At my job there are many ticketing systems to prioritize incoming work. For some of them, I have been hearing “this is going away soon” since I got there. I have been a part of a couple of attempts to consolidate systems, which were discarded over cost, schedule or someone deciding to go a different direction. So here is another shot at it.

I need a jar on my desk labeled “Fucks to give”.

Inside the jar will be tokens of some kind – slips of paper, marbles, poker chips – whatever. Each of these will represent a portion of my attention span that I can dedicate to some task. In other words, a fuck I have available to give.

When someone comes to me with something they need, they must first check the jar to see if its empty. If it is empty, check back later, because I am out of fucks to give right now. If there are tokens, it means I currently have the bandwidth to give a fuck about you. Take a token and tell me what you need. The person would hang on to this token until I have fulfilled the request. When everything has been tested/verified/validated, they give the token back. If there is some issue that cannot be resolved they hold on to the token until it is – because I have to give a fuck until it is.

If I resolved your issue and you released your token, you need another one if you expect me to give a fuck about you again. If you have another issue, you need another token. Two issues means I am giving more fucks about you than someone else.

So let’s say I start the average day with ten fucks to give. Two developers contact me with issues – two fucks given so far.

Then an urgent request – developer wants it done right away. Well that means I am being asked to give more fucks about you than everyone else already in the queue. That’s gonna be three fucks to get bumped to the front. So after two regular requests and one urgent one, I have given five fucks so far today.

One of the original two wants to know why his request is taking so long? Sorry, dude – got a priority request. Should have let me know I needed to give more of a fuck about you.

My boss would have to use it as well. You have a special project for me to work on? Fine – how many fucks do I need to give about it? Five? Now I am out of fucks to give for the rest of the day. If these requests go over into the next day, then I start that day without any fucks to give too.

As a company wide system, you could track who is holding up resources. Like, you could see a little virtual jar next to someone’s name in a chat client. You’d be able to see who is holding everyone’s tokens and how long they’ve had them.Then you could clearly see who gives a fuck about who. And when you’re bouncing around from person to person trying to get help on something, you can verify at a glance that it is futile, because there is nobody in the company that has even a single fuck to give about you.

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