Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I'm still sorting through those boxes of papers and bits and pieces. There's so much accumulated stuff there, and reading parts of it (particularly when flipping through old notebooks to see if they're still usable) is quite painful. It's like reliving the past 5 years of my life, the problem being that I already lived them and they were sodding miserable. In one notebook I found pages and pages of journaling from when I was making up my mind / screwing up my courage to quit my archaeology job and leave Sydney. I was living in a constant state of fear and anxiety in that job, never knowing where the next blow was coming from, constantly on that fight-or-flight edge. I had to slam that notebook shut and chuck it away as fast as I could. I know now that a lot of my problems in that job were generated by my own issues as an Aspie - all the misunderstandings and confusions - but it was still a crazy-making place regardless. I've worked as an undiagnosed Aspie in places that were not that manic. It was not just me! But remembering what I went through at the end there was gut-wrenching.

I've found some good stuff, too, of course - old cards and letters from caring friends, photocopies of good papers that still interest me, random photographs, etc. And a few bits of humour.

The following was written on a piece of notepaper from that same archaeology job. It was fairly early in my career there, and was inspired by two draft reports I'd received back from the client in a heavily, and idiotically, edited state. "C" is the client's comment; "A" is the snarky answer I wished I could give! All of the comments are real and came from high-profile public clients.

C: There does not appear to be an executive summary.
A: Appearances can be deceiving. Executive summary is on second page.

C: Significant vistas: you have not addressed the view of the building from the grave on the hill.
A: You can't see the building from the grave on the hill.

C: Spelling error: unkempt
A: No, that's the correct spelling.

C: The "grassed area" you refer to is not grassed. Do you mean that it should be grassed?
A: No, I mean that it is grassed. What you mean is that it is wild grass, not lawn. Would you prefer "abandoned lot" to "grassed area"?

C: "Possibly Pinus radiata" - is it possible to be more positive?
A: If it was, would we have said "possibly"?

C: Is this paragraph out of place?
A: . . . No?

C: The diagram only has 4 layers . . .?
A: There are four lots of information represented in the diagram

C: I disagree that this item has heritage significance and should be retained.
A: Me expert, you client. You don't have to like my findings.

C: This information is not referenced. Please cite your source.
A: That would be your email on the subject directing me to include this information.

C: Please remove all interpretation schemes and suggestions from the report as it is not part of the scope of this project.
A: You mean the ones you requested at the last minute, right before the report was due?

C: The section on indigenous heritage has disappeared.
A: You did mark it as "irrelevant: remove" in the last edited version.

C: I don't understand this sentence.
A: That's not my fault, please consult a dictionary.

C: "Item is of little significance." Do you mean it is of no significance?
A: No, I mean it is of little significance.

C: "Maintenance is the responsibility of the client" - this is incorrect. Maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant.
A: Remember those emails I sent asking for information on who is responsible for maintenance? This is why answering them would have been good.

C: ?
A: Are we playing guess-what-I-don't-like-about-this-section? "?" what?!

Any theories on why I burned out after 18 months of consulting? Anyone?


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