Sunday, March 26, 2017

Birds of a feather

There I am at the front desk of the library. Once again. I am teamed up, so to speak, with the very worst of all my co-workers.

Is she the worst I have ever worked with? Let's see:

She is incompetent, yes.

She gets almost nothing done and passes that lack of productivity off in direct ways to her co-workers and to the patrons, often through egregious errors.

She avoids a vast array of barely irksome tasks and interactions by feigning what seems to be a genuine confusion, and yet it is a confusion that unfailingly leads her away from ever helping the next person or accomplishing any appropriate task. You must never forget to ask yourself this, as regards an unproductive coworker: If the truly ignorant will get half the questions on a true/false test correct, what kind of mad genius gets them all wrong?

But she is not exactly mean. Yes, she will react with an obstinate hostility or bovine uncorrectibility to any criticism or instruction, but her presentation is friendly. It is bumblingly amiable. If you are a patron she will look concerned with your problem, industrious, and keen to help, even as she works ever to complicate and expand that same problem.

So she is not the worst co-worker of all time. Bah, merely in the top ten, or five.

And that is all well reflected in the patron standing before me, just shy of the front desk. She is patiently waiting to speak to this most reviled co-worker. She's excited to show her the DVD she's found. She says to me, about my co-worker "I just have to show that so nice lady something." But she has to wait a long time because my co-worker is with another patron. My co-worker avoids every patron she can, but when she gets one she spends as long as possible with them. I assume this is related to some inarticulated the devil you know... philosophy.

In between my own helping patron after patron, while my co-worker toils away on her simple registration, adding bizarre flourishes and long, meaningless digressions, I get most of the DVD patron's story. It amounts to:

She wanted a DVD. My co-worker wildly misinformed her about what was available, took 15 minutes to do so, and sent her off to someone else. That person got her the DVD. Then the patron came back to my co-worker to wait twenty minutes to share her good news and thank her for her excellent work.

Well, I suppose they deserve each other. And I hope they'll be happy together. 

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