Posts tagged with "work" - Faerye Net 2011-03-22T12:42:20+00:00 Felicity Shoulders How did we get here? 2011-03-22T12:42:20+00:00 2011-03-22T12:50:52+00:00 <p>Yesterday <a href="" target="links">Ryan</a> and I continued our Peter Weir kick (which has <a href="" target="links">already taught me</a> that Australia itself, not just its fauna, wants to eat you) by rewatching <a href="" target="links"><em>The Truman Show</em></a>. In case you don&#8217;t remember, Truman&#8217;s annoying TV-wife does forced, saccharine product-placement bits and nags him to have a kid to complete their suburban-perfection lifestyle. Her character-within-a-character is incredibly conservative, intrinsically conservative in the textbook sense: she functions to keep Truman the same; she is the caretaker of their retro, confined fantasy of a white middle-class heterosexual utopia.</p> <p>And, trying to smooth over Truman&#8217;s accidental glimpse into a backstage area through an elevator door, she tells him about an &#8220;elevator disaster downtown&#8221; caused by &#8220;those non-union workers. Monstrous!&#8221;</p> <p>I have to admit, this threw me for a moment. The climate has turned against unions so fast that this line, from a 1998 movie, seems nonsensical. Sure, thanks to a tip from <a href="" target="links">Camille Alexa</a> I know that <a href="" target="links">Ronald Reagan said unions were a basic right</a>. But in spite of his conservative canonization, Reagan was a while ago. In just 13 years, we&#8217;ve gone from an artificial shill of corporations and conservatism casually lambasting non-union labor to the <span class="caps">GOP</span> trying to break the back of unions across the country.</p> <p>I like to understand why things are happening. We all do: that&#8217;s why conspiracy theories are so popular, because lack of explanation is primally terrifying. But more, as a history nerd and someone who thinks in stories, I want to know how we got here from there. I&#8217;m going to have to read up on it, because it boggles the mind. It seems like a nationwide revolution has been accomplished by sleight-of-hand within my lifetime. How can the wind change so entirely in such a short time? Why is the history of labor in America so often hidden history, when this is a country built by greed and baptized in the sweat of workers?</p> POOR man's latte? 2007-05-07T23:59:12+00:00 2008-06-08T13:28:53+00:00 <p>There&#8217;s a petty little custom I was taught at Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa to call &#8220;the poor man&#8217;s latte&#8221;. Someone comes in and orders a few shots of espresso, but over ice in a big cup. He then fills the cup the rest of the way with half-and-half from the condiment bar, usually shielding it with his body because somehow he thinks the Queequeg Qrew doesn&#8217;t get precisely what he&#8217;s doing. He thus gets an iced breve latte for significantly less money.</p> <p>Some people say, &#8220;Where&#8217;s the harm?&#8221; It&#8217;s worth debating, perhaps. It cheeses off the brewed coffee and americano customers (for whom the half-and-half is provided) to find the pitcher empty constantly because some yabbo took 16 ounces of it. It creates more labor for the Qrew to constantly replenish the condiment pitchers because of this (which probably, unless the company higher-ups are very clever, will eventually result in the brewed coffee prices going up.) It also signals an amazing lack of self-awareness (&#8220;I am totally the first person to think of this, and those Queequeggers have NO idea I&#8217;ve hoodwinked them!&#8221;) and self-respect. Really, guys, you aren&#8217;t Jean Valjean stealing a loaf of bread. You&#8217;re not Robin Hood stickin&#8217; it to the man. You&#8217;re trying to get a fancy-ass espresso drink for cheap. How petty.</p> <p>And in case anyone thinks, &#8220;Oh, they probably really can&#8217;t afford the drink they want! Poor bebbies!&#8221; I&#8217;d like to share my amazement. The other day a guy ordered a poor man&#8217;s latte in a particularly annoying way. He asked for straight shots of espresso with flavored syrup, then asked the Qrew-member at the handoff for a cup of ice; thus an extra cup was expended so he could feel as if he&#8217;d deceived the Qrew. At the condiment bar, he hid his drink with his body as he poured the shots and syrup over the ice and filled it with half-and-half. So wily!</p> <p>Then he threw out the wasted cup and carried his drink to his <em>Hummer H3</em>.</p> <p>I weep for humanity.</p> Inappropriate Workplace Humor Redux 2006-12-17T20:07:48+00:00 2008-06-08T12:22:40+00:00 <p>I have to suppress even more stuff now that I&#8217;m employed as a crew-member at Queequeg&#8217;s Qoffee Qasa than I did <a href="">in my office jobs</a> are a few remarks I did <b>not</b> say over the past week.</p> <p>&#8220;Little girl, you are so cute that you look eerily like an <a href=";catalog_num=122&#38;design_spin=1&#38;catalog_threadpos=1&#38;cat_spin=0&#38;m_name=LUTS%2DKID+DELF&#38;spin=y" target="links">Asian ball-jointed doll</a>!&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Hi, fellow Queequeg crew member. Your name means &#8216;sorrow&#8217; in Latin and mine means &#8216;happiness&#8217; &mdash; we should be archenemies and fight to the death!&#8221; </p><p>And just today&#8230;&#8221;Here&#8217;s your drink&#8230;say, the color of your shirt would denote you an archbishop within the Episcopal Church!&#8221;</p> <p>Yes, I do indeed keep myself in check.</p> It's official... 2006-09-04T21:30:06+00:00 2008-06-08T13:28:14+00:00 <p>I hear one has no cred as a starving artist until one gets a day job, so I hastened out and got one. I now sling beans and brew at a coffee establishment that shall remain nameless. I am waiting for the cred to start rolling in!</p> What I'm doing 2006-01-31T16:36:19+00:00 2008-06-08T15:16:40+00:00 <p>It occurs to me that I haven&#8217;t updated ye olde blogge about my work situation since I was sent off into the wilderness by my last employer.</p> <p>Well, after a lot of soul-searching, bitterness at the workaday world, and consultation with my family, I have ended up deciding to apply to grad school. The application deadlines are fast approaching, and getting into a school is pretty much my job at present. I&#8217;m applying to low-residency <span class="caps">MFA</span> Creative Writing programs, so every day is a struggle to believe in myself and the quality of my writing. <a href="" target="links">My sister</a> has been an amazing source of strength, support and ego-stroking. If all goes well, I will work on my grad degree from home for two or three years (varies by program) and continue to work from home on my writing after that.</p><P>Now just be dears and cross your fingers for me. <em>wanders away muttering, &#8220;I AM a good writer, <span class="caps">I AM</span> a good writer&#8221;</em></p> You know you're at work too late when... 2005-05-17T18:55:34+00:00 2010-08-03T13:00:25+00:00 <p>People in Taipei and Tokyo are sending you RSVPs via e-mail. <em>*sigh&#42;</em></p> Petty Peevishness II 2005-04-15T08:53:59+00:00 2009-01-28T16:38:24+00:00 <p>This annoyance is not brought to you from <a href="" target="links">the web</a>, but rather from the Wide World of Business. At my first permanent job, I thought this error was simply a strange mistake of a co-worker&#8217;s; now that I have entered said w.w. of b., I seem to see it everywhere.</P><p><a href="" target="links"><b>upcoming</b></a>: Occurring soon; forthcoming.</p> <p><a href="" target="links"><b>up and coming</b></a>: Showing signs of advancement and ambitious development (often, something which has achieved some measure of success &#8212; &#8216;up&#8217; &#8212; and is on its way to more.)</p> <p>This really, truly, does not seem so difficult to me. And yet it seems that every single bleedin&#8217; thing that will happen soon is &#8216;up &amp; coming&#8217;. Well, world, let me inform you (by posting it on the internet where you won&#8217;t see it) this week&#8217;s lunch specials are <span class="caps">NOT</span> marked by signs of ambitious development! Neither is a meeting of store managers on its way to greatness merely because it will transpire this month! <a href="" target="links">Promising band</a>? Up and coming. <a href="">Bad movie release</a>? Upcoming. <a href="" target="links">Christopher Nolan</a>? Up and coming. Trip to the grocery store? Upcoming. I know you can do it, world!</p> On the hyphen 2005-02-17T16:53:30+00:00 2010-10-26T22:46:11+00:00 <p>I would hesitate to name any punctuation mark more abused than the hyphen. Whilst the apostrophe, perhaps, is more widely, obviously, and painfully misused, the hyphen maintains its primacy in the department of pervasive subtle confusion. For while it is fairly simple to tell someone the apostrophe&#8217;s <em>proper</em> usage, and the explanation touches only on one or two of the eccentricities of our mother tongue, one finds oneself almost at a loss to explain in words what is wrong with someone&#8217;s hyphenation, or lack thereof. The hyphen is a magic symbol, able to transform nouns into adverbs and effortlessly merge two words into a chimaera. Its absence or misuse pulls subtly at the meaning of sentences, snatches clarity away, delays the mind, but does not leap up and trill &#8216;look at me, I&#8217;m wrooooooong!&#8217; like so many erring punctuation marks do. Or at least they do to me, and apparently to <a href="" target="links">Tycho</a>.</p> <p>I had very little formal training in punctuation. The only classes I can recall in it were a brief series of lessons on colons and semicolons and why we must <em>never again confuse the two thank you very much</em> in eighth grade. I very much wonder whether <em>anyone</em> gets formal training in punctuation these days, because my professional life seems often to consist of picking hyphens out of words and nestling them in between other ones. </p><p>Today I compiled several passages and blurbs written by several different people, and had to restandardize English in deciding which words were truly compound and which deserved hyphens. I can tell my new foes are going to be &#8216;on site&#8217;, &#8216;on-site&#8217;, and &#8216;onsite&#8217;; just as at my first permanent job they were &#8216;off topic&#8217;, &#8216;off-topic&#8217;, and &#8216;offtopic&#8217;. For some reason the same person will oscillate between these isoforms, let alone three or six different people! At my last job, every time I proofread a scientific paper I just about broke even on hyphens; pull about 13 out, plunk about 15 in. I would creep into the scientist&#8217;s offices and ask them detailed questions about their procedures and findings to determine the correct grammatical relationship of one biochemical word to another; and I would explain to them brightly why you really shouldn&#8217;t put a hyphen between an adverb and the verb it modifies. </p><p>My freshman year in high school I drew a picture of the three great gods of the Hindu pantheon. Brahma created, Shiva destroyed, and between, Lord Narayana, the great Vishnu, &#8216;maintaining and ordering&#8217; creation. Long was I stymied, for how does a mediocre artist portray the act of &#8216;maintaining and ordering&#8217; in a 3&#8243;&#215;4&#8243; space? Finally I drew him passing his hand over a jumble of lines, all the same length but jumbled in angle and distribution, crossing and leaning on each other in chaos. Where his blue hand had been, the lines appeared in tidy ranks, lined up like iron molecules in igneous rock. Sometimes, when I am up to my frontal lobes in hyphens, I remember that picture and feel that organizing short lines is <em>my</em> cosmic function!</p> Union rules to the left of me, budget cuts to the right... 2004-10-04T09:10:03+00:00 2010-08-03T13:00:58+00:00 <p>I got to work on Friday and got called into the Department Head&#8217;s office. I asked him if I was in trouble, and he went off in a little paean about how great I am and how little I deserve to be in trouble&#8230;and told me I was in trouble.</p> <p>See, my position is Union-represented. Among the various benefits of this&#8212;which mostly affect the blue-collar Union-represented positions&#8212;and the costs of it&#8212;which mostly affect the white-collar positions like mine&#8212;is that, should a person be laid off from their job, she gets to look down a list of jobs with non-senior people in them, and just take one. &#8220;Bumping,&#8221; they call it.</p> <p>So, Bush cuts the <span class="caps">NIH</span> budget&#8212;maybe this is trickle-down economics in action&#8212;and the next thing I know, someone laid off at another institute is taking my job. Nothing anyone can do about it. The left wing and the right wing of American politics have conspired to screw me over.</p> <p>So tomorrow I get to meet with a Union representative so he can tell me my options&#8212;which, as I understand it, include taking any of several open positions on the Main Campus downtown (I will <span class="caps">NEVER</span> <span class="caps">WORK</span> <span class="caps">DOWNTOWN</span> <span class="caps">AGAIN</span>. And why couldn&#8217;t this laid-off woman take an <span class="caps">OPEN</span> position instead of a filled one?) or bumping some other person. I&#8217;m storing up a good supply of invective for the occasion. Here&#8217;s what I&#8217;m planning so far:</p> <p>&#8220;I think this entire system is reprehensible. It ensures that pain and inconvenience are brought to the maximum number of people. I&#8217;m without a job, whoever is taking my position is going to be trying to fit herself into a position she is probably not well-suited for, and the institution, the scientists, and the research we are supposedly here for will all suffer. I will not condone or take advantage of a system which reduces people to interchangeable cogs in a machine.&#8221;</p><p>I&#8217;m not sure whether or not to add, &#8220;Take your bumping and shove it.&#8221;</p> A new archvillain in Felicityland 2004-01-15T14:02:02+00:00 2010-11-11T13:38:52+00:00 <p>Up until today, if you had asked me what was the Archvillain that sporadically wreaks his wicked will upon the innocent idyll of my workaday world, I would have instantly &#8211; well, okay, after some quandary, it&#8217;s that idyllic &#8211; told you, the <span class="caps">IBM</span> Correcting Selectric II.</p> <p>Perhaps the name is strange to you, you that toil not in the triplicate-form areas of life. The term &#8220;correcting&#8221; means &#8216;able to perform the action &#8220;delete&#8221;&#8217; and the name &#8220;Selectric&#8221; is meant to imply pithily that the object in question is electric. Perhaps by now you have put it together &#8212; something that can do and be both these things, and yet it is worth noting and advertising that it is and does&#8230;it is indeed a typewriter. And not just any typewriter. It is a huge beast of a machine, probably over fifty pounds in weight. Its very presence on my first day at work, lurking at the left hand of my computer chair, filled me with a nameless dread. In using it, this dread was long justified. It is willful and demanding. I must hold down keys in exactly the right combination in order to erase a mistake, an art which long eluded me. After &#8220;correcting&#8221;, the next letter typed will neither appear in ink nor advance the paper, so that each corrected mistake may, if unheeded, sprout more mistakes, like a typographical hydra.</p> <p>Today, however, I typed a couple of forms on the infernal machine. My fingers fumbled only a few times, and the correction process, while still baroque, went by painlessly. Flushed with victory and glad not to be in the embarassing situation of yelling &#8220;<span class="caps">KHAAAAAAAAAN</span>!&#8221; inexplicably at my workplace, I moved on to the next task, faxing something somewhere. I searched about for the fax cover sheet used at the Center, and discovered to my horror that it exists in WordPerfect, a strange limbo where things are not truly as they seem and formatting is treacherous and arcane.</p> <p>My problems with the program may seem, to you, small. I changed some formatting, and tried, from habit, to repeat the action on the next selection with ctrl-Y, only to be informed that macro ctrlY was unknown. I finished and printed the document, only to find that, as I had a section of text selected, that section was printed alone on a white expanse, suspended at its proper location in an otherwise invisible sea of text. These are not perhaps the epic struggles with which my old and now forgiven foe <span class="caps">IBM</span> Correcting Selectric II once plagued my merry existence. However, oh great anguish and woe&#8230;these software foibles that beset me&#8230;<b>I cannot blame Microsoft for them!</b></p> <p><span class="caps">KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN</span>!</p>