Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Alien Resources

HR policy dictates we have to hire the applicant with the highest level of qualification, without regard for how grotesquely overqualified this person might be; without regard for how much more s/he earned at previous jobs than we're able to offer; without regard for whether the hiring supervisor believes the applicant would be a good fit for the position. Qualifications are scored according to pre-set criteria, and the highest score gets the job offer. End of story.

The new guy, whom my supervisor didn't really want to hire, started 11 workdays ago. He gave notice yesterday. Today, perhaps suffering pangs of conscience, he brought doughnuts.

Did you ever see that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where Troi gets knocked up by a passing ball of light?

Let me be a little more specific, because I think that might have happened in more than one episode. Frequent impregnation by unknown life forms is one of the hallmarks of a good science fiction program. The show never really delved into any of the other issues that might arise from copious amounts of promiscuous, unprotected space sex, but I imagine Dr. Crusher had a hell of a pharmacy on board, if you catch my drift.

In this particular episode, Troi goes through the entire pregnancy and gives birth in a matter of days.* The baby is walking and talking within hours, and only a day or two later, the child announces sadly that he must now return to his ball-of-light origins, but will never forget his humanoid mommy.

The new guy situation is exactly like that, only without prosthetic foreheads.

ST:TNG was an ideal model for the modern corporate workplace, with its neutral beige cubicle decor, its ergonomic swivel chairs, and its tastefully subdued, never flickery fluorescent lighting. Sure, the ship was partially staffed by nonhumans, but I find that's true in many of the places I've worked. On the other hand, the highly cooperative computer is like nothing I've ever seen. And, to judge by the high morale and the harmoniously working staff, the Enterprise must have had a well-organized, sensitive and effective HR department.

I'll buy faster-than-light travel, but come on, get real.

*The show also never touched on the issue of stretch marks. I suspect the writers were men.

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