Pet peeve: I agree to finish it by the completely arbitrary time you pick


There are many things to rant about these days. Toys R Us is closing due to a perfect storm representative of the changing times. I loved that store. Although, I will admit I didn’t shop there all that often as of late.  That’s part of the problem, isn’t it? One can also rant about the change from Coke Zero versus Coke Zero Sugar. I am still getting used to that.  One can most definitely go on a rant about how badly our pets are being treated by the airlines.


Right as I am writing this I am watching passes for news these days and they are talking about how there is rage fatigue in the country currently. That very well can be true. As a New Yorker, I don’t mind a good rage or rant here or there. Sometimes you have to have a good rage in order to get things done. Sometimes It doesn’t amount to much other than relieving some of the stress in your bones. While I just noted a rage here or there can be good, I tend to not go into rages. I tend to be even-keeled but when provoked…  On that note, I am here to rant about another pet peeve of mine.  And, I will make it quick because there are deadlines to be met.


I was watching the television show Macgyver the other night and had a chuckle all by myself. This was so because no one else in my home cares for the show. I actually watch it as a way to try to fall asleep.  Its the equivalent of warm milk but not all fuzzy-wuzzy. In this particular episode, the female tech-savvy character snarkily states to the group of merry bandits (her fellow undercover co-workers): I agree to finish the project by the completely arbitrary time you pick.  Word!  Who doesn’t understand her snarky sentiment?


In my past two decades of school and work assignments, this sentiment has been at the root of frustration, laughter and disbelief.  Don’t we all get asked to help out on a project or two with unreasonable deadlines. And what’s worse is that the unreasonable deadlines are just rather arbitrary.  It is as if they just decided to close their eyes and have their finger land on a random date on the calendar. I can see such a tactic being used by some lazy, mean-spirited people.  Such randomness reminds me of how some people on Twitter try to divine how Ed Sheeran comes up with his lyrics.  It is pretty funny, trust me.  Sorry, I digressed. Back to rant.


This past week, I overheard a real-life work conversation regarding crazy set deadlines and immediately thought of the Macgyver scene. That show is known for being completely ridiculous in terms of the life or death situations the team members find themselves in. However, that statement by the tech-geek was the most realistic thing ever on that show.


And that is my rant. It is not a huge one as I am off to see what is due on my task list.



7 replies »

  1. Sometimes, it’s easier to let someone else pick a completely arbitrary deadline (which you can then meet, or remind them was unrealistic to begin with) rather than to name a “reasonable” deadline with incomplete specs and no idea of when the thing is “realistically” needed.

    Information overload and rage fatigue – and that’s how they get us too exhausted to fight back.


  2. This is classic!

    I am convinced that changing performance standards randomly, establishing mutually incompatible job requirements, delegating responsibility but not authority and arbitrary deadlines are all tools used by command and control type executive to keep those unruly worker bees in their place. Much more so than any attempt to enhance productivity.

    I am minded of a movie I saw once, “Joe Versus the Volcano” with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. To go to work you were required to walk on the sidewalk from the street to the business entrance. The sidewalk wandered like crazy, zig-zagging back and forth for no purpose other than to demonstrate that mean-spirited management could make them walk it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that task analysis is probably pretty much thrown out the window, largely by those who imagine themselves as “running out of time”, due to aspects of global competition that they may not completely comprehend.


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