Time Management

Most managers, bosses, and other authority figures like to tout that they don’t care the hours that you work, as long as the work gets done, but we all know that’s just lip service.

We know, for instance, that if you get work done more will be piled on. And even if you had a caffeine-induced run of rapid success due to the planets aligning on one project, that time frame for completion will now be used moving forward.

But this isn’t about that. This is about the actual work getting done. In most work life situations, whether you’re client services based, product based, or education based, you have inherent deadlines. To the dismay of all that is rational, we have become deadline driven individuals, despite what our parents told us and what we teach our kids about saving things for the last minute.

Why, even the twitter feeds on blog topics will tell you that to be successful, and to gain more visitors, you have to blog EVERY SINGLE DAY, with HIGH QUALITY CONTENT.

Crap.

I’m an interesting, funny, resourceful person, but I’m not full of high quality interest every day. Somedays I feel like I have water on the brain.

Time management becomes more about prioritization than completion.

This of course then leads to the sense of never completing all you need to do, the increased stress of finishing what you can, selecting what will result in the least amount of yelling, and all the while piling on the sense of inadequacy.

For most. But not for all.

[queue surfacing of deeply held resentments]

Several years ago I went to the Museum of Natural History in NYC and saw the IMAX show about dinosaurs. First, because I have to, that wasn’t a fricken’ IMAX, that was just a really big screen, like when we were kids before they shoved 463 screens  into a small space and called it a multiplex. But that’s not what I’m here to vent my spleen about today.

I’m here to vent over those who are not concerned with completing their work. I am here to vent about those who we are told should be heralded in society and revered for their dedication to bettering people and the world, those in education, those in research, those in science.

Lets take these dinosaur scientists/acheaologists/anthropologists. I’m picking them for several reasons:

  1. I read an article that spurred years of buried annoyance and aggravation about them;
  2. I started this with the explanation about dinosaurs;
  3. My brother is an archaeologist/anthropologist and I have enough pent up sibling issues that he’s always an easy target.
    (Yes, William Doonan, you CAN comment freely on this blog post, so long as you keep it entertaining and save the facts for your students.) Besides, there are enough other folks out there who have lingering issues about him who wouldn’t mind him and his field being nagged.

So during the dinosaur movie they showed how hundreds, thousands, even a bajillion fossils were taken from the ground in the US, plaster casts and boxes were crated up and stored. This started somewhere between 763 and 70 years ago, doesn’t much matter, the fact is, this has been going on for more than a week, more than a decade, more than my lifetime. This is practice as usual. They are taken and then STORED. STORED, people. They are not taken to labs to be addressed and studied based on the newest finds. They are STORED. For DECADES.

They are ignored for decades. Scientific discoveries that we are always told could change the course of human nature by understanding the prehistoric landscapes could change everything, from human intellect, to dependence on foreign oil, to at least figuring out if we’d need parkas or shorts for the daily weather. All this information is sitting in dusty cabinets in middle America (and presumably elsewhere as well) waiting to be studied.

C’mon people, do your jobs. If it was so important to get funding, I’m guessing government funding, to spend on the treks to go get this crap out of the ground for hours, not to mention the inordinate amounts of sunscreen and chai tea you nut job hipster role models require, surely it was important enough, or at least INTERESTING enough to actually study, right? Do you even remember you did it? Do you know nothing of deadlines or have any sense of accomplishment? Or is that is, just to be able to say you did this, and assume you’ll never be asked the obvious question of, “…and, what did it yield? What was the outcome?”

I don’t give a crap that you have exams to grade, lesson plans to write, or the butt’s of your children to wipe as you raise them. This is your field of interest, your passion, what you (or your parents and the probably government grants) likely spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting, and you leave it tucked away in dingy closet hoping you’ll remember at some point to tell your underlings about so they can pass on knowledge of their existence to their own students when they take over your job?

So what pissed me off today, what re-ignited the fury I feel about this, what I can only assume is laziness on the part of academics and researchers, is an article about how fossils from Charles Darwin were found, after being lost for over 150 years.

They’ve been missing for over 150 years. 150 years.

Even better, they were lost in a museum where a lot of his stuff was kept. They even had his name and signature on them.

“To find a treasure trove of lost Darwin specimens from the Beagle voyage is just extraordinary,” Falcon-Lang [the dude who found them or the spokesperson for the dude who found them] added.

“We can see there’s more to learn. There are a lot of very, very significant fossils in there that we didn’t know existed.”

Why? Why didn’t they know they existed? Why didn’t they look through his shit? Let me explain how life in the “outside” world works. If a co-worker leaves, either by choice or not, every bit of information they had, should have had, or might have had, becomes everyone else’s responsibility, regardless of actual existence. Those left behind are responsible to know instantly and inherently where everything is, what the history and future are, and are disemboweled at the mere suggestion that something wasn’t documented by the predecessor. That’s considered an excuse, and something for the world of silly children, and then are told to grow up and read minds like you’re expected to, even if it veers from rationality.

In this instance, the instance of the slides, the research from Darwin and his cohorts, I can see where the inexplicable statements of those in authority in a business world would actually, for once, apply. Even if Darwin wasn’t as well known at the time, that his shit ended up in the museum while he was still alive is a pretty big deal. He isn’t part of pre-history people, he lived and worked during the modern(ish) era, where conveniences like pens and microscopes existed. He was surrounded by really smart, capable people who some might say controlled him so he didn’t wander off the deck of the Beagle. Surely they would have gone though his stuff to make sure they had it all.

Clearly, given the importance of his work, and his renown, and his ongoing impact in the world (except of course in the world of US Republicans who are forever arguing that fossils were placed by Satan as a test for non-believers and that man actually walked the earth with dinosaurs.), someone would have actually CHECKED his boxes looking for something they might have missed.

After all, cough cough, excuse me a sec, you’re f’in archaeologists, anthropologists, researchers, scholars: you are the embodiment of beings seeking what most assume isn’t there.

Oh, it gets better.

According to the article,

“The discovery was made in April, but it has taken “a long time” to figure out the provenance of the slides and photograph all of them, Falcon-Lang said. The slides have now been photographed and will be made available to the public through a new online museum exhibit opening Tuesday.”

So these were found almost a year ago but they have to photograph them first? Seriously? It takes that many months, with that many highly evolved intelligent beings, those who require respect and awe, to actually, hmmm, research and think and photograph things? Good god that’s pathetic. And yet, they don’t care, they’re proud of it.

“Falcon-Lang expects great scientific papers to emerge from the discovery.”

Gosh, you don’t say. That’s not even worth the e-ink it’s semi printed on.

We all saw the Indiana Jones movies. We all hate you already because of the exciting life you clearly must live fighting criminals for the sake of science, protecting history and discovery over profiteers. We even came to pity you being constrained in your day job of teaching which is there to fund your passion and love of the mystery, the hunt, and then deciphering of our common past with your incredible intellect. Or so we thought … I suppose you can’t fight Nazi’s or Cult Leader High Priests who take hearts out of living bodies with their mere hands. I suppose the thought of you eating monkey brains at international meetings of global intellects and rulers is a bit far fetched, but couldn’t you at least care a little to figure out what you found?

Don’t you know we live vicariously through the image of the scholar anthropologists as we tediously sit at our desks making another fricken’ agenda for a project we know will invariably bring grief and an increase in our blood pressure medication? Don’t you know that it is through the fantasies of the life style we’ve been lead to believe you live, through the media and the bragging of your students, your parents and your friends that we figure somehow, in our own little way, we are encouraging and supporting your wild adventures and studies through our taxes that support your salaries and government grants, in the hopes of bettering the world through understandings that will come out of your studies for ourselves, or at least our children? We seriously don’t give a rat’s ass about our great grandchildren at this point, because even if we’re alive when they’re born we will still be working our day jobs after they move the retirement age to 106.

Take a little pride in what you do. And I don’t know, maybe take a class in Time Management? I’m sure you guys can get a tuition discount on the class through the schools you all work for.

The article concludes with the following:

“It really makes one wonder what else might be hiding in our collections,” he [Dr. John Ludden, executive director of the Geological Survey] said.

There simply are no words. (well, no more, anyway).

[note: If you are in any way offended or not amused by this post, and feel it unfairly and ignorantly generalizes your profession, then you are likely in academics and will want to discuss it over a chai latte in a quiet coffee bar with a beat poet reading his work to the back up of a congo drum. I’m busy that day, I have work to complete, sorry.]

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About Laurissa Doonan

I'm a marketer. I've been a professional marketer for over 25 years, but in reality, I have always been one. Marketing to me is about communicating effectively, regardless of platform, regardless of channel. Marketing is understanding both your objectives and your audience, and finding the right method and message for your customers to reach them where they are. Now I dedicate my efforts to helping very small and small companies pursue their passions and grow their businesses through marketing; providing agency trained expertise without the overhead. www.Charter-Marketing.com www.CharterMarketing.wordpress.com
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3 Responses to Time Management

  1. 1) Archaeologists don’t study dinosaurs. Paleontologists do.
    2) Most of the stuff that gets dug up isn’t museum quality. It’s garbage from a long time ago.
    3) Monkey brains are quite tasty.

  2. LJ says:

    1) I wasn’t suggesting they were the same exactly but to much of the outside world there’s really no need for the clarification. I mean when kids go yo museums they want to be the one who digs this stuff up, not getting all excited about obsiddean chips (and those who care about that these days are either jewelets or medical device manufactures).

    2) That would only be discernible if the crap was looked, preferably sooner than 150 years after catalogged. Besides, I tgougt you do this for the purity of study and not the glory of fame. Are you suggesting Junior Jones was a fame whore at the core?!?!?

    3) You’re married now. Stop reminiscing.

  3. LJ says:

    Typos courtesy of big medicated (cold meds) fingers ignoring autocorrect on kindle tablet that is too close for my bifocular denial level.

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