Thursday, November 20, 2008

The modern workday

I just started three months of temp work for Oxfam America, which is great so far. I love the cause, I love the people, I even love the commute. But when you get down to it, data entry is always going to be data entry. And I had forgotten that when I’ve been doing monotonous computer work for a while, I start humming.

I think the lack of modern work songs is a big problem. Our ancestors had songs for laundry, marching, hoeing, weaving, working on chain gangs, you name it. Our modern monotonous tasks don’t have songs, but I find I’ve got to have something to occupy my mind a bit while my hands are doing their own thing on the keyboard.

The best attempt at this, of course, is Stan Rogers’ (dated) “White Collar Holler”:

Well, I rise up every mornin' at a quarter to eight,
Some woman who's my wife tells me not to be late.
I kiss the kids goodbye, can't remember their names,
And week after week it's always the same.

And it's whoa boys, can you code it (huh!)
Program it right,
Nothin' ever happens in this life of mine,
I'm haulin up the data on the Xerox line.

And it's code in the data, give the keyboard a punch.
Then cross-correlate and break for some lunch.
Correlate, tabulate, process and screen,
Program, printout, regress to the mean.

So, at the risk of driving the person at the next desk crazy, what songs do we need? I’ve long wanted a photocopying song.

1 comment:

Alex Krogh-Grabbe said...

1. Totally agreed about data entry drudgery. I've had a lot of it in my first month and a half on the job, and some singing would definitely improve the situation.

2. Stan Rogers = the best. White Collar Holler = great song.