Category Archives: employment

Thief of Baghdad

There is a joke doing the rounds that you might have heard that goes like this: “If 2020 was a drink, what would it be? Colonoscopy prep”. Now imagine using that gallon (believe me, I know) to wash down a family size box of extra strength Exlax. Now you have an idea of the kind of year I’ve had.

It started a couple of months ago, when during my break I checked my phone to see who had called me. To my terror, it was a call from Human Resources. Now, let’s face it, it is never a good thing when Human Resources calls you. Like most people, my mind went into overdrive trying to find anything I’d said or done recently that might warrant a call. Thankfully, there wasn’t anything, although that didn’t make me feel any easier. I returned the call and was asked “Have you filed for unemployment recently?”

Wha!?!?!?!?!?!?!!? No, I hadn’t. I’d lost three hours a week, but that was it. I was informed that someone had filed an unemployment claim in my name, which meant that among other things, they had my Social Security number. Oh shiiiiiiiiiiit! Of course, as soon as I got home I went online and blocked everything to do with my SSN, visiting the state Unemployment Department site as well as the IRS and credit rating websites. To cut a long story short, no damage was done, but as you can imagine, it was pretty frightening, and to be honest, it really took the edge off what had promised to be a relaxing and enjoyable evening, it being my sweetheart’s birthday.

Crisis over, or so we thought. Not very long after this I took the opportunity to check my email while on break. You’d think I’d have learned my lesson, but not so. Sitting in my inbox was an email from my bank informing me that they had spotted a number of suspicious charges on my debit card and they had blocked them. Of course, I called them immediately and let them know that no, I hadn’t used my card with Uber in San Francisco that morning. They cancelled the card and said they would issue me a new one which I’d have in about a week. This meant that I had no way to get cash, so I resorted to borrowing some from my sweetheart just so I’d have something on hand.

Less than two weeks later ( can you guess where this is going?) I got a text regarding suspicious activity on my credit card. Seriously? I mean, seriously? What the fuck? Again, I called the bank who rattled off a series of blocked charges totaling over $8,000 to something called “Connections”. Again, they cancelled my card and issued another one. All this in the space of about six weeks, hence my opening statement.

The lockdown and the resultant increase in benefits claims has made it a lot easier for scammers to take advantage of company computer systems that are no doubt overloaded as claims are processed and passed back and forth to the appropriate agencies, banks, etc. I’m just glad the bank caught the fraudulent charges on my cards, although I’d have been happier if they had a more secure system that prevented such attacks in the first place.

As for my employer, they, at least, were on the ball, and I wasn’t the only person at work to be so affected. Of course, I had to update my information on the various sites I use and inform the recipients of my standing charges, which took a little time as one of them is in lockdown mode, but it was sorted out, so no permanent harm was done. Still, it takes a lot of time to change data on various sites, and I certainly won’t use my debit card online ever again.

I realise that the scammers don’t care, that they don’t see their victims as people, but merely as anonymous units to be exploited and discarded, but it really does nothing to improve my opinion of humanity, but as the current administration has shown, never let a good crisis go to waste.

My only hope now is that with new cards I won’t have to deal with this again for a while, although my sweetheart had five attacks in a couple of years, so I’m not holding my breath. Balance this with the fact that due to our impending nuptials, I’m going to be doing a lot of online shopping, so who the hell knows?


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Filed under Banking, Credit card fraud, Debit card fraud, employment, Human resources, Pandemic, Personal finances, shopping, unemployment, Unemployment fraud

The Stand

Editorial note.

Apparently not blogging for six months is a good thing, and not just for those poor souls on whom I inflict my ramblings. I posted three days ago and already have acquired four new readers, to whom I say: “Welcome. Feel free to delve into my extensive back catalogue of posts. Or not, it’s up to you.

I hadn’t intended to write this particular post quite so soon, but events are moving apace, and I thought I’d get it out of the way sooner rather than later. Yes, like every other blogger on the planet, I’m talking about the Covid 19 pandemic. When the first reports came out of China, I was concerned due to the fact that most respiratory infections, Influenza being the most common, come out of China. It’s just the way it is. Flu likes to circulate between fowl, swine and people, and let’s face it, China is full of all three.

What I wasn’t expecting was that Covid would spread so far so rapidly. Everyone was concerned about SARS, but it sort of fizzled out and became a footnote in the memory of most people. As is usual, the first reports were inaccurate, contradictory and low in information, but that’s  how it is with all such outbreaks. However, it wasn’t too long before someone in the area tested positive. This didn’t concern me overly, but it did set my spidey senses tingling, if you get my drift.

I’m pretty well educated, but even so, there is so much bad and just plain wrong information that I was heartened to see one of my favourite podcasts address the issue in a timely manner. I’m talking about the wonderful “MonsterTalk” podcast.

I’d give it a listen, if I were you, and also to “This Week In Virology”

Dr. Daniel Griffin really knows what he’s talking about, and the hosts, Blake Smith ( his dreadful  puns aside) and Karren Stollznow do a fantastic job of discussing a complex issue.

I won’t rehash what you already know, but I wasn’t in the least surprised when the Bloviator in Chief, the Umpa Lumpa of  the United States spouted off his usual stream of ignorance saying that this new infection wasn’t a big deal and it would all go away in April. Nor was I surprised that he then spent two days on the golf course after his initial briefings. Presumably because he can’t play a musical instrument. Such is the way with all dictators: First of all, ignore the problem, then minimise it, then blame others for spreading “Panic”, by which I mean truth, then blame someone else for the problem, and finally claim you knew about it before anyone else and you’ve been doing a terrific job. So far, so typical. In fact, I half expected Der Trumpfer to claim that he’d never heard of Covid, he might have met him a couple of times, but doesn’t really know him.

And now, finally, I get to my point. You see, I work in the Deli department of a large local supermarket and have contact with hundreds of people on a daily basis, both staff and customers. Unlike my sweetheart and millions of office based workers, I don’t have the luxury of working from home, nor can I do my job in my bathrobe and slippers. Well, I could, but not more than once.

Thankfully, management took the situation seriously from the start. The store managers began holding daily conference calls and the company created a text service to provide employees with updates. Of course, at first there was a bit of miscommunication and confusion, but this was sorted out pretty quickly and new routines where established: We stopped giving out samples to customers, sprayed the counter tops with disinfectant frequently and even reorganised our salad and olive bars. Customers had to get a container from a staff member as well as gloves as we were concerned about potential contamination if people handled multiple containers.

Yesterday, someone dialed it up to 11. We closed the self service bars and replaced them with pre-packaged salads and antipasto. Staff were reassigned to other departments as the company promised not to cut our hours, and then the Governor made an announcement calling people to stay home for a minimum of 14 days. Not that it makes any difference to me, as I have to go to work, but hopefully this will make people realise how serious the situation is. It would be nice, however, if the company were to give  us hazard pay. I have to say that running through my head all day is the worry that the next customer I serve may be infected, but asymptomatic.

As you can imagine, we are all stressed out and it would be easy to fall into the habit of hitting the booze or the comfort food at every opportunity, but I’m trying to keep a lid on it. With care, and a great deal of cleaning, we will avoid any infections, but all it takes is one person to contract the virus and the entire staff will be in jeopardy.

The other weird thing is our change in social status: working in food retail means we are now regarded as “Essential personnel”, something I never thought I’d hear, and it has at least made some people think about the nature of our job. In fact, over the past few days several customers have thanked us for being at work. Most of our customers are pretty decent people, but it’s still nice to be recognised as doing a job which involves risks most people can avoid simply by staying at home.

I can’t really speak for the rest of the store, but the checkers now have plexiglass shields between them and the customers. Pretty sensible when you consider everyone has to go through the checkout. We’re pretty well stocked, but certain areas are stripped bare- toilet paper, of course, as well as cleaning supplies, but also soup and bread as people seek comfort, and I can’t really blame them.

My hope is that all our precautionary measures at work will pay off and that people will do the sensible thing and not leave the house unless they really have to.  I hope also that all of you are well and taking all precautions to avoid getting sick. I wouldn’t inflict Covid 19 on anyone, and I really hope we can weather the storm. I’ll finish now, as I have to check how many kidneys I  have to sell in order to buy a pack of toilet paper.

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Filed under employment, Pandemic, Politics, Public health, Uncategorized

Being Boring

What is the worst thing about your job? Is it the commute, the annoyingly loud coworker in the next cubicle, anyone from Marketing, the person who takes the last cup of coffee and doesn’t make more, the petty rules, the delay in getting replacement equipment? Well how about your coworkers, or rather, one in particular?

For me, it’s the latter. Most of the people in the department are pretty decent. I mean, there are some arseholes, skivers and generally obnoxious gits, but by and large we work well as a team and like each other. However, there is one person who until recently got under my skin like a deer tick.

Let me elaborate: We have three shifts, the first one running from 5.30 until 2 pm. This is a brutal shift at the best of times as the opener only has 30 minutes to make sure everything is ship shape before opening the department, and  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, as I just can’t imagine having lunch at 10 am. One of our openers, the one who gets under my skin is a middle aged woman who is much, much farther along the Aspergers/Autism spectrum than me. A blind man on a speeding horse could see that, so to say that  it’s obvious is something of an understatement. Her one redeeming feature is that she is very good at her job, and I know that as the mid shift person, I will get a very, very full briefing on all the events of the day so far and numerous updates during the three and a half hours we work together, and that’s where the problems start.

She will perseverate on the smallest of details. Anything that has happened in her life is apparently worthy of relating, including her nieces and nephews not liking whatever she had prepared for dinner, the lack of a product in stock, the arrival of the next load, in fact anything that has happened to her or she has seen in the past week. It used to drive me fucking nuts until like Baldrick, I had a cunning plan.

I would simply tune her out. I will make the occasional sound of acknowledgement, but don’t engage in any meaningful way unless I have to, and I try not to have to. I know she can’t help it, in fact, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even realise she’s doing it as she gets on with her work. Two things still get to me, no matter what I do. She will end even the most mundane of statements or observations by laughing as if she’s just delivered a razor sharp one liner. Maybe she genuinely thinks she’s being funny, but it happens pretty much every time she finishes a sentence. The other thing is her habitual attempts to upsell. If there is one thing I dislike with a passion when it comes to sales, it’s anyone who tries to upsell to me. In fact, if someone does that to me, I just leave and don’t even complete my initial purchase. I know that sounds like going too far, but I refuse to be manipulated into spending more that I have to, or buying something I hadn’t intended to at someone else’s urging, especially if that person has a vested interest in my purchase.

You see, we very often run offers and “Big Board Sales”, where various products may be offered at 60 percent of their regular price. Not just in the deli, but in every department in the store. This is a regular part of our life, and when the deli has anything either on offer, or on the Big Board we get slammed. Big Board items are advertised on standing boards both outside and immediately inside the entrances in font so large it can’t be missed. To give one recent example, we have prepackaged salami on sale, specifically 7 ounce sampler packs, which are selling well due to the number of parties taking place around Christmas.

I may be taking a bit of a leap here, but I work under the premise that all of our customers who happen to be of high school age or above are able to read at least at at high school level and possess the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. Not so my coworker. Several times this week, as she handed a customer their order she went on to describe in great detail the salami, what the pack contained, the price and where to find it. Every time, every single time, the customer looked back without making eye contact, smiled weakly and thanked her before hurrying away as fast as possible to the furthest corner of the store. The only way I can describe it is to ask you to imagine the look on someone’s face as they are accosted on the bus by the guy across the aisle who is expounding on some bizarre conspiracy theory.

She even tried to get another of my coworkers to do the same. As he’s a sensible, well adjusted chap he demurred. She hasn’t asked me, as I’m pretty sure even she gets the fact that I will never upsell. I know all the above sounds mean, and to some extent it is. In fact, George Bernard Shaw put it perfectly when he said:

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that’s the essence of inhumanity”.

The problem is that it’s the only way I can keep my sanity. I’m not mean to my coworker. It’s just that she has no conversation, no interests, no opinions on anything other than her family and work. She’s very good at her job, and within five minutes of starting my shift I know exactly what has happened, the state of our stock, anything of note, and for that I appreciate her and am most grateful. I just wish I knew of a better way to get through half a shift with her.

Suggestions on a $20 bill to Singledad Towers, please.





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Filed under employment, mental health, personal relationships, Work

On Repeat

My love of music is well known, see multiple previous posts, but one kind of music just bugs the crap out of me – Christmas music. It is almost exclusively garbage, full of banality, cliche and triteness. Of course, there’s no avoiding it at this time of year, but at least once you leave the store you don’t have to deal with it until you walk into the next one. Nice to have the choice. Imagine having to listen to it for eight hours straight. This  is what my life has been like since the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. There’s no avoiding it and it is driving me crazy.

For the first two weeks I was subjected to an endless stream of garbage spewed out by a never-ending stream of third-rate session singers. Do you know just how many versions of  ‘Frosty The Snowman” there are? No? about a dozen by my reckoning, and all of them, with the exception of the Cocteau Twins version are dreadful. Imagine listening to each of them about four times each every day. Add in “Jingle Bells” “Winter Wonderland”, “Do They Know It’s Christmas” “Let It Snow” and every other bloody Christmas song you can imagine and you have some idea of the kind of audio hell my life has been.

DTKIC? is by far the worst, especially as one of the singers is doing what I’m going to say is his best to sound like Bono. It’s bad enough when Bono tries to sound like Bono, but I’ve heard better Bono impressions on a Friday night in Dublin after the pubs shut. I won’t even go into the fact that Africa has more Christians than any other continent, so yeah, I guess they do fucking know it’s Christmas. Imagine if Rachid Taha, Abdel Aziz El Mubarak, Cheb Khaled,  and other great African singers got together to record a benefit song for Europeans called “Do They Know It’s Ramadan?” I can just imagine the lyrics – “Feeeeed the woooorld, but only between sunset and sunrise”.

But the worst thing of all is that so many of these so-called singers try to rework the songs by slowing them down by about 75%. Have you ever heard an eight minute version of “Jingle Bells” which sounds like the singer has been told to count backwards from ten by the anaesthesiologist. A truly terrible example is the version of “Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree” I had to endure about four times a day. Before I moved over here, I associated the tune “Tannenbaum” with “The Red Flag”, and I can tell you, the Russian Revolution took less time than it took to listen to this song. And then of course, there’s the Vince Guaraldi version from the rarely seen animated classic “It’s the peasants and workers revolution, Charlie Brown”.

Lest you think I’m some kind of Grinch, I’m not,  ( See “Fuck Christmas’ to  be proven otherwise)although the thoroughly twee and sickening version of “You’re A Mean One, Mister Grinch” which misses the point of the song entirely and turns it into a semi-comic joshing is enough to make me decamp to the top of Mount Crumpit. I own two Christmas L.P.s – “It’s A Holiday Soul Party” by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, which is just fantastic because, well… it’s Miss Sharon Jones. She does some well-known tunes, but my favourite has to be “There Ain’t No Chimneys In The Projects”. Nuff sed. The other is “Christmas Songs” by Bad Religion, in which they just storm through carols and Christmas favourites at full pace, driven along by a drummer who doesn’t pause for breath.

I only heard my all time favourite Christmas song once, and that was because it was playing on a customers’ car radio as I tied a tree onto the roof. I’m talking of course, about “A Fairytale Of New York” by The Pogues and Kirsty McColl. Of course there’s no way the store would play it, presumably because they don’t want complaints from parents who’ve just had their five year old ask “Mum, what’s a cheap, lousy faggot?” Also absent has been Siouxsie And The Banshees’ “Israel”, a classic, and well worth an airing, in my opinion. Last week wasn’t too bad  by comparison, as the Tannoy was playing original recordings, but you know that there’s no hope  for a song when even Mister Tony Bennett can’t save it.

Add to  this  the fact that we have had a Salvation Army bell-ringer camped outside for the whole time. It is a torture beyond compare. Send half a dozen of those guys to work at Guantanamo Bay and I guarantee that every inmate will confess to everything from the murder of Julius Caesar onward. It has been doing my head in, having to listen to the constant ringing, and I mean constant, except for the ringers’ breaks and lunch. I can tell you that if we had a longer cable for the electric chainsaw, the parking lot would have been filled  with T. V. camera teams. The absolute nadir was last Thursday when we were joined by some carol singers. These guys could actually sing, they sounded fantastic, but the bell ringer kept going, and the store was pumping out its usual programme, and to have all three of these competing sounds going at once was just too much to take. Every man has his breaking point,  and I reckon mine was less than a minute away when the carolers departed.

The thing is that due to tingling in my right hand brought about by loading and dragging all those trees I wake up about three or four times a night, and I can’t get back to sleep due to the discomfort and the fact that the songs from work are burned into my brain and have left a multitude of ear worms to torment me. Usually ear worms can be driven out by thinking of a song you like, but I just can’t get any songs I like to stick.

One thing of note has been that a lot of the songs have “Holidays” in the title instead of Christmas, as in “Home For The Holidays”, a song which to the best of my knowledge, along with a number of others, predates the start of Fox News’ bullshit narrative about the non-existent “War on Christmas”. FUCK YOU, SEAN HANNITY.  I’d like you to do something for me: turn towards New York and yell at the top of your lungs “FUCK YOU, SEAN HANNITY!”. Again, “FUCK YOU, SEAN HANNITY!!”. Once more “FUCK YOU, SEAN HANNITY!!!”.  There, don’t you feel better? I certainly do. I get a warm, fuzzy feeling just screaming the fucking words.

Merry/happy whatever holiday you celebrate.

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Filed under Christmas, employment, Music

Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?

I’m now entering what Sir Alex Ferguson, one time manager of Manchester United Football Club once famously described as “Squeaky bum time”. You see, ever since early February, when my hours were cut in half, I’ve been living on borrowed financial time. When working 40 hours a week I was earning enough to cover my bills and leave a bit over, sometimes, at the end of the month. Not so now. I did a quick calculation and as things stand at present, I will have to move out at the end of April.

I’m applying for jobs like crazy to no avail, I’ve sold my wedding and eternity rings, cashed in all my change and cut my spending to a bare minimum. I’m living off what I have in the fridge and pantry and with the exception of essentials, only  buy food for the kids. All this is not really going to help, but what are my options? I will have to find some way of paying for a storage unit and keeping gas in the car, but how long can I keep that up? My job contract runs through August, but if I’m living in the car – which is a very real possibility – how long can I keep it? If I lose the job, the situation becomes exponentially worse, and I don’t see someone like me lasting long on the streets.

I’m 52 and in fairly reasonable health, but without my meds, I’m sure to go into a tailspin. Those of you who knew me at school will attest to the fact that the un-medicated NWSD is not the kind of person who can cope, even when well fed and housed.To make matters worse, it means that I will lose contact with the kids. I can’t spend time with them if all I have is the car and nowhere to take them. I won’t have access to laundry or washing facilities, and having worked downtown, I know how quickly people deteriorate without access to basic services.

Unless I can find a job by the end of March, I am royally fucked. Seriously, this is an existential crisis that shows no sign of resolving itself in any kind of positive way. I don’t have a social network on which I can fall back, and I’m by no means certain that my sweetie will be willing to take me in until I can get a decent paying job and get a place of my own again. I would hope that she would, but if she took me in and I didn’t find a job before the money ran out, there’s no way she could support both of us on her wages.

Just writing this is making me depressed, so I am going to sign off now.


































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Filed under employment, family, mental health, unemployment

Ain’t That A Kick In The Head.

For the last couple of months I’ve been gainfully employed at a downtown insurance company. I work in the Agent Communications department, where I turn templates of articles into web pages for the Agent News bulletin, copy edit and proofread articles, upload videos, and update the homepage amongst other things. The job is more engaging and informative than you might imagine. Like most people, I regarded insurance as both essential and incredibly boring, but as a result of reading many  articles and transcribing interviews, I’ve learned that there is much in the industry that goes unnoticed. Fear not, I’m not going to bore you.

The office is on the 16th floor and surpasses many of my previous places of employment by having windows. In the interest of ergonomics I have an adjustable desk that gives me the option of standing, should I so desire. Being a lazy bastard I never understood why someone would stand when they could sit, but having tried it, I really appreciate the option. Standing also affords me the opportunity of admiring the view: If I look straight ahead, I can see the Sound and the various vessels plying their trade. To  my left I can see what was once the tallest building on the west coast and the baseball stadium. Between these lies a view of the dockside cranes and docked container ships. Funnily, though, I have yet to see any containers being loaded or unloaded.

I’ve enjoyed the routine of the commute, dressing in something other than tee shirt and jeans and being around other people, particularly people who are interesting, intelligent and who actually talk – I think I mentioned during the entire 12 months at my previous job, there were two co workers who NEVER talked to me. Not one word, despite seeing them on a daily basis.

The swag has been much better as well. My last place had nothing better than cheap shopping bags that were one grade above disposable and crappy earbuds with the acoustic quality of  a soup can telephone. Not long after I joined the department, a major relocation took place – we all had to move to different cubicles to allow for the arrival of staff from two other floors undergoing refurbishment. This also meant the loss of some storage space. Our location was occupied previously by the Marketing team, who simply abandoned all their stuff when they were laid off.  As a result, in the space of a week I scored two portable speakers, one of which is Bluetooth enabled, a tote bag with a built-in speaker (yes, that’s a thing), a picnic cooler in the style of a backpack, an official U.S. Men’s Olmpic ice hockey team shirt, a scarf, a travel mug, a signed photo of Kelsey Keller and good quality earbuds.  Not bad, eh? Mind you, our unofficial family motto is “If ever you are offered something for nothing, take it. And what you can’t carry, you drag”, so none of you should be surprised by my eagerness to haul away as much buckshee merch as possible.

Now for the flip side. Early last week I received an email from the agency that found me the job which opened with the greeting”All is fine!” It informed me that due to a reduction in  funding  for support staff in the 2017 budget, starting in mid January my hours would be cut by 50 percent. This is some strange meaning of “fine” that I’ve never heard before.  You can imagine my consternation. Rather than walking away, I agreed to stay on for the remainder of my contract, as any money is better than none.

Not all was lost, though. My supervisor offered me the option of working from home, which would save me the expense of commuting and also the need to wear trousers during the day. Of course, I accepted her offer, although the cut in hours felt more like being laid off than anything else. You can imagine my distress at the change in circumstances as I really enjoy the environment in the office. My colleagues are all very charming people, the free coffee is drinkable and there is a genuine sense of teamwork.

My first day working from home is election day, and that’s probably a good thing, as I don’t fancy having to dodge flying bricks, automatic gunfire and Molotov cocktails as Trump’s supporters react to the inevitable defeat of their beloved Fuehrer.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for post – apocalyptic urban hellscapes as long as they’re in the movies and not a part of my commute.

Of course, my changed circumstances do have an upside: I can start looking for another job while working, and my supervisor has told me that she understands absolutely if I need time to attend interviews, etc. Twenty hours a week doesn’t even cover the rent, but at least I have some forewarning, my resume is up to date and the received wisdom is that it’s easier to find a job when you have a job.  I just hope I remember to put trousers on before I head off to an interview.

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Filed under employment, Politics, unemployment

Welcome To The Working Week.

As my regular readers ( both of them) will know, I have been out of work since being laid off in February. It was a crappy, pointless, boring job that didn’t even cover my costs, so to some extent I wasn’t too bothered, but the lack of money was a pain. Of course, after a couple of days recovering and catching up on sleep I began the slog of looking for another job. What? You thought I spent the entire time drinking cheap beer, playing video games and jerking off to online porn? No bloody way. I don’t drink cheap beer.

The modern job search has it’s advantages – there are plenty of websites that list huge numbers of jobs, resumes can be emailed,  application forms can be autofilled and job descriptions copied and pasted into Word. It’s all a hell of a lot easier than looking through the paper and mailing out printed applications.

Despite all my effort, interviews were few and far between. I think that this may have been due to my somewhat unconventional employment history. You see, for many years I was a stay at home Dad, with a period of being a Realtor thrown in. Going to business school didn’t do me much good on the career front either, as most jobs for which I am qualified required three to five years of industry experience.

Do you know how frustrating it is to apply for a job which you know damn well you could do if just given the opportunity? It would turn the Dalai Lama into the Incredible Hulk in about a week.

The thing I disliked the most was the telephone interview. At the best of times it is difficult for me to judge how people are reacting ( see “I’m Coming Out”). On the phone this is impossible, so very few of these calls turned into in-person interviews. A couple did, however. One in particular seemed like a gift from on high. I was an Executive Assistant position for a commercial Realtor. The interview lasted a full hour, and we seemed to get on really well. She was a woman for whom it would have been a pleasure to work – funny, easy going, sharp as a needle. I had the exact skill set needed and felt really confident that I was in with a very good chance. When the call didn’t materialise on the Tuesday following the interview I knew it wasn’t to be. This was confirmed the following day when I got a call to say that I’d missed out by the narrowest of margins and that the other person had accepted the position.

I’m not a malicious person, but I found myself wishing physical harm on the person who beat me, so down was I about missing out on what was essentially my dream job. So, back to the grind it was. This went on for a few more weeks until I got another phone interview. I only found out about the job because it was forwarded to me by an agent at a placement agency who had trawled my resume from the online pool. I gave it my best shot, but didn’t get my hopes up. Surprisingly I was invited in for an interview with the woman who had talked with me over the phone and another person. This meant two 30 minute sessions, so as you can imagine, I was running on fumes by the time it was over.

I felt fairly confident, and even said so to my sweetie afterwards, but the score is Hope 0, Experience 6.8 million, so I didn’t think too much of it, especially as they said that they had some other people to interview and would be making a decision some time the following week (the interview was on a Thursday). Imagine my surprise on the following Monday morning when I learned via email that I’d been offered the job. Of course, I accepted on the spot. The next two days were a flurry of form filling, clothes sorting and housework as I prepared for my change of pace.

The downside of all this was that I had to drop out of our planned trip to San Francisco to celebrate my Sweetie’s birthday. A real disappointment, as you can imagine. She had to go on her own, but considering the circumstances, it was a price worth paying. Tomorrow is the big day. I jump back into the routine of the commute and the stress of learning a new job from scratch and proving that I can get up to speed quickly. I will admit to more than a little apprehension about the new job, as I will have to get to know a whole new set of coworkers and potential friends. Mind you, look on the downside – they have to get to know me!























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Career Opportunities.

One of the long running themes of this blog has been my lack of gainful employment and the search thereof. Well, things have changed. About three weeks ago I was looking through Craig’s List on one of my regular job hunting days and found a few positions worth wasting electrons on and duly applied. Imagine my surprise when later that day I received a call asking if I’d be interested in an interview which we set up for two days later. The interview went well, I thought as I turned on the charm and put on my best accent, but even so, it came as a bit of a shock to be offered the job that very same day and started the following Tuesday immediately after Martin Luther King Day.

How big is your office? How many people are you managing? What are your team members like?    I hear you say. Well, don’t. To be honest it’s a pretty basic job with a paycheque to match, but at least it has a good health plan and a reasonable amount of PTO. The other pluses are that it is just a 15 minute walk from the boat so I don’t have to worry about commuting or being late, and as I work 7:30 – 4:00 I am home at a reasonable hour, although having to get up at 4:45 is a bit of a pain. I don’t mind getting up that early for the football, but it is taking me quite a while to get used to doing so on a daily basis. The funny thing is that the 6:20 boat is the same one I used to get when I worked in the city many years ago, but seeing as I can get up later than in those days and can get to bed by it isn’t as bad as it could be.

You may be wondering why I accepted such a low level position when I have the paper qualifications for something much better. Well, it’s all that was available. I’ve been trying for a hell of a long time to get some sort of job, but to no avail. At least now that I have a job it will be easier to get another one, although I will have to put in a few months at least here before I start looking round for something else.  Another thing is that a job doesn’t just provide a paycheque. It also provides an identity, a community and an underlying organising principle: I’ve had too long being on my own in the house with no real schedule once the morning is through, and it is rather pleasing to be able to wear a nicely ironed work shirt and Dockers again after all these years. Yes, I know it’s not much but at least it gets me out of the house and among other people.

Spending too much time alone in your own head can be both debilitating and self destructive: there were days when if I didn’t go to the gym I’d have no contact with another living soul and wouldn’t even step out of the front door, so being on a regular schedule has been good for me. The people in the office, whilst rather quiet are all pretty friendly, at least the ones who have spoken to me, and it makes a difference not to have a constant background noise burrowing into one’s brain.   Having said that, though, construction on a new hotel is underway just  a block to the south and they are in the middle of sinking the piles for the building at a rate of anything up to 10 a day. The effect is rather like having a hangover without the benefit of the previous night’s revelry, or for the more erudite among you it is like being on the set of  Ace In The Hole. 

If there is another down side it is that by the time I get home I have barely the time, let alone the energy to do any housework so my home is slowly degenerating into the state usually associated with single guys. I do get some time at the weekends, but seeing as most of them are spent either at my Sweetie’s house or with the kids even they don’t give me a lot of time. Still, it beats the alternative.

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