Sometimes at work I get into a downward spiral of anger, frustration, and nonproductivity when I'm faced with stupid bureaucratic and institutional obstacles. That happened today. I'd been working on some fairly dull stuff for a couple of months. Earlier in the week I went to my boss and said that I would lie down on the floor, curl up into the fetal position and cry if he didn't find me something interesting to work on, even if only for a few days. So he came up with something mildly diverting and I was restored. But when I came in this morning I learned that another team was refusing to unlock some stuff to allow me to work on it (my team's users use the data entry screens but the other team officially "owns" the stuff) without following the all the appropriate methodology: stupid design documents, pointless "review" sessions that amount to baby-stepping managers through the stupid design documents because they haven't even looked at the stuff ahead of time, etc. So I get nothing done all morning because I'm a total anger ball because a small project went from being a few hours of amusement to possibly days of annoyance. But then I decide to take action! I have fuzzy memories of a book I read maybe 20 or so years ago. It was called "We Have Always Lived in the Castle -- by Shirley Jackson, I think. It involved a dysfunctional family living in seclusion. I remember one of the main characters had all these odd rituals. To wish someone or something away she'd carve their name into peanut butter on her toast then eat it. Or speak the name into a glass, then fill it with water and drink it. So I improvised with what I had at hand. I created a Word document containing the text "The mindless and tedious bureaucracy of XYZ" (XYZ being the organization I work for). (The font I used was Rockwell.) Printed it out, and with much fanfare (which involved telling some coworkers what I was up to) fed it through the document shredder. Believe it or not, I feel much better, and I have succeeded in getting some work done today. Experienced ritualists may question whether I succeeded in getting rid of the actual mindless and tedious bureaucracy of XYZ or only my anger and frustration at the mindless and tedious bureaucraccy of XYZ. But for me, for now, this is enough.
MM: "...Or speak the name into a glass, then fill it with water and drink it." So I improvised with what I had at hand. "... at hand" hmmm... IHMO, you will be much better off if you begin your ~improvising~ in a better locale. (Uhhh... namely one that sells Guinness.) Yeah you can skip right over all that MSWord junk too! oh yeah, btw the 'purging ritual' I'm recommending does NOT include purging the 'purging ritual'. It's a dynamic ritual and must be monitored a bit, but it's worth it. [ January 17, 2004: Message edited by: John Dunn ]
"No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does."
PS: Does the font really matter or is that a preference? The font choice was a whim, but now that I've had some apparent success with this ritual I think it would be in good order (in the spirit of ritual-making) to attach some great significance to the font.