Coded green.

Friday 29 September 2000

Me at work

Pic of the day: First impressions can be misleading. Maintenance of computers involves more than meets the eye...

(And yes, girls, it's finally another gratuitous butt shot. I thought it was not fair that my coworkers should have it all to themselves, do you think? -Evidently I'm no longer filling out my trousers all that well, though. I guess it's time to go back to some from my younger and slimmer days.)

"Work sucks"

No, I have not yet seen the movie with this title, though I have heard of it. My own workplace may not be quite as crazy, but sometimes you have to wonder...

This summer has seen a veritable epidemy on our personal computers at work. Every other day or so, one of them has serious problems. Usually it's the hard disk that develop serious errors, but I've also seen the video card and even the fan throw in the towel. So a couple times a week, we have to replace a computer. Of course most of them are placed in the corners under the desks, and connected with lots of cables.

In other news, I've tried over the last couple years to extend the computer staff with a female coworker too, but so far with little success. Wonder why.


Our office building is not exactly the most stable thing around. (Then again, one could say, nor are its employees.) Its fundaments seems to be constructed in such a way that when there is an explosion in town, the house lurches wildly. Since there is always some building project going on in our fast-growing city, I remain on my toes. And during the recent roadbuilding spree, the house has been beating like a heart. Very disturbing. Plus, it sends our computers to kingdom come. Or at least to Kongsberg, where there is a repair center.

As an indicator of just how jaded I've become from all this, there was a minor earthquake this summer that I didn't notice. Now, in all honesty it wasn't California style. No collapsing structures, just things jumping a little. It did scare up people, though. I noticed nothing. I'm used to the floor lurching under me and things hopping about a little. (Doesn't mean I like it.)


As I've said before, I consider my workplace to be unnecessary. The way our society is structured now, it does fill a function, and has a high symbolic value. But it could easily be eliminated with little or no loss of happiness to the citizens. The public sector here in Norway is way too big. You'd think that experiences from Soviet would teach people that this way just does not work. But no. Thanks to the shared belief of Norwegians that we are inherently superior to other humans, we expect it to work here.

People don't want to get their services from some branch of government in exchange for high taxes. They do want to get their services for free, and the neighbor to pay the taxes. Since there are at any time many more neighbors than people, this keeps our country nearly socialist at all times. But experience from other countries, mostly the USA and lately also Great Britain, show that people will overall be more happy if they pay less taxes and more insurance, even if they don't really have more money left.

One nice thing about the State as an employer, though, is that it attracts lot of female employees. There are all manner of flexible arrangements, where people work three days one week and two day another, or two days each week, or all days except Thursday ... And of course, once they are pregnant, all bets are off. They can be gone for years at full pay, as long as they time their pregnancies well. I have so far not contributed actively to this, but I can sometimes see it pretty early. Some of them start to "glow" when they're pregnant. Funny thing.

While it's overall nice to wade in female coworkers, the sad fact remains that few in our line of work stand till retirement from old age. Most retire from disability of some kind. My personal suspicion is that all of these are stress related. Despite the utter unimportance of the work, there is a lot of flailing about and hand-wringing over all the stuff that never gets done. I've noticed that the bosses are the ones most likely to reach old age - but I don't know if they survive because of their exalted position or if they are promoted because they survived so long. I suspect the latter, so far.

Personally I'm not quite sure what would be worst, to be moderately disabled and in some pain or to stand in this job till I'm 65. Currently, I prefer the job. But if I have to start taking it seriously, the scales may tip the other way. Or if I stop making fun of it.

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