Don’t Go Too Fast

When I wrote for PARANOIA, I enjoyed noticing little bits of reality mirroring the darkly humorous world of Alpha Complex. Found one the other day, and although my days writing for Mongoose Publishing are long gone, I’d thought I would share it regardless. It’s CPU at it’s … well, not best, certainly not worst, but somewhere in between.

I have a temporary job scoring standardized tests for a large US corporation. The following is a real conversation I heard during training, simplified but otherwise left intact.

  • SUPERVISOR: If your pace is too slow, you’ll be penalized. Also, if your pace is too fast, you’ll be penalized.
  • NEW HIRE: What if I’m going too fast but my work is accurate?
  • SUPERVISOR: If you go too fast, you’ll be penalized.
  • NEW HIRE: But wouldn’t the company like me working fast and accurate? Doing more work in the same amount of time saves money, doesn’t it?
  • SUPERVISOR: Do not go too fast.
  • NEW HIRE: The company is less concerned with accuracy as it is with speed?
  • SUPERVISOR: Of course we’re concerned about accuracy! That’s why we don’t want you going too fast!
  • NEW HIRE: Then why not penalize us when we make mistakes instead of when we go too fast?
  • SUPERVISOR: Going too fast is a mistake. That’s why we penalize you for it.
  • NEW HIRE: Let’s say I go the right speed and I make a mistake. Am I penalized?
  • SUPERVISOR: Not until you drop below 60% accuracy.
  • NEW HIRE: …. Really? I can screw up 40% of the time and be fine, but if I work too fast, I’m in trouble even if I’m 100% accurate?
  • SUPERVISOR: Just don’t go too fast, okay?
  • NEW HIRE: Fine, whatever. By the way, what is the proper pace we need to keep?
  • SUPERVISOR: We’ll let you know if you go too fast.
  • NEW HIRE: You can’t tell us?
  • SUPERVISOR: We’ll tell you when you go too fast.
  • NEW HIRE: Can you give us a ballpark figure? By the hour, or even the shift?
  • SUPERVISOR: All I can say is we will tell you when you’re going too fast.
  • NEW HIRE: And by tell, you also mean penalize?
  • SUPERVISOR: Well, yes. You went too fast.
  • NEW HIRE: How can you penalize me for something I don’t know? Don’t you have to tell us what the acceptable work pace is so we can be successful?
  • SUPERVISOR: Just don’t go too fast.

For the record, thank God this job is temporary.

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