To Quiet days

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It’s my weekend. 

I slept soundly, and late for me. It was 5:00 when I finally woke up.

I lay there in bed enjoying the contrast between the cool air in the room and the warmth of my bed. My morning wood put a smile on my face, it was nice to just “Be” for a while. 

I’d silenced all the electronics the night before, so there was nothing of the modern world to drag me into my day.

I dozed off & on until about 5:30 then got up made coffee and took a long satisfying morning piss. That’s a highly under-rated experience that we often miss in our rush to get ready for work and get out the door. 

As I get older and the world gets more complex, I find that I’m appreciating the simple things in life. 

I don’t have to be anywhere until my annual physical at 11:20 am. That’s the good news, the bad news is that I can’t have anything to eat, and no sugar in my coffee until afterwards… Grrrr. I’m going to have to work very hard to not be “Hangry”.

By the time I’m finished at the Docs office it will be the middle of the lunch time rush and I’ll be ravenous. The Doc usually has some kind of munchies around his office maybe i’ll make do with something from his place until after the rush then stop for a civilized meal.

A civilized lunch is something I rarely get these days, so I’m looking forward to that.

Iu

I have mixed feelings about seeing the Doc. On the one hand I don’t see him that often and am generally healthy, so our visits are pretty mellow.

On the other hand…

Well he’s gonna do the ol finger up my butt trick. Meh, gotta be done. I just feel like it should have a “Happy Ending”. I mean he’s gonna push and prod a part of my anatomy that is involved in happy endings, so I figure In (ahem) for a penny, in for a pound.

At least I’d leave with a smile on my face!

I don’t mean that disrespectfully toward my Doctor, I just feel like the indignity of the situation should have an up side.

From there, the plan is to meander home to the mountain where I’ll do a mountain of laundry, and shut down the irrigation system for the winter. The irrigation system shutdown shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

After that I’ll probably nap. The laundry won’t need me hovering over it. I’ll set the computer to do most of the monthly maintenance on the home network automatically. It’ll ask me for help if it encounters anything out of the ordinary. The washer and dryer will do their thing and beep at me when they’re done. So I can put on some favorite music and just relax.

Friday, I’ll slug my way 100 miles back down to San Diego and get ready to start the work week. But that’s still a day away, so I’m not going to think about it.

Have a good day

Well Those Chores are done

Weed Whacking, cable devices removed, credenza reworked.

Laundry is running and I’m backing up data on the network at home.

Later today I’ll head back down to San Diego for another installment of Tech Support follies!

I like the new fiber speed up here. Still haven’t figured out why the upload is faster than the download by a significant amount.

Oh hey I can Google it on fiber! Wheee.

Huh, it looks like with fiber, these speeds are normal and in fact the speed I’m seeing here is better than what is advertised. When was the last time you paid for a service, and got more than you paid for?

 Happy Weekend to all.

New Operating Systems

In the last week or so, Apple has updated their IOS and the Mac OS.

Against my better judgement I updated all my devices. Surprisingly, everything worked exactly as expected.

Hey, I can’t ask for more than that.

Now I’m in the process of figuring out how things have changed and how to use all the new features. One thing that has surprised me (even before the OS upgrade) was how much I use my iPad. 

Since I got the iPad Pro I’ve found that I don’t fire up my MacBook Air as often. Don’t get me wrong, that little machine is fantastic, but I really only need it for stuff that requires a lot of computing horsepower.

The iPad handles most all of the day to day computing needs and since I’ve got the cellular version, I’m never wanting for communications. 

I’ve been writing, blogging, emailing, and spreadsheeting using the iPad, it’s handling the job search, and even handles some of my TV / movie watching.  Couple my iPad with a cloud based file sharing program and there’s pretty much nothing I can’t do.

The new OS seems to have made the iPad snappier and I’m using the multitasking and file handling just like I would if I were on my MacBook. 

I noticed that my MacBook burned through a battery charge pretty fast today, I got curious about where my power was going and found that there were a lot of background activities. Looked like they were all “One-off” processes. Stuff like indexing, virus scanning, and other file oriented things. I suspect that those processes will reduce over time since the file system has to be converted. I’m going to be watching battery life over the next few weeks to see if the CPU load drops.

Noticed kind of the same thing with the iPad and iPhone over the first day or two. So I’m thinking that it’s a file system conversion kind of thing.

In all, I’m happy thus far that I did the upgrades and look forward to learning more about the changes in the coming weeks.

If you haven’t upgraded, I’d say go for it. You might appreciate the change.

There comes a time…

I think that time has come.

Dontpanic

Work is stressful, all work, not just the particular job you may have at the time. That’s a given, like stars in the universe, gravity, or water is wet.

But sometimes you come face to face with the realization that the place you work sucks so much that it’s altering you, the person. The you that is kind, reasonable, funny, sensual, and decent.

When you realize you’ve reached that point, you’ve got some choices. You can keep sucking it up and do your job (While looking for another one). You can suffer, allowing the job to irrecoverably change who you are, be in pain all the time, and lose that person you were, then changing into someone you never even wanted to meet. OR you can say “Take this Job and Shove it!

Then you can use your newfound free time to look for a new job, putting all the effort you were using to stay in control, into finding yourself something better to do.

Sad to report I think I’m at that 3rd option.

I’ve grown tired of being tired all the time. I can’t take another person yelling at me for shit that isn’t my fault, I can’t take another minute of feeling like management is looking for some reason to fire me even though I’m doing what the company motto says I’m supposed to do.

Scream

I can’t abide seeing the pain and slow boiling anger in my coworkers faces.

I don’t want to be isolated and alone being unable to interact with my coworkers, except via instant messaging, anymore.

I can’t handle my boss telling us in our meetings how very lucky we are to be employed, (The implication being that he’d happily toss us out the door and bring in a bunch of other workers who would be happy to have the job.)

18 months in, and the work environment has gone from being “Not that great” to being depressing, and if not outright hostile, to being a slow toxic poisoning.

There are no opportunities within the company. There is no recognition of experience or doing the right thing. There is only the never ending drone of “Answer the phones, we’ve got people on hold, what are you doing? Oh you’re on the phone, never mind.”

Don’t talk, don’t go to the bathroom, don’t be late, don’t leave early, don’t be sick, don’t make mistakes, don’t look after your children let your spouse deal… You’re at work now. We OWN you!, don’t don’t don’t ….

The place is about punishment of the workers. Management is really big on THE STICK, not so much about the carrot.

How stop panic attacks step step

I’m seriously considering doing something that is so unbelievably stupid I can’t believe I’m even considering it. I’m considering walking into HR and just handing them my badge.

Things have been getting worse over the past couple of months but the accident catalyzed a series of events that have made working for these people a thousand times more difficult.

When I first started working there, it was pretty good.

You felt like people mostly had your back. You had a hour for lunch, which meant that you could eat out, (Actually leave the campus. San Diego traffic is epically bad! ) On Saturdays and Sundays I’d hop in my car, go to Starbucks and have a more or less civilized breakfast / lunch. I had time to cool down and relax.

During the week when traffic was worse, I’d eat something from the company store, and take a walk on the bike trail that goes through a small wilderness area. It was relaxing and served to reset me from the stresses of the morning phone calls and the whining people trying to cajole me into giving them something for free, as if their nasally “My Chiiiild is X, Y, or Z” was going to move me.

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Look, I’m going to take care of the situation without you doing that. Stop badgering me about your fucking child. I had nothing to do with it’s creation or it’s maintenance. I didn’t put that bun in your oven and aside from my respect for life, I have no interest in it.

Take 5 of those calls in a row and all you want to do is scream.

At the time, the annoyance was balanced by knowing that I’d get to take a walk, enjoy the fresh air, and I could commiserate with my coworkers.

Then about 6 months ago, our lunches were cut to 1/2 hour. This was around the same time that a system of “Occurrences” was instituted. Think of them like demerits. If you were late (regardless of the reason, Flood, Fire, Police activity, Mudslide, Car Accident, etc.) you’d get a demerit. and these add up until the magical number of 12. At that point they fire you.

Walking path

Okay, I see it, but we live in Southern California. The company is in a city that ranks #5 in the nation for bad drivers and driving.

Not really a problem except that the system was, and is, unevenly enforced. If you have a human manager, there is leeway. If you have a manager that is an asshat, well you’re screwed even if you get T-boned on the way to work.

Around the same time, we were moved into an area of the building that was still under construction and almost all of us were sick as dogs Jan through Mar. I mean, they had signs up on the doors warning you as you came in that dust and chemicals being used were known to the state of California to cause various health issues.

I got moved under an open ceiling with an open A/C duct (No grate, just a 12 inch diameter open tube) That thing blew down on me all day every day and required wearing a down coat just to sit at my desk without freezing.

Open Ceiling

The excuse the company uses is “We’re just growing so fast

My manager at the time (one of two decent managers at the company) saw this when he came back from vacation and moved me immediately. He was carting the monitor and I was carrying the computer.  He was honestly pissed off about it.  Sadly, about 4 or 5 months ago he moved out to AZ and I got stuck with my new manager who is frankly… an asshat.

After the accident, I took a few days off. Seemed reasonable, I mean my car was totaled, I was hurt, and it took a day or two to get my shit back togeather. In a reasonable office, that would’ve been no big deal. In this place… well it became literally a fucking Federal case.

Flash forward a couple months and I’m still hurting.

It helps to walk around, and you’d figure that standing up to stretch then walking to an authority figure to ask a question would be ok.

Kill two birds with one stone, get the information you need and stretch out the kinks. In my book that’s a twofer and is faster than typing a message into skype, waiting for a response, then asking another question, waiting for a response, etc.

Well with my boss it’s not. NOW we all have to remain in our seats.

Really?

Romper room marching

What are we running? Romper Room?

Anyhow, it’s been getting worse and with each passing day it takes more energy to not say exactly what I feel. Yesterday, I was already cruising at stress level yellow. I’d just come back from my oh so generous lunch break (eaten alone, as usual because no-one else has the same lunch time,) when back to back to back there are calls from what can only be described as Nutjobs.

One was a woman on some kind of mission to badger the hell out of whoever was unfortunate enough to answer the phone. (I wrote it off as luck of the draw.) I finished the paperwork and answered the next call.

Douche

The next call was an idiot hipster who was crazier than the first person, demanding to know why he was having problems, (of course there are too many variables to give this idiot an exact answer) so my inability to provide an exact answer meant that he had to punish me. Sigh…

The next one was a crazy lady I think I’d spoken to in the past. I remembered her only after she hung up on me hysterically sobbing. Again “Why isn’t this working?” I go through all the troubleshooting and come to the conclusion that she’s not telling me the truth about anything.

I drop back to absolute facts, Device A is communicating properly with device B and therefore the issue is with device C. She doesn’t want to hear that, I can only assume it’s because the truth is inconvenient.

At which point I tell her I’m going to send her a replacement for device C. “I don’t think that’s the problem,” she says choking up.

Hysterical

I reiterate that Device A and B appear to be working and she’s just confirmed it. Now she’s sobbing. I ask how I can help. She replies, “make it work.” As though I have some magic way of correcting the issue across 3000 miles. Then she hangs up on me.

In my head, and it’s my problem, I recognize that. My stress level jumps above redline. I am officially losing control and rage is winning. I realize that the next person who crosses any line with me is going to be the recipient of my full and uncontrolled wrath.

In my head I heard a warning klaxon, and a voice saying, “Warning core breach in 90 seconds, Abandon ship…

If I felt like I could have talked to my manager, or his lead to ask for a few minutes respite to collect my thoughts, I’d have been OK. But THEY BOTH have me on “IGNORE”.  My entreaties for assistance via Skype all morning long have gone unacknowledged and unanswered.

Bad Manager quote

I have no backup or support.

I finish the paperwork to send the sobbing woman Item C. I sit there for a beat or two and realize that I’m exhibiting symptoms of a physiological reaction.

I’m drenched in sweat, my mouth is dry, there’s roaring in my ears, my pulse is pounding like I’m running a marathon, I can’t focus my thoughts and last but certainly not least, I’ve just developed a raging case of the shits!

I take care of the last item first.

Coming back to my assigned seat I get the stink eye from my boss and his underling.

The roaring in my ears comes back louder than before and my gut twists menacingly.

“Right, I think to myself, I’m going to go home to shit my brains out alone.”

League of legends brand 1021336

I collect my belongings, tell the underling that I’m ill and am going home. I was barely holding the anger and panic in check and probably sounded a bit rougher than I intended.

A bonsai run up the freeway later, I arrive at my little crapshack apartment and spend the next 2 hours on “The Throne”

While sitting there, I had time to contemplate.

My conclusion was that I need to quit that place, put it in my rear view mirror and never look back. Grabbing my trusty iPhone I composed my two line resignation letter and uploaded it to my dropbox account.

Hey, at least I had the presence of mind to not send it from the toilet.”

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I decided then and there I was not going to work today. The jury is still out about tomorrow, although the deliberation is leaning heavily toward sending the toilet resignation.

As I attained a calmer frame of mind, I began analyzing what had happened.

Over the past months, I’ve not been sleeping well. I wake several times a night in a blind panic. I’m tired all the time, either from not sleeping or from the constant stress. I’m becoming withdrawn and somewhat antisocial.  All of which is adding up to me becoming less, well… “Me” and generally  becoming humorless and very unhappy.

Happiness isn’t something I expect to have all the time, it’s not even something I expect to have 1/2 the time. But I do expect to be on an even keel. I shouldn’t be dreading going to work. I shouldn’t be afraid of my boss or afraid to make a mistake. This job is, after all simply something I do to pay the bills. I’ve never thought of what I’m doing now, as my future.  It was just a way to make things happen, to experiment, and to weather the storm of shitty employment opportunities until I could return to my actual Career… Whatever that is.

So I’ve sent out a bunch of resumes / job applications, and gotten a bunch of “Hot Job opportunities” from a ton of fly-by-night organizations that appear to have IP addresses originating in India. Which means they’re not opportunities for me, but I suspect are opportunities for someone in India to steal my identity.

I’ll vet the Hot jobs but am not going to hold my breath on any of them.

I’m actually in a better state of mind because I have realized that I can in fact quit this job any time I like. It wouldn’t be easy and financially it would be a disaster, but it might end up being the best course of action if only so that I can regain my balance. Perhaps it would keep me in a frame of mind that is better suited to my finding something better to do.

I’ve also thought about the risky option of going to my bosses boss and asking to be placed on another team and therefore under another boss.

This option is risky because my boss would of course know that I want to get away from him. It would be a ding on his career, (I know several others on the team have asked to be reassigned,) once I make my wishes known, it could make things a lot worse. But I have the opportunity to simply walk the hell out.

In the mean time for as long as I can take it, I’ll keep collecting a paycheck. Paltry as it is, income is income.

I wasn’t going to publish this piece. I thought it was perhaps too whiny, maybe it is.

I decided to press the “Publish” button because it occurred to me that I might not be alone in working for a shitty employer. If that is true, and someone else is struggling with the same kind of crap. Perhaps it would help to know they’re not alone.

SO the take-away is this:

You don’t have to put up with shit. You are still in control and you do have options, even if you can’t see them clearly.

Check out the employment regulations in your state and see if they have an option where you can get unemployment even if you quit the job. You might be able to get unemployment, because the situation you’re working in is just so bad, a reasonable person wouldn’t be expected to remain in such an unreasonable situation.  If your state has regulations regarding this kind of situation, follow their requirements to the letter.

Then if you decide to say “Take this job and shove it” you may still have a small safety net.

From experience, I can say just writing a toilet resignation can go a long way toward helping you regain your control. I don’t recommend sending it while your guts are turning themselves inside out.

Boy! I love warranties

Driving to work at 4am.

I accelerate to pass yet another San Diego asshat driver. Really? The freeway is wide open and you’re playing pacecar, racing me?

Dumbass left in the dust… 

I’m slowing down back to my normal cruising speed. Cruise control takes over and I settle in for the 25 minute ride. Then there’s a little yellow light on the control console. Humm, That looks like a little motor. 

HAL 9000

I ask the computer what’s wrong?

“All systems check OK”

“Are you on acid?”

“All systems check OK”

The computer is giving me two different readings. “Well that’s annoying,” I think to myself.

I also think this is reminiscent of the exchange between David Bowman and HAL in 2001 a Space Odyssey. 

I vaguely remember this symbol being printed on the gas door. Something to do with emissions control. I keep driving but am paying more attention to the control console and the engine status. 

It’s Labor Day, so I know there’s no point trying to get the car to a repair facility. I’ll “baby it” until I get to work, then check the gas cap.

I get to work, & park. I check the gas cap, then screw it back down until it locks.

Heading home after work, the little annoying light is still on.

Okaaay. Something is not right.  I get home and decide that after work tomorrow, I’m going to have to drop the car off at a local dealer to be checked out.

I drop the car off the next afternoon.

The local dealership is nice, efficient and I hope good. I have trust issues with mechanics and dealerships.

The dealership puts me in a fully loaded X3. Nice, if a bit large.

The service guy tells me my car should be ready to go the next day. 

Overheated Car

Late in the afternoon, I get a call from the dealership, it’s a thermostat.

How is that NOT a big enough issue for the computer to scream about?

Oh well, obviously the thermostat broke in the open position. I’m glad I didn’t just write it off as a gas cap and drive to Riverside in the heat.

Not a pretty image!

Anyhow, it’s a free repair. The dealership is going to be free under warranty. 

All in all, aside from the inconvenience of having to take the car to a dealership. It’s a good outcome.

I’ll have my lady back and then figure out what to do with the rest of my “weekend”.

Another Workweek in the bag

And thank GOD!

The place I work is a dumpster fire.

We’re losing people, including a director that has barely been there a year. I can’t blame anyone for leaving, and the fact that people are jumping ship as fast as there are speaks well of the job market.

I’m sitting at a bar waiting on a buddy. We’re going to have beers and burgers and commiserate.

Our workplace is mind numbing. I honestly feel like working there has made me stupid. Perhaps I was stupid for accepting the position in the first place.

We both need to drink and eat, and then forget, if only for a short time what a waste of time the place is.

For fuck sake we’re both better than this, and we both know it. Depression, Stress, and feelings of abject hopelessness are the common elements of being there. Both of us are trying like hell to find something else.

If I could, I’d pimp us both out for sex work. At least then we’d know we’d done a good job and the job was finished.

Humm… Nah! His wife would never go for it!

My buddy said he’d take a job for the same money cleaning toilets. Essentially that’s what we’re doing anyway. He puts it this way, “Our job is to apologize, and give people free shit.”

Sadly, he’s absolutely correct.

I don’t know how much more I can take.

The last time I was this angry and pissed off with a job. It was a company that catered to the entertainment industry. That place was so bad, I threw up every single day, on the way to work.  Eventually, after throwing up on a poor cactus I just stopped going in. I seem to recall their HR finally getting interested and demanding that I make the drive down there to sign paperwork. They threatened to hold my paycheck until I went back in. I told them about this wonderful technology called a FAX machine.

Eventually, they sent me my check.

Then I took them to EDD for breach of contract and won.