I t was a peculiar arrangement — a company engaged in creative, collaborative work that kept its workers isolated. Two sat alone in separate cubicles, two others shared a room with an employee from a sister company, their desks arranged so they could be surreptitiously viewed from the doorway. Two other employees were off in another room though, having been with the company from the beginning, they had a door that was closed at all times, effectively dodging the all-seeing gaze.
The first day on the job, Wortman was given the choice of selecting a cubicle — might as well stand naked in the middle of the street, he thought — or sharing the office with those two key employees who had a private office. He went with the shared, private office.
* * * * *
‘What does he do all day?’
Sharp Dresser and Jock hoped that Wortman could enlighten them.
‘He’ referred to the Mad Scientist, one of the key employees. As the mastermind of all work done at the company, he created the roadmaps for implementing new projects, as well as troubleshooting any problems that might arise. It was a puzzle how he did this. He never seemed fully present, eyes jumping from computer monitors to cellphones to video calls from clients. Yet he pulled it off, successfully, until it came to implementation. That’s when the Delegator, the other key employee, stepped in. He converted the project roadmaps into tasks that could be doled out to the other employees. Together, Mad Scientist and Delegator, made a great team. Like other dynamic duos — Ricky and Lucy, not Batman and Robin — they would sometimes bicker. Wortman jokingly suggested that they seek marriage counseling.
Wortman spent hours trying to explain to Dresser and Jock what Mad Scientist did from behind those computer monitors. After several months it became obvious that they could not grasp the abstract. They could understand what the other employees did as they carried out the simplified tasks given to them by Delegator. Anything that could not be reduced to their brick-like mental framework was beyond their comprehension. When confronted with the concept of social media, they reduced it to the familiar shapes, colors, and weights of bricks. As a result, the beauty of the abstract was lost, along with the understanding of what Mad Scientist, Delegator, and Wortman did for much of the day. This became a growing source of frustration for Wortman.