Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Peter Principle: Youth Takin' Over (Deep Inside)

Definition: "Employees within an organization will advance to their highest level of competence and then be promoted to and remain at a level on which they are incompetent."

Last week while chatting with my home-biscuit, Uncle L, on the way to and at that party in Studio City, I unearthed a couple of truths about myself. I had a couple of, what I like to call, "micro-phanies" (little epiphanies) about where I was heading creatively/professionally which resulted in a fog of self-doubt: it was high time to start making some ch-ch-ch-changes...

"Rich ass. High class. Don’t bother me and I won’t realize your crime..."

...I gave up the ghost on my "day joy" because after really digging deep and asking myself some hard questions I couldn't see myself fully committing to the way of the white collar...the path of the Peter Principle, if you would. I decided to take re-invest myself in the things essential to self discovery that many don't have the ganas to persue, chosing instead to remain at a crappy job which Hoovers the essence of being out of their souls in painless chunks (at first), like a cancerous succubus, until one day they realize they've got an irreperable tumor the size of a golf ball percolating somewhere inside that's gonna tuck them up for a dirt nap -- I vowed that that's not going to be me, so I took a stand. Ironically, on my "last day," there was an inter-office memo announcing the departure of some lady that was leaving the company, after fourteen years of "dedicated service" and pledging her allegiance to the corporate Peter Principle. I read between the lines and thought, "Man, she'd managed to stay in this place for that long whilst avoiding the barrage of Machiavellian slings and arrows from duplicitous Russian Smilers, prevelant in most office settings, she must be the Bruce-fuggin I'm hard-Ali of intra office politicking to have lasted fourteen years -- that's a minute, yo."

"Two faced. You’re out of place.You can’t rock out because you ain’t the kind"

I wondered how how long that chicks "deadication" to the job would be remembered once she walked out the front door with her monogrammed wristwatch/ pen set and stepped into the rest of her life waiting out there in the parking lot. Probably no longer than it took to clear out her workspace and find somebody to put in her vacated post - if it hadn't been done already. Depressing, kid. I wouldn't want to be in her shoes. In the past I'd discussed "running for the border" with co-workers and was often met with replies that went along the lines of "man you're crazy...I'm staying here until I find something better or I'm fired." I often found it odd that there was rarely "enough time" to search for alternatives, so they just stay on and complain and gripe and scheme. Why stick around where, for all intents and purposes, you're not wanted? That's not a life. That's a sentence and I'm not willing to do that bid.

"Well if you were on the other side of the fence...maybe you’d understand -I may freak you out with my raw look, ’cause I just got the feelin’ man !"

People always get all misty-eyed and weepy about the "woulda-coulda-shouldas" when they reach the autumn of their lives and that's too bleak of a prospect for yours truly to consider at this juncture. I'm still willing and able to struggle just a bit more for what I want out of this ride; settling into a holding pattern and auto-piloting my way through life just isn't an option...I think it was Carole King who sang "These are the 'good old days" ie. don't punk yourself out for a few crumbs and croutons...go for the brass ring at all costs...and enjoy the ride.
After the deed was done and word got around to my creative friends (writers, actors, musicians, etc. ) they embraced me and welcomed me back into the fold of the living -- or does misery love company? Still, on the other hand, very few of my friends and colleagues on the professional side shared that perspective and I've gotten e-mails, phone and text messages telling me as much but there are times in life when you've got to draw a line in the proverbial sand. An old lady once told me "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." Sing it sister, you're preaching to the choir.

"Brain washed. You’re lost.Your blindness can’t be helped anyway.Your ca$h. My clash. It makes me able to say...You've got the prestige status. You’ve got the majority mass.Plus you’ve got a blender by general motors and a tonka toy dump truck up your ass!"
"You’ll never look the way I feel. You’ll never feel the look in my eyes. Cause I’ve got the feelin’ swimming in my bones and t’s takin over DEEP INSIDE!"

If I recalled correctly, the spinster being put to pasture was getting out while the getting was good. Which is fine and dandy but why now? Since she'd been at said company it had shifted corporate hands many times, expanded and contracted in size and apparently the turnover rate is exceedingly high. -- find detailed example of the latter here -- yet she stuck with it for over a decade. She'd managed to work her way around all of the insecure backbiters, idiotic memorandums, constant criticism from on high while slogging through a grueling workpace and to what end? (I mean beyond a paycheck, I'm real with it, yo.) My puzzle, wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in an enigma was: "Do the ends justify the means?" How could you ever get those years back? That's the rub -- I guess one man's cookie is another man's cake....so what's it going to be for you? A pewter finished time piece or a meaningful existence? These are the good old days players and playettes...tick...tock...Laters.

*Fishbone's "Deep Inside" from the Truth 'n Soul LP - italics mine.

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