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All day Friday, I waited for Mike to tell my not to come in on Monday. The man never spoke a word to me. Never acted like anything was up. For some reason, he never liked speaking to me. I specifically told The Owner in the letter that I wrote to him that I would stick around until Mike let me go. Which he didn’t. He just hired someone else, and acted all surprised when I walked in the office on Monday. What a dolt.*

On the upside, I did get to see my replacement – about half my age, half a foot taller, and slender, and pretty. I thought she had too much product in her hair, making it look like it would be sticky and gloppy to touch, but what do I know? Maybe that’s just her style.

Jeesh! Do I have to do everything around here, including fill out my own termination paperwork? )
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I’m around a new group of people in a new workplace and this means one thing: keeping the whole “my body doesn’t make any insulin” thing under wraps for awhile. I usually wait 6 months, at least, before I let it slip out in casual conversation. It seems silly and the disease is not that big a deal to me, but experience has shown that I need to let people get to know and see me as a person before they hear about any disease. They need to get used to seeing me eat the same stuff they eat and do the same things they do so that when they learn about it I am "Nina, who happens to have diabetes" rather than "a diabetic whose name happens to be called Nina." At my last job, I brought it up after only a couple of months and lived to regret it.

Oh, come on, you know you want it. Have some cheesecake! )
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Dave let me know last Monday that, after last week, there would be no more S. and M. around the office. This made me a little sad. I’ve only worked here for a month or so, but I liked S. and M. both and enjoyed having them around. They drove Dave crazy though. I think he liked M. a little more than he liked S., but neither of him were helping his bottom line any. Because of this Dave’s boss, the owner of both Dave's company and the company I work for, told him to let them go.

S. and M. are the real life initials of the two sales managers that worked for Dave. I won’t tell you their real names, but for the purposes of this story I will call them by names that sum up their personalities: Miss Saccharine and Miss Morose.

S & M: they were fun while they lasted. )
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One problem about working at a new job is that it’s kind of hard to goof off in the first few weeks, what with all the training and people always checking in to see how you’re doing. Blogging in a new work place can be downright impossible.

I’m still getting a feel for the new environment, though I’ve kind of fallen in love with the commute. The traffic is relatively light out this way. I’m not used to that. No relationship is perfect, though, and I do have a couple of complaints about the drive. For one, I almost feel cheated about not being able to listen to National Public Radio or my iPod the way I used to.

Nice and Calm )
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My former co-worker, Yvette, was happy to hear that I got my unemployment. Her case is still pending, but she was fired two weeks after I was. She has been accused of falsifying her time records, so her case is almost defiantly going to involve a denial she will have to appeal. To get the ball rolling, she has already filed a complaint with the EEOC for wrongful termination.

Death and Dollars )
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One morning when I worked at Big Death I rode up in the elevator with a dour-faced, overweight older man in a very expensive black suit, who just so happened to be the founder of the company, its former CEO and its current chairman of the board of directors. Most of the people I write about from Big Death I supply with a courtesy pseudonym, but since Bob sounds like a pseudonym anyway, and it's what all those nearest and dearest to him call him, I'll just go ahead and use it here.

Welcome to Bob's Big Death Emporium! )
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I got a call from Yvette, my former coworker at Big Death, yesterday. She, too, is still out of work. She, too, has not had her unemployment benefits from the state either confirmed or denied. While I'm well into the acceptance stage of grief over the loss of my job (I'm not grieving the job so much as the paycheck it represented), she is stuck in the anger stage. She has every right to be angry – they accused her of lying and stealing by claiming she did not work through the lunches that she actually did work through and claiming them on her time sheet. She worked for 15 years at the job she left before she came to work at Big Death, with nary a black mark on her employment record. Being fired and being called a liar and a thief has her blood boiling.

Goliath had it coming. )
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Almost every place I have worked, I have run into a woman like Big Death's Dixie. Her face is different, her name is different, but she is – in essence – the same woman. At Big Death, Dixie was 50ish with an out of date haircut and jowls. At the technology company where I used to work, her name was Candace and she was in her early 20s; she was briefly a manager over me before it became clear that she'd lied about her credentials and got laid off. At the toll road authority she was in her 40s and her name was Becky; she was the administrative assistant in the personnel department. Because I did not have to work directly with Becky she and I got along quite well, but she made life a living hell for my friend Joy, who had to work closely with her.

A Dixie is always charming, but rarely pretty. In fact, two out the three Dixies I've known have been on the plain side, but they made up for their lack of attractiveness by having 10 times the moxie of everyone else around them. A Dixie can kiss up to management in a way that is almost pornographic in how far she is willing to take it. When a Dixie decides she doesn't like you she will talk to your manager with a sad, serious expression and will explain with great earnestness how she has tried to work with you – tried, tried, tried! – but that despite her best efforts you just won't get with the program. You are the problem, a Dixie will make it clear. Every little mistake you have made will be magnified and every quirk you have will be presented as a character flaw.

There Ain't No Good In an Evil-Hearted Woman )
ninanevermore: (Ghosts)
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It took more than two weeks before the box from Big Death arrived at my house. Not the one containing my dead brother in law – that one showed up the following Thursday. This Halloween I will have an honest-to-goodness dead guy in my living room. For once, Pete is not causing any problems and has behaved himself admirably since he showed up. He's on a book shelf by the mantle, looking benign in a simple white cardboard box that weighs a lot more than it looks like it should.

But the box I am talking about, the one I was anticipating so much, was the copy-paper box filled with the contents of my cubicle from when I worked at Big Death. I was hoping they remembered to pack my soul in it. I seem to recall in the new-hire paperwork I signed two years ago that upon leaving the company, I would have my soul returned to me unless I stayed for a decade or more, in which case my soul would be discarded since the ability to work there for that length of time would indicate that I didn't need a soul, anyway.

A Shabby Little Spirit )
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I went to see my friend Astro Joe perform with his friend Benny Rod at a area wine bar the week I after I got laid off. Joe and Benny met up when I used to frequent the open mike at my favorite but now defunct coffee house, and now they collaborate together as a musical act they call Rod Garcia, because while they can both sing and play various instruments, they aren't real creative when it comes to names.

Say Howdy! )
ninanevermore: (Ghosts)
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Yvette from big death sent me an email the other day saying, "They fired me today." I was shocked. Big Death accused her of falsifying her hours on her time card, because she worked through too many lunches without prior authorization. With the downsizing last spring, everyone's work load was more than anyone could do in 40 hours a week. I sat around the corner from Yvette and from what I can recall, she rarely left for lunch. Never mind that a manager signed off on the hours, instead of telling her to resubmit her time because she was not authorized to work the overtime. They are looking for reasons to fire people so they don't have to pay for our unemployment claims.

Enron Evil )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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Misery loves company, so I decided to sit down with Death and discuss all that's been going on during the last couple weeks. Not Big Death, who just fired me, though I can think of a few things I'd like to say to them. I mean Jim, aka The Carney, aka The Angel of Death. Big Death is evil; Jim, on the other hand, is an alright guy once you can get past who he is and what he does.

Feet To The Fire )
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When Big Death issued me my employee badge, they also slipped a cloak of evil over my shoulders. I barely noticed it at the time, but it was definitely there. I mostly become aware of it because I sometimes wear short sleeves, and it itched wherever it touched my bare skin.

For a lot of the people around me, the cloak allowed them to adopt a sort of cognitive disconnect about Big Death, what it does, and how it operates. These are mostly good people who all sound like cult members gushing about all the good that Big Death does, while ignoring all the bad. When the scandals happen, they always chalk it up to an isolated incident.

"We help people," they say, "Our business is helping people in their hour of need. What we do is so important." They are sincere and earnest; the cloak protects them by shielding them from the truth, and they need it.

The Good, The Bad, and The Just Here For A Paycheck )
ninanevermore: (Ferris Wheel)
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It's been a long time since I dropped in to visit with the Angel of Death, who appears to me as a Carney operating the Ferris Wheel of Life and Death. I still pass him on my way to and from work every day, where I can see the Ferris Wheel at a Thin Place close to a stoplight that always seems to back up more than it should. I wave to him on most days, and if he's not too busy he waves back. But I've been derelict in my duties as a friend, so I thought I'd pay him a visit last night. Also, I wanted to see if he had any insight on my mixed feelings about the demise of my brother in law.

Be Careful Who You Ask )
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Candice always takes the lead when we "do the stairs" twice a day at the office. She's the youngest of the 4 of us, a former cheerleader in her late 20s who cheers those of us who are older and slower on. Denise, the oldest in our group and in her late 40s, is always second. The oldest and the youngest also happen to be the thinnest, so they can have the lead positions. I just jointed the Sisterhood of the Western Stairwell last week, two weeks behind the others. I'm in 3rd position. Yvonne is my age and the one who struggles with her weight the most. She brings up the rear.

The building has 12 stories and we all work on the 8th floor. We go up 5 flights to the door that opens to the roof, where Candice, Jan, and I stand and wait for Yvonne. Each of us keeps a pair of practical shoes under her desk for this purpose, because all of us agree that walking the stairs in high heals just isn't happening. Must look a sight in our business clothes and sports shoes, two of us white and two of us black, two of us thin and two us carrying some extra baggage.

Who needs ankle weights when you've got thighs like this?  )
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I spent most of yesterday stuck in a room with 8 levitating coffins.

We had the training room reserved for the sales presentation class Dixie was teaching. The coffins were from the day before and had nothing to do with us. Marlene, in charge of facilities in our building, called me the afternoon before, semi-hysterical.

"I know you're supposed to be in both rooms downstairs, but we're going to have to put you in the north end and partition it off because there are still eight (unintelligible screech) in there!"

I guess she was calling me because she couldn't get hold of Dixie. Dixie was teaching the class and in charge of it; I was only in the class, not to be certified to present seminars but so I could get a better understanding of the program so I can assist the presenters in my market areas. I had only a moderate interest in things going smoothly. In fact, from my point of view, glitches such as this made things more interesting.

"I didn't understand you. What's in the other end of the room?"

"Caskets!" she squealed, "There are 8 caskets in there! They were supposed to pick them up this afternoon but they're still in there! There's no telling when someone's going to show up to get them!"

For such pretty boxes, nobody really enjoys them very much. )
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Yesterday a guy down the hall from me at the office was walking around showing off the souvenir program a friend who works at one of our California locations sent him. He was very proud of it.

Considering the business we are in, of course I am talking about a souvenir funeral program. Farrah Fawcett's funeral program, to be exact. We didn't get Michael, but we did get Farrah. For the most part, it just looked like any other funeral program, except for the photo of the decedent on the front. Most people go for a tasteful head shot of the dearly departed, but the Fawcett family went for this photo:

Farrah Funeral Program


A starlet to the end, I guess.


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It occurred to me this morning that the water cooler talk about the passing of Michael Jackson sounds a little different when you work at a large corporation that owns funeral homes.

I've overheard the following remarks today:

"So, do you know who has Michael Jackson? Do we?"

"I don't know. No one's saying."

"Surely we do! I mean, you don't think they'd trust a mom-and-pop with someone like him, do you?"

"Maybe. You'd think we would, but I haven't heard anything."

"Hmmm. What about Farrah?"

"Dunno."

It's not that the people I work with are morbid. If we were in the catering industry, the same kind of talk would happen whenever a celebrity announced a wedding. I guess business is business no matter what business you're in, and a high-profile contract is always bound to attract a lot of speculation.




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It seems lately that I can't escape the long arm of Murphy's Law.

Houston is in the midst of the worst heat wave in 30 years, so of course our air conditioner self destructed last night. We did manage to make it to Lowe's hardware store to grab a window unit 15 minutes before they closed last night. Air conditioning is not a luxury in Houston. Yesterday's high of over 100 degrees F (38° C) would be considered pretty hot in a dry climate. Houston is a humid climate, though, and 100 degrees feels more like 150, because your sweat does not evaporate and cool you off, it just runs down your skin and makes your clothes stick to you.

If you are the kind of macabre person who would wonder if it would be worst to be baked alive verses steamed alive, I can tell you since I live in the world's largest natural sauna, a.k.a. Houston, Texas, the answer is "steamed." I've been in the New Mexico desert on a day that was 110 degrees, and it didn't feel so bad. Houston at 98 degrees is much, much worse.

The insurance company is sending a technician within the next 24 hours to see if the central AC needs to be replaced or repaired. Considering that the air conditioner is as old as the house (circa 1976), I'm betting it should be replaced.

In the meanwhile, my email at work has not played anymore fanciful tricks on me, but I know it's just a matter of time before it happens again. I think it's waiting for me to let down my guard so that I will someday soon try to type out a message to my boss along the lines of, "I assume you want me to correct this report for office-wide distribution…?," which Outlook, with the help of our wonky network, will interpret as "Ass, you f off."

That should go over good.


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ninanevermore: (Default)
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Why, I've lived without it for years, and I'm fine.
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I work with sales people Lots and lots of sales people. There are about 100 that I assist in my job, and every year I help train several new groups of them to join the team. My boss is a salesman. His boss is a salesman. Almost every phone call I take and every email I respond to comes from a salesperson.

I am not a sales person. I could never be one, either.

Learn to love yourself, lest you be subjected to unwanted group hugs. )

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