Employee Of The Month

performance-review

Alright, so, I’m not really employee of the month, mostly because my company doesn’t do that, but it turns out, I am an awesome employee.

Just before Male died, at the ass-end of February, I was written up for my unprofessional attitude:

“On a number of occasions Goldfish has communicated in an unprofessional manner with co-workers and management. It is expected that all dialogue will be respectful and in a number of instances you have been rude and defensive.”

I had what I saw as good reason for this. My former boss who is not my boss still insists on acting like my boss, even though the owner of the company specifically said he isn’t my boss in the first meeting we had. We are equals now, but he has an office and a parking spot (and I’d imagine, a larger salary), while I am stuck in a cubicle. His mother is my boss and also his.

Seriously, how many of you in your mid-forties could tolerate working for your mother? This isn’t a new thing either. As far as I know, former boss has never had a job where his mother wasn’t his boss. He’s worked at this same job, cranking out the same stale garbage design since the 1990s.

So, every time former boss got up in my business, where he has no right to be, I got defensive. I very much felt that former boss and his mom were trying to get rid of me, or at the very least, sabotage me, since my failure could only lead to his continued lackadaisical success. This suspicion was only confirmed when they wrote me up. A guy who is not my boss and his mommy wrote me up, so, yeah, defensive.

I didn’t want to get fired though, especially over bullshit like that, so I wrote up a two page response to their ridiculous accusations and asked that it be put in my personnel file. That was the last I heard of it.  I’ve secretly been applying for jobs here and there with no success, but eventually something might come through. You never know unless you try.

After I was written up, I realized that it’s stupid to get defensive about a job I don’t even want in the first place. I still get a little grumpy when they pull their sabotagey bullshit, but I don’t let it bother me for long, because nothing at this job matters.

I have no intention of staying here any longer than I have to, so what difference does it make if a guy who is not my boss acts like he is while management lets him? What difference does it make that our actual boss is his mommy? None. When he’s fifty, he’ll still be pretending to hold on to power he doesn’t have and working for his mom, while I’ll be somewhere else. He’s a small man in a small world that I don’t want any part of anymore.

So, I chilled. I stopped being angry about a job I hate with people who treat my like shit. I am a zen master like my father, or at least, I’m trying to be. I’m not nearly as chill as my dad though.

Fast forward to this Monday, when a coworker told me the company had started employee evaluations. Apparently, they do them once a year in bulk, instead of the traditional practice of doing them on your hire date.

As soon as I heard this, I started getting a little sick to my stomach. I kept thinking I’m going to get fired this week. Monday passed with no review. Tuesday, Wednesday and half of Thursday passed the same. Thursday afternoon, the general manager came to my little slice of heaven called a cubicle and asked if he could see me for a minute. Ruh roh!

I followed him to the conference room and former boss and his mom were there. Why the hell is my former boss, who is definitely not my boss, in on my performance review?! But, like the apprentice zen master I am, I let it go. I sat on the end of the table farthest away from former boss and didn’t look at him.

The general manager said, “You haven’t been through this process before, have you?” In front of him sat two stapled together sheets of paper with my name on the top and a bunch of circled numbers. All of the circles were towards the left of the page. In English, we read from left to right, so most rating systems are oriented that way with one being the worst, like so:

1  2  3  4  5

Since the circled numbers were on the left, I logically assumed they had rated me poorly. Great. Then, he tilted the paper towards me and started going through it. Lo and behold, I’m not retarded; the company I work for is! Their rating system was printed backwards in descending order like so:

 5  4  3  2  1

Why would they do that? I have no idea; perhaps to give new employees false expectations when they walk into a performance review. Whatever the reason, what that meant is that I had received all positive ratings! On two pages worth of metrics, there were only two 3s, and of course, they had to do with communication. The rest of my ratings in every category from management to performance were solid 4s and there were even a few 4+, which is almost like a 5, but not quite.

The general manager explained to me that 5s are nearly impossible to achieve, so don’t feel too badly. Almost entirely 4s is really quite excellent. And he even said, “So, yay you.” To which I stupidly replied, “Yay!”

Fortunately, the general manager did most of the talking instead of former boss and his mommy, “We’ve seen a marked improvement in your attitude since last we spoke.” He said “we” even though he wasn’t even in the meeting where I was written up. “And it’s obvious that you care about your work.”

BWAHAHAHA. If they only knew that the “marked improvement” in my attitude was because I just stopped caring. So, yeah, I got all positives and only a couple of neutrals; not a single negative mark at all. I have gone from almost getting fired to 3s and 4s in a couple of months. I am the best employee ever! Now, if only I could find a new job.

Just Because You’re Paranoid

paranoia

You may have noticed my absence lately. It’s true. I have been disappeared from the fishbowl.

My work situation has become quite tenuous of late. So much so that I spent the entirety of last weekend finishing my online portfolio (I originally typed “portfolio” as “fort,” which is a much cooler thing to have online), so that I can look for jobs.

Last Friday in the week from hell, I was written up. Gasp!  No, my dears, ironically, not for slacking, but for my “unprofessional” attitude. In the signed copy of the memorandum, which they originally refused to give me, it says, “On a number of occasions Goldfish has communicated in an unprofessional manner with co-workers and management. It is expected that all dialogue will be respectful and in a number of instances you have been rude and defensive.”

Let’s just forget the missing commas and the fact that it switches from third-person to second-person voice, shall we?

Pshaw, you say! Well, it is partly true. While I haven’t been rude, I have been defensive. Even before I set foot in the door, I’ve felt like they’re out to get me. Let’s go back and do a little exposition, okay? This is the part in the movie where the color tone changes to sepia so we know it’s a flashback.

In the decade 2000, I was unemployed and looking for a job. In a desperate attempt to become gainfully employed, I accepted the only job that was offered to me, a decision I would come to rue that has led me to my current predicament over ten years later. I worked there for six or seven years, though I was woefully underpaid, because I am essentially lazy and it was a pretty chill job. I should have gotten out right away, but I didn’t.

The industry I work in is very incestuous. It’s like the mafia in the sense that once you get in, it’s hard to get out. It’s a very small world. People move around from company to company all the time. A vendor I used to work with visited me three times in six months, each time handing me another business card for a different company. It’s just the same people moving around.

At the job that I took because I was desperate–let’s call it company A–my boss was a guy I got along with mostly, even though he loves to chit-chat and chit chatting is not really my thing. His mother and brother also worked there (see what I mean about incestuous?). Eventually, that company was sold to a larger company–company B–and I was laid off. I became redundant.

I figured this was my chance to get out of the stupid industry once and for all, but remember… mafia. The former VP of A saw the writing on the wall and started his own business–company C–a year or so before everything went down. A few months after I was laid off, he called me up and asked if I was still looking for work. His art director, who I also worked with at A, was leaving. It was a step up from graphic designer to art director and it was also a job, which I was rather short on at the time, so I took the job at C.

Company C turned into an alright place to work. I got raises (A had no idea what a raise even was). There were Christmas bonuses and holiday lunches and an office. I was relatively happy at C as it was way better than A.

Four years later, C was also sold. In another example of small worldness, C was sold to the very same company that bought A, company B. I was sold with it like a cow. The owner of B made me part of the deal, because he liked what I was doing and wanted to continue doing it.

From the minute I set foot on the premises of B, it was made painfully clear that B’s owner, who lives on the other side of the country and is rarely in the west coast office, would be my only ally. They took my office away and stuck me in a cubicle, which they didn’t even clean out beforehand. I had to spend half a day cleaning out someone else’s belongings from my new cubicle. They didn’t even help me carry my stuff in.

It was bad from the start. Because B bought both A and C, there were a lot of familiar faces–everyone who didn’t get laid off when I did. My former boss and his mother were there.

When A was bought, I went off to C where I got a promotion to art director and developed my own particular style, which worked. There were record sales. Everyone was happy with me and my work. Company B’s owner stipulated that I was part of the deal. Had I refused to move to B, he might not have bought C.

In the meantime, my former boss moved from company A to B where he continued doing the same stagnant crap that he has been doing since the 1990s.

After I moved to B, we had a departmental meeting where the owner told us what was expected of each of us and he said that I would report to boss’ mom, not former boss, since former boss and I were now equals.

Former boss had a really hard time accepting that I had moved on, become successful and was now his equal. He has never once treated me like an equal. He treats me like his subordinate. Even though we run autonomous, parallel departments, he meddles in my work. Worst of all, my actual boss (and his) is his mother. There’s really no question where her loyalties lie.

For six months now, out of spite or jealousy or whatever reason, former boss and mom have been subtly sabotaging me. They have meetings about my work without me. They have made decisions that directly impact my job and then don’t tell me about it. They changed the numbering system on me without telling me about it for nearly two weeks, so I had to redo the numbering on everything when a project was ready to go to the printer, thereby causing it to be late. They killed my email address and didn’t tell me about it for a week. I only knew about it, because I asked IT why I wasn’t getting any email.

At first, I thought I was just being paranoid, but just because you’re paranoid, that doesn’t mean that someone’s not out to get you.

Last Friday, they showed their hand by writing me up. Even though former boss is not my boss, he was in on the meeting–two against one–and his name was also listed on the memo they forced me to sign.

I saw no reason that former boss should be all up in my shiznit. I saw no reason that he should have an office and a parking spot, while I was in a cubicle and have to walk a block and a half. I saw no reason that he should be telling me anything at all really, since officially, he has no sanctioned involvement in my work. So, yeah, for a while, I was defensive about all of this. I let it bother me.

In the write-up memo, it also says, “Verbal coaching has not corrected this concern,” which is a veiled way of saying that I had already been given a verbal warning. In California, before you fire someone, you have to give them one verbal warning and two written warnings. I looked it up. That sentence implies that there was already a verbal warning, which there was not. But according to that, all they need is one more written warning and they can fire me.

I demanded a copy of the memo, which by law, they were required to give me when I signed it, but didn’t. I responded to it on my lunch hour, sentence by sentence, point by point. It theoretically lives in my personnel file along with former boss and mom’s bullshit assertions.

I had already started building my online portfolio before I got written up, but that memo was just the fire under my butt that I needed to finish it. So, last weekend, I got my portfolio done and I have been applying for jobs.

Something happened when I read their bullshit memo though. I stopped caring whether my former boss is acting like my boss. I stopped caring that he has an office and I don’t. I stopped being defensive, because I realized that I don’t want this job anyway. I just want out.

This week, former boss and mom gave me five new projects. Five. I don’t even have time to finish the one that is my actual job. Because of this, I have a feeling that the next write up will be for lack of productivity. So, I have been doing my job, kids. I haven’t surfed the internet. I haven’t written anything on here. I have been keeping my head down and nose to the grindstone, which has suddenly gotten ridiculously more labor intensive to the point where it’s impossible to get all the work done that they ask of me, even without any slacking.

My only hope is that I can find a new job before they fire me. Maybe I can find a job without any nepotism. Maybe I can get out of this stupid industry once and for all. Fingers crossed.

paranoia

10 Things I Hate Part 30

10thingshate

This is part 30, which means I’ve hated 300 things! Yay! Or alternately, wow, that’s really sad.

1. Stupid work signs. I refuse to acknowledge signs with bad grammar and spelling in two languages.
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Why is “to prevent sewege [sic] damage” a sentence fragment in parentheses in two languages? I don’t even…

Then, there’s this hilarious attempt at a kind of irony. It tripped, missed that pile of irony entirely and did a belly-flop into another stinking pile. Then this dumb sign got up and tried to carry on with a big smear of irony across its stupid face.

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Dear fucktard who made this sign, have you even seen Office Space?

2. Girl Scout cookies. I just got suckered into buying a $5 box of cookies, which are now labeled as “VEGAN!” That label means that I’ll enjoy them just a little less than I would have had they not been labeled that way, even though they’ve probably always been “VEGAN!”

From their website:

(girlscouts.org)
(girlscouts.org)

You’re seriously going to tell me that spending $5 on a box of cookies helps a girl learn about money management? Well, guess what: I bought them from her father. He walked around with an order form, pleading with his coworkers to help his kid out with sales. He took my five dollars and put my name on the form, and he will bring me my cookies. In this entire transaction, I will never even interact with his daughter.

Also, spending $5 on a box of cookies is not a sound financial decision. It’s actually terrible money management. I can get better cookies cheaper elsewhere. The only benefit is that they’re delivered to my desk at work.

3. Obvious mini commercials built into television shows. Thanks to Draliman for reminding me of this one. This is all too common lately, what with people downloading everything or watching it commercial-free on Netflix et al. Advertisers are desperate to have us see their awesome products, so they pay television shows to have their characters use it and talk about it. I couldn’t watch more than a few episodes of Netflix’s unnecessary remake of House of Cards because of all the totally obvious advertisements lying around. They’re getting sneakier about it, yet it’s still so very overt.

4.
Speaking of television, I hate remakes. Why does Netflix’s House Of Cards even exist? The original is soooooo much better. Why is it when I surf Netflix for something to watch, I see Being Human (UK) and Being Human (US), Shameless (UK) and Shameless (US), etc.? Why is any of that necessary?

It’s bad enough that movies like The Departed blatantly rip off excellent foreign films like Infernal Affairs (then win awards for thievery), but at least you can kind of blame it on language (since Americans are too dumb to read subtitles, right?). But, why are there so many remakes of UK television? We speak the same language. I refuse to watch anything with (US) after the title. Shameless is right.

5.Cubicles. Who the hell thought this was a good idea? I know, let’s make people sit together in a big open area, but we’ll put up half walls to give the illusion of privacy. Um, no. There is no privacy in a cubicle. None. There are no doors and everyone can hear everything from what you’re eating for breakfast to your stinky farts. I miss my office.

6. PC keyboards. I hate them and I’m surrounded by the bastards. I have a keyboard, too, but mine doesn’t blast 101dB @ 2.83V / 1m with every press of the damn key. Why do PC keyboards have to be so friggin’ loud?

7. Multimillionaire tight-fistedness. This applies to everything from not wanting to pay taxes to trying to take health care and benefits away from the working poor in favor of the “job creators.”

When Male was in town, I took a day off (unpaid). It was just a happy accident that the day I took off was the same day they held their incredibly tardy “holiday party” in mid-January. All the bigwigs flew in to the left coast. Apparently, they catered lunch with terrible, inexpensive, and not too plentiful food, and gave a bunch of speeches. They handed out certificates or something for people who’ve worked there five and ten years (nobody survives longer than ten years). When I went back to work on Monday, my coworkers told me that they called my name in a raffle. “Oh? What did I win?” “Nothing. When they found out you weren’t here, they called another name.” Cheap bastards.

8. Taxes. Ugh, taxes. I finally got all of my W2 forms from my employers last year, so this weekend, I’ll do my taxes. I used to have an amazing accountant, but he died a few years ago. Since then, because I am poor and don’t have any deductions like kids or mortgage, I have been doing it myself. Even in the comfort of my home, doing taxes is painful. It’s such an awful antiquated system.

9. Sales calls on my cell phone. They’re usually robots that start speaking before my voice mail message is done, so by the time I hear the message it’s just “…1-800-BLOW ME now to take advantage of this special offer!” Or worse, sales text messages. I wish I could give you an example, but I delete them, because they piss me off. You hear the little text message chime and think, “Ooh, someone loves me!” Then, you look and it’s an ad for hooking up with hot singles online. Screw you! Get off my phone!

10. I hate rushing somewhere only to wait. The last time I went to the vet, I woke up late, grabbed my ornery feline, and rushed to the vet’s office with uncombed hair and one shoe. Then I sat there for a half an hour. Why do doctors always run late? Seriously, can’t they figure out a schedule by now that takes all that into account?

More Things I Hate.

10 Ways To Tell If Your Job Sucks

(gizmodo.com)

If any of the following are true, your job sucks.

  1. Coming in to work on January 5th (after taking a “vacation” day for January 2nd), you realize that your next paid holiday is Memorial Day at the end of May, 138 days from now.
  2. Your former boss still acts like he’s your boss, even though he isn’t. The company I work for now bought both the company that has employed me for three years and the company I worked for before that (that laid me off when they were bought). This means that I work with a lot of former coworkers. One of them is my former boss. We are equals now–we’re both art directors–but you’d never guess by the way he and the company treat me. He has an office and a parking spot. I have a cubicle. He critiques my work. He gives me unasked design advice, which isn’t even all that good. He acts like my boss, but HE IS NOT MY BOSS. One of these days, I’m going to go off on him and it won’t be pretty.

  3. Nobody has to take any holiday decorations down because no one put any up. There was no holiday lunch, no year-end bonus, and no extra time off. There was a notice that the unsanctioned Secret Santa coordinated by employees should take place only during breaks or lunch so as to not disrupt work.

  4. Even though you’re a salaried employee, you have to clock in and out, even at lunch. And, even though you’re salaried, you have to earn all of your vacation time. At this rate, I’ll have a week of vacation sometime around March of 2016.

  5. When walking out the front door, even at lunch, you have to show the contents of your bag to a camera in the ceiling manned by someone on the other side of the country.

  6. You don’t even care enough to find out the names of most of your coworkers, because anyone who’s worked here longer than a year is obviously insane and about to go postal.

  7. You have brought zero personal effects in to work and your cubicle walls are as bare as day one when you had to clean out someone else’s personal effects, because the company couldn’t even be arsed to provide a clean desk for you. And they didn’t even give you cleaning supplies.

  8. You begin to pine for your old crappy job where you were severely underpaid, but at least you got a modicum of respect and had an office.

  9. You’ve been counting the days until the holidays are over and you can look for a new job since November.

  10. You walk around angry at everything and resentful of almost everyone (particularly, management) all the time and you’ve only worked there five months.

(gizmodo.com)
(gizmodo.com)

Bra Appreciation Day

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I work in an office building. I sit in a cubicle all day since I switched workplaces and lost my precious walls and door. I miss having an office. Anyway, my workplace is just like any other workplace in America. It’s got offices ringed round the outer walls and cubes in the middle. We have a break room with water and coffee, a warehouse, bathrooms with handicapped stalls and a time clock. To all appearances, it’s just another cube-farm workplace that could sell anything from vitamins to vacuum cleaners.

The difference is that we sell adult novelty items. Are you familiar with that safe for work euphemism? Adult novelty items include vibrators, dildos, pumps, lingerie, love dolls and any other lacy/rubbery/vibratey/inflatable thing designed to get you off. We are in the business of sex. I swear like a longshoreman and look at porn as part of my job.

I’ve been in this business since 2001, because much like the mafia, once you get in, it’s hard to get out, especially for a graphic designer. Graphic design is one of those jobs where people want to see your work before they even call you in for an interview. It’s hard to get a straight job when most of my portfolio is dildos and boobs. Knowing how to make bigger cleavage with the warp tool in Photoshop isn’t seen as a transferable skill. Contrary to their entire purpose, dildos tend to turn normal people off in a work setting.

So, I’m stuck. It’s alright though. This business is notorious for underpaying their employees and not providing benefits, but when my company got bought and I moved to the new parent company nearly a month ago, I got a raise and benefits. There are other perks like no dress code (I have knuckle tattoos and when I started, I had a pink mohawk), a relaxed atmosphere with like-minded liberals, an employee discount and also things like Bra Appreciation Day.

According to the company I work for, today is Bra Appreciation Day. That means that all company employees got two free bras. My company owns a lingerie line that does not stock your grandma’s panties. These are lacy, frilly things with not much by way of infrastructure, but they’re not actually intended to be worn; they’re designed only to be viewed with boobs in them and taken off.

At first, I wasn’t planning to partake, because like most women, I’m particular about bras. I wear them for purpose, not for form. I’m really not all that fond of the things in the first place. They hold my girls hostage every day and poke me in places I don’t want to be poked. But, free is free, so I figured I’d at least look.

I went back to the warehouse to find tables and tables stacked with free bras and people pawing through them. Fortunately, they’re all in boxes, so it wasn’t as disorderly as even your average Victoria’s Secret on a non-sale day. The sizes were all printed on the back of the box in the same place, so it was simple enough to scan them.

I spent about three minutes finding only 32B, a very unpopular bra size at my company apparently since there were a lot of them left and not much else. The shipping manager came up to me, and in an effort to be helpful, he said, “What size are you looking for?”

He really intended just to be helpful, but it was only after I said, “I’m not telling you that!” that he realized how it sounded. I felt bad for making him feel like a creepy pervert.

Eventually, I found two in my size (I’m not telling you which size) and left. I don’t even know what they look like; I just know they’re in my size and they’re free.

Happy Bra Appreciation Day, everyone. I bet none of you got free bras from your employer. Nanner nanner.

Have you gotten any good free stuff from work?

Jumping The Gun

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I may have done that a little bit with my post about how horrible my new workplace really is.

I was given a horrible desk chair that refuses to go up and down and has about as much cushion as a sidewalk. I have to get up and walk around every hour or my butt goes numb. When I asked if there were any other chairs around I that could trade with, I was told to go online and pick a new one to buy because “chairs are important.”

What?

Also, I got my raise. And a matching 401K and health, vision and dental insurance. I have to pay for the insurance myself, at least part of it, but it’s cheaper than I could get it through the Affordable Care Act and better quality. Of course, none of that starts until my 90 day probationary period is over, but still.

And smug office manager hasn’t been all that smug. We had two meetings yesterday, one where I filled out all the employment paperwork and one involving work stuff. In both meetings he was generally pleasant.

I’ll have to mind my Ps and Qs for a while, so I won’t be in the fishbowl as much. I’m only writing this now because I’m on my lunch hour. Soon enough I’ll be able to regale you with stories of my weird coworkers. So far, they’re just very noisy.

It’s an office job and office jobs are pretty mind-numbingly boring, so I’ll continue looking for jobs in the astronautical and regular nautical fields. I’d like to be a space explorer or join the merchant marine. I could be a sailor. I already swear like one.

Fortunately, things aren’t as bad as originally feared. I’m hanging in there. I miss my bloggy folks. What have you been up to?

flarefishtank

Back to work I go. Hi ho.

When 2 Hours Feels Like 5

(postgradproblems.com)

Friday was my last day at the place I’ve worked for three and a half years. The smug bastard who told me that they don’t believe in job titles and that they like to empower their employees didn’t feel like doing my paperwork on Friday, so as of right now, I am technically unemployed.

I was a little sad to leave my old job, especially when I saw where I was going. Most of my coworkers were shell-shocked. None of them had nearly as much warning as I did. I knew about the deal to sell off half the company about three weeks ago, but most of them only found out on Thursday night. Some of them only realized I was leaving when they saw me carrying empty boxes to my office.

The atmosphere was about as hopeful as an abattoir. One of the customer service reps, The Snorter, was laid off on Friday, and the rest are uncertain of their future with half of the company being sold out from under them. I felt badly for the ones who remain, because I know that the culling is not over and at least a few more of them will be unemployed soon.

Friday afternoon, I packed up all of my stuff. Our lovely shipping manager dropped everything he was doing to help me move my belongings from my office to my car. “If you need anything else, let me know.”

I drove over to the new place with the help of GPS and found the building inside a big commercial office park. I wasn’t sure which entrance I should use, so I pulled off to the side and called the office manager. No answer. Well, crap. I guess I’ll try that door over there. I put my car in drive and a trucker, not realizing that I was about to move, pulled in front of me and backed up to the shipping and receiving bay.

I parked in a random spot by the door that didn’t look too reserved and walked up to the dark glass doors you couldn’t see in. There was a button so I pushed it. Nothing happened.

I stood there for a few minutes like an idiot when the trucker walked up and said, “I’m so sorry about that. I didn’t realize you were going to move.”

“No, it’s my fault since you had no way of knowing and I should have seen you.”

“Did you push the button?”

“Yes, and nothing happened.” So he tried it and three seconds later, there was a buzz at the door. I followed him in and found a receptionist. I explained who I was, who I would like to see and that I would be starting on Monday. She called the office manager and got no answer, too. Is there someone else? I gave her the only other name I knew. He’ll be right down.

The someone else happens to be my old boss. In the smallest of small world’s, four years ago, I worked for another company that also got swallowed up by the one my boss just sold me to. That time, I got laid off. My former boss didn’t and is still working there.

I stood there for at least five minutes when my former boss appeared. He greeted me warmly and took me to his office. I told him that I have all my stuff in the car, including my computer that I’d rather not leave sitting in a hot car. Oh, okay, let’s go get it.

He told me not to park where I was parked. It would be alright for the moment since it was Friday afternoon, but my parking spot would be any of the spots on the other side of the shipping and receiving bay. Alright, so I don’t have my own parking spot anymore and I have to fight for a spot that’s very far away and I’ll have to not get run over by semi-trucks in the process of walking to work.

I went from having a shipping manager helpfully load my car to having to unload it myself with the help of my former boss. It was 95 degrees with 30% humidity. I was sweating balls. It took us three trips and no one offered to help. We put my stuff in the hallway.

Finally, the office manager came in and showed me where my new home would be. “We’re putting you in this one.” “This one” being a cubicle in the middle of the salespeople. I could barely hear her over the din of customer service representatives. So, apparently, in addition to losing my parking spot, I also lose an office. Great.

(postgradproblems.com)
Welcome to the cube farm. (postgradproblems.com)

Do you see how much personal stuff there is in those cubes, like someone works there? Well, the one I was to be put in had as much or more. There was a label on the inbox that said Jessica something. There was a half full glass of water. There was a dead flower in a vase. It was as if Jessica stepped out for lunch or was abducted by aliens and just never came back.

Apparently, it was my job to clean out Jessica’s stuff. What the ever-loving hell? You couldn’t even be bothered to clean out the cubicle for me? The office manager handed me an empty box and told me to put Jessica’s stuff in it.

Jessica’s cubicle looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in forever. There was dust covering everything. They didn’t even give me any cleaning supplies. I had to ask for them. I had to ask where the bathroom was. I had to ask where I could get some water. I had to ask for everything.

When I was done cleaning out Jessica’s stuff, I went in to talk to my former boss who is in the office right across from my cubicle. Lucky me. He told me the office manager is a bit of a tyrant and is very concerned with tardiness. If I’m tardy, I have to text him or he’ll get pissy. As an insomniac, I’m not exceptionally good at being on time. Most of the time, I wake up between 3 and 6am and can’t fall back asleep until my alarm is about to go off, which makes waking up on time rather difficult. I try my best and I’ve been pretty good about it, but I am a few minutes late from time to time.

At my last job, no one cared when I showed up as long as I did. My hours were 8:30 to 5 with a half hour lunch because I worked a deal to have it that way. Come Monday, my hours will be 8 to 5 with an hour lunch I don’t need, because it would be “chaos” if everyone showed up at different times, so says smug bastard office manager.

To make things worse, my former boss, who is no longer my boss as far as I know, is still acting like my boss. “We went over your work and want to leave it mainly the same, but there will be some changes that we’ll go over later.” Who is this we?

So, I spent two hours cleaning out someone else’s crap, climbing under a cubicle desk to plug my shit in and using generic cleaning products on my new home, which is a cube. I am technically unemployed. I felt very much like an afterthought. There was no warm welcome. There was no welcome at all actually.

No office, no parking spot, no help moving or cleaning, no idea who my boss is with a former boss who thinks he’s my boss, no idea what my job actually is, no clue how much I’m making… I’ve never felt so much like a faceless number, an asset. I hate it already and I haven’t even started yet. It’s Sunday morning and I’m dreading going to work tomorrow.

I can’t wait to find another job so I can tell them to take their cube and shove it.

Dos & Don’ts of Buying People

Mooo.
(saawinternational.org)

I’ve been sold. Can any of you say that? I mean, since the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865, selling people in the United States has been rather frowned upon. Yet, here I am in 2014 having just been sold.

The owner of the company I’ve been employed by for the last three and a half years sold me. Well, really, he sold his company brand and assets, but I am considered an asset. I suppose it’s nice to be in the plus column, but being sold against your will and without any say in the matter isn’t a very nice feeling.

Granted, I am not literally a slave. I can choose not to go to the new company, but that means I choose to be unemployed. I’d rather not be unemployed since it puts a crink in one’s income.

As someone who was just sold and since not many people in America really have aboveboard experience with selling or buying people as chattel anymore, I thought I’d put together a handy reference guide for handling the situation from the cow’s eye view. The cow being me, of course, since I was, in fact, just sold like one. Mooo.

Mooo. (saawinternational.org)
Mooo.
(saawinternational.org)

Do Not… wait a week or more to come over and talk to your new cow.

Do… come greet your new possession as soon as possible. Even though your cow is just a possession, it is still a living, breathing thing.

Do Not… finally have a meeting with your cow with the cow’s old owner present. It will make your cow reluctant to talk about details.

Do… find a private conference room. Talk about all the ways your cow will be in servitude in private.

Do Not… answer five phone calls during the meeting.

Do… give your pathetic little cow ten measly undivided minutes of your time. It will probably the only time you have to suck it up and listen to them moo.

Do Not… be evasive when your cow asks you questions.

Do… be prepared for the meeting. Tell your new cow how much they will make, what benefits (if any) they will get and where your office is located.

Do Not… expect your cow to move all their own stuff.

Do… give them help moving. I mean, really? You want me to move my own stuff? WTF?

Do Not… ask your new cow if they want to be sold or if they’re “on board.”  Nobody wants to be sold. Ever. And no, we’re not “on board.” You don’t own a damn ship. Or maybe you do, but the cow won’t be working on one.

Do… realize that your new cow has no choice in the matter. It’s either you or the unemployment line and your cow probably has rent to pay.

Do Not… under any circumstances ever utter the sentence, “We like to empower our employees,” and then spend the next ten minutes telling them all the ways you’ll be taking their power away.

Do… not ever utter the sentence, “We like to empower our employees.” Just don’t. In fact, just cross the word “empower” out of your corporate-speak dictionary.

Do Not… answer your cow’s question regarding job titles with, “We don’t believe in job titles.”

Do… answer the fucking questions, you fucking fucks.


Well, I hope that helps all of you rich corporate property owners in dealing with the purchase of lowly cows and people. Remember, cows are living, breathing things, not just numbers, although really, they’re mostly numbers. Even though you don’t technically own their souls, you can still milk them for all they’re worth. Good luck!

People Of The Office

doughboy

The company I work for has a high turnover rate, because customer service sucks. In the nearly three years I’ve been here, not working in customer service, I’ve seen at least a hundred people come and go. In the last couple of months, for whatever reason, we’ve had an exceptionally high customer service turnover rate. I don’t blame them, because customer service sucks. If you can find a better job than answering phone calls all day for just over minimum wage, do it.

Customer service people mainly stick to themselves. They don’t generally fraternize with the rest of us who don’t do customer service. It’s fine with me since I’m not all that sociable anyway. I greet them and ask them how they are without really caring, but I don’t chit chat all that much. Besides, they tend to be twenty-somethings who mainly talk about cars and girls–two subjects that don’t mean a lot to me.

These are just a few of the new people my company has hired to answer phone calls all day. I don’t know any of their names, because as I’ve discussed before, I only know half of my coworkers names (the half with nameplates). That’s including the people who’ve been here longer than a couple of months. Since I don’t know their names, and even if I did, I’d likely forget, I’ve given them my own.

Friendly guy

Also referred to as puppy boy, because his personality is a lot like a puppy. Sometimes, on break, I’ll go outside to get some fresh air. I am perfectly content standing off by myself with my phone reading blog posts or playing silly games. I am not one of those people who needs to be around people. If puppy boy is on break at the same time, he will beeline over to you and start talking, no matter whether it looks like you are preoccupied or not. He won’t stop talking. He has to be talking. He wants to please you with his talk. Won’t you talk to puppy boy, please? I’m begging you!

Once, I was on a phone call and friendly guy came up and started talking to me. It’s not like I had an ear-bud hidden in my hair and he couldn’t tell. I had my entire phone up to my ear and was actively talking into it to someone on the other end. He came up to me and started talking anyway. I had to hold up a finger and point to the phone to get him to stop. Bad, puppy boy.

The Snorter

The Snorter is a middle-aged woman trying her hardest to seem younger than a middle-aged woman. She often wears football jerseys to work, strangely, from a few different teams. I guess she’s not picky about who wins. Go, uh, team! She’s nice enough. She says good morning, how are you and excuse me. She seems like an entirely normal middle-aged woman until you end up in the bathroom with her.

In the bathroom, she turns into someone entirely different. We have a two stall bathroom. If you are stuck in the bathroom at the same time as The Snorter, you will hear all sorts of strange noises coming from the next stall including random farts, burps, snorts, singing and babbling. She talks to herself. She sings to herself. She seems to have arguments with herself, all while her bodily functions go unchecked.

I’m not sure how it works in men’s rooms, but in women’s rooms, particularly a bathroom you have to use with people you know like coworkers, women typically get a little shy about ripping a big smelly fart if someone else is in there. At least, I do. If I have to do any business besides peeing, I will typically wait until the coast is clear. Not The Snorter. She’ll leave you grimacing and gasping for air. There’s nothing quite as gross as being stuck in a tiny, inadequately ventilated room with someone who’s ripping smelly farts while mumbling to herself in the next stall.

Doughboy

After a while, you can kind of tell the people who will stick around and those who will leave as soon as they can. The first time I saw Doughboy, I knew he wouldn’t last and I was right. He was here less than a month. Doughboy’s first day of work, he showed up wearing a suit. A suit! Nobody ever wears suits around here. We don’t even know what they are. I wear jeans and muddy dog park shoes every day. I give more thought to what I wear on the weekend than I do at work. Same goes for everyone else. This is not the type of place where it matters at all in any way what you look like.

Anyway, Doughboy so got his name because if the Pillsbury Doughboy and baby Ron Howard had a lovechild, it would be Doughboy.

doughboy
Just like this, but without a hat.

Poor Doughboy. I felt sorry for him. He was uncomfortable the entire time he was here. I hope he found a nice library to work in.

The Triplets

The triplets aren’t actually related, because that would be weird. They are three twenty-something males who look nearly identical. They’re all roughly the same height and build. They wear the same uniform of skinny jeans, Pumas and “ironic” shirts. They all have the same buzzcut. They are three different nationalities. One is of Mexican descent, one is Filipino and the third is Vietnamese, yet at a glance or from a distance, I cannot tell them apart immediately. Plus, it doesn’t help that they are always together.

Douche

Douche got his name because every time I see the way he parks his car, forcing me to park a few extra spots from the door, I automatically think “douche.” Sometimes, I even say it out loud. I can’t help it. Douche drives a BMW Z4, even though he barely makes above minimum wage. Douche pisses me off because he reflects badly on me as I also drive a BMW. No wonder other people hate BMW drivers. This is how Douche parks:

douche
This is actually a good parking job by Douche standards. You could still park a motorcycle next to him, if anyone at work drove a motorcycle.

If you had to park two spaces farther from the door every day because of that, tell me you wouldn’t call him a douche, too.

TMI girl

TMI girl is a nice enough twenty-something. She and The Snorter are the only female customer service reps for whatever reason. TMI girl really needs a makeover. She is pretty enough, but the way she dresses makes her completely unattractive. It’s as if she doesn’t own a mirror or have any sense of what size she is at all.

Now, I know my muddy Converse and seemingly incessant supply of blue jeans aren’t going to win me any fashion awards, but at least my clothes fit. TMI girl’s clothes are either three sizes too small or three sizes too big. Sometimes, both at once. She’ll wear an enormous pair of jeans that hang about nine inches below her belly button with a shirt that looks like it would fit a five-year old. Those poor seams. I’m not saying she needs to wear a suit to work, but if she compromised and bought things in a size in the middle, we’d all be much happier not to see quite so much of her.

The Cabal

The Cabal is what I call them all together, well, all except the Snorter and Doughboy. When I go outside to lunch or on break, they’re all out there in the parking lot acting like idiots. The Triplets and Douche are pretty tight with Puppy boy bouncing around, trying to fit in. TMI girl isn’t as close with them, but she can usually be found skirting the edges of the group.

I’m sure they probably think I’m a snooty bitch, but I just can’t care. I’ve seen too many of them come and go to want to make friends. If they stick around longer than a few months, maybe I’ll learn their names. Most likely, I won’t though.

Things I Learned About Time Off

photo-8

I took five days off. Well, two of them were the weekend that I would normally get and one was a paid holiday, so I really only took two days off, but I had five days off in a row. In the beginning, I was worried about how I would spend all that time. Now, I’m wondering how I didn’t get more done.

This is a list of things I learned about having time off.

1. My animals are incredibly lazy. I didn’t expect much from the cat since, in the nearly nine years we’ve spent together, I’ve never really known him to do much, but the dog surprised me. This is how my animals spent the vast majority of five days:

photo-8

I’ve been up for two hours already and that is precisely where the cat was when I woke up this morning. He did get up once to eat when I fed him, but then he went right back to his spot. Being a cat, apparently, takes a tremendous amount of energy.

2. There aren’t as many hours in the day as you think there are. At first, I was worried that I would have too much time on my hands and not have enough things to fill my days. It actually turned out to be quite the opposite. I hardly managed to do any of the things I wanted to do.

3. Walk-in closets are dumb. I have a massive closet. It is, quite literally, half the size of my old bedroom. My bathroom and closet together are bigger than the room I previously lived in for nearly five years. Nobody needs that much space. You know why? Because if you have a lot of space, you end up with a lot of stuff. A lot of the stuff I have, I don’t need all the time.

I have a luxurious vibrating foot spa that my best friend and I splurged on a long time ago. We each bought one for the other. I use it every so often when I’m feeling indulgent or when my feet are sore. I have an iron and an ironing board that I might use once or twice a year. I have a hair dryer that I never use since I always let my hair dry naturally. The last person to use it was a house guest. I have a dog crate I don’t need since my dog has the run of the house. These are things I don’t need, but I keep anyway because you just never know. Besides, there’s no reason to get rid of a perfectly good, hardly used hair dryer when someone might need it some day.

When I moved into my new house in August, I threw all this stuff in the closet. I never really organized it. The closet was the last thing to be done and every time I walked in there, I groaned and said to myself, I really need to do something about this. Finally, this weekend, I did. It took three days. Three days! But, we finally have a respectable, organized closet that anyone would be proud to walk through on the way to the cavernous bathroom.

photo-7
Yeah, I have a lot of shoes.

4. It’s way easier to get things done on weekdays. Those big pink bins up there? I had to buy those since I didn’t have enough bins. I went to the store during normal business hours, when I would normally be working. There was nobody there! There were no lines, I didn’t have to say excuse me a million times to get through crowded aisles and there was plenty of parking. Realizing this, I went grocery shopping and to the hardware store to stock up on supplies. I am well stocked in everything and it involved no fuss nor muss.

5. Naps are awesome. I normally only get to nap once during a week on Saturdays. I can’t take naps the rest of the time because I take sleeping pills that require at least eight hours to work so I’m not all zombie the next day. If I take a nap, I won’t be as tired, so the pills won’t be as effective. On Saturdays, it doesn’t matter what time I go to bed, so I take naps. With five days off, I was able to take four naps. I even had some vivid dreams during these naps. Naps are brilliant.

6. I should really take more time off. As I talked about the other day, I don’t take time off unless I need to. I should stop doing that. From now on, at least once a year, I’m going to take at least five days off in a row. While I’m not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, I feel relaxed and well slept. Aaah.

All in all, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted and I hardly managed to do anything that was just straight-up fun, but I did wrestle the closet into submission, so yay me. We should all take more time off.