I was getting my flu shot, the other day, and my pharmacist started complaining about her job. Her parent company is breathing down her neck.

“These guys at corporate? They measure everything.”

When the phone rings, and it’s a doctor, they want her to answer it in under three rings. Her average is 3.6 rings, but they’re not giving her additional headcount. Also, they want her to do more shots. Not shots featuring Lil John. Pneumonia and Shingles shots, which aren’t as fun.

I tried to tell my pharmacist that every job has metrics. The cook at your favorite restaurant is measured on how many eggs he breaks. The guy pumping gas on the Jersey Turnpike is measured on how much fuel he spills and how quickly he turns over his customers. Even my job, which is sweet, has me using words like “intuitive” and “growth hacking.”

If I had a dashboard that tracked how much I hate myself, it would melt.

My pharmacist shrugged her shoulders and said, yeah, ok, all jobs suck. You’re measured on stuff that matters to someone else but probably not you. Then she jabbed me with a needle but didn’t have a flu shot sticker for me.

(I was robbed. I love stickers.)

So let this exchange be a warning to everyone from bakers to auditors to firefighters: you will be measured, and every job across the world is driven by metrics. Be good at what you do. Be confident. Be honest. That’s the key to fighting city hall and beating back the relentless drum of bogus benchmarks.


  1. I remember reading a case about how as nurses’ day-to-day work became more focused on documenting and tracking and analyzing data on their work, more and more of their time and focus shifted away from actual patient care, actually resulting in worse outcomes for patients.

    Yes, collecting, tracking, and analyzing data on all workers is inevitable, but that pharmacist has my sympathy.

  2. Oh that old problem again, this problem, that problem everywhere you go and we all do it today! They forget I am their customer. I do not need to hear about the ‘wearing their heart on their sleeve’ about job, family, co-workers, bus or cab drivers and not ‘especially’, not the boss man.
    Save it for the pub, cry about it to your besty.. Wow, it is really time to think more like a fox and stop the complaining. Do not tell them your weak, tired downtrodden. All us ‘customers’ we are tired of being jabbed by a disgruntle workers in public and especially not with that needle in their hand.

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