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Yesterday I had lunch with my former coworker and friend, Astro Joe, who works in the Federal Reserve Branch Office building next door to where I work. I won a baseball autographed by a rookie player for the Houston Astros the other week in a United Way fundraiser, and I'd send Joe an email asking him if he wanted it. The player, Hunter Pence, is still wet behind the ears, but Joe is gaga about anything having to do with the Houston Astros baseball team. He said he would love to have it, and told me to just walk next door and he'd be happy to show me around the Fed and we could have lunch in the cafeteria there.

At the appointed time, I walked the short distance to the front gate of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Houston Branch.*

Federal Reserve building Houston


It turns out that the front gate and grand entrance are largely ornamental. I'm sure the architect who designed them had noble intentions, but the part of Houston I work in doesn't see a lot of foot traffic, so the building management is only set up to receive people via the parking garage.Read More )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about how I miss working with my old friends, Melanie and Astro Joe. While there are some advantages to working for a big company, it lacks the intimacy and closeness of being part of a small company. Not to mention that my lack of importance is truly humbling. In my old job, if I got sick and decided to stay home, it meant that an epidemic had knocked out 25% of the workforce of our Houston office. It was the closest thing to being powerful that I have ever achieved. In this job, it means that a corner cubicle on the 8th floor is empty, if someone bothers to look over the wall and notice.

In my old job, I was friends with everyone in the whole company. In this job, I can say I've met a few of them. It's just not the same.

Trivial Pursuit )
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These last few days I've been replaying the day I got laid off in my mind. As far as layoffs go, it wasn't that unpleasant. Getting fired is unpleasant. Getting laid off is only sad.

Don't Let The Door Hit You On Your Way Out )
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Today on my drive into work, I was thinking about Joe, the Brainiac in my office. I'm not just calling him that, it's official: the folks at Yahoo! Answers have deemed him a Brainiac and flown him out to New York City to sit in a building shaped like a giant purple brain and answer questions for them this week. The only reason he got to be an official Brainiac is because he has a competitive streak, and when he started answering questions on Yahoo! Answers he gave long, insightful answers with links to his sources, which resulted in 55% of the answers he picked being deemed "best" and getting him more points. All of us in the office were playing for a period of time, but the rest of us got bored before Joe did. He also had a better strategy than the rest of us. He answered questions about things that he happened to know a lot about. I answered questions like, "What would you do for a Klondike bar?" (For the record, I got Best Answer for that one; the problem is, not enough people asked it.)

After a while, he had such a lead in the number of points he had accrued over the rest of us that we had no chance of catching up, so we stopped trying. I was in 2nd place in our office next to Joe, but I was still at least a thousand points behind him. I don't like playing any game I can't win, so I closed up my browser and got back to work.

Brainiac and Accordion King )

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