Government Work

Work on the road wasn't always glamor and high-jinx. Often, jobs left something to be desired... but as was the case in every case, I was there to do the best job I could regardless of the circumstances.

This one was originally written February 25, 2008


The drive goes by a lot faster when not done in a blizzard.

Although I got to sleep a little longer and still made it here on time, it was difficult to get up this morning. To leave where I was; the warmth of bed, the comfort… the sheer pleasure of it. And for what? To get in a car and drive 3 hours in the dark.

And arriving on time, I discover of the two people I need to meet up and work with, neither are here at 7 AM. One doesn’t even start until 8 AM, the other just hasn’t shown up yet.

At least the car has XM. Have to look at the positives.

Getting cars with XM is actually starting to change my mind on the whole “pay for radio” thing. I’m still not for it, but it does have its benefits.

This is just the start of what undoubtedly will be a long week. Two days in a VA hospital in Cleveland, then two more days at a VA hospital in Indianapolis. Driving the whole way.

The hospital is your typical, sterile looking, no-frills type environment. Usually what you find at VA’s. Most of the workers are young and patients very old. There is no wireless network here, at all. Almost unheard of for a hospital these days. The cafeteria sells Folgers coffee… the highest selling, yet lowest rated coffee brand in America. Go figure.

I stretch and yawn off more of the sleep I didn’t get last night. I’m looking forward to getting to a hotel. Hoping today goes smoothly and I can escape at a reasonable hour. I’m betting I could sit here for the next four hours typing away at the meaningless and trivial details of my life and no one at this hospital would miss me.

I’m here alone on a vague and ambiguous job where I won’t have any actual work to do unless something goes wrong. Then my job is to simply assuage peoples’ fears about the product until either I or the hospital’s IT personnel can figure out a solution to the problem.

How’s that for a job description? Would anyone apply for a job where the duties were, “do nothing, unless something breaks… then you might still have nothing to do but take the brunt of our customers’ abuse.”

Since when has my career degraded back to a customer service job? I might as well put on a blue polyester vest and a name tag that says, “Hello! My name is PAUL, how can I help you?”

Not that there is anything wrong with jobs like that… every company needs people to go to work for them on the front lines and not everyone gets to be an astronaut. But I really thought I left those kinds of positions behind when I opened my own business. I’m used to wearing multiple hats every day… but this is an old, worn out hat I haven’t worn in a long, long time.

But wear it I will. I asked for more opportunities on other contracts with this company… I guess this is my reward. Or test. Or punishment.

Regardless, I will attack it as I attack every job – and do it to the best of my ability.

Even if I have to say, “Thank you for shopping with us, have a nice day!” five-hundred times today.


Welcome to the world of government work. I’ve done… nothing today. Left at 4 AM to get here at 7 AM. It is now 11 AM and I have done absolutely no work. None. Zero.

But at least I’m not alone.

I sat in the tech-workshop area for the majority of the day. I watched one guy sleep in his chair for a good 30 minutes. I listened to two workers argue the definition of “broken” over an LCD panel with a backlight issue. I’ve listened to two other workers arguing over the Cleveland Cavaliers for a good 20 minutes…

Ok, scratch that… 40 minutes… they’re still going.

Ah, if only I had a floor-creeper and a truck to work on… I could be napping right now.

Going to go have lunch shortly. There is just nothing better to do…

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