Friday, September 02, 2005

Gems from the Parking Lot

Two divergent gems from the Parking Lot this week. Chris linked to Jon's post telling a story about an engineer at Apple who just kept coming to work after being sacked, and apparently he kept showing up until his project was finished: "His swipe card worked, there were lots of empty offices, so he just kept going, unpaid, for months, creating a fully-fleged and entirely unauthorized skunkworks at the heart of the company." Now that's engagement in your work.

Chris also had some fascinating comments on the looting following the flooding disaster in New Orleans. Class struggle, materialism, greed, poverty, drugs, weapons...the psychology of this stuff makes you wonder how close we are to the collapse of everything we take for granted:
"The looting seems so instinctive, so without purpose (except for the survival necessities of course - what is the immediate survival value of a flat screen TV and a mink coat? What value does such a thing have in a flood? Why waste time and energy acquiring something so useless when food and water is in short supply? One wonders just how close under the surface the possibility for this lies in places where there is a great disparity of wealth."


Rob said...

Hi Jeremy
On your Apple guy
A friend was "early retired" (fired) from a bank 2 weeks ago - he finishes after 20 plus years at the end of september.

He is in early every day finishing his work that includes laying off another 10% of his team.

What is going on?

Unknown said...

An excellent observation and question.

Jeremy said...

I don't know what's going on. Part of me thinks that people are engaging more in their work than their company affiliation -- the project is more important than the employer. But I also worry that it's something like 20-year prisoners being terrified of living on the outside.

The most hilarious (and dysfunctional) satirized version of this phenomenon has to be Milton from Office Space -- they move his cubicle into the basement and stop paying him, but I think it's eventually an issue with his stapler that goads him into burning down the building.

shamash said...

Love "Office Space."
From my hotel here in Bangkok, I've been watching the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the news. I also find the social dynamics of the looting in New Orleans fascinating, yet sobering.