Office Space

So last May was the last time the Mormon Micro Manager as my DIRECT SUPERVISOR. She couldn’t get through the day without one last power struggle, a final impotent shot across the bow. Shortly after lunch, she informed me that she was making me move my office to an office across campus in the library, and I had to move today. That is certainly fine with me; I’ve been trying to get the office there for years because people will leave me the hell alone in there. However, there was the little matter of moving my enormous baseball library.

My library has always been a bone of contention with the MM, who thinks it has no place at the workplace. I beg to differ, since I do my best research on the company dime without the distraction of my kids, plus Mrs. Bads put a limit on the amount of baseball books I can keep at home. The MM has tried to make me get rid of it numerous times, but I have higher appeals to our True Authorities than her, and they know a happy Bads is a productive Bads. Plus, it took me a long time to shoplift all those books. About nine months ago (April 2nd to be exact), The MM was in my office:

MM: Why do you need thirteen copies of Baseball Prospectus in here?
Me: They are annuals, not copies. Each year is different.
MM: Why do you need them?
Me: Do you know what BP does? Data analysis. These guys crunch numbers, and then make projections with deadly accuracy. Part of my job is to crunch numbers, remember? These guys are my inspiration.
MM: How are baseball people going to help you do your job?
M: Do you know who works for BP? Colin Wyers! Surely you have heard of him. He is a guru.
MM: I haven’t heard of—-
Me (throwing up my hands in exasperation): You need to expand your professional readings. Google him. Why did you come to see me again?

From that point forward, I began dropping Colin’s name in our conversations as an appeal to authority. The MM is pretty sharp with data analysis, but she often stilts data to bash her employees. I usually don’t let that stand, unless I don’t like the clown on the hot seat.

MM: I need those regressions on referrals and teacher absences.
Me: Colin says there is no significant correlation. My numbers agree. Here, look.
MM: Colin doesn’t work here.
Me: Colin is a part of me. In fact, he is a part of everyone. You still don’t know who he is, do you? Google him.

The MM wears a WWJD bracelet, something I thought went out of style a few years ago. On April 4th, I wrote a large WWCD? (What Would Colin Do?) on the SMART board in my office. I seriously thought about getting some WWCD bracelets in that Lance Armstrong rubber bracelet style, but that costs money, and I really didn’t want to pay to push this joke. Instead, I just continued dropping Colin’s name into our exchanges:

MM: Do you have those pivot charts for the District Benchmarks and the CELDT scores?
Me: Colin would think that is a waste of time since the Benchmarks are invalid tests. I agree.
MM: Colin is not your direct supervisor; I am. I want those charts.
Me: Are you saying I don’t answer to Colin? You still don’t know who he is, do you? Google him.
MM: Is he one of your Baseball Think Factory buddies (MM visibly flinches every time she sees BTF on my screen).
Me: Good guess!  I went to a Dodger game with him last summer.
MM: I WANT THOSE CHARTS!

When The MM dropped the move on me today, I smiled broadly:

Me: Wonderful! This will give me the chance to re-organize my shelves. I think I will move BP under the Bill James’ and move the Ron Shandler books down. The baseball history books will fit nicely in the corner bookshelves. I am going to have so much room now. Thank you!
MM: I am surprised you not putting Colin on top.
Me: Above Bill James? I don’t think Colin would be comfortable with that. You still don’t know who he is, do you? Goog—-
MM: I did! I came up with something about Manufactured Runs and Albert Pujols!
Me: Excellent! I think we are done here.

This year, MM is no longer my direct supervisor, but she is the principal of the school where my office is. She has jerked my chain about this office because she can—she is in charge of the site, so she can make me move whenever she wants, which is a pain in my ass because I have to move my baseball library also (I don’t even unpack most of it anymore). At the start of this year, MM set forth APPROPRIATE ROOM ENVIRONMENT GUIDELINES, which was her way of controlling how teachers decorate their rooms. One of her edicts was that teachers should have a corner that is personal stuff. Since my office is on her campus, she said this applied to me as well. My first reaction was to tell her to piss up a rope, but what type of ass goes to a supervisor about their office wall? I had to pull strings to get my office here where my wife works; I would have surely won this pissing match with MM, but THE POWERS THAT BE might have moved me to the District Office, which is where I really should be anyway.

So I just went ahead and put some personal stuff up—pictures of my kids, my wife, Miami University pennant, etc.—- and went on with my life. About a week later, MM waddles in with her admin crew with a wall rubric and proceeds to drop a bunch of red ink on me. After I was done laughing in her face, I reminded her that she was no longer my direct supervisor, so her wall rubrics really did not pertain to me. She cackled and said she knew that, but she was still going to include me in her room evaluation, and said she’d be back in a week to see if I had made any improvements. I told her I’d get right on that.

Upon reflection, I figured that MM would try to use this wall thing as an excuse to be a pain in my ass all year. Sure, I could have stopped her through conventional means, but that would make me look like a drip, plus it wouldn’t be any fun. I decided that the only way to fight crazy was with crazy. If she wanted personalized wall space, I would give her personalized wall space. On one wall, I began building a shrine to baseball by cutting out pictures from old baseball books and mounting them next to a Negro Leagues’ poster and a poster of Dodger Stadium. Guys like Reggie Jackson, Jackie Robinson, Mark McGwire, Ruth, Cobb, Dimaggio, the San Diego Chicken, and Sir Albert Belle are on the walls, as well as Skydome, Seals Stadium, and Jacobs’ Field. On the other wall, I put stuff about me—things like a blown up picture when I was a raft guide, the kids, Mrs. Bads, a Jack Reacher novel cover, a Gaslight Anthem CD case, a Time magazise cover with Springteen, and an Avengers poster. On my bookshelf, I put a few bobbleheads—Bob Feller, Ken Griffey Jr., Tim Salmon (the only one of have left from the Tim Salmon Bobblehead Night Massacre), and a broken Tim Couch in Cleveland Browns Stadium, which represents the failed hopes and dreams of a dying city. 

I have to say, it looked pretty damn good, and would certainly get CRAZY off my ass. However, I didn’t want her to feel that I had acquiesced. Something was missing. I needed something that would make her loathe coming to my office. Ding! The lightbulb came on in my head, and I began searching the internet for a picture of Colin Wyers. It didn’t take long at all; I printed an 8×11” shot of Colin looking all badass, put it under the Avengers, and stapled a “WWCD” underneath his rock solid chin. Sure enough, it stopped the Mormon Micromanager in her tracks—she didn’t recognize the face, but put two and two together when she saw the “WWCD.” She wanted me to take down the entire display (she wasn’t about to tell me just to take down Colin’s picture, which would be an immediate white flag in our petty little war). I told her to call my direct supervisor is she wanted anything take down. She never did.

So now the picture of Colin is on the wall behind me, looking down. I probably would have taken it down, but I love the reactions I get when district drones come to my office for data meetings.

Drones: Who is that on your wall?
Me: That is the Dude of Statistical Analysis.Image

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