Painty Weekends and Refrigerated Trees

April 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm (Uncategorized)

Yeah, still a whole lotta nothin’ goin on.
Last weekend Labgirl and I went to the Classics and Chrome car show here in town, and, well, it was really rather boring. The did have a few nice cars, including my dream car, my beloved Ferrari F355 Spyder which I promised Labgirl I would buy as soon as I turn independently wealthy (and learn to drive a stick), but they didn’t, you know, do anything… there was no entertainment, only a couple of gymnasiums worth of parked cars to look at, which we did, twice, in probably an hour or less.

Then this weekend we’re just coming off of, I spent at Labgirl’s house helping her paint. The living room is now a sort of khaki green, the kitchen a rather bright yellowish green, and the dining room is purple. Yes, purple.
I helped pick out the greens. The purple… not so much. Plus, it was supposed to be a really deep eggplant shade of purple… and yeah, no so much there either. Looks more like Barney the dinosaur purple. Next to green. Yeah.
I do believe she is strongly considering buying more paint.

Work outlook continues to get worse – almost the entire office is in a bad mood now.
I mentioned to a coworker a couple of weeks ago that I thought that this new client, which is the one most of the office is working under, would tear the company apart. And it’s happening, rapidly. Almost everyone I talk to tells me the only singular thing keeping them from walking out is that they haven’t found anything else yet (and by the way, many of them have jobs that I would take over my own in a minute).
A couple of days ago a local hospital placed a job ad online for a janitor – they must have gotten swamped, because they pulled it already – I was going to apply myself tonight. I highly doubt I they would have hired me – most employers don’t like placing employees into jobs they haven’t done before, but it would have been worth a shot.

And you know, I have a tree in my refrigerator. Work gave everybody a baby tree in recognition of Earth Day.
Yeah. I live in an apartment. Apartments + planting trees = also not so much.
As it so happens somebody on the local Freecycle was looking for a tree to plant with their kids on Friday, so I was like hey, just so happens I have a tree, you’re welcome to swing on by and get it fi you’d like.
They responded saying they’d be happy to take it off my hands, and where do I live.. and I told them the general area, and now it’s been 3 days and I haven’t heard back from them yet.
Jeeze – my neighborhood isn’t that bad…

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OK, resume’s have been posted…

April 18, 2009 at 2:05 pm (Uncategorized)

Time to see if the bait catches any fish…

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*Trying* not to be negative, but…

April 18, 2009 at 10:46 am (Uncategorized)

OK after the first near-week of my “new job,” it looks like this one may, although I wasn’t sure it was possible, pay even less than the previous one.
The area seems to have limited work to be done, and if there isn’t work to do, nobody gets paid.
In fact, my new coworkers have pretty much told me that it’s been slow for a little while now, so they are absolutely perplexed why the management would add on another person to the team.
I actually emailed my supervisor (actually as of Wednesday previous supervisor, as with my change in job duties came a change in management) and straight-out asked her if there was not another area of the company that could not better use my help. She responded stating that she discussed it again with the office director, and that it was again determined this was the only possible place I could be moved.
To be followed about three hours later by others in my cubicle saying rumor has it that one of the other groups is bringing on a bunch of people soon.
You know, I thought my previous employer was bad about feeding bullshit to their employees, but this one has them topped by far.

[Oh, and it’s a very small matter compared to the other stuff – but as of Friday it was announced that they’ve decided that they can no longer afford to give free coffee to the employees, so next week they’re installing a vending machine instead. I bought a Thermos last night so I can bring my own – I’m not going to pay for the “privilege” of drinking nasty-ass vending machine coffee.]

I did more digging about electrician training today – LabGirl has been kind of subtly encouraging me to go in that direction as well, but I haven’t because of concerns I still have from when I discussed the topic a few months ago.
This morning I found a recent newsletter from one of the local electrician’s unions, and there was a small section in it about apprenticeships, and it wasn’t encouraging at all – in a nutshell it said something along the lines of “Work continues to be slow right now, and currently we only have a few lineman trainees starting training for apprenticeship.”
So really I’m not sure I want to put a bunch of time and effort (and probably lost wages) into a job field where I may not be able to find a job. I’ll continue to keep an eye on it, though.

The updated resume’ is just about ready to go; I think I did the best I could in trying to make my rather repetitive “could be done by a trained chimp” job history with this employer sound more appealing, and I have a new toner cartridge on the way as the one I have is being flakey and I don’t want to end up having to give a potential interviewer something with stripes going down the page.
Thinking I should probably read it over again as well as I don’t even remember what most of the older sections even say any more.

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Trying not to let work negativity take over

April 15, 2009 at 10:37 pm (Uncategorized)

As most of my friends, and family, and associates, and random people who hear or read me bitch about it know, I have not been a fan of my job for a while now, with most complaints revolving around not the actual tasks assigned, although I’ve certainly had some bitches there as well, but mostly towards their shitty pay system and how I’m usually lucky to have money to see a movie or something after paying the bills for my not-exactly-lap-of-luxury lifestyle every month – and have been sort of passively keeping an eye out for something the looks like a better fit, while just dealing with the rest of the job because although I didn’t love the work, I didn’t completely hate it (except for the stint back in December where I was on the phones 8 hours a day – more on that in a sec), and as long as I could at least pay my bills I was willing to deal with it until something better dropped in my lap.

Well – as of Monday night I am now actively seeking other employment – I am getting daily emails from CareerBuilder, and am updating my resume in order to post those up on the job sites as well so that I might be flagged by a “head-hunter” or something along those lines.
It’s bad enough that I’m seeing stuff like “Pepsi truck delivery driver” and thinking “Hey, you know that doesn’t sound too bad.” (But, unfortunately, requires a CDL).

So what happened? Well, Monday afternoon, about half an hour before the end of my shift, my supervisor calls me into the HR office (why she felt she needed HR there I’m not sure – yes, I’ve been openly grouchy about the fact that this job promising “You can make up to $25/hr!” paid me shit all of $9.44/hr last week and how it’s been a repeating trend, but it’s not like I’m going to go postal), I was told that as of the next morning I was being moved into yet another position, primarily due to the client not being happy with my work during the couple of months I’ve been in this prior new position.
Yes, my job has completely changed no less than 3 times since November. We’re not talking subtle changes, we’re talking “You know that job you thought you applied for? Yeah, you’re not doing it.”

Seems the client isn’t happy with me doing shit like, oh, having analytical thought. Or having thoughts at all, for that matter.
See, when I’m doing something, especially something that involves gobs and gobs of other people’s money, such as this job did, I like to know for sure what I’m doing before I complete the work. I’m just freaky that way, I guess.
Now, the computer system this client uses is literally 20 years old, and is cryptic as all shit. We’re talking everything you do with it is done through some symbolic 3 or 4 letter command acronym and/or a 3 digit numeric code to represent some higher message or function. I’m talking shit that would make most computer programmers pull their hair out.
And my training on this system was nearly non-existent – we were shown how to pull up a few screens and what commands to do it, but not a whole lot on oh, how to actually use the system.

So as a result, I had questions. Many, and frequently. And I’d set work items aside so I could ask the department senior, and 90% of the time, she didn’t know the answer either. So I’d have to send my supervisor so she could get an answer directly from the client, and either she or the client would sit on it for a good couple of weeks, and then afterwards respond with an answer that half the time didn’t answer the question I actually asked, or that made absolutely no fucking sense whatsoever so I’d return it saying I wanted it reviewed again because I didn’t agree with the answer. This shit happened constantly.
The client’s main complaint? That I’m not efficient enough.
They preferred, instead, the coworker who also had no idea what he was doing, but rather than asking about it would make a wild guess, say “Hail mary!” as he hit the “release” function, and move on to the next work item.
Now mind you, I can guarantee in the longer term this is going to bite everybody involved in the ass when half of them come back to be worked a second or third time. But they don’t see big picture, they want productivity now, not over the long term.

So yeah, the result of this story, is that my new job is that I’m sitting on the motherfucking phone 8 hours a day.
By the way, interesting tidbit: the job I had that had good benefits and a steady paycheck that I quit in order to do a job with this company? A call center job. That’s right, after being quite plain with the management that the main reason I was so excited to come join their company, which at the time didn’t even have phones on the employees desks, was that I hated being on the phone and wanted to do something not involving one.
“But we know you’ve got phone experience!” they say. “And we’ve noticed you’re good at it, you’re very good on the phone!” they say.
But see, the point is, it matters not one fucking bit to me that I’m good at it. Hell, I might be good at shoveling horse shit, that doesn’t mean I’m going to go looking for it as a career move.

Oh, and this move has also removed pretty much every single remaining aspect I still considered a postive.
Flex-time scheduling? Gone. Oh, I mean sure, I could come in after 8am without getting in trouble, but the problem is I wouldn’t get paid for the last 1-2 hours of my shift, because everybody we call closes at 4, and I don’t get paid unless I complete the call. This is a big one for me, one of the very few things I still liked about the place.
Listening to the radio or ipod while working? Gone. Can’t listen to an Ipod while you’re on the phone.
“Working” lunches? Gone. Can’t eat while you’re on the phone. Thus, will be forced to take full lunch breaks, making my work day longer.
The ability to communicate with coworkers while working? Gone. Can’t talk to the guy next to you while you’re on the phone.
In fact, pretty much anything I found even slightly positive about the job, you can probably insert into “Can’t __________ while on the phone,” and and it’s gone.

Oh, and side note – they currently have a bunch of temps in the office, also doing phone work. A couple of them have let it slip how much they’re getting paid.
Yeah – my company is paying the temps nearly twice as much as their actual employees. What kind of fucked up system is that?

This company has pissed me off pretty badly in the past, but this is a last straw, and the only thing that kept me from walking right out the door was that I don’t have anything else lined up yet and I have bills to pay.

That said, this job has been eating away at me for months, and this past week has been especially harsh. It’s causing stress and depression, and is basically all-around fucking up my life, so I need to figure out how to dump it, and quick.

I was telling LabGirl over dinner tonight that I’m going to allow myself a few days to be pissy, because I really should be and deserve to be, but after that I’m going to try to force myself to cheer up a bit as I send out my resumes, in hopes that it won’t be long before I can smile as I walk out the door and tell them to kiss my ass.
I’m also planning on starting to use some of my PTO in a few weeks which should help as well (especially since if I actually do find something I don’t want to end up losing it all).

Seriously, if anybody local knows of any good job openings let me know, as long as it ain’t retail, restaurant, customer service/phones, or night shift, and it pays hourly at least something with the suffix “-teen” in it, I’ll probably at least consider it.

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A cool site for finding a credit card

April 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm (Money & Investing)

So as I mentioned a short while back I’m shopping around for a new credit card, since the WaMu cash rewards card I was very happy with got taken over by Chase, who promptly removed the cash reward and hiked up the interest rate. Bastards.
The program they have me on now has the shitty “points reward” program, which if you try to translate it into cash (cash is one of the options you can “buy” with your points), is worth about 1/4 of what the cash reward was I had on my old card.

So anyway, while doing a little web-surfing today I ran across a web site called Know Before You Apply – it’s a cool little site where you just give it your name, address, and the last four of your social, and it goes out, takes a peek at your credit score, grades it and lists what credit card you qualify for; if you want it will also let you narrow it down by bank, type (Visa, Discover, etc), or reward program.

Using it I found the card I will probably end up going with, the Discover More card, which gives 1% cash back on all purchases, plus an additional 5% cash back on categories that change every few months, such as groceries, gas, clothing, home improvement, hotels, movies, etc etc.
And since I seriously pay for everything with my credit card (about the only exceptions are the little couple-of-dollar transactions here and there such as buying fast food, etc) the bit of cash back every month from doing that is a nice deal.

[Edit 04-06: Yeah, they turned me down, even though I rated a “B+” for my score and last I checked my FICO was in the mid-700’s. Unfortunately though even though my credit is the best it’s been ever, it still has the word “bankruptcy” on it, and will continue to do so until partway into 2012.]

Actually Discover has several interesting programs to choose from – the only thing I’m not liking about it is that it’s not a Visa or MasterCard – although I’m sure most major companies deal with Discover (and I checked, you can use it with PayPal), I’d probably want to still keep a Visa or MC in my wallet along with it just in case.

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90% of guns in Mexico coming from US? Sorry, but once again the facts get in the way of political speeches

April 4, 2009 at 8:53 am (Political Ponderings)

I’ve you’ve been watching the news or listening to talk radio over the last couple of weeks you’ve probably heard about government figures, most notably Hillary, going on about how 90% of the guns being used in the drug violence down there are coming over the border from the US, probably in another move to try to push emotions against the 2nd amendment.

Well, I know this will be a shocker, but it turns out that’s a load of crap that they spun so far out of proportion it doesn’t even come close to the actual numbers.

Actually only about 17% of guns confiscated during raids down there came from the US – most are so obviously not of US origin that they don’t even bother tracing their origin.
The 90% figure the talking heads are using is that 90% of those sent for tracing are found to be from the US. NOT all the guns found.

Yet another bullshit move by the Obama Administration – gun owners may want to keep an eye out for more of this type of crap coming down the line.

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