Sunday, March 04, 2007

Multitasking Madness

Over the last 10 or 15 years, multitasking has become the darling buzzword of the corporate hire-archy (I know, but it’s an intentional misspelling). Don’t even think about applying for a job in a corporate setting unless you have excellent multitasking skills.

What are multitasking skills? Essentially, they’re the abilities to do several things at the same time while maintaining the illusion of competence.

Employers that hire on the basis of multitasking skills are delusional. While they imagine they’re getting an employee that can churn out a project in 1/3 of the time, or work on three projects at once, what they’re really getting is someone who can turn a relatively easy project into total chaos or screw up three projects simultaneously.

To be an effective multitasker, one must be able to focus on two or more thoughts at the same time. Also, the left hand must know what the right hand is doing at all times. That’s why I never became a juggler or a pianist; both of these activities require advanced multitasking skills. Picture me as a juggler: Apple, bowling ball, chain saw; apple, bowling ball, chain saw; apple, chain saw, bowl . . . oops! There goes my arm. As a concert pianist, I’d be equally inept, what with my left hand playing Swan Lake and my right hand playing Chopsticks.

Do I multitask? Of course I do. I can walk and chew gum at the same time. I can smoke a joint and watch TV at the same time. I can drink coffee and think about what to write next at the same time.

And that, my friends, pretty much defines the limits of my multitasking skills. Any additional effort on my part requires additional pay.