he were still here, I would've still bought it for him and it would have ended up on our refrigerator, or our desk upstairs.

I need to invent some corporate-speak about my responsibilities, expectations, and goals. I can't tell them that I’m responsible for taking care of our dog, Bob, and that’s the only thing I really care about. Telling them that I have met all of my expectations to actually shower every day and dress in long pants would probably fall flat. It wouldn’t help my case much, either, if I suggested that a well placed pithy comment during the day to break the office tension was my contribution. As for "cross functional team leadership," perhaps I can just ask them what the fuck that's supposed to mean.
7 comments or Leave a comment
dabroots From: dabroots Date: December 16th, 2003 09:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Hi. I'd drop an e-mail, but you don't list an address at your profile. A few weeks ago, you added me to your friends list and I added you back. I notice that I'm gone from yours, now. Should I take that as a permanent removal?
spleenless From: spleenless Date: December 16th, 2003 10:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Cross functional team leadership? Sounds like you should be wearing a dress....
From: bigvacub Date: December 16th, 2003 11:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Corporate speak

Inspires, motivates, and gains others’ support and confidence toward accomplishing individual, team, and organizational goals.

If you like that, I got a million of em.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas :-)
quuf From: quuf Date: December 16th, 2003 01:21 pm (UTC) (Link)


My favorite piece of corporatespeak, used often by the marketing folk at my last job, is low-hanging fruit. Somehow, I was reminded less of orchards than of, well . . . 'teabagging'. Awful.

I'm glad you got that little red heart. Nothing wrong with that.
marstokyo From: marstokyo Date: December 16th, 2003 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Just throw in a bunch of *pro-actives* and *risk management* and you'll be fine.
twillhead From: twillhead Date: December 16th, 2003 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lots of hugs from me, brother. The Angel Heart is perfection, and I'll wager it will be the most meaningful purchase you make this season. Thanks for talking me off the limb today. It was the therapy I needed.
mickster From: mickster Date: December 16th, 2003 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Mr. Cub says, "Inspires, motivates, and gains others’ support and confidence toward accomplishing individual, team, and organizational goals.".....

Yeah, that's good and all but I know what you really do on a daily basis.

Should I spell it out for all to read? Give me that damn form. I'll fill it out for you. You'll either get a promotion or face execution.

7 comments or Leave a comment