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Allow Us to Explain
We are all about Take Your Daughter to Work Day (or, as it is now known, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day). In a time when it's a struggle just to get people to acknowledge that something needs to be done about the underrepresentation of women in the sciences, academics, and business, it's super important to remind young girls that no matter what they're interested in, and no matter how "feminine" (or not) it is, they can totally do that when they grow up.
So this Thursday, April 28th, 2011, take your son or daughter to work with you.
... but not if your boss is a religous zealot, your coworkers are notoriously and fatally untrustworthy, or if devastating scientific accidents happen on a semi-weekly basis. In other words,
but not if you work in any of the following places.
The Death Star
For parents waiting to induct their young into space fascism, working on the Imperial Empire's prize battlestation contains the double discouragement of being a dangerous job with dangerous bosses. If a faulty security system, and
surprising lack of guardrails weren't enough to deter most people, you're just as likely to have your office blown up by a whining farmboy and his new friends.
Or, if you fail in simple tasks, your zealously religious leader could simply Force-choke the life out of you. That's not a moon, that's a workplace lawsuit!
If you're sensing that your boss has a general hostility towards you, that's a pretty fair reason to think about skipping Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. But you should
definitely consider it if your boss might have you shot into space and forced to watch terrible movies for the rest of your life.
Scientists at Gizmonic Institute have done this not once, but twice to two different innocent be-jump-suited janitors. Reports were that they both did a good job of of cleaning up the place, and that the only possible motivation for their celestial banishment was that they were regular joes the scientists didn't like.
MAJOR SPOILERS INCLUDED, you've been warned.
Venture Industries, the ambiguous inventor's corporation started by Dr. Venture's dad, would seem safe from the outset. After all, he's got two teenage sons, and they've managed to make it to puberty without too much hazard.
Except…they haven't. At all. They are the sixteenth cloned versions of the original Venture Brothers, because, as Venture says "If you have death-prone children, you keep a few clones around." Or, if your job description includes being attacked by archvillains and their armies of henchmen (who sometimes follow Guild of Calamitous Intent guidelines), killer robots (often ones designed by you), occult mishaps (what? you needed the rent money!), and a host of other dangers, you keep a few clones around.
Plus, with Brock Sampson off with SPHINX!, the new bodyguard on site is Sergeant Hatred. You know. The former supervillain who really, really likes little boys and girls with tiny feet.
Back in 1999, when
The Matrix blew all of our minds, audiences wanted nothing more than to be on the crew of Morpheus' ship, to be able to plug in, and go kick some Agent ass. The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar (yes, really), however, exists in one of the worst work environments one could call up from the binary biosphere.
Any which way you shoot at it with an Uzi, there are serious problems. You've been unplugged from your supposed oppressors, but you've just left behind a mostly sedentary life as a hacker for an existence of holey sweaters, grey gruel, and running for your life in a sunless, post-apocalyptic wasteland. Not to mention, your captain is the leader of a cult that believes you're all on a mission to retrieve the Messiah...a mission so important that your life is forfeit without a second thought. Any problems that might normally arise on such a hovercraft expedition, such as the likelihood of taking unnecessary risks, being spotted by Sentinels, or dealing with a life-threatening mutiny, just increased tenfold. If he's right, then your only consolation is that your inevitable sacrifice means something. If Morpheus is wrong, then you're strapped hand, foot, and headplug to a crazy megalomaniac whose erroneous belief in bald Keanu is going to get you all blown up. It's not like you can complain to the second-in-command, either, since Trinity not only buys into this hoodoo, but has the hots for your supposed savior.
Either way, we'd leave our kids at home in the last-city cesspit called Zion. Better yet, we'd leave them plugged in, safe and sound in their goo baths. Beats the hell outta reality.
We know for a fact that Aperture Science Laboratories encourages its employees to take part in Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. GLaDOS tells us as much when she mentions that BYDtWD is a perfect time to bring your daughter in to "get tested."
But you may want to consider that twice when your company's official guidelines on said testing recommend "scorn, flattery used in an ironic context and naked contempt as motivational tools."
Although, to be fair, crippling emotional abuse is probably preferable to
being left outside at the mercy of the Combine.
The Black Pearl
You might think this one's a no-brainer: obviously a pirate ship is no place for a small child. They plunder and pillage and are really bad eggs. But lets look a little deeper. The
Pirates of the Caribbean movies would like us to believe that Captain Jack Sparrow belongs at the wheel of The Black Pearl, that he is destined to the role of captain. But he’s absolutely the worst pirate captain ever.
Because the qualities of a pirate are actually mostly antithetical to the qualities of leadership. Just look at his successor, Barbossa, and ask yourself: how do pirate captains keep order?
First: Rum, and lots of it. Second: Beatings. Third: Execution. Barbossa takes a group of pirates who were already veteran mutineers, and leads them smack into an Aztec curse which means they cannot drink, eat, enjoy "pleasurable company," feel the pain of the lash, or be killed. Do they mutiny? Do they even pick another leader? No. He keeps the same group that up and mutinied on Jack simply on the promise of a bit of gold together for more than ten years.
Now, the fact that the crew of the Black Pearl need each other to be able to break the curse (actually, they didn't, once a man spilled his blood into the chest and returned his coins he could have left at any time, really; they just stood a better chance of finding the last coin and a Turner together) could have explained why it was easy to keep them together as a group. It does not explain why Barbossa was still captain, except for sheer charisma.
I had a point here... Oh, right. Jack is the worst captain ever. Don’t let your kids near him.
Working As An Extractor
Here's a hint for all the hard-working ex-military freelancers casting their eye towards the Extraction game; if you want to know about a work environment, take a look at your coworkers. Not only do none of them, with the exception of your boss, have children, none of them, with the exception of your boss, seem to have obvious outside relationships. You are dealing exclusively with antisocial thieves, forgers, and what is possibly a drug dealer, getting paid in cash or deposits to illegal bank accounts. Sound glamorous? Don't let the three-piece suits fool you; none of your coworkers have any reason to stick around except for money. They have no reason not to pick up and leave, particularly when they're being chased by anonymous corporations bent on killing all of you, or even being chased by the regular authorities. This is not, strictly speaking, legal.
Your coworkers may feel even more inclined to leave you swinging in the wind (or floating in a hotel) when they take a long, hard look at that exception we mentioned earlier; your boss. The man in charge of your gig is not only a work-focused neurotic addicted to dreaming of his ex-wife (who you'll have to take his word that he did not murder), but the subconscious projections caused by his obsession may show up at any point in the game to send you tumbling into brain-scrambling Limbo. Oh, he didn't tell you until you were pulling the job? Little thing, no big deal…if you get killed this time around while down under, you won't wake up. Not for decades, at least, maybe a lifetime, at which point you'll be a vegetable.
Talk about PASIV-aggressive.
Working as a Blade Runner
Ridley Scott's iconic
Blade Runner only gives us a view of one of these lone gunmen. Yet, though his gruff demeanor and ratty trenchoat are perfect for this future noir, Deckard's job is terrible. Being a freelance detective assigned to hunt down escaped androids, or Replicants, might give you more time with the kids, in theory. But the only significant time Deckard spends in his apartment is when the trail has gone so cold that all he can do is drink and analyze photos...or when he's been shot. Have you ever heard of a private eye that posted working hours on his door? His work times are beyond erratic, and downtime is just as likely to be interrupted by mysterious visitors bringing even more trouble in with their ridiculous coats.
This precludes the job itself, which you'll be on even if you try to quit, thanks to the police chief's penchant for blackmail. Then there's the tricky ethical tangle behind a Replicant's right to live free from the colonies, if only for a few years. If you can get past all that and manage to find any of your targets, as soon as they figure out who you are, they will try to kill you. Did we mention that all of them, even the "pleasure model," have extensive combat programming? Good luck.
Besides, be it the distant past or the retrofuture, who wants to live in Los Angeles, anyway?
The Suicide Squad
It’s one thing to say that one of your coworkers is unbalanced, or the kind of perosn who’s going to walk into the office armed someday, or that there’s probably a prison sentence in their pasts somewhere, or that they don’t actually care about the management’s goals.
Because you could be a member of the Suicide Squad, a DC Comics black-ops team comprised of convicted super villains who agreed to work secretly for the government in exchange for having their sentences shortened. Members of the Suicide Squad include Captain Boomerang (Killer of Jack Drake, Robin III’s dad), Deadshot (a nearly amoral assassin), Parasite, Black Adam, Mongul, Solomon Grundy (all guys that can go toe-to-toe with superman), the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Clock-King (he was in
Batman: Animated just look it up, gawd), and last, but not least deadly, Bane.
And what does the government ask them to do? Why, fight other bad guys, and keep tabs on the good guys. Because most of the characters are B-string villains, the writers felt free to really put the Squad in bad situations, and kill off characters with impunity. But as we said above, it’s one thing to have a dangerous work environment. It’s other when everyone of your coworkers is serving time for multiple murders and there against their will.
There are many lessons one can take from
Jurassic Park. Like how to survive against a terrifyingly intelligent foe. That if we ever do develop the technology to clone dinosaurs, we probably shouldn't clone the dangerous ones, or at least not in significant numbers. If we do wind up cloning large numbers of predatory dinosaurs, we should probably manually sterilize them, instead of just depending on controlling their gender through egg temperature. If we don’t do any of those things, maybe we can at least manage our park by good old human involvement, instead of automated systems? Or, if we do go with automated systems, maybe we should make sure the guy who programs them isn't an amoral putz eyeballs deep in unenumerated "financial problems."
Oh. We can’t do any of those things? Well, at least we left the grandkids at home for the weekend.
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