The Food Chain

At first it was a mass of data and he was steadily adding bits to it. Little parts, fragments, building to more lines and slowly to more pages until the letters and numbers, which had meant something to him when he started, had completely merged with the older letters and numbers, rendering his own work as unintelligible as the rest and growing the whole into a burgeoning incoherent dump of colours and squiggles. If he looked long enough his eyes when blurry, and he had to blink a few times or look away until he could see properly again. But the indistinct vision showed that he had been staring too long. Staring as the thing before him took on the form of a beast, a beast which ate up his time as he added to it, he had been there hours and still had hours to go, and a beast which was eroding his cognitive ability to the degree that he could no longer clearly comprehend just exactly what he was doing and why. It was something to do with transferring data from one place to another. Creating a spreadsheet so that someone – someone else, a faceless person – would have all the information at their fingertips. He wondered who could possibly want a spreadsheet with anything on it and he wondered what sort of person could possibly want this spreadsheet, with this information. Presumably, he surmised, that the person who would be reading this, when he was finished it, would be someone unwilling, like him, to do the task they were given, someone who also didn’t like Excel and perhaps was barely able to use it (or was that just him?), someone who had been told to extract the salient data from the document and, maybe, poor bastard, create another document with that information in it, for someone else: perhaps, in this case, the person who actually wanted this information and who would deem it a pleasure to read – but perhaps a person too important to spend much time wading through the additions and costings and the names, and therefore a person who might need to read just the executive summary. And if so, if this was true, then what was the point of what he was doing, now, in front of the screen, with the lines of data, and the poor bastard who created the next spreadsheet, what would be the point of that? Why not just create the executive summary or a précis of the executive summary? Is there a reason why all the data has to be grouped together? Is it compiled in case it is needed later, when everyone knows it never will be examined, as there will be another report before anyone ever has time to have a good look at the last one that was created. He decided he felt sorry for the other poor bastard. He imagined the black type on the screen becoming grey as it swirled and he thought he could feel himself diving in, right into the middle of it. He blinked and carried on typing.

Published in: on January 31, 2013 at 7:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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