Through a glass darkly

I had my eyes dilated as part of an eye exam a few days ago.  After using the "bar light" to examine my retina, the doctor pulled back and immediately said, "Alright, you're ready to go."

As I tried to blink away the massive green blobs that now obscured my vision, I muttered, "Says you..."

She laughed.

It's been probably 6 or 7 years since I've had my eyes checked; as I've got vision coverage at my current job, I've been thinking about getting new glasses for a while.  I finally scheduled the appointment and went in last week.

I don't really need glasses - a fact that was reinforced by this exam.  I'm technically nearsighted, but my correction in both eyes is -0.25 diopters - quite literally the smallest prescription that can be done.  I've also got a very slight astigmatism in my left eye - again, -0.25 at 13 degrees.  In fact, my new prescription is weaker than my last one.

My reading vision is awesome: 20/16 unaided (that's 16 point font at 20 feet, whereas 20/20 is 20 point font at 20 feet).

However, I'm really sensitive to light.  As soon as I sat down in the chair, she looked at me, said, "You're really sensitive to light, aren't you?" and flipped off the overhead lights.

"Yes, actually," I replied.  "What's wrong with my eyes that you can tell that so easily?"

"Oh, nothing's wrong.  You just have really light irises.  Well, they're dark on the outside, but they get very pale as they move inward."

As such, sunglasses are really important to me.  In fact, even the "night-time glasses" I got for driving will be photochromatic and react to headlights and such.  I'll also use them for computer use: most of the time, I sit far enough away from my monitor that reading the screen no longer counts as "reading distance" (at home, I'm about 2.5 feet from the screen) and the anti-glare and tinting can help reduce strain.

I should have them in a week or two.  I might take pictures of both and post 'em.

Step right up

I get really tired of "selling".

Okay, I'm not really in sales, but I sort of am.  I work on a project that requires others to be actively engaged in order to increase adoption.  Right now, we've got about 10% coverage of the institution; for a variety of regulatory reasons, we need to have 100% adoption by the end of 2015 or so.

There are a lot of problems.  One is that we really don't have the staff (on my department's side) to handle a 10-fold increase in the traffic my project generates.  Of course, if we can't show the immediate need for more staff, we won't get it, so we have to push ourselves beyond what we can realistically handle and hope someone decides we're worthy of additional support.

Another problem is the aforementioned engagement: rolling out this project to any new area involves some minor-but-not-zero annoyance and extra work for some already-heavily-worked staff.  It also requires higher-up decision-makers who aren't used to being told what to do to follow our procedures for certain things.  Now, they're the ones who will be hit with the regulatory fines and such, so we have some leverage there, but the carrot is always preferable to the stick.

The net result is that, at least for as long as I've been here, every time I get asked to do a presentation my management "forces" me to turn it into something of a "sales" presentation - who we are (in repetitive detail), why we're awesome, etc.

I understand the reasoning.  I don't even necessarily disagree with it.  I just hate doing it.

The fundamental aspect of sales is convincing people to do something they aren't necessarily inclined to do (otherwise there's no salesmanship needed).  It is, in its distilled form, a kind of manipulation.  That's what bothers me: I have spent a lot of time telling myself, over and over, that manipulation is bad and not something I should be doing.  As someone who is borderline sociopathic, it's really important that I do what I can do internalize this message; the consequences otherwise can be ugly.

And yet, here I am in a situation where I have to relax that inhibition.  The problem isn't that I'm bad at sales (read: manipulation); the problem is that it comes all too naturally to me.  So I end up being really good at doing something that makes me feel really sleazy and very nervous.  And getting cheered and congratulated for activities that feel immoral.