28 February 2011

An impossible assignment

Last night I dreamed I was attending a presentation in some large assembly hall [unlike any room that actually exists at my office] with my bosses S(m) and T(f). We were sitting on the left side of the hall facing in (rather than facing directly front). Everyone received two identical copies of the same handout (which even within the dream I found odd). Each handout consisted of two Xeroxed sheets stapled together. At the top of the first sheet was a rectangle containing containing some text. T told us to try to figure out the differences between that text and the contents of some audio that we would hear. The audio text was very similar to the text in the handout. I could not detect any differences beyond what seemed like minor transcription errors. I was not sure what sort of "differences" we were supposed to be able to hear.


The assembly hall I'm sure comes from watching a piece about some school children from PS 22 that aired during the Oscars Red Carpet broadcast last night. While we were watching this, my boyfriend D mentioned that assembly area looked exactly like the one he remembered from his own school, and wondered whether it might have been built at the same time. This remark prompted me to look more closely at the assembly room shown in the piece. It featured the same generic wooden auditorium seats that I imagine feature in the assembly hall of every public school in America; the ones in my school were certainly similar.

The instruction by T to try to detect differences between some audio text and some printed text and my confusion about the task seems to refer to a situation I currently face in my actual workplace. My boss S, has asked me recently to be more adherent to project conventions. However, I thought I had been showing proper adherence to conventions, so I asked him for some examples where I had failed in this compliance so that I could become aware exactly what sort of mistakes I must correct. The first examples he provided though were not actually about any meaningful project conventions, but rather picayune instances of spacing or punctuation style (translated to "transcription errors" in the dream). I believe my feeling of being unfairly nitpicked by S, whom I generally respect but whose criticism I found trifling in this case, led me to switch his role: in the dream, the instruction to identify the insignificant differences comes instead from T, whose management skills I doubt and for whom I have little respect. The provision of two identical copies of the same handout may reflect my opinion that T frequently asks me to perform useless "busy-work" tasks, and also that I find T herself to be useless or "redundant" at my workplace.

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