Friday, October 31, 2008

The fact of the matter

I realised there was more to this. So instead of opening up an entirely new post about exactly the same yada yada yada, I've just added to it in the final paragraphs.

We live on top of a volcano. Oh yuh. Didn't you know there was one in the foothills of Melbourne??

This volcano is active. It is prone to erupting anytime, without much warning. Let me tell you. Mt Kikitoa.

Ok, so I made that name up. And the volcano. It's all a ruse, to disguise the fact that I explode. Often. I am the volcano. And I explode generally over the same thing: my lack of (my perceived) support around the house from the MOTH.

We made a breakthrough two weeks ago. Yes, after about oh fifteen years now, apparently I've made sense. So Steve says.

The whole issue is that he says he doesn't understand why he "gets in trouble" for not picking up after himself when everywhere around the house he sees things I have left out as well. Let me just say, I have never denied that I do leave my papers around. I do leave hair ties. And bobby pins. And sometimes a plate. Or a wine glass. So see his point.

The fact of the matter is, I know those things I leave behind will be cleaned up by none other than me. I haven't got any slack-picker-upper who's got my back on these things like he has. I don't know how many times I've tried to explain myself to him. He hasn't seemed to hear me. That was, until last weekend when two planets aligned and I must have explained it in a somewhat more eloquent or non-confrontational way that enabled him to step aside and let his sensible self see what I'd been saying all these years.

I explained it thus: "Imagine your desk at work. It's up to you and nobody else to use and clean it. If someone came along and started dumping their rubbish on your desk, assuming that the mess you keep it in gives them clearance to do so (without realising that your desk is actually in some sort of structure that you have a handle on - you know where everything is on your desk, you know the piles you have to work on, you know everything that's in each pile, but on the surface to anyone else, it just looks unordered), what would you do?"

Steve's face lit up like the power supply that had gone off in his head was fitted with a 100 watt globe. "I get it. And I'd be, like, don't leave your shit on my desk. Leave it some place else."

SIIIIIIIGH. Huge sighs of relief. So I delicately pressed on with the analogy.

"And so, imagine your orderly messy desk (and let's not compare this house to your desk, I'd like to think this house is neater than that, we both know your desk is a complete disaster of a mess - but I accept that you know exactly where everything is, so what's mess when there's order?.... or something.... right?). And then think about what kind of pressure you'd be under if you had your production jobs to keep going, print runs to keep filling, people at you at you at you every minute of your day, and yet part of your job requirement - a big part of it - is to keep your desk spotless. Imagine if your boss made keeping your desk clean THE most top priority job, your most key of your Key Performance Indicators.
What would that pressure be like for you, do you think, especially when you're also not allowed to stop dealing with the people who are at you and the print runs keep needing to be filled?
Not only that, but these at-you people are dependent on you for their survival, their nourishment (mental and physiological) - so you can't give any half-arsed attention to them. It has to be top notch, the time and effort you devote to them. They too are your Top Priority. And you have to allow these at-you people to mess up your desk, even though you know you have to keep it clean because it's what you're being assessed on, as well as everything else that's apparently equally as important in your role. So you let them mess it, just so you can clean it, just so they can mess it again, just so you can clean it again.
You know there's nothing wrong with this picture - you have happily accepted this as part of your role and in fact realise it's part of their job description to do it. But it also means that while you're doing the cleaning of the messing of the cleaning, your other plates are not spinning so fast anymore - your printruns stop being filled until you can get back over there and fill them. Your desk is getting more cluttered because those other people you work with - the capable adult ones - just see mess (or say they don't, it varies) and think it's okay to dump theirs there. And always, they have this out-clause that states "You know your own desk and where everything is, I don't help because I don't want to do it wrong or tidy something you didn't want tidied" and other such valid but ultimately lame excuses. Point is, it's always up to you to think about it and organise and delegate, even to the people who are free-thinking and perfectly capable within their paid roles, to work things out for themselves - and yet, standing in front of your desk, they appear to lose all autonomy and need to be told what to do and how to navigate a desk. It's just a desk!
And all the while, those other people - the people you work with who you know are intelligent and more than capable of preventing more work for you - they keep leaving their shit on your desk. The shit you've asked them to be mindful of. Their same shit that you have to keep cleaning up. Would that frustrate you?"

I think I got through. By George.... I THINK HE GOT IT. It's been somewhat calmer around here. I don't feel like he doesn't quite get me anymore. He gets me. I heard birds chirping gaily. Call me Snow White and slap a ribbon in my hair.

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