Second officer's log, day 1300.


I can't sleep.

One of the core shibboleths that get you close to people who wield actual power is that with great power comes great responsibility. Now, one of the great things about this soundbite is its strict logic. While it is true that power begets responsibility, the converse simply isn't true. On the contrary, an intermediate power position can get you in the awkward situation of having to handle a responsibility sandwich -- not being able to take the high-level decisions and yet being expected to react in face of such decisions not taken.

Of such nature is the situation created by the near-dereliction of our First Officer. 

Now, a responsibility sandwich is the white collar's way of making the assembly line machines run faster. More gets done with fewer people, and a smaller management risk. But while I refuse to be held responsible for the following protip, I have to tell you that there are scant ways of estimating how much can be done while on a responsibility sandwich stranglehold. 

Besides, frustration begets sadness with begets reflection which begets "fuck this, I'm going to follow my heart and leave the office early to watch the sunset on empire". And then even less gets done.

So the First Officer is being recalled from his relatively comfortable position where he had been developing his own thing while promising to keep up his work for The Institution. Critically, a shitty computer model that depends on inputs being not only idiot-proof but kind of backwards-induction self-consistent. (In his defense, the better algorithm would depend on many inputs that'd be nearly impossible to calibrate. Or so I have been convinced).

My position had been so far one of persuasion. The Captain, generous with adulation has he has always been, has answered to my insecure chirps of the First Officer being more efficient than me at certain things with a wide-reaching concept of me being the best at persuasion. (What, me?) But having been tasked precisely with persuasion -- with writing the reports that the metaclients will read (we're the consulting company that consulting companies hire when they can't get their shit together). And I've been procrastinating like a motherfucker. I can't bring myself to work on that. It's Boring, and I can't bring myself to do Boring things. There's a mental block, like fear of heights.

If the current ongoing processes continue, I may gradually absorb First Officer duties. Now, this whole "First officer" Star Trek thing makes for a day log formula, but I've done First Officer-ing for quite a few projects, having even the veto over experienced economists' bad ideas. Still, if I'm out of the sandwich and can structure the report around handling the model scenarios myself, I may be less blocked.



Who the hell loses sleep over work -- with work to be done, to boot? The main thing is that being genius-level smart and all, the First Officer has fucked up with my self-esteem. I have done great work -- at least from what it seems -- First Officer-ing directly, and yet handling the dual-manager situation plus the expectation that I'll be perma-synched with the FO's mind (because we're all oh-so-smart and share the same cultural references and whatnot). And you know? It has happened time and again that I was handling quant modeling duties in a shared project and he couldn't insta-synch to what I was thinking and he managed to turn that into me having poor communication/documentation practices.

I've known the FO since we were teenagers. We'll always have some kind of relationship, and it's always going to be complicated. Now I have the impulse to send him an angry email. Thank god for Gmail email goggles. (I should still write a draft in a text editor and take a second look in the morning. Meaning, two hours from now).


It's hard to work with a genius, particularly when you're 80-90% of a genius yourself -- but can't quite get there. Your ego sometimes drags you into pretending 100% understanding when there's a critical 10% that'll bite you in the butt. And sometimes you need to crush your ego and say "Ok, explain this to me as if I had 40% of what you have". And get talked over like a child.

(The last part is even harder because lots of steps are a mindfuck when you're ADHD. Part of the reason why we've made a good team for 1300 fucking days is -- besides his ability to subtly bully me and my generally not caring enough to not submit, one or two occasions excepted -- that we're able to communicate in high-bandwidth, low-specified detail language. Something my ADHD can handle, because I can handle decompression very, very well.)

(Yes, actual ADHD, differential diagnosis from bipolar disorder after I had very identifiable bipolar disorder and it was treated and the ADHD picture became clear once the taller wall of mindfuck became clear).

I can't sleep. I have a strange job, with much freedom and understanding, but I'm also a strange, strange person. What will I do outside The Institution? What will I do inside the institution anyway, with no career path in sight? And yes, that's part of what they do -- they buy/rent high-value human capital at cutthroat prices because we're fucked up fucks who wouldn't survive in a normal work environment.

So I work in an asylum that happens to dictate New Rules for the masters of capitalism? I wonder what that does for my mental health, long-term. Wahh, my therapist refuses to see me more than once a month. Says I don't need more and more would be a crutch. 


At least I've got the catbox. At least when they don't stonewall me for talking about suicidal thoughts.


But this is the winter down under. And my plant-like rhythms like the winter. I feel better for the glorious span from late february until mid-september. About [200 glorious days. Most of the year, actually, by a small margin. How do I communicate this to others, supposing I can trust my seasonal pattern to be the major component of my fucked up brain-fu swings? (Mood swings? Meh. I have pareidolia swings. Some days I can't really feel that my limbs are part of my body. I have depersonalizaiton swings. (Korn is actually on to something: sometimes I cannot feel my face; sometimes it's my life I can't taste)).

Hello, my name is syntaxfree. I'm an extraordinary economist for 200 days a year, and for 160 days a complete fuck up, and but for the grace of god I don't fall into mendicancy. Please deal with me. I will ruin your business and then turn it around like a miracle, and then fuck it up again.


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