21 Dog Years

A few years ago, I landed a job working for a cool start-up company in Los Angeles. The interview was conducted with the two co-founders, in the living room of the house they were renting together. Every open space was taken up by computers, and people walked around in shorts and T-shirts. On my first day at work, we held a staff meeting in the conference room (a.k.a. the dining room.) We took our lunch break on lawn chairs outside, by the pool, from which there was supposed to be a view of the Hollywood Hills, but which I could never verify, thanks to the smog. It was a maddening time (“Um, what exactly is my job?”), a frustrating time (“What do you mean you need this demo up tomorrow?”), an exilarating time (“If we sell our options at $100 each, then that means I can finally buy a house/get married/go and start a surf park.”) , a time of incredibly hard work (I remember being at work until 2 in the morning, more than once.) but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one of the most fun times in my life.

So it was with a special delight that Alex and I went to see Mike Daisey’s one-man show 21 Dog Years or Doing Time @ Amazon.com. In his monologue, Daisey talked about how he got a job as an Amazon.com customer service representative, his strategies for cutting his response time (hanging up on people) and how that led him to a job in business development. Daisey’s monologues turned out to be not just funny, but incredibly perceptive and smart. If you’re not in the Portland area but are still curious, you can check out Daisey’s book, 21 Dog Years.