Howdy! Sorry I’ve been so lax in posting for you guys, I’ve had a very busy week or so, and it’s not looking to let up anytime soon. On a related note, I have a semi-big announcement coming about a couple of things…but I’m working on trying to pack for Vegas this weekend among other things, so the news will have to wait until I get back. In the meantime, please enjoy this filler post.
A lot of you have asked me, on several different occasions, “Dustin, what exactly do you do for work?” I usually try and deflect the question by firing off a few quotes from Office Space, or changing the subject or something; but the truth is, there’s no real way to explain what I do for work by just using words. So to help you grasp all the nuanced intricacies of my job, I’ve decided to use a couple of visual aids. The first is this:
As you can see, this is a bucket of rubber bands. This rubberband bucket (rubbucket?) was here on my desk long before I started working at UCLA Medical Systems HR, and in all likelihood, will be here long after I’ve lost my job due to larceny accusations and a pending sexual harassment lawsuit. How this rubbucket came to be here, why this desk’s previous owner felt the need to keep such an expansive collection of rubberbands when he or she clearly never used them, and why they didn’t take them along when they left if they felt so strongly about rubberbands; are all questions that I can only hypothesize an answer to. What I do know, however, is how these rubberbands represent the amount and depth of work that is required on me during a typical day at UCLA. Let’s say each of these rubberbands represents one minute of time where I don’t have any work to do at my job. And I’m not talking about times where I have work, but am procrastinating it (and I’m also not counting the 60-90 minutes I take for lunch on any given day). I’m just talking about the minutes that I spend at my desk with nothing — literally nothing — to do that’s work-related. Now let’s say that for each of those workless minutes, that I do something with the rubberband to mark each unproductive minute. Fast forward into my day a few hours, and this is the result:
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. This is no camera trick or cheap prop, this is that exact same pile of rubberbands, in that exact same rubbucket, approximately seven hours after I took the first picture. This would be amusing — almost funny, even — if I didn’t have a little over two hours left in my day at this point (keeping in mind that I also took an hour and a half lunch consisting of Chipotle, Starbucks and Pinkberry…all of the essential food groups).
So the next time you’re sitting at work and thinking about how boring your job is, or about how boring the class you’re in is, I want you to envision this rubberband-ball, and know that out there, on the fourth floor of an eighteen-story skyscraper in northwest Los Angeles, there sits a young lad who is even more bored and getting even less out of his job/class than you. And I want you to think on that, and smile, and count your blessings. Then I want you to bounce between espn.com, facebook, and cnn.com the rest of the day like I do. It will be like we’re conquering the world of boredom together, one workless-rubberband-minute at a time, nine hours a day, five days a week, at six dollars an hour.
P.S. Every morning on the way into work, I spend the first main chunk of my time sitting in traffic on Interstate 10. During rush hour traffic, the 10 is kind of like an abyss: upon entering, you immediately lose track of how long you’ve been there, how you got there, and you’re instantly filled with a general hopelessness that there’s no escape or that you’ll never know any reality outside of coarse pavement framed by an endless sea of brakelights. This is the second-worst part of my commute. The worst part of my drive comes during the half-mile interchange where the 10-W merges with the 405-N. For those of you unfamiliar with how this intersection works, this interchange takes about three lanes from the 10 West, and T-bones it into about five lanes of the 405 North. I say “about” because during this particular stretch of freeway, there are no — none, zip, zero — lane lines. That’s no typo. In fact, there’s nothing to indicate that there ever have, or ever will be any kind of lane indicator during this multi-freeway merge. Furthermore, the traffic on the respective on-ramps loosens up enough for you to get going to about 60-75mph — just enough to do some real damage when you inevitably lose control and fly into the median and/or your fellow commuters. Add the extra two lanes of traffic merging in from the 2 (Santa Monica Blvd.), and you have yourself what is literally the deadliest half mile of pavement this side of the Rio Grande. Now picture yourself going from the braindead monotony of the 10, instantly into the frenzied, uncontrolled chaos of the 405 at 7am, with the sun directly in your eyes the whole time. Suffice it to say, I don’t drink coffee nearly as much as I used to — because after I’ve survived that gauntlet, I’ve got enough adrenaline pumping through my system in the morning to wrestle a coked-up hippopotamus and win. According to scientific research done in the same field, I’d have to drink 17 cups of coffee, nine espressos, and do three shots of tequila each morning to get the same effect. And it doesn’t make me urinate nearly as much. So the moral of the story is: if you’re trying to give up coffee drinking, your best bet is to load up on car insurance, move to southern California, and spend 45-60 minutes trying to get yourself killed on the freeway twice a day. I did, and I’m in the best shape of my life!