Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

We all have a point at which we survey our situation and realize that we've pretty much hit bottom. True enough, I'm not giving wristies out behind the local 7-11 yet, but I am doing the cyberspace employment search equivalent and searching the Craigslist employment ads.

Generally speaking, there are two types of ads on Craigslist. The jobs that promise you can nap all day on company time for which they will pay you $50K/year or the jobs that want you to pretty much run the company AND scrub the owner's balls (preferably with your tongue) for minimum wage.

I have come to believe that Craigslist job ads are some sort of Psych 101 test designed by a teaching assistant whose favorite prof has started buffing the undercarriage of a new TA whilst relentlessly teasing the TA who is being cast aside. That and it is a phisherperson's paradise. "Hey, do you think if we tell the applicant that we need to run a "consumer report" that they'll e-mail us a copy of their ID and Social Security Card?" (Yes, this has ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I responded to a job ad and they emailed back that they wanted to have a copy of my ID plus a copy of my Social Security card PLUS my banking information (for direct deposit, ya know).

I may have been born at night, but it wasn't LAST night, honey and I didn't fall on my head when I fell off the turnip truck.

Let's face it, with a resume of career catastrophe's like mine, I really need to find a place that I can stay a few years and at least have the appearance of being a "lifer" for some company. It would be really nice (and I know this is wholly unrealistic) if the place were not a holding pen for drama llamas and highschoolish cliques. And being paid more than tiny monies for the privilege of tonguewashing someone's balls would be a super bonus.

I'll be honest with you... Ms. Cleo is getting damn tired of the whole job hunting thing. I spend enough time on the computer that wristies behind the 7-11 is only going to hasten the inevitable carpal tunnel and I refuse to do hummers on unwrapped candy canes because most dudes do not find the safety goggles to prevent bodily fluids being liberated into my eyes a real sexy look (although, Rule 34 does apply and some guys dig that look).

Thinkin' it is likely time for bed.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Unemployed Holiday Spirit

As tempting as it is to completely "BAH HUMBUG" this holiday season, I am going to share a little something that made my holiday season brighter.

Have yourselves a Happy Holiday Season. I'm gonna kick back and have some 'nog. I'll hit the boards again on Monday.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Yes, I'm STILL unemployed

Oh, my friends, what frustration. I'm STILL frakkin' unemployed. And it gets worse.

I recently was submitted for a contract job, got through the phone interview, got a face-to-face interview and FUCKING BLEW IT! For the first time ever, I didn't get a contract job I interviewed for. But, ok, it would have been close. It would have been convenient. And I would have hated it. Oh, I'd have been GOOD at it, but I would have hated it because it involved a whole bunch of reporting what manager-people want to hear whether or not it is reflective of reality. Look managers, put on your big-kid undies and deal with the truth, ok?

Soooo.... I also interviewed for another job which is a job I am thinking I'd really dig and there are actually BENEFITS and they are pretty decent and the job isn't too hard but there is room for advancement and they promote people and everything. Honestly, though, I'd go and entrench myself and not move for ANYBODY for a while. One teeny, tiny, infinitesimal problem. I need a car for the job and guess what Ms. Cleo doesn't have right now and can't get? If you said "a car", you'd be spot on. And unless I figure out a way to miraculously make myself attractive enough to turn tricks behind the bodega 22 hours a day for the next few weeks, if they offer me that job, I have to turn it down. And so, my first job offer in THREE MONTHS, would go right in the shitter. (And YES, I would need to be more attractive than I am because we have some pretty classy looking working girls out here in the 'hood).

Yeah, sucks to be me, eh? (Since when did I become Canadian? What's up with the "eh?", eh?)

The classified ads have become a nightmare... I slog through the 47 (I counted) ads that I am qualified for but cannot get to, the 23 jobs that I know I could do but they're convinced you need a degree to do, to the 12 jobs that I am qualified (or overqualified) to do that each require an hour long application (which is why Ms. Cleo is up at 2:30 in the frakkin' morning) and they want to know if the carpet matches the drapes, have you ever had an anal probe (by aliens or otherwise), and can you suck the chrome off a Harley with or without a flexy straw...? To which I reply, ummm, I installed linoleum, not that I recall since I fondled the Men in Black and you better believe it! The exciting find tonight is that the Federal Reserve is looking for people so there is a faint hope that I could find myself ass deep in shredded monies but it's a government job so I could go there and get moved to an "office" in the basement where I could grow old(er) and (more) bitter. It'd be an ideal setup, really.

But, the clock is ticking and it's looking pretty grim because Ms. Cleo is (in all seriousness) going to end up eating Pizza Rolls for Xmas dinner because she had no money to go shopping (and no way to get to the grocery store) and I'll be washing clothes in the tub again this week because I can't afford to do laundry and the bill collectors are gonna start sending Guido around pretty quick here and it's hard to give a decent hummer when you have broken kneecaps (but I suppose it IS conducive to some epic teabagging...)

If any of you have Santa's ear, tell the jolly ol' elf that Ms. Cleo needs a hookup with a ride. Hell, I'd rent one of those flyin' reindeer for the off season if it's cool with ol Santa!

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Playin' the Game

Today was an interesting day.

Recruiter #1 calls. Has a $tiny monies an hour job (she sent me the job description... the scope of the work they want done is a $tiny monies + 5-$tiny monies + 7 an hour job, minimum). I tell her I'm not really interested. I hang up. I panic. Because $tiny monies an hour is $tinymonies an hour more than I'm making. But it's a contract. 6 months. 45 minute drive away. But, $tiny monies an hour is $tiny monies an hour more than I'm making. I call back. I talk her up to $tiny monies +2 an hour (grudgingly, but it's still a pretty substantial pay cut and I haven't worked for so little since 2002). I'm willing to bet the employer is going to tell her I'm not worth it.

Moving on... Recruiter #2 calls. She got my resume from a colleague. For the life of me, I can't remember if recruiter #2 even told me her name (bad sign). Recruiter #2 has a job that actually pays decently. Still in the same far away location but it'd be a "real" job. And then the "zingers" came at me... "Well, I'm a little concerned that none of the places you've done contract work have wanted to bring you onboard...." I was hired to cover specific workloads. Once the overwhelming deluge of work was done, they didn't need the extra help anymore. There was never even the HINT that there would be something more for me at these jobs. And then she mentioned something about possibly interviewing tomorrow and I asked to know if that was a sure thing because I'd make sure to have the vehicle tomorrow and out comes "Oh, so you're going to have transportation issues...?" No. No transportation issues. For the five years that my situation has been what it is, I've never had transportation issues.

She promised to call and let me know by 4:00PM. No call and it's now WAAAY past 4PM. Nonetheless, I have made arrangements to have the vehicle at my disposal. So when she calls at the last minute, my happy ass will be prepared and RecruiterLady will be all surprised.

I've played this game, lady. I'm sure I'll play it again. But, I'm very good at it. I'll cover my bases, you make your move. But don't for a minute think that I am not aware of what you're doing. What I can't figure out is WHY you're doing it.

I am, at this point, sortve betting that I won't hear from her again. I won't be surprised. Why do I say that? The person she got my resume from promised to get back to me in the next day or two over two weeks ago. I finally ended up emailing him and getting told that the hiring company had decided to interview other people. Well, dandy... could you have taken 3 minutes and sent me an email saying "they don't want you"? Why, oh why, is that so hard?

In any case... I've got my game face on...so let's rumble!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The times they are... crazy

I was recently discussing with someone who is fortunate enough to not need to bother with things like the job market that the "new thing" for employers is that even if you will never handle a dime of their money, they make you sign a waiver so that they can pull your credit report. Allegedly, if you are a deadbeat who can't pay your bills, you won't make a good employee. Which I don't understand because if someone gets laid off from their job unexpectedly and therefore has no income and can't pay their bills while they are desperately scrambling to become re-employed and then they happen to get behind on their payments (as is wont to happen when one has no income) then I would think that the defaulted credit would mean that the person would be motivated to get a job and make a good salary so that they can get things back on track. (And I realize that thinking that way is precisely why I have zero management potential).

Anyhow, the person couldn't believe that employers are doing that and I had to interject that with the market the way it is right now, an employer could say "I have a job for the first two people who will submit to a full body cavity search and a genital piercing of my whim" and people would be lined up for a mile AND bring their own latex gloves and dull, rusty needle for the piercing. And they would SMILE while Mr. Employer was elbow deep in their orifices and jabbing them with pointy metal objects and BEG for the opportunity to buff his balls to a deep shine.

Not only do they do credit checking but they do "comprehensive background checks" which include calling up your second grade teacher to inquire as to whether you ever kicked your nasty paste-eating habit, your clergyperson to find out how your church attendance has been for the last two decades and your drycleaner to make sure you never bring in clothing with questionable stains. There is also the drug screen, criminal background check and the unrelenting search for someone (usually an in-law fits the bill here) who will say you are a layabout who will never amount to anything and that's when you're not drunk by noon and jacked up on Mountain Dew, hookers and blow.

Whatever it is that it takes to get a job these days (the ability to suck start a Harley and modeling your Vicky's Secret lingerie whilst bent over an office copier probably doesn't hurt) I sure as hell don't seem to have it. I'd be willing to invest in a wonderbra and a set of kneepads if I thought it would help but it would be my luck to start getting interviews with cougars who haven't gotten desperate enough to consider batting for the other team once I made the investment.

Sending good vibes to all my fellow job seekers. That way you'll have goofy smiles on your faces and I'll sneak in and nab the jobs! (I jest) Take care in these crazy times!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Doubting Reality

There comes a point after you've filled out dozens of applications, sent out hundreds of resumes, joined forums and networked your sweet ass off only to turn up with bupkiss that you start to wonder if there isn't some sadistic asshat out there who just makes up job descriptions and posts them on job boards to see how many desperate suckers he can get to apply for the nonexistent job. That point came for me tonight after I filled out application number six for a "company confidential" posting. The only response I've gotten at all this week was from a guy who, honestly, sounds like what he wants is a "fence". The "job" would entail making purchases and then "using his personal UPS account" shipping said purchases to him.

First, I am not fronting money for "purchases" for someone I work for (with one exception and that's because I've worked with him long enough to know I can trust him). Because when I've done that in the past, even if I had a receipt there was always some "technicality" that kept me from being reimbursed or they did the bullshit thing of adding it to my paycheck so I had to pay taxes on the money when I'd already PAID taxes on the money, plus sales tax when I purchased the item and so ended up taking a loss. Not cool. (For me... very cool for the employer who gets his "stuff" plus manages to stiff me even if he does "reimburse" me for the purchase).

Second, I am not going to jail for the ethical failings of an employer. I've been in a position where I worked for someone who was shadier than the underside of a boulder and got fed the bullshit line that when you're on the clock you have to do whatever your employer tells you to do whether it is moral or ethical because s/he signs your paycheck. For chrissakes, there are people who work check-out at Target who won't lay a finger on a pork product, which is probably in at least a third of the orders that they ring up so don't tell me that because I'm on the clock I've gotta be doing things that I am morally opposed to (and these are things that I think any REASONABLE person would find offensive).

And maybe that's the problem. I now have ethical standards and don't tolerate bullshit. There are things I will turn a blind eye to now and then because I know that there are gray areas (like letting the co-worker who is occasionally 5 minutes late because she's got one vehicle, three kids in three different schools, a daycare kid and a husband to drop off in the morning...) slide under the boss's radar by saying I thought I saw her when the boss checks in with me in the morning. Strictly speaking, she owes the employer that 5 minutes. Realistically, she works through lunch 3 days a week and doesn't put in for overtime so nobody is getting hurt by that five minutes in the morning.

I'm not trying to espouse that I am morally perfect, either. I'm not. I do try to behave ethically. I make judgment calls about what's ok and what isn't. We all do. Which has nothing to do with whether there is a sadist out there making up and posting job descriptions for his/her amusement. I've gotta believe that 99% of all Craigslist job ads are phishing schemes. And the fact that I'm now making damn little sense tells me that I had best be off to bed to ponder the big questions later on.

Goodnight for now.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Learning the Native Language

Most people figure if they live in the United States that the native language is English. This, however, just is not the case in some places. Such is the state of things where I am living at the moment. I don't speak the same language as 98% of the folks who live in my neighborhood and they, quite frankly, are not going to stop speaking in their native tongue to accommodate me. This means that I need to get with the program and learn the language that so many people here speak or I will continue to miss out on a great many jobs because I am not bilingual.

It's not easy to learn a new language, much less become fluent in that language. Yet, there really seems to be no other option for me. It is a professional liability even worse than not having a degree and I am sure that the no degree + doesn't speak the Native Tongue is a double whammy of "do not hire" that is not helping me in the local market.

I am pretty sure that there are other cultural differences that are proving to be a hindrance to landing employment. I am feeling that there is something that I am really missing that is relaly obvious to the people who are interviewing me and no one has felt the need to let me in on what it is.

But the market being what it is right now, employers can pick and choose. There are hundreds of applicants for every opening. It's a buyer's market and I need to upgrade in order to be a more attractive commodity. So, I am working on what I can most easily change and trying to cram a new language into my brain.

The things we do in pursuit of a paycheck... crazy, huh?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Looming/Holiday Hunting

Another Sunday night... well, technically now it is Monday morning but people without jobs (who are me) keep lousy hours and I'm still up so it's still Sunday night in my book.

My calendar this week is wide open and anyone with half a brain knows that no one interviews on a Holiday week. Unless they really aren't interested in you OR the person slated to work the holiday quit in a huff/got fired for not polishing the knobs correctly and they are DESPERATE because everyone ALSO knows "New Guy Works the Holidays". So, it'll be another exciting week of hunting and sending resumes off to the great abyss. Perhaps I'll be kindling for someone's stove on Thanksgiving so that they can cook their family a lovely meal.

I have no family within a thousand mile radius. No friends, either. I will not get any "pity invites" from anyone because no one around here knows me. Not that I am complaining because I chose this and I have to live with all of the consequences of the choice - good and bad. And I am sure that you can tell I'm a real treat at dinner parties, too.

Not working during the holiday season does have its advantages. You aren't forced to listen to Christmas music for 30+ days in a row til you want to stab your eardrums out with an icepick. You don't have to take part in the idiotic office "Secret Santa" where you always get the witch of a supervisor that you have to get more than a $10 gift for even though the "rules" say that you have a $10 limit because you KNOW that she'll write you up for every little thing for the coming year if your offerings do not please her. It's never a surprise when the "Secret Santa's" are revealed that ::chuckle:: she got your name... (you figured that out when you found the "dollar store" tag on your gift the first day). At least it never came as a surprise to me. And it never failed that even if I found the most unique, one-of-a-kind "something" for her, she a) already had one b) doesn't like those c) saw those at Walmart and couldn't imagine who would buy that crap (let the write-ups begin!) And I cannot begin to thank whomever I had for Secret Santa the year that it was decided that it would be a complete secret, who only participated one day and that was to leave a feminine hygiene coupon on my chair whilst I was at lunch. How original and thoughtful.

Of course, NOT working at holiday time also means that you have yet ANOTHER year where you can't buy gifts for anyone so have to tell everyone not to get you anything because you won't be able reciprocate so you spend the entire holiday season in a somewhat stabby mood.

If you are lucky enough to be working, you will likely make the mistake of wishing someone who doesn't celebrate some form of seasonally appropriate greeting/farewell and they will snarl at you that they don't celebrate and then you'll be all embarrassed OR, if you're really lucky, they'll go to HR and report you for being an insensitive asshat and you'll have to spend your holiday studying diversity videos and penning an essay on cultural sensitivity.

You may run into the situation I did one year, too, where they lovingly(sarcasm) shitcanned someone in mid-December and hired me. (In retrospect, I feel like a total schmuck over that). So, she was let go on a Friday afternoon, I started Monday morning. One of the co-workers came in with a gift for everyone in the office and after being apprised that Former Person was not coming back, awkwardly handed me the gift intended for Former Person. (For the record, it was a mug and I still have it).

Other December company-related weirdness... being the "new guy" at Company Holiday Party time and not knowing whether the "voluntary" festivities are truly voluntary (Hint: It is NEVER voluntary). I've known many companies where if you didn't show for the holiday party, you didn't get your bonus. Sometimes these horrible, forced gatherings are things you are supposed to bring a spouse to. I never had a spouse who would go so I'd cruise in solo and get horrified stares from co-workers and have to make up some lame excuse about the hubby having gone on a bender and having left him sleeping in a puddle of his own bodily fluids or something. On the rare occasion where I suckered a friend into accompanying me, some totally bizarre situation usually occurred that made me even more of an outcast in the office (and possibly prompted the psychological examinations given shortly thereafter). I have had the good fortune of never having gone to a company party where alcohol was allowed so there was never any scandal involving the Receptionist xeroxing her ta-tas or anything of that nature.

There was one job that I started in December and the first staff meeting I went to, the staff was told that there would be no holiday bonus that year and one of the staff started to cry. I was flabbergasted as the biggest "bonus" I'd ever gotten for the holidays prior to that was a $5 Target Gift Certificate so I couldn't imagine what there was to cry over. I found out the following year when we DID get bonuses and it was equal to an entire paycheck. The gal that had cried the previous year made at least 3 times what I made, so I imagine that not having gotten her bonus probably really DID hurt the ol' budget. That was the best bonus I've ever gotten. Even if I get a job tomorrow, I wouldn't be eligible for a holiday bonus so would just be sitting listening to everyone gloat about theirs or bemoan the fact that they weren't getting one.

So... I'll try to make the best of this week and gear up hard for the "find something, anything, before the end of the year" push that will commence on Black Friday.

Friday, November 20, 2009

RIP Professional Courtesy

Used to be, back in the day, that you would get called for an interview, go on the interview, write a nicely worded Thank You letter and either get an offer or a rejection letter. Or you would send your application and/or resume somewhere and get either an interview offer or a rejection letter. Most of the time the rejection letters were a form letter type of thing and I have files full of them to prove that they existed. Then, as things became more internet based, you applied online and either got an interview offer or a rejection email. Which is fine, too. Because although it contains crushing defeat, it is also more "green" than cutting down a tree to tell me that there is no way in hell you'll hire me.

But in the past few months... go on interviews.... never hear another thing. Get called by an agency, go in and fill out a ream of paperwork, am told to call and when I do, get told the person I want to speak with is on another call and never hear back from them. Nary a peep.

I had a couple of interviews I thought went well. I followed up with Thank You letters. And... **crickets** NOTHING!!

And you know what the big problem is that I have with that? It screams to me "your time has no value, MsCleanslate!" And maybe these folks don't place any value on my time. But, if that's the case, why did they bother to interview me? Was I overconfident? Did I ramble too much? Come off as too ambitious? Come off as not ambitious enough? Did I ask for too much money?

Yeah, I had one of the companies ask me what I thought after having looked at their website. And had I only found their website when I Googled them, it might have been a different story. But I found NUMEROUS links to "this company is a scam" and "ripoff report" and "shady practices" and "lawsuits" and a very lengthy "rap sheet" with the Better Business Bureau and so it really caught me off guard to be asked what I thought of them after having researched them on the internet. What I honestly thought was that I was going to be in a position daily where being bent over the desk and sodomized with a 5 gallon water jug would have been preferable if I was offered and accepted the position.

I miss professional courtesy. Even if it is in the form of a form letter. I hope it comes back into vogue, but I'll not hold my breath waiting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm trying to be a PROFESSIONAL, people

Last week I went on an interview. I met with Johnny and Molly (not their real names...) Johnny and Molly are both about 15 years younger than I am. I think they were a little... appalled that I am SOOOO OLD. But, age discrimination aside, I have a bit of a problem.

I asked Johnny and Molly for their business cards. Molly gave me a card with just the company name (and an OLD street address) on it and I asked her if she could write their names on the card. And instead of writing John Hatesyu and Margaret Fakecheery she writes on the card Johnny, Molly and Sherry (I met Sherry for 2 seconds on my way out). So, if I want to write a thank you letter (thankfully I remember the REAL address), I have to either a) look like a dumbass and call to get their REAL names or b) look like a dumbass and address a letter to Johnny and another to Molly which is very informal and not at ALL professional.

Now there is probably a snowball's chance in hell that I will ever even hear from them again since, as I noted, they don't want me, Ms. Jurassic, working for them. Because who wants an office Mom telling you that your coffeecup is growing a science experiment and you'd better pick up that office RIGHT NOW young man and just WAIT until your CEO gets home...

Nevermind that I have a good 30 more years that I will be in the workforce and if I am, at earlyfortysomething, already being looked at like I should be shuffling off for the home, then there's an issue. For the record, I do NOT look to be fortysomething. But if you start talking about having 20 years of experience, I guess the young folks start envisioning you running with the wooly mammoths and you can just forget getting a job. I also thought it odd that Molly said that her fiance is asking her to "move on professionally" from the job which I wonder if it means he thinks she's too old to be "office bitch" or if he's worried that Johnny is gettin' some of the goodies on lunch break in the supply room. Or maybe I missed it and Johnny and Molly are dating and the company frowns on that (since the clients are starting to complain about product being tainted by liberated bodily fluids).

So, I guess I'll write my letters to Johnny and Molly and look like an asshat rather than calling (where Molly will answer the phone) and asking if I can please get REAL names for these folks. It's obvious to me that these kids could use some help (and I just have to say that Johnny had the most delicate, feminine hands I have EVER seen on a dude... it was a little creepy). I think it'll be a hoot for them to actually get letters sent to the correct address even though they did their damndest to thwart me!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still pounding the pavement (of the Information Superhighway)

Hey y'all. I am still looking for painful gainful employment. It is a frustrating task. 300 applications later I've had a whopping two interviews. One of those I have already been rejected for. I have another interview on Friday but I am pretty convinced that working for a company that has a Better Business Bureau rap sheet that rivals Santa's "naughty" list is probably not a good career move and won't be at all surprised when they bait and switch and the "Administrative" position turns out to be whoring door-to-door. No thank you, not my cup of tea. I also don't much like the fact that the guy used a friggin' speakerphone to call me and his first question is "so, why are you looking for a job"? Dude... LOOK AT MY RESUME, ok? I sent it, along with an application and if you look... HEY, my last job was a thousand miles away from where I am currently applying from... could that, perhaps, be the reason I am seeking employment?

Seriously, though, I am not at all impressed with the agencies I've dealt with here so far. Y'all call me up, have me jump through hoops and then disappear like a rhino fart in the jungle (rhinos live in jungles, right?) and never tell me what I did wrong. Do you folks have some overlord that you need to send a "we conned X number of suckers into spending a half hour filling out paperwork" report to? At least the bitch at FruitNumber back where I used to live told me flat out that she didn't even ever TRY to place anyone over a size 8. But I am starting to get paranoid that something is going on somewhere and I'm not picking it up and it's just tanking all of my prospects. Yeah, I know the market is rough but a 300:2 ratio is absolutely ridiculous.

There is one agency out there that is advertising SPECTACULAR jobs but every time I go to apply for a new one (and this is all stuff that it is not at ALL a stretch to see that I am well qualified) I get a little popup that tells me that they have me on file, please stop applying. And, of course there is no phone number anywhere so I just have to sit and wait for them to deem me worthy of a scrap of their time.

I really hate to panic but the reality is that the money is about gone and when I start defaulting on credit cards and my credit score tanks, it's going to make getting a job that much more difficult. I suppose it is an option to start applying for jobs that are an hour plus one-way commute but then you have to ask for a higher salary to offset all the money you are throwing into the gastank and putting into repairs, increased frequency of oil changes and the like.

I did have a side project I was hoping would turn into something good, but I sent out a prototype and there haven't even been cricket chirps in response so I am thinking that's a bust.

Thinking that soon I will have to do something like hit the mall and see if there isn't a Claire's or something that is hiring. I don't know if I could cut it as a barista. I hear you have to have at least a Master's Degree to get those jobs these days!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"...we've decided to fill the position with a lemur..."

Ok, so... I went on the interview a while back and haven't heard a peep since. I'm thinking that means I should write that off and move onto the next thing. I sent a very nice thank-you letter (as you are supposed to) and have heard nothing. Is it really so difficult to send off a form e-mail "Thank you for applying, we've hired someone else/you're not what we're looking for/we've decided to fill the position with a lemur, please destroy our number and never again darken our doorstep".

Flash forward to the fiasco of the day. I got a call from a recruiting agency. I returned the call as instructed. About a minute into our conversation he VERY abruptly says "Yeah, listen, I'm gonna have to call you back, I have another call" **CLICK** So, here I am at my desk, holding my breath for the call back. Given that I was told he'd call back 40 minutes ago, I'm thinkin' that maybe, just maybe, homeboy isn't going to follow through with that. Just sayin'.

Yesterday, I got a call from a recruiter (seeing a pattern here?) and actually GOT the follow up email she said she'd send "right away" about 2 hours later. I filled out the attached form, scanned it, emailed it back, got acknowledgement that it was received and... that's right... not a peep since.

I was browsing ads yesterday and came across a really good job. Read the description and it was a perfect fit. Then I read the last line of the ad "Must have a SPOTLESS credit record, no exceptions". Now... my credit isn't bad. But I surely cannot call it SPOTLESS. Sigh. My theory is that their last Admin (and this was for a job which has NO financial responsiblities) embezzled an assload o' money or something. I dunno, I think that one's credit report is a really poor indicator of what sort of employee someone would be. But, this may be why I am not in management.

So... at the moment. No job for me. No good prospects. Guess I need to think of a good "plan B".

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Interview Enigma

So, I ventured out on an interview today. I hate them. I hate the waiting AFTER an interview even more.

Did you ever have an interview where you got absolutely NO clue about whether it went well or not? Thus was my interview today with "Gus". I call him that not because it's his name, but it seems to fit.

Gus is an older gentleman. I think he would have done well selling used cars because he says the same thing over and over but pretties it up and obfuscates it well. Rather than give a name to any of their projects they were discussed as "the current project" and "the future project" and, well, there are many appealing things about the job, not the least of which is the mostly home office aspect of it and honestly, I think it's a cakewalk sort of job but... I got no real feel for how Gus was feeling and he had a weak, limp handshake, which I hate.

I do think it's sortve telling that ol' Gus didn't really ask alot about me. And called me by the wrong name twice. So, I am not holding my breath and will move on as if I still need to look. We shall see how things go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Invisible Visitors

So, a couple of posts ago I had mentioned that I was booking travel for some people. Or trying to book travel and meeting resistance to giving me adequate answers. Very frustrating. In any case, I understand that they did arrive (and there were no visitor badges for them which Euroboss was trying to say was because I didn't do what I'm supposed to do but Facilities Dude came down and apologized for having dropped the ball). Fine. Whatever.

Anyhow, they've allegedly been here two days and I've not seen hide nor hair of them. At all. Which is fine with me. That probably means they don't have anything to complain about as far as their accommodations (which I gave them a dozen recommendations for, they didn't hear what they wanted to hear which was "go ahead and stay at the $200 a night Hilton" so they asked someone ELSE in my group where to stay.) Fine. Whatever.

I went out and got the Wedding Gift for the Dude at Work who is getting hitched. Pretty good haul, if you ask me.

I think I suck at Fantasy Football. But I'm not dead last. Yet.

That's all I have for tonight! Sleep Well!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

All roads lead to AAARRRGGGHHH!!

So, here we are... contemplating moving and needing to find jobs and running into one brick wall after another. Sure, they'd love to move forward with the hiring process, just come on down on Monday morning.... GAAAHHH!!! I'm still a 14 hour (one way) drive away from being able to do that. (Insert foul language here)!!

Want to rent a place to live? Sure, no problem, just fill out this application with the first friggin' question on it being "where do you work and what's your income?" GAAAAHH!! I don't have a job there yet so I don't have a job or income. And, of course, no one in their right mind will rent to someone with no job/income because rent relies on being able to pay.

Ok. So. Now what? We can't get jobs THERE when we are HERE. We can't get housing THERE without having jobs. And at the end of this month, neither of us will HAVE jobs and we have nowhere to live lined up and we are, in a word, screwed.

If ever an equation begged for (and then a miracle occurred) this is it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Diva Princesses Don't Impress Me...

So, a few months back we had a woman come and interview. And all of my male co-workers (which is all but one of the rest of the "team") were falling all over themselves like horny teenagers because the lady has the "gigglejiggleteehee" going on like nobody's business. I was a little intrigued that when you google her name the first thing that comes up is her Facebook page. (She has a rather unusual name and her picture is there so I know it's her). Anyhoo, not surprisingly, they offered her a job (unbeknownst to me before they hired her was the fact that apparently "gigglejiggleteehee"is a highly sought skill in our field).

So, she started this week. And all I have heard out of her mouth is complaints. And all I can think is what a colossal pain in the posterior it is going to be to have to work with someone who has been around for less than a week and already looks at me like I am something nasty she stepped in.

I have really tried to be nice and welcoming and mentioned that if there is a specific type of soda she likes I can certainly try to get it into the rotation when I go shopping. (Hell, I bought rootbeer for the guy who has backhandedly said to my face twice now that he thinks I'm stupid). But I'll be honest and say that the whole whiny diva thing gets old with me very quickly and I struggle to give a damn. Certainly, if there were legitimate issues that needed to be addressed, I would do so with haste. As I did for the gangly youngster who also just started and who very politely asked me what he needed to do to get his issues worked out (which I was able to take care of in just moments).

I should have known what to expect when she pulled the Princess calendar out of her bag and hung it up in her cube first thing. (No lie, she has a PRINCESS calendar) ::Sigh::

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Open Letter

Dear Person for Whom I Have Been Tasked With Booking Travel For:

I have asked you the same very specific set of questions twice now. Without the information I have requested, I cannot book your travel. Every day closer to your arrival, airfare will go up. I'd think you'd want to step it up a bit, my friend. But, let's imagine for a moment that you don't give a rat's ass about the budget. How about the fact that you'll end up traveling on a red-eye? Does that make you want to step up the pace?

Seriously, it isn't that difficult. What day do you want to travel? Sure, you've told me when you're visiting but are the first and last days your travel days? I'm sorry I can't intuit that for someone I've never met.

Which airport (of the 2-3 possibilities) do you want to fly out of? Which do you want to fly in to? Again, I'm sorry I can't intuit that for someone I've never met.

Which hotel do you want to stay in? Do you get free booze & porn at the TwoShrubbery Hotel, which is where most of your compatriots want to stay even though it's double the policy-approved room rate? Do they have a super cool "hookers and blow" package that I'm unaware of? (Corporate Code = 69-Eightball)

And hey, now you say you're booking the flight on your own? Super. Thanks for waiting til 4:44 to tell me. Ah, yeah, I know you're in California and don't care that I want to go home.

Wait a minute... you got to California from your home office SOMEHOW, yet you're trying to tell me you've never booked travel before? I was born at night buddy, but not LAST NIGHT!

If you're smart, you will not leave your hotel booking to me... I will set you up at Motel 6 and make sure to write your room number on some bathroom walls in "that" part of town so you're sure to get company whilst you visit.

Hate & Pinches,
Ms. Cleanslate

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Taste the rainbow... of PANIC!

So... I have told you that I now have to do all this sanitizing in the office so people don't get the flu. I am thinking that body disposal (of co-workers who contract said flu) would probably fall into the "other duties as assigned" heading on my job description.

Trying to think of ways I can parlay panic into an advantage for myself, I hit upon the notion that one of the nastier parts of my job is washing the coffee cups. Even if I am using soap, there's the fact that the water in the sink I use never gets above lukewarm, so the amount of actual sanitizing that happens is minimal. Of course, I COULD dip the cups in a nice bleach solution but then I'd just hear about how the coffee tastes funny and these folks are HARDCORE about the taste of their coffee so bleachy coffee would likely be right out. So, I'm thinking... can I get them to sacrifice the "green" factor of reusable cups for the sanitary factor of not dealing with other employee's saliva? If so, then one of the bigger nasty parts of my job would be gone. Huzzah.

But we also got to see the "pandemic" plan for the complex we work in which has a handy colour-coded chart and all sorts of instructions on how to keep the place running with a skeleton crew of folks who, I guess, will have to walk through some sort of bleach solution and have their orifices scrubbed with a boar bristle brush before they are cleared to get to their workstations every day. If I am reading the plan correctly, you would come in through the designated entrance, undergo some sort of probing to see if you are diseased, if your colon is clear of diseased ecoli, you can then proceed to your workstation but you may not have any contact with the outside world during the day without slipping into a body condom, gloves, sterile hat and facemask. I am envisioning a uniform like this:

They would probably prefer that sanitized employees just stay in the building but since they don't plan on having any sort of food service nor will they allow anyone in to stock the vending machines, I would envision something like this ensuing...

or even this:

Which is to say that while the flu may not be pretty, tech folks held hostage without any junk food may be even less pretty.

We'll see how it goes. I imagine they'll all go out and get their flu shots or, ya know, maybe they'll just have some dude in a pith helmet come and shoot folks in the ass with flu vaccines. Ya know, I might volunteer for THAT gig!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

An ounce of prevention = more hours of busywork

So, in my first weekly meeting with the boss since the meeting where he had his panties all in a wad about the freakin' picnic, I was informed that due to concern about the flu, I will be responsible for sanitizing all workstations every week.

That's right, kids, I get to go around and clean off everyone's phone, mouse and keyboard plus wipe off all "shared" surfaces (breakroom I do everyday anyhow) like doorknobs and the like.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that the flu is serious business and we don't want people getting sick and then coming to the office so we all get sick, etc. But this is an office of grown, college-educated people. Are you SERIOUSLY telling me they can't go to the breakroom, grab an a cleaning wipe and wipe their own mouse, keyboard and phone? Oh, right, these are the same people who cannot wash their own coffee cups or put a soda into the mini fridge after they've taken one out to drink (except whomever drinks the Maximum Overload Cola who decides that THE WHOLE DAMN FRIDGE needs to be filled with his/her soda).

And I am guessing that the theory is that having me touch all of the equipment that is allegedly all germy won't make me sick because skullery maids have some sort of super immune system. I'm of the mind to get some Thieve's Oil and whip that shit on them... I know from personal experience that Thieve's Oil is da bomb for all things that antiscepticizing. I mean, it's based on a formula that thieves used to use back in the days of the freakin' Black Plague. They'd rub themselves down with this stuff to rob the bodies of the dead and somehow manage, through the antiseptic properties of this oil concoction, to not contract the plague themselves. So, hey, Swine Flu... BRING IT!

Have I mentioned I won't be sad to move on from this job?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dodging the Boomerang

Today was supposed to be my first meeting with Bossman since the morale-killer meeting (I can count on one hand the words he has spoken to me since), but I got another reschedule request today.

I am not looking forward to tomorrow and the meeting that will probably happen. I have the sneaking suspicion that he keeps rescheduling because he's waiting to hear something from someone up the food chain (like the Big Boss Man getting his medical bill after the "way too much fragrance incident).

Will let y'all know what happens. Way past bedtime now!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Smellin' like a....

I did some major cleaning at work. The thing is, when I clean no one ever seems to notice (because I don't let things get out of hand in the first place, mainly) so I decided to make an impression and use heavily scented products to clean with. Which, ya know, would have worked fine if my co-workers didn't have allergies (and weak immune systems because they sit at desks all day and then go home at night and sit in front of the computer.... and... oh for the love... I just described MYSELF)

Anyhoo... my effort was noticed.

Just wish that there wasn't the threat of dire consequences attached.

In other work news... my boss has stopped speaking to me. While the peace and quiet is nice, the feeling that he's looking for a reason to fire me is not so nice.

Would write more but I'm exhausted.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Take One For The Team!

Weekly meeting with boss started with the phrase "So... how do you like working here...?" (which, believe me, is never a good sign.. in fact, it usually is a phrase you hear just before you AREN'T working "here" anymore.)

I was correct in my assumption that my boss was not "disappointed" at how the company picnic went... he was PISSED RIGHT THE FUCK OFF!

Now... the morning of the company picnic, I'd woken up @ 4am with a migraine. I was not well. I went out shopping in the crowded, whiny-child-infested hell of a BallzMart, then to the picnic site. The ONE picnic shelter was occupied. Great. I had something like 20 plastic bags full of food, table cloths, etc. plus jumbo paks of plates, cutlery, etc. plus 60 fricken pounds of ice, a cooler and two huge bags of charcoal.

The people using the shelter left....right about the time that people started showing up. One of the Perfect Wives started harping on me right away about why wasn't everything already set up and how it was so tacky that it was a potluck and blahblahblahblahBLAH.

I was trying to get all the stuff from my truck to the shelter (could anyone be bothered to help?? Nooooooo....) I started setting things up and got an earful about how I hadn't gotten enough food or enough ice or enough table cloths... blahblahblahblahBLAH.

I'd wanted to be HOME by 3:30, but people didn't even get to the picnic site til 3:15ish... I left about 4:15.

Wellllll... today I got told that "EVERYONE" had gone out of their way to tell my boss I was nonstop complaining and bitching from the moment that they arrived(untrue) and unorganized (didn't have everything all set up when people got there) and how AWFUL and UNFORGIVABLE it was that I LEFT (and they had to Cllllleeeeaaaannn uppppp.....). Add to that the complaint that there were no decorations, that things didn't look nice, couldn't I have gotten balloons or some small bouquets or something? Oh, and that I share a vehicle with another person and had to go was "not his problem" and I SHOULD HAVE freed up my day "for the team".

Then he launched into how I had ruined the whole experience for everyone (keep in mind that I was gone pretty early on... so if they didn't manage to have a good time, that's my fault HOW?), that his whole "team building" effort that he'd worked a year on and this was supposed to be the crowning glory of was all "at least seriously set back and possibly at a point where we are back at square one" and that the whole team felt extremely negative toward me (really? gee... guess what? I don't think the negativity towards me came from the friggin' picnic)

Boss then starts in on how the breakroom isn't being kept pristine and that the floors should be vacummed every couple days and the conference room isn't pristine and that I obviously am not "focused on the TEAM" and how my life needs to stop during working hours so I can be "focused on the team" and checking in with them to see what they need and what they want and I need to be totally disassembling, cleaning and reassembling the espresso machine AT LEAST once a week. And that I need to "LISTEN" to what that team wants. That I need to spend time chatting with them. Well, ya wanna know what they all bitched about regarding the FORMER person in my position? "All she did was stand around chatting or go out shopping..."

Now.... this is the "team" that regularly goes to lunch without a word to me. Yet, *I* am the one who "isn't focused on the team"

I worked for an extra 1.5 hours on a Friday and 4.5 hours on a Saturday for which I will NEVER get paid for this disaster. Not to mention all the time and planning that went into it and I did it all MY FUCKING SELF. Not to mention that the Other Half was pissed that I didn't just blow it off altogether AND I heard nothing but negativity about it from "the team" before it ever happened and got not even one THANK YOU. No, I just got to hear about how my "constant complaining" ruined it for everyone who attended. (For the record... I said NOT ONE WORD OF THE VERY BITTER COMPLAINTS THAT WERE IN MY HEAD!)

So... basically, they want to pay someone $pittance an hour (NO OVERTIME) to do everything from washing coffeecups and vacuuming to doing Project Management to, apparently, being Dr. Friggin Phil and making sure everyone is happy all the time, to doing all of the supply purchasing and maintain the wiki AND you need to be an event planner (and be able to plan and execute everything ALL BY YOURSELF) and to do this you need to work 50 hours a week but you're only going to get paid for 40 no matter what... and you have no vacation, sick time, or benefits of any kind. Your co-workers all make in excess of $100K a year and most treat you like something nasty they found on the bottom of their shoe.

Now... out of all of this, you know what stings? That part about not "being focused on the team"... Let's see... if you recall, I bought both real mayo and miracle whip for the picnic, because I know some people ONLY like REAL mayo and some ONLY like Miracle Whip... I made sure to include hotsauce because I know that some team members like really spicy food/hot sauce... I got not only the hamburgers and hotdogs I was told to get, but I got brats, too and had even thought to ask if anyone needed a veggie option (the closest anyone came was that chicken would be their request, which I accommodated). I've done shopping on weekends and do shipping after work because I want to be available during the day in case someone needs something (big complaint about previous person was that she was never in the office). I've bought donuts with my own money. When we have visitors and I am sent to fetch lunch, I NEVER put MY lunch on the company card. I bought both regular and baked varieties of chips in case there were calorie counters in the group or those concerned about their fat intake. I buy Truvia for our "lo cal" sweetener because it's a stevia based sweetener and is better for you than Aspartame. I buy three different types of coffee beans for the espresso maker and blend them so "the team" can have the best espresso experience possible (while keeping an eye on the budget).

And, ya know what? I was, until today, a little sad I'd be leaving this job. Not anymore... I'm countin' down the days.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Company Picnic (and some background)

Currently, I work in a small office--14 people plus 1 "Skullery Wench". There is one other female and she's the lab team leader.

My duties are to make the coffee, clean the coffeepot and espresso maker and wash all the coffeecups. Seriously, it was a HUGE HAIRY DEAL in the interview that I knew how to make coffee and understood it was going to be my job and also that I knew that all cleanup was my job. But they also want me doing Project Management. So, basically, they pay me $pittance an hour to be everything from Project Manager to Skullery Wench. My contract had been scheduled to end July 31st and it was this big ordeal to get Corporate to approve an extension. Nevermind that they pay me only half of what they're paying the agency for me (I know this because I had to write up the Purchase Order for my own contract). And I work assloads of OT and cannot submit for any overtime (on the plus side, when the company closed for a long weekend (3 work days plus weekend) and I didn't work, they let me submit 40 hours, otherwise I would have had 3 unpaid days). I keep the breakroom stocked, order all supplies and equipment for our location, am the local person who handles all of the HR paperwork (Corporate is in Non-US), do all of the shipping (which we have to take to the FEDEX location since our company rents space in another company's building), am in charge of getting badges for all staff and visitors, making sure the heating and cooling is ok, making sure that the people who gather the trash are doing their job, vacuum the office when there is a mess made, take and distribute minutes for the weekly meeting and am sent to fetch lunch and dinner for the "regular" staff from time to time as well as coordinate breakfast and lunches when we have visitors. I have to give my boss a report every week of what I did the previous week. (Basically, I have to justify my existence on a weekly basis).

They give me a company cell phone (which I seldom use. Previous person in my position gave out the number as her personal phone number and ran up $700+ a month in calls for her last 2 months). And I have a purchasing card so I can get all the supplies and stuff.

I get no vacation time, no sick time, no benefits. And it took me 6 months to find this job. For a pretty small town, there is a HUGE hangup on only employing people who have college degrees, which I do not. I am not willing to go into further debt for a degree... I already have more debt than I can pay off in my lifetime.

One of my recent assignments was to plan and execute "The Company Picnic". On the day of the picnic, I got a later start than I should have. EvilMart was packed with preggos and hellspawn (and maintained their corporate mandated quota of rednecks and women in tubetops who have no business going braless). I think I got way too little food.

The picnic was populated by The Perfect Wives (seriously, it was like they were all just slightly different versions of the same woman.... same basic body, hair, voice... I honestly think that they all just bought a kit and did minor customizations) and me being a) a divorcee (gasp!) and b) having no babiez I was a big neon FREAK FLAG in Perfect Wife Land.

I woke up the morning of the picnic with a migraine... shopped at friggin' Evilmart... had to get sixty fucking pounds of ice by myself and then had to schlep all the crap to the picnic site. And first whiff I got of the charcoal file wracked me with waves of nausea, so I cut out... but I am sure they think I am a huge failure as a party planner but, ya know, here's the deal. I don't DO "outdoors". I am allergic to sunlight, charcoal grilling makes me ill. There were allegedly going to be 24 people there (mix of kids/adults). I got :

24 hamburgers (the Perfect Wives frowned at Frozen Patties... oh the horror)
16 Beef Bun Length Hot Dogs
24 Bratwust (Beer Brats, Stadium Brats and Cheddarwurst)
3lbs chicken breasts (mainly because our employee from India doesn't eat other meat)
Buns for the above that require buns
2 fifty-packs of assorted bagged chips
Assorted "tubez o' nuts"
Assorted paks of cookies and crackers with cheese and crackers w/peanut butter
Real Mayo
Miracle Whip
2 kinds of BBQ Sauce
Yellow Mustard
Spicy Brown Mustard
Louisiana Hot Sauce
Sweet Pickles
Dill Pickles
Pickle Relish
8 Two Litres of Soda
1 Six pack o' Kool Aid Bursts (blue)
1 Pkg. Capri Sun "Mountain Cooler"
2 gallons Spring Water
Aluminum Foil
2 table cloths
2 pkgs table cloth clips
Cups
Plates
Forks, knives, Spoons (plastic)
Paper Towels
Wet Wipes
Bug Spray
Hand Sanitizer
Sunscreen
Bag of chocolate "fun size" candy packs
Trash Bags
Cooler + 60 fucking pounds of ice
2 Sets of BBQ tools
2 bags charcoal
1 large thing o' lighter fluid
2 long "fire lighter thingies"

Plus people were supposed to bring something to share. The pre-picnic signup indicated there would be about 16 lbs. of Potato Salad.

In reality:

Perfect Wife with 4 freakin' kids under age 6 brought... 1 one pound bag of baby carrots

There was a small bowl of pasta salad (brought by the guy whose wife probably said there was no friggin' way she wanted to hang out with The Perfect Wives because she "had to work".)

There was a small bowl of bing cherries.

There was a container of 24 mini chocolate chip cookies

And there was a cupcake cake. (It was a ladybug! Oooh!)

I am sure I won't get so much as a "thank you" because I wasn't there 2 hours early and didn't have a gourmet meal all prepared and waiting. And because I didn't stay and clean up afterwards. And cuz I wasn't a skinny, model-beautiful Perfect Wife with an Geek Husband (and, for the record, there isn't a damn thing wrong with Geek guys... I'm all for 'em) and teh babiez.

But now it's OVER. And my happy ass won't be here for the "holiday party".

Friday, July 31, 2009

Company Picnic = Bane of My Existence

Once again it the time of year that employees worldwide dread... Second only to the "Holiday Party' is the "Company Picnic".

And worse, my company has decided to inflict this horror on us on a Saturday. We see these people 5 days a week, at least 8 hours a day, why would we choose to spend our weekend with them?

Oooh! Team Building Exercises. That "family" feeling. Bleah! I don't have kids of my own for a reason, people... Please, please, don't make me hold your babies. Don't make me want to critique your parenting skills (I'm kindve an asshat that way)

Even better... they put me, the person who can't be exposed to sunlight and who projectile vomits when confronted with charcoal grilled food, in charge of planning this catastrophe. And honestly, I hope it absolutely pours rain tomorrow so I don't have to execute this whole thing. Except it will probably come back to haunt me at some point (in the form of "rain date")

There are a number of people who aren't coming... There will be a couple of little babies there. There will be tweens and teens. In other words, it is going to be a nightmare. And my "team" has been as unhelpful as they can possibly be. And a boss who thinks that withholding people's bonus checks until they come to the festivities is a good idea. Bonus checks that I am not eligible to receive do not motivate me to spend time with people who have made it perfectly clear that I am not "one of them" on what SHOULD be a day off that I am not getting paid for nor am I getting comp time for.

So... hope for rain folks... I know I am.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Let me drop everything and work on YOUR problem

Dear Deluded Co-Worker,

It has come to my attention recently that you do not understand some very basic principles. First and foremost, let me make it crystal clear that YOU are not my boss. You may think it's macho to try to bark orders at me. I will even admit that, in the culture of your homeland, it may be expected that you bark orders at a "lowly" female. However, doing so only makes me resent you and will not make your requests get fulfilled any faster.

Secondly, a lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency for me. There are things that take time and you hounding me does not speed things up. In fact, being interrupted to answer your inane questions actually slows things down.

Lastly, on a day I am busy, I may or may not get to your request the same day. Asking me if I have completed your request 10 minutes after you made it when it's an hour long task and you've asked at 4:40 in the afternoon when I am scheduled to leave at 5:00 and have several very high priority lengthy tasks from my actual boss in queue ahead of your requests means you will only be disappointed. I'm doing the best I can, I have a task given to me by my boss on Monday that I haven't even started yet. Frown at me all you want, it isn't going to change my priorities.

Not your slave, so dream on,
MsCleanslate

Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Etiquette Note for my friend's clueless boss...

Greetings Clueless Employer,

As you may recall, my friend is attending a family function connected with the death of a family member. My friend is not on "vacation". As such, it would be proper and respectful for you to NOT CALL and ask, again, when my friend will be back to work when my friend CLEARLY stated in the last phone conversation that you had that s/he'd return on Monday. (I am being inclusive here).

Seriously, what sort of person calls someone attending a FUNERAL to whine about how hard they are working whilst you are away having a gay ol' time burying your deceased family member? I knew before this that you were a self-centered asshat but, honestly, this really takes the cake.

My friend told you they'd be back at work on Monday. No, they will not take "on call" the second they touch down at the airport. Let's recall, shall we, how my friend stepped in and took YOUR on-call weekend when you had a family emergency. How soon we forget.

Before you write your next review dinging someone for not being a "team player" and not "realizing we're all in the same boat", I would like to bring to your attention that sitting on your ass, at a desk, barking orders and issuing missives is not "working hard" and you are fooling no one. Or at least no one at the local office. I will not go into how your superior "oral skills" may be benefitting you at the corporate level.

You didn't call in anyone to help when my friend's co-worker went on vacation, you didn't call in anyone to help during your little family emergency (when my friend's co-worker called at 7:30 in the morning in hysterics and needed to be "talked down" from quitting right then and there), so just because you have to, perhaps pitch in and work for a change doesn't make this a crisis worthy of you calling my friend during their time of bereavement.

Hate & Pinches,
Ms. Cleanslate

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A letter to my co-workers

Dear CodeMonkeys,

Hi... It's your Scullery Maid. The one who washes your coffee cups because even though you are all allegedly grown people who allegedly don't live in your mother's basements, you cannot seem to wash a coffee cup before there is some sort of science experiment growing in it.

Did you all know I have, in my contract, a restriction on lifting? It's not because I'm disabled, it's because the company I work for doesn't want me getting a friggin' hernia or throwing out my back. That's why I usually let you young, strong, male people put the new water bottle on the water cooler. I was hoping one of you would see how EMPTY it was and, ya know, put the new bottle on the cooler. Alas, you seem to be, I don't know, "punishing" me for something, I guess, because it was bone dry this morning. I broke the rules of my contract and put the new bottle on the cooler because I know I am nothing more than a Scullery Maid and you are all so goddamned important and college-educated that you can't do one little thing that isn't in your job description.

Also, I need to talk to you about the mini-fridge in the breakroom. I buy the soda that goes in it. I have a "setup" for how many of which kind of soda gets put in the fridge and make sure that there are always cold sodas available. It is not helpful, then, when one of you yahoos comes along and stuffs all of YOUR favored flavour into the fridge leaving no room for the other flavours. I KNOW you like your Pepsi Max. But, guess what? Only 2 of you drink it. I KNOW you like your Dew but you don't need to fill the whole fridge with Dew you selfish bastards! And don't look at me like I just shit on your desk when I actually walk back to my desk with one of your Beloved Mt. Dew's. I work here, too, ya know! We have two 24 packs of Dew, my having ONE isn't going to mean you are going to go without! So, don't act like I'm some sort of marauder pillaging your village!

Finally, don't think it escapes me that you often all go out to lunch together and don't invite me. To this I say "GROW THE FUCK UP!" This isn't High School, ok? Don't all be coming down the hallway, gabbing away and then get quiet when you pass my office cuz you don't want me to know you're going. Have some balls and tell me to my face. I know I am not a high and mighty CodeMonkey like you are. I know I am but a lowly coffeepot scrubbing, waterbottle hefting scullery maid. I'm not asking to be treated as an EQUAL... I AM asking to be treated like a real person with real feelings, though. Or does that not compute?

No Love,
The Scullery Maid

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sometimes I question the sanity...

I do some freelance work. I have one pretty long-term client who is generally pretty easy to work with but who occasionally asks for some really last minute stuff and pretty much expects me to drop everything I'm doing and take care of his stuff. And most of the time, that's ok. He'd been saying for several weeks now that he had some money for me and so I wasn't really sweating some of the stuff that's looming for me. But when I talked to him today to try and arrange a time to finally get to meet he tells me that since I haven't done the billing in a while, there's really no money for him to give me and implies that it's my fault.

Now, here's the problem I have with that....

a) One client, whose stuff I spent HOURS on and who I just spent nearly $10 mailing something to via certified mail because she's been bitching she didn't get the previous mailings, just dropped a big check about 3 weeks ago.

b) All of the billing there is to do is for clients who have outstanding amounts dating back to 2007 or earlier and who have gotten multiple bills, collection letters, etc. and haven't responded.

c) The couple of newer clients that haven't been billed? It's because I have no record of time spent on their files and therefore have no idea what to bill them for.

This is someone whose whole office we moved on the spur of the moment, without his help, a couple Sundays ago. So, like 4 hours of packing, moving, cleaning, taking shit out to his house after getting a call early on a Sunday morning and there was the expectation that we'd just drop everything and take care of it...

I dunno, I don't think it's unreasonable of me to be a tad miffed that 2 weeks ago I was told that there was money for me and now I get asked "Why aren't you able to pay your bills? You have a job..." Yes, I have a job. And I had 6 months of no work and scraping by on almost nothing that I was getting for unemployment. The tiny bit of savings I had was gone and I was stupidly counting on getting paid for the work I've done. Silly me.

So, I'll be looking for either another freelance gig or a second "real" job here shortly. Sigh. And then deal with the fallout when I am not available to drop everything for this long-term client at the drop of a hat. And probably lose the one really good, shiny, stellar reference that's even somewhat recent that I've got.

Ahhh, freelancing... the best gig in the world. Except when it's not.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Peerless

Most people in the workforce who work in an office have colleagues with vaguely similar titles who work in the office, as well. However, most of the time, in a smaller business or in a business where different divisions of the business sit in a specific area (like accounting or HR, for instance) there is but one Administrative Assistant or Office Manager. Therefore, that person has no real "peers" in the office setting. In most cases, pretty much every position is seen as being superior to an Administrative Assistant. As such, there can be a real feeling of isolation for the Admin. My current job function is Administrative Assistant, even if that is not my title. While I have the skills and abilities to be able to do more than I currently do and while the primary manager would like to see me utilizing more of my skills, for some reason the person who would assign those tasks to me will not speak to me (Euroboss) and I happen to know this has created some issues. I am not sure exactly what his issue with me is. I've never not accomplished something that this person has managed to bring himself to ask me to do. I do not kiss his ass or fall at his feet in worship, which MAY be the issue. Or perhaps (because he is not American), he looks upon me as a stupid American. It could also be that to him I am "just a secretary" and thus should not be given more complex tasks. It could have something to do with the fact that the person in this position before I got here was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. (I am basing this on things I've seen and comments I've heard). Because this opportunity had been presented before and I had been initially rejected for it (they said they needed a different skillset) and because Euroboss was the original hiring manager I tend to think that I would not have been his choice when they filled the position for a second time and that's why I am being snubbed.

But I suspect that his unspoken (at least to my face) rejection of me has given the "green light" for the rest of the team to snub me, as well. I base this on the fact that although there is a weekly team lunch that I am supposed to be invited to, they often leave for this lunch without a word to me (and it isn't at a set time or place every week so it isn't as if I am not in the assigned meeting spot at the assigned time).

Over the years, I've grown used to the isolation that being an Admin. brings. You have to be careful to not be too chummy with the manager level people because then the rest of the office eyes you with suspicion thinking that you are the "spy" for the managers. Since you may not have the tech skills of the "regular workers" (as is the case in my current position... I work with a bunch of engineers) you have nothing particularly insightful to add when they are discussing work stuff over lunch. And you also have to be aware when management level people have seen you rubbing elbows with the "regular workers" and start asking pointed and probing questions of you in order to get information about certain employees. I've been in the position of being asked to basically "rat out" people and that isn't a position you want to be in (if you do, then the "regular workers" will, of course, not want anything to do with you and if you don't, then management dubs you "not a team player" and if you aren't fired outright, you will be denied raises/promotions/etc.)

I'm not saying I want to be best buddies with my co-workers, but I would at least like the courtesy of being invited to lunch. I know that the fact that I usually need a ride works against me. But I think that there is some deeper flaw (or flaws) that work to set me apart. I've been told that were I somewhere other than The Frozen Tundra that my work life would be different. I am not altogether sure if I believe that. But maybe it's because I've been the "different" person for so much of my life that I just don't know anything else. I really wish I could just not let it get to me, but it does. On the up side, I figure it can only get better, right?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The trouble with Tuesday....

It wasn't a bad day at work but I will be honest and say it wasn't as productive as it might have been.

The day started well enough. I ran some errands before work and then went into the office. Then I opened my email. Yeahhhh.. that was a bit of a nasty surprise. A flurry of emails about things that needed to be ordered! Right now! Today! Pronto! But, you see, there were a couple of problems with these missives.

First off, none of them were issued by my boss. Who is, by the way, traveling and so even if we did manage to research the best possible price, put together the purchase order and send it to be approved, there's not a good chance that Mr. Bossman is going to see it and approve it today.

Secondly... are you kidding me? Do you REALLY believe he's going to just say "okie dokie" to an item that costs almost $15,000.00?

Lastly, I have questions about some of these items and am not in the mood for people to be sighing and rolling their eyes at me because I cannot intuit what KIND of KVM switch they need. And did anyone bother to check if these things you are giving me links to can be shipped to places outside of the US to our affiliates? Did you stop to consider that or check? I'm guessing NO because none of the places you cited ship outside of the US which isn't going to do our non-US affiliates, for whom we are ordering some of these products in the first place, any good! *facepalm*

I pinged the boss and the person who had issued the "we need this stuff ordered TODAY" missives. The bottom line came down to this... it didn't all get ordered today because there were too many factors that were not in our control and no one but me bothered to even scout contingency plans.

Tomorrow promises to be another bonanza of clusterfuckery. The boss is returning to the office, I don't have many of my "loops" closed because I've been dealing with clever little games like "what is that noise, where is it coming from and FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY MAKE IT STOP!!" And other things like needing a note pinned to my shirt to remember to bring the goddamn digital camera back to the office!

In spite of the fact that there was a little grumbling about it, I bought Truvia for the breakroom again because I am thinking it's better for those who use artificial sweeteners than the alternatives (plus, I want to support the use of stevia where I can).

Also, before today I had no idea it was even possible to eat just ONE of a two pack of Reeses's Peanut Butter Cups. There is hope for me to live a life of moderation yet!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Administrative Professional's Day

Today was Administrative Professional's Day (the holiday formerly known as Secretary's Day). It's the day of the year that the boss usually gives the Receptionist, Secretary, Administrative Assistant, Executive Assistant or Office Manager a little something to show that they're appreciated even though the other 364 days of the year they're generally treated as something just a step above slave labor.

Don't get me wrong... I've heard tales of offices where support staff are treated as valuable team members, I've just never worked anywhere that people actually believed that and acted accordingly. (I have worked for two bosses who felt that way, but the rest of the staff didn't share the feeling). And to any of you boss-type people who ever happen to read this, if you treat your support staff well all year long, kudos to you.

There have been a couple of occasions where the holiday has meant flowers AND a nice lunch out. There have been several jobs I've had where I at least got flowers. There have been a few jobs like my current one where not only were there no goodies (And yes, I completely understand that I get a paycheck and am not ENTITLED to goodies, too) but there was no acknowledgement whatsoever of the holiday.

I fairly regularly work 45+ hours a week and only put 40 hours on my timecard. I went in on a weekend and cleaned for 3.5 hours, claimed 2.5 hours of overtime and was told that there's no budget for overtime and since it was not pre-approved it would not be paid, so gave up part of my weekend essentially for no recompense. I'm a contractor who has no paid holidays or sick time who was just told that the current economy pretty much guarantees that there will be no renewal of my contract (which makes me think, shouldn't the company I am working FOR at least have sent a "Happy Administrative Professional's Day" email even if the company I am working AT didn't??). I come in early, I stay late, I don't run up $700 cell phone bills like a certain previous person in the position did and I have been told I make a damn fine cup of coffee but no one could even take a second to acknowledge Administrative Professional's Day. And since I've been reminded by MORE THAN one person that I am "just a secretary", was it really too much to believe that someone could at least verbally say "Happy Administrative Professional's Day"? Apparently, the answer is yes.

I know I should shake it off and not let it bother me. But I feel sometimes as if I am worth less than other people because I am "just a secretary". It's not a good feeling.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Big Job Ahead

For many reasons, I am needing to "repackage" myself for my next career move. I am assuming that the next job I look for will be in the state I plan to move to...where no one knows me and so I have somewhat a new start. I am not sure what the job market there is like so I am thinking that I need to start repackaging now.

The big job is going to be remembering all of the places that I have my resume posted online and going to take each of them down. I am wondering if just completely erasing the accounts and starting all over again is maybe the best way to go.

This doesn't mean that I intend to lie about my past or my experience. I think there are ways to make myself more marketable and appealing, though, and I can't do that with the current look/feel of my resume.

The hardest part is going to be references, though. Once you've left a job and haven't been there for a while, the people who knew you who might be good references go away, too. And the best reference letter I have... well.... the person who wrote it has moved on multiple times and I doubt he is still reachable.

I'm hoping to get everything tracked down and taken care of by the end of the month and then can start on the new stuff. Then, by June I will be up and running with the new look.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The shit's gonna hit the fan...

I've known for a week and a half or so that we have people coming in from out of town. I did everything I was supposed to do to make this go smoothly and... yeahhhh... not so much.

There are 6 people coming. 4 of them let me make their travel arrangements. 2 of them would not cooperate with that. Fine. At least they all got their flights booked. I did manage to get everyone booked into the same hotel but had one guy tell me he cannot sleep if there's noise. As if I can do anything about the noise level at the hotel. Whatever.

I was supposed to have agendas early last week so I could plan refreshments and lunches. Guess what I still did not have when I left Friday night? If you said agendas, you would be correct. So there are no lunches or refreshments on deck. Nor have I made any plan to pick up breakfast for tomorrow because no one gave me any instructions.

I am supposed to talk to our Borg Cube representative to get badges for visitors. Guess who was on vacation last week? So, the pseudo replacement guy, who I told on MONDAY that I needed badges pops in on FRIDAY at 4:30 to let me know that he "forgot". Well, that's SUPER. I only talked to him 3-4 times last week and he sat in my office with his laptop allegedly ordering the badges but apparently only PRETENDING to do so to placate me or something.

Now... the other part of this is... to have computer access at our facility, Computer Guru needs to have informaiton. Which I asked our travelers for. Twice. ONE of them got the information to me. One of SIX. Again, FABULOUS.

So, here's what's going to happen... we are going to have a bunch of overtired, jet-lagged visitors who won't have badges, won't have breakfast, won't have lunch, won't have computer access and won't get a damn thing accomplished because no one has any sort of organized PLAN and who is going to be the one who looks like a schmuck who didn't do her job? Yeah, that would be me.

I only hope I have the presence of mind to smile, nod my head, and take being yelled at for things that were not in my control and not totally lose my shit. I hate the whole "I'm not going to let some stupid SECRETARY tell me what to do" mentality.

I'm also looking forward to planning this big site celebration that I found out about totally accidentally and it looks like I will be given approximately a week to put together something that would optimistically take a month to put together well.

My mantra is "this is a contract position and the contract has an end". If this was going to be a long term gig, I'd be losing sleep over the problems I KNOW are coming, but.. ummmm... knowing it's only temporary I'm just trying to roll with the punches. And I have every reason to believe it is gonna be one of "those" weeks. I'll let you know.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Communication Skills

I think I may have noted that I've been told I have very inferior communication skills. But yet another situation has come up where I have to wonder if it is really MY communication skills that are the issue?

I got an email today from HR Lady @ Corporate Office. She is traveling to my office. She asked about the site celebration that is planned for the time she is in town. Wait, what? Site celebration? Not one peep had been said to ME about any site celebration.

So, I dutifully pinged Mr. Bossman. And he said "ummm, yeah, that's supposed to be a secret" and I responded that HR Lady believes that I am planning this celebration. Some of the things mentioned take WEEKS of planning. This isn't the sort of thing you can just throw together, but yet I am going to be left with approximately 2 weeks to plan and execute it.

Honestly, I am good at what I do but I will have to say that it is rare that I can pull off miracles. I plan things so I don't have to rush (rushing leads to mistakes that would have been avoided with planning) and I hate that the lack of communication now puts me on a "rush this" time schedule. Not cool.

But you all know as well as I do... when/if things don't happen perfectly, it won't be Mr. Bossman who takes the heat. It'll be the person who was tasked, however last minute, with pulling off the amazing with not enough time.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A letter to someone else's boss

Dear Little Hannity,

I know you'll never read this but I need to write it anyways. Because if I don't there may be random acts of unpleasantness in your future and I just think it's better for both of us if I write you a little letter.

My friend, we'll just call my friend "Downtrodden" for the rest of this letter, works for you. Downtrodden knew that there was an on-call portion to the job when he started. He was TOLD it would be one weekend a month and, really, that isn't all THAT awful. But on-call means you are working for 12 days in a row and then have a weekend (a mere 2 days off). So when you are working on call every other frickin week that's 12 on/2 off/12 on/2 off and THAT is simply inhuman and not what Downtrodden signed up for. Add to that the fact that on-call USED to mean overtime most of the time and there was at least a paltry financial reward for being tethered to your phone all frickin weekend, answering the beck and call of the lonely. And yeah, most of the weekend calls are from LONELY people who want SOMEONE to pay attention. But now you've decided that the best plan EVAR is to "short" hours before oncall time thus making sure your employees don't get any financial bonus and are, instead, compelled to come into the office if they don't get enough emergency call action.

Another thing I am going to take issue with. Downtrodden now uses his own phone instead of the company phone on his oncall weekends. When, exactly, are you going to start chipping in to pay part of our cell phone bill? Yeah... I thought as much.... Hrumph.

Also, your habit of telling Downtrodden lies because you haven't got the balls to be upfront about what a lazy fuck you are is not appealing nor is it making you any friends. And telling Downtrodden to do X and then getting mad when he does X and claiming you never said to do X? Let's just say that I believe you are still amongst the living after that bullshit only because Downtrodden doesn't REALLY want to have to watch his ass (literally) in a prison shower. Pray he never develops a fetish for playing rousing games of "we don't DROP the soap in here, son!"

Finally (for this letter anyways), I'd like to address your bullshit reason that you are out of the oncall rotation. If you are SO BUSY on weekends for a friggin' month ahead of inventory time that you cannot take your turn oncall, then maybe your happy ass better figure out a better system. Of all the people on call, I think YOU are the one who SHOULD take extra shifts. You make more money as a base salary than Downtrodden.

Hate & Pinches,
MsCleanslate

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Trouble with Travel

It's been quite a while since I've been involved in arranging travel as a part of my job. Back in "the old days" you called up a travel agent and they gave you the fare that made them the biggest commission lowest possible fare, you booked it and were done.

Oh, those were the days. Now, in addition to the airlines having websites and the hotels having websites and the rental car companies having websites there are all the sites like Orbitz and Expedia and Travelocity and Pleasescrewmetheleast.com and the information any given site gives you on any given day about any given itinerary could change if you don't book right NOW! No, you don't have time to ask the traveler... book NOW! Ooops, too late, now your fare goes up $50! BWAHAHAHAHAHAA!

And then I have the joy of trying to coordinate travelers and Traveler A can't POSSIBLY get up for an 8:30AM flight and Traveler B has to have a Vegetarian Kosher No Nut Product Within a 500 Square Mile Radius Meal and Traveler C cannot sleep if there is any noise but won't invest in a 50 cent pair of earplugs and don't you DARE book Traveler D in one of those hotels where the beds are as hard as a rock! As if I have been to each local hotel to test their beds! Next thing you know they'll want me to do a personal inspection with a blacklight to "see how many fluids have been liberated" in their rooms! No, I cannot tell you if a particular hotel has "the naughty channels" nor can I tell you the cost per adult movie at each of the fine hotel establishments in this town. I can sheepishly confess to having stayed in the cracktacular motel that is just down the road (because I didn't know any better and was broker than a celibate hooker).

I think I need to go wash this day off now... it's got me feeling a little icky...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Stepping out of the lunch line

Come take a walk down Memory Lane with Ms. Cleanslate...

If we go back to grade school, I think we find where this all began. I was never a popular kid. I was always taller and bigger than most of the other kids. Plus, I came to the state I live in now when I was 6 and was always quite vocal about how I am not FROM here, not catching the fact that saying that tended to make the natives quite hostile.

Going to a boarding school when your parents aren't "somebody" and when your family doesn't have money and all of your college money is going towards paying tuition and your parents not understanding or caring that you not having the money to go out like the other kids do is a SERIOUS social crippler. And again, I wasn't svelte nor willing to puke up all of my meals to fit in.

So, I think it's safe to say that I have pretty much a lifetime of social awkwardness under my belt.

Back to the present day... I am working at a VBC and my workgroup goes out weekly. They talk shop at lunch and because I am not a programmer or an engineer, I will admit to being completely lost and having absolutely NOTHING to contribute to conversations. Add to that the fact that I don't own my own vehicle so have to hitch a ride with someone and complete the picture of awkwardness.

So, I am now attempting to come up with some acceptable reasons for skipping these lunches. If I drove, I'd just sortve slip out to run errands when it was lunchtime. I am thinking that perhaps just saying that there is naught but dustbunnies in my wallet might work. In any case, I just think it would be better for everyone if I stopped trying to fit in.

Which leads me to my next musing.. I'm getting older now and wonder if I will ever stop caring about what other people think and about fitting in. I've never really made peace with being a loner. I sortve pretend that I'm ok with it, but I spend alot of time feeling awkward and trying to fight back tears and it's very draining to try so hard and know that you are just NOT going to be "one of them"... ever.... EVER. I think some of it has to do with accepting one's lot in life. Admins usually do not have peers because most offices have one Admin. It is the nature of the job. I don't have a degree so there's really not somewhere "up the ladder" for me to go and there isn't the money nor the time to go and GET a degree.

So, I think it's time to step out of the lunch line and embrace the Lone Admin status once again.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Go Team! (Wait, why are you all walking away?)

Wednesday is "team lunch" day. I was told this and told that I am invited along to the team lunch and all is right and happy in the world and knowing it was team lunch day (today being Wednesday and all) I didn't bring a lunch nor make provisions for driving the vehicle so I could go out and fetch a lunch. So, imagine my surprise (with a side of EXTREMELY PISSED OFF) when I found out that the "team" went out to lunch today without a word to me. This lead to ME having a very long and hungry (and increasingly frustrated and crabby) afternoon.

Add to this that I've been trying to get a damn expense report finished for The Boss for 3 days now and today, AFTER he's hit submit, he emails me and asks if I did his airline ticket as "company paid". The answer to which was NO because the only credit card listed in the profile is his personal card and I had NO WAY OF KNOWING that there was another way for him to be paying for things because it was never fucking mentioned to me and I am not The Amazing Kreskin! So, here it is, time to punch out, I have my ride waiting for me and The Boss wants his report fixed. Here's what gets me. It's a simple process. It isn't like he's never done it before, but he expects ME to go in and click on the drop down box to change it. Now, I don't mind doing these reports... really, I don't. But I MIND when someone is perfectly capable of doing something themselves and they not only choose not to do it but point the finger of blame AND expect me to fix it when it would be 100 times more efficient to just do it themselves!!

Ahhh yes... I had to do a minute or two of deep breathing and remind myself that somehow it is better for me to be employed and dealing with this aggravation than it is to be unemployed and cleaning litter boxes at home.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A delightful serving of humble pie

This will be a rather short post... I am just providing one last lil followup to my previous couple of posts.

Round about 6:15 tonight, Mr. Assclown comes into my office and hands over the copy of Project that he had so self-righteously insisted was his. Turns out both my boss and Euroboss said he needed to give me MY copy of the software and that once his was approved, he'd get his copy.

I know he was hoping it wouldn't install on my system... but it did.

Ran into my former boss in the hall. She looks older.

I'm exhausted and am planning on calling it an early night.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A lil' followup...

As you may (or may not) recall from Friday's post... Mr. Assclown asserted that he's been waiting MONTHS for his copy of Project. Well, my friends, a little investigation put me in touch with the following nugget of knowledge...

Mr. Assclown ordered Project on March 4th. His request is still sitting UNAPPROVED by his manager, Euroboss. Remember, if you will, that another of his assertions was that Euroboss would want him to have Project over lowly lil' me. Yeah, that's why Euroboss has let that request just sit there without approving it... obviously Euroboss is losing sleep over the fact that Mr. Assclown cannot use Project "weeks ago".

I know it's petty and maybe juvenile of me to feel so... validated by the fact that I was 100% correct that the copy of Project that Mr. Assclown appropriated was supposed to be MINE. I hope I get SOME credit, though, for just dropping it and not letting it become the arguement that Mr. Assclown seemed so hot on making it become.

The underlying issue here, though, is that the software SHOULD have been clearly labeled who it was for so there would not have been an issue in the first place.

I don't even really care how this gets resolved. I'll either get the software or I won't and I'm enough of a professional that I'm not going to gloat (much) when/if Mr. Assclown gets told that he was WRONG. I know I'll never get an apology for him being such an asshat to me so what happens, at this point, is really not even something I am really emotionally invested in. I get the feeling more and more that Previous Person was pretty much a useless piece o' fluff and I've been written off as the same. There are two roads I can take... I can bust my ass and prove that untrue or I can just keep my head down, do my job and not give a rat's ass about what people think. And I'll tell you right up front that I'm not gonna be busting my ass because that has never ONCE been a tactic that has resulted in any long-term gain for me. I'm more than willing to put in the hours and go the extra mile. I've done that at job after job... it's not saved me from being downsized or phased out.

I just want to go and do the job and when I leave at night, the job stays where it is and I can walk away from it without having to think about it. If this was "the one", I'd likely feel different. But, it's not. I don't even know if "the one" exists. Is it different anywhere out there or does this dysfunctional stuff exist everywhere and I should just lose the illusion that there is salvation waiting somewhere?