Friday, January 4, 2008

when it all ends

I am writing this now, and posting it now, and dating it for January 4, because that is when I should really do it, but I won't have the time that day. I'll probably update this as we go along, but I wanted to take the time to thank people properly, real names and everything, for the time I have spent here.

Christina - heaven knows that without you I would not have been hired, and without you, I would have gone crazy a million times over. Thanks for everything that you taught me, and for not killing me when I made the huge mistakes, and thank you most for the times when you and I just sat in your office and talked about any and everything. Thanks for understanding me. Thank you for LISTENING. I know we will be friends for life.

Jessica - without you, I probably would have lost it tens times over. Thank you for your innocence and belief that things will truly get better. For every cynic like me, the world needs a wonderer like you.

Frank - I know I will never meet you, but you had uncompromising vision and a magnetism to bring people so different together. You continue to do the impossible, even from the beyond.

Jeff - I know you are now gone, but you were an ally when I needed one, and a baker for every occasion.

Ginny - We had some friction, but you never stinted on praise when it was due.

Debra - Also gone, thanks for the scone.

Blake - my first 'friend' here, you were always amusing, and that is important

Jennifer - Stoic was never so awesome as it is with you. So reliable, and able to take the fireworks.

Andy H - I kept my word, and left when I said I would.

Kendall - another one, gone, and the reason everyone loves you is because you are truly amazing. Thanks for being an example for going after you dream.

Patty - Always good humored, always in early. So sunny, really.

Bhavik - For having hopes & dreams, and letting me make fun of your idealism

Dave - For being everything that let you be #9 Dave.

Gail - Thanks for being crazy, and being okay with it

Shelley - Genuinely nice people are hard to find, but you are one of them

Sherry - rides and therapy and the inside scoop

Amy - She who provides chocolate has many friends. But she who is a friend has more. Good luck with your fleet of friends.

Linda H - Gone, but never forgotten. always thinking of the little person, and I can't think of someone I would rather plan a holiday party with.

Bernard - When someone can get me to laugh about my grandmother, and let me hide in their office, pretty amazing.

Dana - For inventing the venting chair. For keeping in touch with George. For being you

Donna C - For being willing to offer your two cents, and asking before you offer.

Kurt - You make everyone smile

Daniel - For being the Queen of the place, and for not apologizing for yourself.

George - For banter, for being another stable person

Abbey - For being the Go-between

Tory - For you surliness, and for sense of humor

Maggie - One of five, and being nicely honest

Ken - For recognizing someone on the breaking point, and helping me put out tablecloths, and talk on rainy days

Hashim - Next time, I'll let you look at the HD TVs, I promise. We do make a great team. And, if we did get married, you are right, I wouldn't have to change my last name. I hope your wife understands

Suzanne - What can I say? (giggle)

Linda B - Because in those weeks when we talked to each other every day, I had a peer group

Jolie - Don't let the mold grow on you, get out while the getting is good

Dennis H - I barely know you, but you have some snarking skills that are undeniable. Nothing brings people together like a shared apathy

Ben - If you knew about this list, I'm sure you would be surprised you are on it. But you are. What do you think about that? Because I don't know what to think about it.

Bill - for treating me like a professional, even in the manifest times when I was not being one

Sierra - For being one of five and a great neutral zone

Laura J - For always laughing. No matter what you say, I don't believe that we really stole your youth.

Kua - for always being willing to cancel the appointment

Joanne - again one of the five, and a force to be reckoned with

Mike - Always said hello. Allow me to say you are made for better things than this

Rose - for adopting me, and letting me see people through your eyes

Miss Meg - When we became friends, I don't know, but we are. And for being you at all times

Ron - every institution needs a loose cannon

Deb - for always being willing to come running

Laura Z - I hope this doesn't ruin you

Sue - Sassy is always in style

Julie - Striving for excellence and setting the standard, and being willing to help

Modesto - for caring deeply about the things I couldn't spare a thought for

Paul - the example of a lifelong learner

Dave B - for always delivering, and good work too

Alana - unintentional comic relief

Maena - you are what you are

Danilo - all those times I said Jason was my favorite? I was lying. You are so personable and the combo of linguistics and geography is intriguing

Jason - Staying late is a thankless job. So thank you

Jen K-L - you want to learn and you want to help, and that is what counts

Mark - you are the guide to style and catty remarks

Chris - always ready to stand the joke, and deal with my harangues

Graham - Service with a smile will never go out of style. Do you have a pair of scissors, by any chance?

Ruth - For being so level on the surface, and dealing with the crap

Sam - For believing in the legend and mythology, and being so jovial

Ellyn - for keeping us from gross errors

Peter - For the oysters, what else can I say? An artist.

Shawn - because you created my favorite exhibit, not that I ever told you

I'm sure there will be more, but I'm going slow.

Monday, December 17, 2007

happy birthday brother

hope your day went well and at least one person gave you cup cakes.

Friday, December 14, 2007

we suck young blood

I was reading Tim Duncan's bio on a site, and it inspired me to, along with my overwhelming sense of cynicism on this Friday of joy and gladness (only 5 days of work left! Exciting!) write something brutally true and yet over the top exaggerated. and that would be how my institution eats its young.

Not the visiting young, but the new employees. I don't know if this is the case in the real world with real money dollar jobs, but I have seen a lot of super-swift hire-quit actions go down here. Let me explain how somehow, a renowned institution of 400+ employees has built a management system that contrives to suck the souls out of people.

Scenario 1: The impossible situation
There is one senior manager here (and by here, I mean collecting a fat paycheck) who actually lives in New York and is getting her doctorate. I'm not sure how that works. Who okayed this? I mean, what person in there right mind said, 'ah yes Barbie, we should pay her a lot and make her supervisor of 15 people on site, but pay for her to live far away and come to town whenever she wants'? I guess it could work, if she was a stellar manager/communicator, but here no one is a stellar communicator, and Barbie is worst than most.

A testament to this is the way that she can't keep people working for here for any long period of time. New hires are not hired/interviewed by her, so they are never forewarned of her *&*#*&-ness. Barbie will then roll into the scene at her leisure, and about 50% of the time, after the visit we are looking for a new hire. The swiftest hire-quit process I saw was within 24 hours of Barbie's landing at SFO. I am not sure if this is her record. I feel a little bad. The only ones who make it are just like her. It's an impossible situation for people who do not want to become conniving.

Scenario 2: Failure to drink the kool-aid
This is common, when the person hired has been a little lured in by our "mission" and "vision." Then they get in and take a good scope around and see that those were some really awesome pretty-lies we construct in order to not hate ourselves at the end of the day. Many people cut and run at this point. A few stick around, and some get so caught up in the kool-aid that they ask to franchise the stuff so they can peddle it to other unsuspecting folk.

An example of this can be seen, ironically, in our recruiter. He started in October. His last day is Wednesday. Which is too bad for Earnesto, because it means the person he was counting on to find my replacement will not be there. Which kind of means it will be a long time before there is a replacement. Oops!

Scenario 3: They saw behind the curtain
Last year for Camille's birthday, we, plus Renaldo, went to lunch. This was still when Renaldo was having a death-crush on Camille, and as part of his awkward ritual mating dance he had the Hopes & Dreams talk. Way too early in the wooing, buddy. No wonder you failed. But even at the time it was apparent that of the three of us, I was a #2, and they were going to either be lifers or have a #3 moment sometime soon. hopes and dreams don't make it very long here.

Think about it in these terms: Under the guise of 'creative engines,' the place sucks hopes and dreams up and then uses them to power the institution's Project Negative Value. I envision the movement to be similar to that of the beast in Yeats' poem "The Second Coming," slouching towards the target.

When people see past the eyewash and the kool-aid, what they basically see is the machine room of the Hopes & Dreams giant vacuum, and scales fall from eyes quickly. This is how we lose the most promising talent. They go and say, hey, if there is going to be a wizard behind the curtain, it should be something that grants wishes, or at least looks like Cary Grant, and not something that will eventually see me a dried up old bag with no additional training. And then they leave (usually not until I have told them something embarrassing about myself; they have phenomenal interrogation skills).

alack! alas!

I spoke too soon when I said yesterday that I was feeling unsmirchable, even if it involved Rusty. Last night I had this very besmirching dream about him. I will have to undergo therapy relating to it for several years, if not decades.

What can cleanse my mind? Perhaps some eyewash?

give me $3K and a eurail pass and i'll show you a good time

in the non-prostitute sense.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

at this point, pretty much un-smirchable

When I was in high school, I participated in that time honored tradition of mediocrity: zero-period health. nothing says that "this isn't important" like having it start at ridiculously early hours. And the teacher was really the coach of the varsity baseball team, because we believe that it is the duty of academic integrity to suffer in the face of athleticism. This fellow thought, as I have mentioned before, that most of the best health knowledge could be gleaned from made-for-tv movies and very special episodes, and films starring comedians named Bill (What About Bob, I hate that movie, but I am okay with When Harry Met Sally).

We once watched the cinematic masterpiece of the small-silver-screen that was the movie in the which Fred Savage is a high school wrestler who abused his girlfriend Candace Cameron and then kills her and puts her body in the lake. Come on Fred, couldn't you think of somewhere more creative to put your dead? The lake is soooo cliché.

Anyway, after this one and the movie Sleeping with the Enemy, Mr. Coach then taught us what to say if we are in an abusive relationship.

PAUSE: THIS IS A DISCLAIMER. I am not trying to say abusive relationships are funny, or that what follows is a useful technique is escaping one. I'm trying to point out the stupidity of the technique. Don't get mad and read me lectures about how my insensitive soul will be forever cursed. It is a well-known fact I gambled away my soul in '01. UNPAUSE

As I was saying, Mr. Coach told us we should look the person in the eye and say forcefully, but calmly the following phrase.

"Look, (place name here), It's Over."

Then apparently the abuser will be enlightened and contrite and wish you well for the future and will not be tempted to kill you and put your body in the lake/bay/body of water.

So, as much as I've made fun of this, and I have, I kind of feel like I have said, 'look, workplace and Earnesto, It's Over.' But it worked this time. I feel borderline euphoric. So when I have had to interact with Rusty these last few days, I didn't have the smirched feeling he usually causes. I have become un-smirchable. Awesome. On the chart of awesome-osity that is my life, that rates right up there with my Mr. Popper's Penguins and Thom Yorke Dream. It's a pretty sweet dream. And it's pretty sweet that finally I can thumb my nose at the collective insanity that is this place.

the word is out

I went public (as in my workplace public, as opposed to the internet public) with my plans to quit on December 6. So now I have to field the questions of what next.


So stop asking me.

Also something that should be a bolster to my self-esteem, but has turned out to be a little creepy is the strong reaction I receive from some people. I have only worked here 18 months. We can't be that close. So stop crying, or telling me how sad it is. Please stop trying to talk me out of it. I now have sound medical advice that backs up what little sanity I have left that considers it for the best of the entire world that I do not remain in this job.

And I have decided, despite the fact that this is a rare opportunity, I should probably pass on the going-away party. Because if I have to plan it, not nice things will happen. As in, Mutually assured destruction not nice. Plus, it's not in the budget. And having spent most of my time here having to be an evil queen of numbers, I should probably not go out with the fanfare. Plus, I'm not fond of brass.