Oh yeah baby. I'm gonna write about work using a TV science fiction metaphor which is going to leave the geeks breathless and the rest of my few readers scrambling for The Onion or somewhere, anywhere else but here.
See, things are afoot at work that, if presented in a clever and interesting style will make for some great reading, and will bore all of you to tears if I just present it as is. So, without further mucking about:
My Job As Described Metaphorically Using Science Fiction Spacey Stuff!
Working in the home health industry is about like flying an X-wing blindfolded down a teeny tiny gutter in the Death Star while being beaten about the head and shoulders by one of the Sand People, all the while trying to use The Force to get your light saber to jump into your hand.
How about that for starters?
In home health, er, StarFleet service, the rulebook is more labyrinthine than the inside of a Ferengi's ear. There's more rules than there are stars in Delta quadrant, so many rules that it would take half a Wookie's lifetime to learn but there's no real sense in learning them all because they change about as fast as Yoda can wreck a sentence. The gov and Medicare and Medicaid and all the private insurance groups...I mean, er...lessee... The United Federation of Planets, Endor and Luke Skywalker's speeder all have their own standards and practices and rules that we have to follow to the letter. The doctors have their own expectations (damnit Jim, they're doctors, not "name of profession here") and then there's us, stuck down at the end of it in our little overcrowded, underfueled, undersupported starship, trying desperately to get the much-needed vaccine shipment to the dying colonists.
Hmmm...pretty lame, so far. Let's see how bad this can get.
See, the thing is, we've been flying this starship for the past six or more months under two different but equally destructive conditions: we've either had a captain who has all the leadership capacity of a Regulan Bloodworm in a blender (for you Trekkies) and the personality of a Nerf herder (for you Star Wars types) OR we've been under the control of an admiral who is so busy he keeps beaming out of the ship at all hours to help run fifteen OTHER starships all scattered across the galaxy, which themselves are all a tiny part of a rag-tag fleet trying to find the way to Planet Easy Money. (And that's the only Battlestar Galactica schtik I'm gonna use.) And honestly, all us redshirts have been taking turns with the chief engineer trying to run the ship but there's just too dang many rules, regs, and blinking lights for us to make even the barest amount of sense out of it. And so we've been bouncing up against the Death Star's walls, crashing and tumbling and losing gravity and shooting ourselves with our own photon torpedoes and we haven't even got anywhere near the kind of mind-bogglingly fast speeds that this ship has been designed to reach.
Wow, this metaphor sucks.
We've been struggling for a while now. A long while now, and we're all sick of it. We're tired, we're stressed, and we've been stretched to the limit. We've angered doctors bad enough to lose their support (and their patients...heh...patience...a pun!) We've managed to get rid of a few of the worst problem causers but we're so short staffed that we can't afford to get rid of the rest, and the pickings around here are like a whorehouse full of supermodels--pretty damn slim. (*snort* I'm quite the funny guy today.)
And as of Monday we've finally gotten a director who really knows her stuff. Knows her stuff in that she's spent the past twenty years of her life working in home health, has lead several home health agencies just like ours (in fact one of our direct competitors) and she left all them for us. The funny thing is, this spaceship of ours is turning out to be a real Juggernaut. And no, I'm not going to turn this metaphor-wrecking post toward Marvel comics nor anything involving Greek mythology or Roman orgies or things like that.
Heh. I said "orgies." That'll bring up the Google hits. I'm about to be inundated by horny Star Trek geeks looking for nude pictures of T'Pol, or fanfic about Dr. Beverly Crusher and her secret relationship with Six of Nine.
So our new captain has been in place for, oh, all of three days, and has been very much on the down low about her being in charge. Heck, most of the staff didn't even know we HAD a director until today's staff meeting. Her plan? She's come into more than a few established agencies as director and knows that if she comes in guns blazing she's going to blow the whole thing to smithereens and she'll be out of a job and will have pissed off a lot of people who know just where the most vital organs are. So she's moving slowly, learning all the verniers and which blinking lights mean what and how to operate the transporter without splitting herself into Good Director and Evil Director. Yeah, I couldn't keep away from it, sorry. Me and my metaphors. They're in me deeper than Kirk was in Yeoman Rand.
Wow, THAT came outta nowhere. Ahem.
The funny thing is, as gentle as she is being on the helm the redshirts and the blueshirts are already starting to squeal bloody murder. I mean, I knew there were going to be a few problems; heck, two of our blueshirts used to crew for her on different starships and she tossed them out the airlock there for being complete Jar Jars. Er...yeah. I just can't figure why the rest of the crew is afraid she's going to blow up the engines when this lady's sole intention, obviously, is to get us back in line with the law of the universe, the one that says that we'll do what we're required to do or we'll get shut down end of episode series canceled you crashed your ship into a planet all your bases are belong to us.
Wait, that's not right...
Maybe it's just me. Maybe I've been so desperate for a strong, willing, capable leader who really knows her way in and out of the spaceways for so long that I'm ready to leap behind any princess who can wield a blaster. Maybe I'm right and she really DOES know which button is the one for warp speed and is ready to push it but we're still all floating around in zero-g and if she punches it we'll all get smeared into thin pink goo on the bulkhead before we can say "tribble." And maybe it's just that today was extra stressful with two of the redshirts taking off in the escape pods for different emergencies and one of the blueshirts was just being herself and making a huge mess out of things just because that's the only thing she's good at.
Confused enough yet? Good.
I'm not the top guy when it comes to being able to embrace change. I dislike change. I don't like having my bits taken apart and beamed across space and I think the old leather-strap tricorders were the height of fashion. I still think Klingons looked pretty damn tough in black goatees, smooth foreheads and gold lame' shirts for Pete's sake, but I know when change needs to happen. I've known that it's needed to happen in our sector of space for a very long time now, and now that it's arrived I'm ready to let go of my little science station viewer and let the new captain tell me what I need to do to make this damn go-buggy fly at a reasonable pace and without all the hanging-off bits getting knocked off and most especially without warping us straight into an asteroid. It's not my fault that the entire crew was ill-trained when they were trained at all, and I'm not going to take offense if the captain tells me that the control I keep punching is the one that flushes all the toilets on "C" deck and is not the phaser control panel like I thought it was. I'm going to do my best to listen, learn which buttons to stop pushing and which to start pushing, and I'm gonna start punching THOSE buttons. Hard. Damnit, I'm ready to crew under someone who knows how to drink Earl Grey tea and whip some Borg ass, not blunder along until we get cancelled because only UPN will carry us.
And honestly at this point I don't care if we don't get over impulse power for quite a while. The Romulans will still be there when we're ready to start shooting, and there's quite a massive supply of colonists needing vaccine.
Still with me? Fascinating. [raised eyebrow]