Tuesday, November 14, 2006

To Work Alone

I work alone.

Not always, of course, but generally. This was not always the case.

I've worked in about every kind of work setting. Mill building. Clean room. School. Office. Concrete block building. Ditch. Shed. Barroom. Boat. Hospital. Home. Above ground. Below. Hot. Cold. Dry. Damp. Boring. Terrifying.

The vagary that makes any setting go is the other people. And now there aren't any.

I've been responsible for hundreds of employees at one time, and just a few at others. Hundreds of employees is much easier. When you only have two, and one is named "Rob," and you find out that "rob" is a verb, not a noun, you've got a fifty percent failure rate. I had a guy sleeping at his workstation working for me once. He was just one in a hundred. No big deal.

But to work alone is to be you own annoyance. You're the laziest, stupidest person present. There is always a person to encourage sloth -- you; but there is never anyone to shame you into holding up your end. You've got both ends. And the end in the middle.

Sometimes, the light is good. The tools are sharp. The wood is flat. The mosquitoes are on vacation. Your shoes fit. There are no splinters. Whatever you look for is on the shelf. The dimensions add up. Vivaldi comes on the radio. The money comes. The floor is swept. Nothing is late. The phone does not ring unwonted. The blade does not wander.

And when all that happens...

How the hell would I know? I'd settle for two of those things at the same time. I'm all alone.


PatHMV said...

I worked for myself for about a year and a half, hanging out a shingle as a lawyer. I discovered two things.

I was a bad boss, and I was a bad employee. I do very well at either one or the other, but I don't do well trying to be both at the same time.

amba said...

Ain't writing just the same?

vw: goohh

SippicanCottage said...

Annie- Writing is indeed a solitary thing, isn't it?

If it wasn't for the voices in my head, I'd have no company.

KCFleming said...

If I worked alone, I'd soon form a union and strike against me, and picket myself with a sign that read, "I'm unfair!" I'd secretly hire myself as a scab, of course, and beat myself up in the parking lot at work.

Then I 'd never talk to myself again, the bastard.

SippicanCottage said...

pogo- That reminds me of a saying I used to use when someone made a mess at work:

You're fired, but you can't go home.

Tully said...

I've been self-employed for over a decade. Whenever anyone asks how it is, I tell the truth. My boss is a jerk who never gives me any paid time off....but some of the perks are priceless. Like being there when the kids get home from school.

Tully said...

Pogo, I'm stealing that file for future reference! Too good.