As office buildings grew taller, and flammability became a problem, steel file cabinets replaced wooden ones – the tall cabinets mimicking the shape of the skyscraper, such that the “file” seemed to be a metaphorical stand-in for the office itself. “Each office within the skyscraper,” C. Wright Mills would argue some years later, “is a segment of the enormous file, a part of the symbolic factory that produces the billion slips of paper that gear modern society into its daily shape.” Aldous Huxley, in his dystopian novel Brave New World, could imagine no more powerful symbol of a totally bureaucratized world than the idea of each person having his or her name on a file.
The problems themselves, though they once obsessed you, and kept you working late night after night, and made you talk in your sleep, turn out to have been hollow: two weeks after your last day they already have contracted into inert pellets one-fiftieth of their former size; you find yourself unable to recreate the sense of what was really at stake, for it seems to have been the Hungarian 5/2 rhythm of the lived workweek alone that kept each fascinating crisis inflated to its full interdepartmental complexity.
The couple of years in question here saw one of the largest bureaucracies anywhere undergo a convulsion in which it tried to reconceive itself as a non- or even anti-bureaucracy, which at first might sound like nothing more than an amusing bit of bureaucratic folly. In fact, it was frightening; it was a little like watching an enormous machine come to consciousness and start trying to think and feel like a real human.
The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom. To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human. To breathe, so to speak, without air.
The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable. I met, in the years 1984 and '85, two such men.
It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.
'That was all he said it seemed like I needed, just to talk to somebody with no bullshit, which was what the Zeller Center doctors didn't realize, or like they couldn't realize it because then the whole structure would come down, that here the doctors had spent four million years in medical school and residency and the insurance companies were paying all this money for diagnosis and OT and therapy protocols, it was all an institutional structure, and once things became institutionalized then it all became this artificial, like, organism and started trying to survive and serve its own needs just like a person, only it wasn't a person, it was the opposite of a person, because there was nothing inside it except the will to survive and grow as an institution.'
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In software development deadlines are a necessary evil. It is important to understand when they are necessary, and it is important to understand why they are evil.
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Whenever you wonder what it's like at a big company... sometimes, it's like this! And, hey, sometimes it's even worse!
Professionalism is a lie, build what you love, explore everything. In today’s age of creation, anyone who attempts to tell you otherwise is lying. You’ll end up seeking what you traded for the rest of your life.
I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils.