jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 04:48 am
Thank you. Actually, I was one of not so many people in my agency who got raises. It came to something like 2%, even though I got what was probably the best review I've ever had (High Maintenance and the Map gave me glowing reviews, as did BC's Finest). Others were not so lucky in my group, and I learned later that the only reason I got a raise was not due to performance but, rather, due to the fact that they were grossly underpaying me. Well, they're still underpaying me. Not to be ungrateful for the little bone they threw me. Anyway, my raise -- for the year -- has already been spent on plumbing. I'm such a wastrel.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 05:55 am
So...without the pathetic raise you would have remained unplumbed?


Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 10:09 am
Those of us living vicariously through you while we should be working, are very grateful for your daily trips to the zoo. Keep up the good work, and please continue to entertain us. Razz
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 12:05 pm
Yep, this is one of the most entertaining threads we've got.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 12:16 pm
I agree, even though I have no clue what she's talking about (duties-wise)... the people interactions are most interesting Very Happy
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 02:45 pm
Mame wrote:
I agree, even though I have no clue what she's talking about (duties-wise)... the people interactions are most interesting Very Happy



The names are rawther Runyonesque.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 06:55 pm
Oh my. Thank you all. Embarrassed

Day two billion, at least

Not much in the way of actual work today, but interpersonal interactions galore.

The Snorter was not in and, rather, was in the NY office. Why the Snorter was there, I have no idea, as the Manager in NY is perfectly capable of doing wonderful things without the Snorter's guidance, plus the Manager in NY is one if not two levels about the Snorter. Hence the Snorter's presence in NY may very possibly simply be shmoozerific. I can't see any other explanation for it.

I spent some time hanging around and some time working on an Access database. I had little guidance but I basically know what's desired so I milked that for work for much of the day. I also had some lovely chats with Boston College's Finest, who has encyclopedic knowledge of the B-52s.

BC's Finest also let me know that there was a communication coming from the agency about our benefits, and it was not happy news. Now, I get my bennies (except the 401(k) plan) through RP anyway, so a reduction in, say, the level of preventative dental care is unpleasant but does not affect me. As they say, when it affects you, it's unpleasant, but when it affects me, it's a tragedy.

Well, the bennies memo comes out, and most of it is eminently skimmable, but there is one fine paragraph that I cannot ignore. That's the one where the unlimited sick leave is (starting the first of the year) turning into a mere five days for a year. If you're out sick for more than five days, whether or not any of them are in a row, they start taking it out of your Short-Term Disability. It made me chuckle a little as Short-Term Disability was abbreviated on the memo. Hence they are taking my sick time out of an STD. I'm juvenile, I admit it.

Later, the Map, the Slacker and The Fashion Victim begin arguing about the true meaning of the word "spry", which the Map used to refer to The Fashion Victim. Now, the Victim is young. Not the youngest person in the group -- that would be the Slacker -- nor the second-youngest -- that would be Canadian #2. But the Victim is still pretty dang young. Hence I actually agree with the Slacker that the term "spry" seems like an old man phrase, but who knows? The Map looks it up and the old man connotation is apparently all in our heads. Spry has nada to do with being elderly or male or both. It just has to do with being limber, supple, that kinda thing. The Victim is placated, the Slacker is slightly cowed at getting it wrong, and life goes on.

This is not the first semantics argument. Back last week, when there was a big honkin' meeting (I was working on the big honkin' book, hence I missed the big honkin' meeting), the Slacker was dressed in a grey suit. And the argument, which involved the Slacker, High Maintenance, the Victim, the Map and, peripherally, the Smoker, was as to whether that particular shade was "charcoal". There was debating back and forth. Words were said. Voices even raised slightly -- all to the almighty question of whether the shade was charcoal. It was never resolved, although it was decided that it was not ash grey. Me, I have no idea. I rarely talk to the Slacker, let alone feast my eyes on the Slacker's gloriousness, so my input regarding suit shade is, admittedly, useless. Whether you spell it gray or grey (I like that spelling, it seems more somber to me, which is kinda the idea when it comes to grey), the discussion was still of little meaning.

Another fashion argument arose around the concept of a Black and White Ball (Party). The Victim's parents were attending one, and there was much discussion as to whether other colors would be permitted. Colors of clothing, that is. The Map looked up black tie affairs but that's not the same thing. I don't recall how that one was resolved, either, but that's what passes for learned discourse around the office unless American Idol is on.

American Idol, to me, is a supreme waste of time. This is where the Slacker and I actually have something in common, as the Slacker practically spit on the carpet when confronted with the fact that most of the remainder of the group would, once their beloved American Idol returned to the airwaves, be possessed by it and scarcely able to discuss anything else. I lived through the last American Idol onslaught and got to hear all about Sanjaya Maliakar, a person who has been riding the fame train based on hair and the redial power of a number of call centers. Vapidity, thy name is Sanjaya.

It's coming soon. The new season. I can hear the whoosh of vapidity hurtling toward me, like a freight train on tracks slicked by the World's Largest Tub of Vaseline. It will land with a sploosh in January, when the new season begins. I am hoping to score a pair of good ear plugs for Chanukah before then.

Perhaps I'll be able to drown out the dreaded inevitable sploosh.
0 Replies
 
margo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Nov, 2007 08:21 pm
Jeez! Sounds like a fun place to work!
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:10 pm
(they all need her to correct her TPS report...)
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:18 pm
Region Philbis wrote:
(they all need her to correct her TPS report...)


She has a Throttle Position Sensor report?
how's that work?
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:27 pm
is that what it stands for?

i always thought it was Totally Pointless Stuff...
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 12:32 pm
I was raised by cars, sorry. Rolling Eyes
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 02:13 pm
Don't be sorry - you gave me great advice! Have I thanked you yet? If not, THANKS!
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Nov, 2007 02:17 pm
Your very welcome, Mame, and totally pointless stuff says a lot about me as well.

No fun being Normal. Cool
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 05:49 am
A day for peripherals

Peripheral, as in the stuff that surrounds work but isn't work. In short, commuting.

Yesterday was a typical day as I left the office at 4 (I do this because I usually walk in at 7, 7:30) and hustled over to South Station. There I saw Favorite Newspaper Distributor, who smiled and said hello and handed me a copy of Boston Now.

Now, Boston Now is not a real hard news newspaper. It's a free rag, providing love and support for folks who would otherwise be homeless (a study was published recently, and not in Boston Now, and apparently those folks make about $9/hr). It has competition, too: Spare Change (the original, granddaddy of 'em all) and The Boston Metro. Spare Change is handed out by Guy Who Should Be Fishing (at least he looks like he'd enjoy it) and The Boston Metro is given out by Metro Baritone and The Good Morning Lady.

The Metro Baritone has a lovely singsong delivery that makes me smile every time I hear it: "Metro! Metro! Getcher free Metro here! Don't say no to the Metro!" The long o's are drawn out, lower in pitch yet higher in volume than the rest of the delivery, so it sounds more like "Doooon't say noooooo to the Metroooooo!"

The Good Morning Lady is, of course, found only in the mornings. Unlike the others, she actually hangs around inside South Station, as opposed to outside of it. This is smart, as winter is rapidly approaching. She smiles a lot and reminds me a little of my Aunt L___, even though the only thing they have in common is a sweet wide-cheeked smile. The Good Morning Lady calls people hon and sweetie and missie and sir and young man. I get hon or sometimes lady. She has her place staked out near the turnstiles.

Guy Who Should Be Fishing seems to be quitting smoking and is only seen in the afternoons. He's out near the Farmers' Market and his only words are "Spare Change Newspaper" although he often changes it up by putting more emphasis on the last syllable, or elevating the pitch slightly, as if he were unsure as to the name of what he was handing out. "Spare Change Newspaper?"

This gets me back to Favorite Newspaper Distributor, who used to hand out Spare Change but apparently moved up a little in the world and instead hands out Boston Now. Favorite Newspaper Distributor is a woman, probably close in age to me and not terribly physically attractive. But she's always smiling, and hands out endearments about as often as The Good Morning Lady. I look at Favorite Newspaper Distributor and sometimes see a little of myself, if I had not had good fortune in my life. And Favorite Newspaper Distributor seems to be pulling herself up by her bootstraps, and I can tell it's hard. So, no matter what, I take whatever Favorite Newspaper Distributor is handing out, even though Boston Now's motto really should be: All the Sudoku we can print. They have three puzzles. Every day. Aside from some fluffy sports coverage and the weather, their claim to fame is Sudoku. Sudoku on the go. 'Cause you just can't have enough Sudoku.

Oh -- last night, as I was leaving, I went down in the elevator with Deer Caught in the Headlights. The Deer is very nice (The Deer is dear) and sits beyond where the well-built androids sit. The Deer is pregnant with her second child and is suffering from some serious morning sickness. Poor Deer.
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 08:40 am
Does Boston Now take submissions? You could publish these, jes.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 06:35 pm
Wow, thank you. I'll ask Fave Paper Distributor if she knows anything re how to contact their office.

Day Six Thousand (in dog years?)

In physics, one of the things we learn is that smaller objects will, given gravity, karma and a good shove from pixies, revolve around larger or more massive ones. In some ways, our group revolves around O'Blivious. But in others, I kid you not, it revolves around dual nodes: High Maintenance and yours truly.

Now, I never wanted to be the focus. HM probably does, and I assume such things are good for HM's career and I begrudge this person nothing. So it's just, well, odd, that me, a temp (and not even working for the in-house agency) would be one of the foci.

It happened this way: I've become almost zen in my calmitude, and that's the key while the rest of the group (except for HM) are running around like nuts. Some of this undoubtedly has to do with caffeine consumption. I drive coffee in the mornings, like many people do, but I just have the one big cup (in a travel mug, so as to keep me from spilling all over myself. That's a constant danger, even though my office is stationary). But that's it for caffeine; once it's done I switch to herbal tea. HM does the same except it's a switch to water.

The rest of the group, though, gets coffee (or, in the case of the Smoker, nicotine), numerous times in any given day. Coffee in the lunchroom. Coffee across the street. Coffee next door to our building. Coffee in their cars as they drive to work. Coffee seeping through the air vents for all I know. Coffee, coffee, coffee, all day long, a ritual of caffeine, sugar and hundreds of those little creamers.

The other day the Map OD'd on coffee and proceeded to get considerably louder than usual. The Map can be loud most of the time anyway, but the Map is generally funny so that's fine. But this time it was the sound of rising and diversifying panic, pinging off the cubicle walls and whizzing through the air like just so many mosquitoes. Why the panic? I have no idea. Something was due. Something had to be done. Something could not wait. But something else was blocking it. No one asked me for help. It was just a lot of vocalized panic.

HM and I caught each other's eyes and shrugged. The remainder of the group hovered, chatted, buzzed, pinged and twirled. HM and I sat and did our work. HM sipped water. I sipped tea. O'B came out of the office, and told the Map that the first row (Canadian #2, Disorganized Luddite with Sick Cat, BC's Finest and Person with Cute Dog) were all wearing eyephones because of the Map's loud cosmic freak-out. The Map apologized, but it was so fast and nutty that it sounded like just so many skeeters buzzing near a bug zapper.

Fortunately, today, the Map was better. But this all goes in cycles, I know. The skeeters will return and, whether it's the Map or the Smoker or the Fashion Victim, someone will kick it into a caffeine-fueled high panic mode and the foci will sit and sip and, if necessary, slap on some DEET.
0 Replies
 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 08:27 pm
eyephone

http://www.nottinghamretinopathy.co.uk/images/eyephone.jpg
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Nov, 2007 12:41 pm
Ah, thanks for posting that. That reminds me.

Day Eleventeen

The telephone. Alex Bell really had a good idea, eh? Well, sure he did. Except when it comes to how it's mutated into the godforsaken bit of annoyance it now is.

In my last job, we had actual offices with doors and ceiling to floor walls, so it was rare that you heard a cel phone. Sometimes, during a meeting, one would go off, but it was a vibration and never a ring. People took their calls quickly and quietly and/or left the room.

Shift gears to now. It's a cube farm (except for O'B's brand-spankin' new office) and everyone has a cel phone. Yes, I do, too (except mine's never on).

A cel phone here, a cel phone there. Here a cel, there a cel, everywhere a cel, cel. And they all have ringtones. Two different people have the theme from National Public Radio's All Things Considered. There's at least one poppy disco number. Another that's almost like computer noises. Another that's more percussive.

They go off. Repeatedly. Almost every day. O'B and High Maintenance get the most calls, and HM has multiple ringtones. So HM will hear the phone and pick it up and greet a family member or coworker or whoever, based on the ringtone. Now, the Map has a Blackberry and a cel phone. These all hang on the Map's belt or sit on the Map's desk, often underneath piles of paper. The Blackberry vibrates so it's always fun to see a mound of papers shake and shimmy because a vibrating Blackberry is trapped underneath. The Fashion Victim also gets calls, but fewer.

Now, aside from increasingly loud and weird ringtones (and Canadian #2 is a gadget lover, so the ringtone gets louder and more obnoxious until that phone is answered), the real issue is that there is zero privacy. Except for O'B's office, with its shuttable door, there is simply nowhere to go. I called my brother the other day and we spoke briefly. And he was asking me a bunch of stuff at work and I'm having the kind of convo with him where I kind of hum and stammer and hesitate in weirdly semi-meaningful manners in the hopes that he will figure out that I cannot talk. Even after specifically saying, I have no privacy, the questions continue.

So I hear everyone's business, and they hear mine, and the cel phones come in mighty handy if people would actually, I dunno, take them elsewhere. I can see going into the lunchroom or hallway or downstairs or even outside the building, with the cel phone. Or just saying, Can I call you back? But no, they all take the calls and then they're all loud so everything is out in the open as if it were an exercise in group therapy. I'm not above eavesdropping, but this is too much and it's certainly nothing juicy. While I can tell who is having love life problems or the like, I just don't want to hear it. It's not that I want these people to feel personal pain, but enough already. Vacations and automobile purchases are also main topics of conversation on the ubiquitous cel phones.

I don't want to hear about the cruises. Or the Honda. Or the spouse who won't pick up socks off the floor. While I'm sure that my conversations about such things are equally fascinating, that's what they are: my conversations. It's a drawn line, or at least it should be, and I think that's where I get peeved. I just want a drawn line or at least a less blurry one, between work and these people's home lives. They may feel that comfortable and easy with me or at least with one another, but that does not mean that I feel the same. Privacy. What a concept.
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Nov, 2007 11:41 am
Day Six or more

I haven't posted much because there, frankly, hasn't been too much happening. So I'll just toss in some snatches of my recent existence.

Several days ago, the Snorter was yapping on and on about something about Taylor Ham and then turned to me (I wasn't paying attention because I could scarcely care less) and demanded that I discuss Taylor Ham. So I said, "I don't know it." And the Snorter demanded, "But you're a New Yorker! You must!" Me: "I don't eat it." Snorter: "But you've been to delis." Me: "I go to kosher delis."

Snorter finally takes a hint and walks away. Someone -- probably the Map -- tells Snorter that, sheesh, jes keeps kosher, ham isn't kosher, can't you put two and two together? Snorter returns and apologizes and I explain that this is outside my realm of experience.

Anyway, this is not the only time that the Snorter has operated under the assumption that everything about the Snorter is universal and universally fabulous and, if we are not all like the Snorter, then we all want to be like the Snorter and that's good enough. That is, last year (and perhaps it is the holiday season that really brings it out of the Snorter) around this time, a propos of absolutely nothing at all, the Snorter turned to me and said, "Well, the nuns were right!" Me: "Huh?" Snorter: "You know, they were right." Me, warming to the subject: "Oh, really? Was it their kickass fashion sense or something else?" Snorter, finally realizing/remembering that I'm the only Jew in the department (I'm not any more): "Oh, um, yeah." Walks away.

Weird.

In other news, I Need a Stamp came over last week. I Need a Stamp is exactly as advertized -- this person rarely comes over unless they, you guessed it, need a stamp (and often also an envelope). Now, Boston is a large city, full of post offices and other places to buy stamps, such as small stores and even the occasional ATM. Hell, you can buy stamps from online and never set foot in the post office. As for envelopes, they are available at any given Star Market. These are not obscure items. They are not rare collectibles, difficult to find and exhorbitant in price.

It's a freakin' stamp, for cryin' out loud, and I Need a Stamp (INAS) cannot ever get around to buying one. Or several. This is probably for the mailing of INAS's mortgage. So -- here's a wild concept -- go to the post office (or online; yes, you can do it!), and get 100 stamps. They don't go up in price any more so consider it a $40+ investment. Use to send mortgage payments. Given that this is a once a month dealio, 100 stamps will last INAS for about 8+ years, or until the early part of 2016. Since the Mayans are predicting earthly destruction in 2012, maybe this is too absorbing an investment. Fine. Then make it 50 stamps.

INAS, at least, will offer to pay for said stamps. I think it's just the errand thing, as in, I can't be bothered to run my own errands so I'm counting on you to have run them for me. I do not mind helping people out who have an occasional need. I recognize that sometimes you just don't get around to things. But every month? Surely you jest. That's not even a lack of planning -- that's a very specific mental block.

Yeah, you need a stamp. Well, sorry. I have my own errands to run.

PS I remembered this song (by The Refreshments) and am dedicating it to this topic:

Banditos

Quote:
So just how far down do you want to go
And we could talk it out over a cup of joe
And you could look deep into my eyes
Like I was a super-model
Uh-huh

Well, it's you and me baby no one else we can trust
We'll say nothin' to no one no how or we bust
And never crack a smile
Or flinch or cry for nobody
Uh-uh

Well give your ID card to the border guard
Yeah, your alias says you're Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Of the United Federation of Planets
'Cause he won't speak English anyway

Everybody knows
That the world is full of stupid people
So meet me at the mission at midnight
We'll divvy up there

Everybody knows
That the world is full of stupid people
Well I got the pistol so I'll keep the Pesos
Yeah and that seems fair

So put the sugar in the tank of the sheriff's car
And slash the deputy's tires and they won't get very far
When they finally get the word
That there's been a hold-up uh-huh

Well give your ID card to the border guard
Yeah, your alias says you're Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Of the United Federation of Planets
'Cause he won't speak English anyway

Everybody knows
That the world is full of stupid people
So meet me at the mission at midnight
We'll divvy up there

Everybody knows
That the world is full of stupid people
Well I got the pistol so I'll keep the Pesos
Yeah and that seems fair
0 Replies
 
 

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Adventures in Job Searching - Discussion by jespah
Remembrance of Dispatches Past - Discussion by jespah
 
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