Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

These Kids Today...

I think I've told you guys that I have a rather chequered past when it comes to work.  I mean, let's just say I don't have a stellar resume dating back to the early nineties with only three jobs on it showing a steady progression toward higher and higher levels of management.  In fact, my resume is a collection of short stories, some by Jodi Picoult but the vast majority penned by either Douglas Adams or Stephen King (or his son Joe Hill, who is wickedly good, maybe even better than his dad, just in case you've never tried him out).  I have had some seriously weird working experiences, in other words.

Actually, some of the better stories aren't even on there.  One of the places I worked is not on my resume because I'm embarrassed to admit I ever worked there, even for a brief time.  The first day, I walked in and they handed me three Motions for Sanctions to which our client had to respond.  They stemmed from a thing called discovery, which you might have heard of.  Everybody in a lawsuit has to participate in discovery.  Them's the rules. If you don't respond to discovery questions, or if you respond badly and don't give any information, the other side will file a motion to compel you to respond. But that's not what a motion for sanctions is.  A motion for sanctions means the other side has *already* filed a Motion to Compel, got an order requiring you to respond, and you still didn't respond, and so now the other side is asking the Court to fine you, usually for thousands of dollars, to say nothing of disobeying a Court order, which is a Really Bad Idea.  And they handed me three of these things.  In one day.  If I'd have been smart, I would have turned around and walked out right then.

In fact, I am smart.  I'm just also stubborn.  I was going to Make This Work, by God, at least until it became so obviously impossible that even I got the message.  Besides, being unemployed kind of sucks, and if it's the kind of unemployment that doesn't even come with small checks from the state of Texas, it sucks even more.  Well, I don't know.  Maybe some folks like rolling funds out of their 401k.  Or selling their possessions, or--whatever.  Myself, though, I like having a job.  I can't stand being in the house alone with nothing to do.  It. Drives. Me. Crazy.  Yes, I know I could probably write a book (and did one time, while incredibly manic; fifty pages in less than eighteen hours, and Joan finally had to pry me away from the computer and take me  to a movie.)  But I prefer writing books in off hours. There's also that thing about a paycheck coming in on a semi-regular basis that I've grown rather fond of.

Anyway.  I was recently out of a job in a weird way, for about two weeks.  It all started when the place I was working started advertising my position on public job boards (!).  Not only were they looking to replace me, they were going to pay that replacement more than I was making, which, as far as I'm concerned, is a fine genteel way of telling you to fuck off and  go to hell at the same time.  And, I mean I guess I could have had a big confrontation with the manager or something, but I'm not that confrontational a person and besides, there wasn't any point in wasting anything else, including breath, on this position.  Oddly enough, the guy I used to work for who I'd left for this job I was now leaving called me up and said he was slammed and needed extra help.  So off I went to be the extra help.  In between and around I went on some job interviews, and one company said they were going to hire me but kind of never actually did. Another one said they had to get approval from their head office to hire me but could I start right away, whenever that happened? People, you don't need to be this flexible. I promise, you don't.  

So I worked for the former boss and I ran around on job interviews, and in between there I think I did get an unemployment check but it was pretty negligible.  Then the former boss offered me my job back, with a raise, and said he'd fix all the stuff that was wrong. Unfortunately, he A. couldn't afford me and B. wasn't really able to fix the things that were wrong, because I'd been gone for five months and they were still wrong and besides, Joan would have killed me.  She hated it when I was working there and I couldn't imagine how to tell her I'd just accepted my old job back.  

And then, out of the blue, one of the companies I'd interviewed with called me and said they needed somebody to start tomorrow, at a law firm that was sort of the exact parallel opposite of what I was actually looking for.  They caught me at the right time on the right day.  I said I'd do it and it actually hasn't been bad at all.  The pay is very good, the benefits are nonexistent because it's a contract position, but I have health insurance through Joan, so that's taken care of.  And it's true that a contract position can theoretically end at any time, but here's a news flash, folks: Any Job Can End At Any Time.  There is no such thing as job security.  I'm not sure there ever was.  Well, maybe for a while, in the 50s and 60s, for white people (specifically, white male people).  You would think that if you showed up every day, neatly dressed and ready to work, and you did a good job, you could stay there as long as you wanted to. But no. 

I keep hearing that "these millenials," which is I guess the equivalent of "these kids today", like to job hop.  They'll stay at a job for two or three years, or as long as it's fun, and then move on.   And people my age roll my eyes about this and explain, in exasperated tones, why having three jobs on your resume since the mid-1990s and moving steadily up the ranks of management is the correct way to do this career thing.  If you ask me, people my age just want something to feel superior about because the reality of it is, some of the people I know have been through a lot of jobs. People move.  People get laid off, companies decide to shut down, and sometimes you get blamed for something that isn't your fault, for which you have proof in fact, but you get fired anyway.  So I'd suggest to the hiring managers of the planet that they quit worrying about how long somebody's held a job and worry instead by what they've learned. Because honestly, there's no way to learn things faster than starting a new job. Anymore, there's no training, nobody you can follow around for a few days.  Nope.  There's nothing in the budget for that. Most of the time they just throw you right in.

Okay, one more job related story and then I'm out of here.  I was working at a public law library.  We had, shall we say, some interesting clientele, as well as lawyers and judges and stuff.  There was this one guy in particular who told me the same story every time he came in.  He said that he'd lived in a small town that had been the staging area for some tests of an experimental CIA mind control nerve gas that caused everyone in the town to forget that any of this had ever happened.  He wanted to file a Freedom of Information Act to find out more about this, but the problem was he couldn't remember the name of the town (on account of the nerve gas, you understand).  I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up.  The guy came in every month, told me the same story, and every month I took him back to the Freedom of Information Act section so he could look up how to file a Freedom of Information Act request.  This went on for four years.  And four years is an eternity in CIA mind control research.

Anyway, y'all take care and stay gainfully employed.  And if the CIA ever comes to your town, write down the name of the town  so you don't forget it.  Cheers!                    

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