Crunching Numbers, Spurting Shingles

Crunching Numbers, Spurting Shingles

Damn it’s been a long time since I’ve had to crunch numbers. A few weeks ago, the CEO/President asked me to crank out some calculations on pollutant emissions from electricity generation. Fuck, man. Had to do all these nutty conversions from like moles to grams and KW to GW. The number crunching took me an eternity, and at some point, I put the figures into a Powerpoint slide, only to have him change some assumption and recalculate the numbers. Well, for whatever reason, my numbers were correct but he forgot a zero when he input the data. Well holy shit, screw me with a spoon. I was supposed to proof the whole PowerPoint, and the 0.1 (instead of 0.01) slipped my radar. Just the day before, one of our dataplots was timeshifted. He had just told me the importance of checking our numbers, because errors damage our credibility. Blah, blah. Whatever. Anyway, point is, I was scolded about the data plot. Naturally, when I discovered my oversight with the 0.1, I started stressing out big time. Like almost had a breakdown at work. That night I got home, and I was flipping out. John could not understand my distress over a silly typo. So I emailed the CEO. Two days later, I got a major nasty gram. I won’t insert it here, but basically I felt like he was threatening me with losing the job. I was so pissed, because 1) why was I being pinned to this expectation of perfection when he was guilty of overpromising product performance (doesn’t that damage credability too?) 2) calculations are not in my job description. I’m a customer liason. 3) I submitted the right numbers but he kept changing the assumptions and he input the typo. Anyway, I was really upset, and I swear that other leg was starting to itch that evening. Return of the shingles? Not good.

The next day, things were a bit tense at the office. We actually avoided each other. Finally, I just wanted to get things over with. I went into his office and reviewed the calcs with him. That was the end. I’m not going to live in fear or whatever because of some threatening email. Fuck it: I’m still a damn hard worker and valuable contributor. I’m not going to be intimidated by a silly job.

Since then, the big customer visit and associated presentation has come and gone. I ended up working closely with the perfectionist manager on project boards and parts displays. I don’t know how a hodge-podge decorater like me got pulled into that. Anyway, the visit was a big success, so I guess I’m redeemed. Either way, like everyone else warned, work–no matter what it is– is overrated.

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