It’s easy to fall into a humming endless sameness, of up and in and do and listen and finish and leave and sleep. You lose your sense of accomplishing any goal other than making it to the end of each day, then somewhow managing to make it to the start of the next day.

But for me, it all changed the day my boss’ boss came to work riding a polar bear.

I’d spent day after day fashioning a mithril chain blanket, supposedly a more effective defense than a mere firewall for DOS attacks. In the tradition of the modern office economy, I’d made a project plan, scoped the effort, found resources (human, financial, and some kind of exchange with some Elbonian dwarves who were willing to sell us smithed mithril at former European bloc prices in exchange for building them a comprehensive payment processing system that accepted multiple currencies, Paypal, Bitcoin, electrum pieces and first born children), and managed it on a daily basis.

And then one day Uberboss came in on the ultimate carbon neutral transportation device, all white fur and shiny teeth and gleaming blue eyes. His helmet looked great on him – it showed off his beard – but he’d completely changed his mind about the defenses I’d been building for the last four months. Suddenly me and the only other woman on the floor were supposed to turn it into a couple of chain mail bikinis. And we weren’t supposed to be defending the core code base … no, suddenly the most important thing we could possibly be doing is raising the company profile, so that we could get some more investor money.

That’s right, he wanted us to be booth babes.

Now, I’ve attacked invasions of sentient species without question … shared my test plans with hostile “friendlies” I suspected were stealing the bodies of the homeless people in the nearby alleys … posted fake cheerful tweets and blog posts when I couldn’t find a positive bone in my body or any of the animated corpses running the financial team. But not only did he want me to cut up a cloaking device I’d poured my heart into (actual blood was involved but was nothing compared to the endless revisions of that damned Powerpoint presentation I had to give) … but now I was supposed to “big up” Lovecraft Software while 1) freezing my butt off in 2) unfunctional supposed protective gear while 3) men assumed we were ignorant because we were, well, women. And I didn’t take up sword fighting just so a bunch of assholes could check me out and make hunr hunr noises: I did it because it was fun and I liked excitement and I had a bad-assed sparring partner to work with twice a week. And she didn’t want to wear the bikini, either.

Suddenly, I just didn’t care any more. The endless arguments about trying to make things right, the horrible compromises I’d made, the knowledge that without the application of my own blood in three months time that the mithril would magically disappear and my team would be back to fighting off hordes of imps (released when the accounting software did its nightly batch run) using the plastic cutlery we’d stockpiled from the company picnic. Sure, the dwarves were going to get my first child, but I knew darned well that if I didn’t reproduce, the agreement would die when I did.

I opened up a wormhole, tripped a monk seal that had been sunning itself so it fell through, and let the polar bear blunder its way across the office on a killing spree. Then I spoke the words that unbound our careful mail work from its symbiotic connection to my soul. Finally, I took the Stapler of Power – the one I’d inherited from the old test manager – and smashed the RFID memory chip in my ID badge. It had been carved from flakes of fossilized Shoggoth and set of a tiny, black flare that left a smell of burnt hope in the air.

I was free. Time to update my resume and get back on the job hunt!