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".