Tic Talk

How many tics in a jitter? Are you working? If you have a job, this question is as familiar to you as the locations of the stairwells and closets you use to escape the incessant hazing by superiors and coworkers, whose unwelcome intrusions into your none-of-their-business activities so often ruin an otherwise productive day. Fortunately, whether your response to the question is delivered with a carefree toss of the head or in a more venomous way, repeated insinuations of shiftlessness simply indicate a lack of understanding of the proper definition of work, which really isn't your problem at all.

Work equals force times distance. Take, for example, the hypercaffeinated worker whose spastic jittering could be mistaken for actual work by similarly incapacitated coworkers struggling to control the sparking within their own fields of vision. Converted to their kinetic equivalents, facial tics and other bodily Force equals work divided by distance. vibrations are sometimes evaluated with the primitive work equals force times distance formula used to justify continued employment, but rearranging the formulaas I've done on the rightdemonstrates just how misguided that approach really is.

Clearly, when distance is equal to zeroas it must be, since the twitchy employee never left her deskthe resulting force takes on the same irrational character that always comes from dividing something by nothing. In other words, it doesn't matter how many ticks there are in an houror an eight-hour daywhen no work is being done in the first place.

In the second place, simply exerting a force doesn't necessarily mean that work is being done, because if life were that simple I could spend my entire workday pushing on the wall. As it is, I can only do that for six hours, give or take, before my boss begins to wonder if I'm really working. I hate my job.


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