Magazine article Management Review

Out of Time

Magazine article Management Review

Out of Time

Article excerpt

There's a Zen story about a man who dreams he's a butterfly. Upon awakening, he wonders: Am I a man who dreams he's a butterfly, or a butterfly who now dreams he's a man?

I often wake up disoriented, too. The other day I dreamt I was Tony the Tiger. In the morning, I had to rush off to an 8 a.m. meeting at a buttoned-down financial institution. I decided not to mention my dream, or the possibility that, although I claimed to be a management consultant, I really belonged on a box of flakes.

The meeting went well, until they asked me to assess their competition:

"THEY'RE GRRREAT!" I said. "Take it from me, Tony the Tiger."

Luckily, I was still dreaming. I think.

I like dreams. Occasionally, people e-mail me their dreams about work. This is good because otherwise I'd be forced to make up columns like this. Not that it really matters - dreams and fantasies are made from the same stuff, fly forth from the same larvae, float in the same bowl of flakes. Whatever.

Here are some dreams, along with my commentary. I chose these dreams because THEY'RE GRRREAT!

Rush Hour. In my dream, rush hour is all day long. Whenever I ask someone at the office what time it is, they shout, "RUSH HOUR! RUSH HOUR!" and then scurry down the hall, as if being pursued.

Legally, rush hour is only supposed to last from the time you wake up until you get to work. The concept is simple: First, wake up as late as you can. Getting that extra 10 minutes of sleep is critical - you need tremendous energy reserves to fully participate in rush hour.

Once you're up, rush, rush, rush. OTHERWISE YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE. Get out of your house now. Pretend the place is on fire, pretend you're on fire - that's the kind of speed we're talking about.

Then, when you get to work, drink as much coffee as you can. Drink, drink, drink. You need to drink 64 fluid ounces a day of something - why not coffee? Coffee, coffee, coffee. I just had several cups myself. Can you tell?

Okay, time to slow down. SLOW DOWN. Uh-oh, you can't slow down, This is not natural. You never see animals rushing around like this. Although they do occasionally stampede. But I don't think that's from feeling time-pressured:

First cow: I can't believe we spent the whole morning grazing. I feel so bloated. Do I look fat? …

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