Thursday, June 24, 2010

Desk Jockey: The Wannabe

I work with two very different men. One of them is short, stocky, funny, and spontaneous. The other is tall, lean, serious, and methodical. One of them bursts in and out of the office like a Senator on the election trail; his schedule packed with meetings, phone calls, speeches, and lunches. The other rarely leaves his desk; pounding out ten hour days on the computer as though they were as fun as lounging on a Hawaiian Beach.

Both of them are remarkable individuals. They're good at what they do and they seem to genuinely enjoy it. Sometimes I envy them. It seems like they've figured out who they are, what they're good at, and what they want out of life. I know none of those things. Except that I'm good at Tetris. I do know that.

At work my job is to sit at a desk, complete checklists, and process paperwork. I basically give water breaks to the skinny guy on his ten-hour-marathons. The problem is that my attention span is three minutes long. As a former boss I'm used to shooting in and out of the office like the Senator. Each time he whizzes past I imagine handcuffing myself to him and saying, "Where we going boss? Please shoot me or take me with you!".

I feel like he should fire me. This week I must have wasted a dozen hours on lunches, Facebook, and daydreaming. I feel ashamed. It seems like any intelligent man should be able to concentrate on details for eight hours. What's wrong with me? I can work quickly for an hour or two, even get more done than your average plodder, but after that I need an hour on ESPN for recovery time. That's a poor work-to-play ratio if you ask me. Or anyone.

So instead of blatantly indulging in extracurricular activities I find myself dawdling. I don't read sports (too much) but I open and close various computer programs, sign in and out of email accounts, and stare at the bushes outside my window. Sure, I get stuff done, but not a drop in the bucket compared to the marathoner. At 3:45pm he's on detail #537. I'm on #4.

My sense of shame is growing with each passing week. I ought to be getting better. My ability to concentrate should be increasing. Isn't it like a muscle or something; the more you work it the more it grows? I should be more prolific too. Isn't the whole point of my position to ease the Desk Jockey's load? I doubt he feels it. I think it slows him down when he explains simple data-entry procedures to me for the fourteenth time.

So what do I do? I can't sneak around, alternately wasting time and working extra fast. That's what I would have done in the past. And to be honest, it's the most appealing solution right now. Sometimes it feels like I'm wired to operate with hard bursts of concentration and lots of long breaks. I don't know how else I'll pull through.

I could try blogging at work. But that would backfire since my boss reads my blogs. Also, I really don't want to have secrets. That's probably why I'm blogging about this right now. Not so sure it's a good idea though. He might fire me for calling him stocky. Or for my admission of general incompetence and time wasting.

On the other hand, he might take me out to lunch and encourage me because he's pretty much the best boss in the world! At least I won't have to use the handcuffs. This time...


  1. Matt, love this entry. Both those men are amazing and I laughed more than once as I read this. Be encouraged, work to your strengths and order a good lunch.

  2. what u r going thru is called "doing time". sooner or later u'll decide u've suffered there long enuff for what ever u feel u have done, and u'll grab urself by the butt and get a job u enjoy.

    from the looks of these blogs, journalism comes to mind.