The Work Thread

Originally Posted by Garage_Rubin:
Well, although I do get what you [Xen0] were saying about hyper-masculinity and other manifestations of testosterone poisoning, it just doesn't jibe with what I've seen

Wait, what *did* I say? I honestly talk so much shit, I forget what I said.

Uh, what *did* you...?  Oh yeah;

Just doesn't describe the very nice 80+ woman who hobbles along on the treadmills regularly, uses the weight machines [at very low resistance of course, but every little bit helps], and walked a marathon last year to raise money for charity -- or the 200+ lbs [lean mass] thirty-somethings who scrupulously get out of her way and hold doors for her.  Also doesn't describe the obese members who, come to think of it, are considerably less obese now than when I first saw them.

Okay...  On second thought, having anything to do with any sort of marathon in your 80s is pretty fucking macho.  I'll give you that.

The posted notices which read `This is a No Judgement Club.  Every Body is Welcome Here,' were actually taken down several months ago.  I guess no one needed to be told.  Should have snapped a picture of one though.

But as said, some of the psychological aspects, the packaging, appeal to me.  Not sure if I'm adopting these things, or subverting them.

[prev attachment was kind of hard to read  :-\ ]



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...On second thought, this next bit may be hyper-macho, and maybe in a bad way.  Potentially suicidal at least...

One of the new cleaners didn't work out.  He actually didn't make it to work a few times.  Okay, more than a few.  :-\  I mean, he was trying, but had some other stuff going on; mainly a divorce in progress, custody battle.  Must admit trying not to lose your kid, on top of the car, house and everything else, is pretty scary.  I don't envy him.  I've had a few memorable breakups myself, and those were complicated enough without throwing a bunch of lawyers in the mix.  So he spent a lot of time talking to said lawyers during regular office hours, and spent a few other times sleeping through his alarm instead of showing up for a night shift...

Now he's left.  Was trying to get back on his feet, and this was only a `for-now' job 'til something better came along anyway.  Something did, btw, a day job more in line with his usual area of expertise, so I'm happy about that, at least.  Hope things work out for him.

Anyway, the new-new cleaner's working out nicely, hired last week -- mid-20s, ex-military, interestingly tattooed.  Doesn't seem too hung-up about things, but I guess some of that drilled-in precision and discipline carries over into civilian life.  It certainly helps in this line of work, and we seem to have established a rapport.

I like her.  She could snap me like a twig.  :-)

Patrick [still not getting the hang of this `self preservation' thing...].
Hope I'm not being a dork, although I probably am.  No problem, as long as it's a harmless sort of dorky dorking-out.

She really is a lot of fun to be around, and the weird sense of humour...  Did I mention the weird sense of humour?  There's a weird sense of humour.  There, I've mentioned it now.  She clearly likes me too, and if that's just a simple, friendly sort of like that's cool too.  Because she is fun to be around, and if that's all there is to it, that's plenty.

Right now I'm *so_glad* I cut The Boss off in mid-sentence, way back when he started to suggest the possibility of making me a supervisor.  Because a supervisor who's lost all objectivity about an attractive employee is creepy as fuck.  Life's complicated enough without that hierarchical shit.

I don't think she'd actually snap me like a twig, btw.  She's a nice person.  But it's strangely reassuring to know she could.

PS:  Has this completely wandered off from the original intent of the Work Thread, or is there some thin remnant of on-topic-ness here?

I'll bring us back on topic, Rubin. Have no fear.


So for the last three weeks I've been pulling swing shifts at work, working 9p-5a and then training 9a-2 or 3p mon-Wed. I work 4p-11p on Thu and show up at 9p on Friday and work through 11p with maybe a break in the afternoon depending on what's happening.


Fortunately that is over now, as I was close to snapping. My training was on studio camera, so I'm now a camera op. I'll be shooting 4 hours of morning news Mon-Fri now. Frankly, I'm not really excited about it, but my choices were adapt or move on. I tried to move on, but haven't heard word one from anywhere else I applied. So here I am. 


Plus I'm not sure if I like working a camera. Honestly I don't know if I hate doing it or just hated doing it after working all damn night. Who can tell?


I get to be at work Monday at 4am, which is going to be a wildly different lifestyle for me. I've worked overnights for the last decade and am not really sure how I'm going to deal with an up before dawn mentality. I don't really like mornings... or I didn't when I used to see them way back when. 


On the upside, this will make it considerably easier to get to the gym. I'll just be conscious for more of the hours it's open. Plus when I get off work at 1pm what the hell else am I going to do besides the gym? 

Ugh, 4:00 AM starts...  I had the most trouble adjusting to that one, because it's not quite a day or night shift.  And you have to go to sleep while it's still light out [except maybe in the winter].  Not working those hours now, btw, but I hope it's easier for you than it was for me.

Also, yay, gym!  I've been working too much, not working out enough, lately.  Kind of stuck between the two jobs, because one pays well [but is boring as fuck], while I really *like* the other job, and take more pride in it.  [edit]  It's not really that cut-and-dried; I like my co-workers at both jobs, and like doing whatever I can as well as I can in the time available, especially if it makes their lives more tolerable.  So I've had a few more hours a week than I'd actually want, with no reasonable way to discard any of them.

It's also partly because I've `graduated' [reached the end of those personal training sessions], so the obligation to meet someone for a workout at a specific time is gone.

But it only takes three hours a week, and makes everything else I do easier [if you're a little stronger, anything you have to lift will feel a bit lighter], so there's really no excuse.

Fuck it.  Going today.

...Was also relieved that I didn't have to supervise that guy, when he wasn't showing up enough.  I could report what he'd missed, and do something about it.  I didn't have to do anything about him.  There's a difference.

Showing someone the ropes, pointing out little things that tend to get missed, sharing a few tricks that work for me and will hopefully work for them, is one thing.  I'm fine with that.  Dealing with someone who just doesn't have their shit together [in that case, with good reason] is another thing entirely.  Glad I didn't have to, especially since I actually *like* him [still do, btw].

Fuck that hierarchical shit.


So I've almost made it a week. We are in full rehearsal mode and go live for four hours of morning news on Thursday at 5am next week. It's starting to come together a bit, but we're going to struggle out of the gates, I expect. 


It's been an eventful week. Lots of suits in and the building making seemingly random decisions and informing us we should be working on lots of things... off the clock, of course. I should totally volunteer my time. I'm sure the giant corporation, that subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) points out what a peon I am will note my dedication and pay me scads of money. OR perhaps they'll easily replace me and everyone around me with a fresh crop of college grads so fast it'll make my head swim.


Anyway other highlights, I saw a former Miss Virginia burst into flames. Her mic had a cheap rechargable battery and it went up like a roman candle. She was unhurt fortunately. A longterm employee in sales killed himself. He was a decent dude, who liked liquid lunches and chain smoking and was going through a bad divorce. 


I was informed today that I'm not allowed to ever sit in the studio, even if we are rebooting computers and I have nothing to do. We were waiting for shit to come back up and me and my fellow camera dude were sitting for a few minutes (We'd only been standing for around six hours at this point) when the news director comes in pissed things are going smoothly and tears into everyone.


It's this petty bullshit that annoys me. When we are go, I'm up and ready. In before everyone else to set up and out after everyone else to clean up. What does it matter if I sit for 15 minutes while we are down? But Nexstar is very big on arbitrary decisions. You don't like them? Hey, you can go get a job for one of the other two tv companies that are buying up all the local stations. I'm sure that corporation will be much more understanding and reasonable.



Oh and as far as NFL camera goes, I'm woefully underqualified. Plus that is a part time gig. You fly into the game on the weekend. Shoot it and head back Sunday evening. One of the guys I used to work with did it and while he enjoyed it, it wasn't something you could live on. 


Plus it's always hard to break into sports. Everybody wants to do sports. Minimal pressure, sports are fun and frankly, most people have no idea what it actually entails. Ohh, and the money is always shitty except for the very top, because EVERYBODY wants to do sports. 

Starting to crank up at work, with 40 new starters every day this week. Mon-Wed was particularly crazy here in I.T. Support, Thursday a little easier as there were 3 techs in, but i was still glad to finish my 4 x 10hr days.


PPE in the canteen!


Anyways, Day shift FINISHED again. Start on Night Shift this coming Sunday, through to end of January. Looking forward to it. Should equate to more hours sleep + more computer time to dedicate to Linux and my Pi. Sad ...but true.

Feeling like I was born to work niights. Sync'd with my new shift and enjoying a 3 day break this 'weekend'. Buddied up for the first 2 shifts as a kinda handover/meet the new boss etc, then had a lone warrior shift on Tuesday evening, followed by a new Wednesday night swap shift colleague. It went well - busy with lots to learn, but on reflection I cut it when it came to the crunch.


Nights is a half-life. By mid week it feels almost like a legally alcohol induced high minus the consumption; jet lag body clock slippage :-)

Still acclimatizing to my morning work shift... aka being at work at 4am to point a camera at anchors for a morning news show. It's ok, I guess, but I get bored especially as I hear the same stories over and over for 4 solid hours. On the upside, chefs frequently bring food and shelters bring dogs to pet. 


After the morning news is done I actually get to learn stuff, so that's cool. Been tagging promos in Adobe Premier. It's grunt work, but it's helping me learn the program. Plus I now have "video editing" on my resume. 


Today the news director asked me if I'd film high school football on Friday. Don't want to say no to that guy (trying to convince people of my indespensibilty) so I'm in. I'll be adding field photographer as a resume credit as well. 


The hard fact is that my company is never going to pay well. They want kids out of college, train them, use them for as long as possible and send them off to another job. So my long term prospects aren't great. My plan is to soak up as many marketable skills as I can and move on. 

I kinda did... well after the fact. I was completely nervous while I was actually filming. It went ok for my first time. I learned some things not to do, but managed to put together enough decent stuff for them to air something. So that's good. It'll be better next time. 


That said, I did enjoy being back at a high school game in a media environment. To me it's a quintessentially American event. The chill of Autumn, roar of the crowd, the announcer calling the play. The band playing the fight song, cheerleaders. Smell of hot dogs in the air. 


Anyway it went well and I survived being up at 3am, working a full day and then coming back three hours later and driving out into the mountains for not one, but two games.

This actually isn't that bad of a job. I dunno. Even with the commute. I wish I could say more, but I don't want to run afoul of the NDA.


With Walmart, I'd end the day horrified that this job could be a years-long experience. With this job, I'd actually be okay with that.


Re: this comic, yes, "Dora The Explorer"-caliber games are something I've experienced. Let me tell you, playing Dora the Explorer-caliber game for eight hours is *way the fuck* more entertaining and less stressful than cleaning a Walmart for eight hours.


Some days, we get better games. Much better games. At that point, the job is actually really fun.


Finally, re: bugs, I honestly feel satisfied by rooting out bugs. Like, it's not "Oh no, the game broke!" it's "Fuck yeah, I broke it, and now the end user won't have to step on the bug".

Can talk about this now it's over.


Got invited to apply for Head of School (of Education) at a university in Sydney. They're merging two existing entities to create a new School, so there'd be challenges with building the culture and so on.


It would be a big promotion, and I said to the recruiter right from the start "It depends who else is in the pool, they'd be taking a chance based on my potential not my demonstrated achievements at this level", but he assured me that I was competitive.


Got the interview, flew to Sydney for it. Heard a week later that I didn't get it... but they didn't appoint any of the people they interviewed. Obviously I *was* competitive in the pool, but the pool wasn't of people they considered appointable. I assume they'll now try again, harder...


Was a worthwhile and interesting process to think through what I would do as a Head of School, since there seems to be a decent chance I could end up in the role at my current uni anyway. 

a month into the Night shift and i'm getting the routine. I've done 3 x weeks with an overtime (50hrs, fifth night shift) as its getting busier in the run up to Peak (Christmas). A new lad started last week so I'm no longer on my lonesome. Its good to bounce ideas and chew the cud ...and the cash will help fund kids Xmas delights, keep the Bank happy and alleviate my stress somewhat.


That said, I'm nowhere near being able to afford my own place, which seriously depresses me.

<crossing genres here, pls forgive/> Burning some vacation time this week, as it tends to accumulate 'round here, though I could choose to use them next week, when I head up to Maine with Sis' to move Mom into storage.  But that can't be considered vacation, I'm thinking personal time is a more appropriate choice.


A couple of projects skewed southwards a bit over the past couple of weeks, so it's been a bit chaotic, but they've settled down.  And the training (my former company coming in to provide latest best practices) that we started to put into place in July is finally looking to happen - constant learning is the way to go, though my college days are 30+ years past.  It doesn't get easier...


Happy Eating, btw!

Lots at work lately. Got a new report out and we got a nice feature on it in the New York Times by Pete Eavis. This led to others in the Baltimore Sun, the Guardian, City Lab (geek pride, they used my maps) and a few others. A Virginia white pride website blasted it, I am proud of that too.

I also started driving for Uber. The Girl applied first but I did too and her background check has been an issue so I decided to give it a shot. I'd forgotten how much I love driving, but with the house now any extra funds mean an earlier payoff so there is a good reason for it too.
Well, as of now I have done about 4 hours split between a Sunday night, Monday morning and Friday evening. Hardly a good sample but I have done about 100 miles on the car and made about $80. I'm driving a Prius now so the gas isn't an issue. I think I prefer the early morning times, as your passengers are people headed to work so they are sober, know their precise destination, are clean, and not going to keep you waiting.
Originally Posted by editengine:
I also started driving for Uber.

Huh. What do you make of all the broohah re: Uber being some big libertarian-techhead plot to further degrade unions? I know a *bit* (but not a great deal) about the economics of taxi services--I guess local governments basically sorta create city-wide monopolies with things like taxi tokens. Limits the supply, makes the service expensive.


As a not-wealthy person, I'd totally go with Uber over traditional taxi since it's cheaper (but I usually I just take the bus instead). It's like that Marxian model where low-wage people in different industries are made to work against each other?


*Meanwhile*, I've been a game tester since July. Work is slllowwwwwwwwww. That is, I rarely get called in. I'm in the odd situation of *wanting* more work (whereas at Walmart, I'd fantasize about ways of getting the day off). It helps that game testing is *way* less stressful than e.g. janitoring a Walmart. Anyway, this (four/five months) is the longest I've ever held a job. Really, I can continue at this indefinitely--it wouldn't be *that* terrible if in a year (fuck, *five*, *ten* years, even) I'm still at it.


I'm still looking for a better job, since this only pays about $10/hour.


And I want to not be a not-wealthy person.

Well. Cabs are very different from place to place,  which drastically changes the math and the ethics. Here cabs are all independant contractors, a few of which are repped by the teamsters but generally they give most of their income to the cab co and get very little benefit. Most of the initial uber drivers here were cabbies,  who quickly figured that 80% of the fare was a lot better than 100% of the fare minus $120 cab rental, dispatch fee and card process fee. The local cab co parking lot is now overflowing with unused cabs as the drivers all shifted to uber.

Im other towns like NYC the cabs are issued a medallion, which is traded on a secondary market and is now worth well into six figures. Those owners lease the cabs out to drivers that they pay as little as possible. European cab drivers have a more legitimate complaint I gather, as they tend to earn closer to a living wage and have worker rights common to unions.

As with all companies,  assigning them human attributes of good or bad is a fallacy. Their impact on their workers and riders that rely o them can be good or bad and it seems that Uber(and Lyft) have an uneven depending on the local cab market. However, in most cities I have even been to or lived in outsode the airport or downtown area it was nearly impossible to get a cab in a reasonable timeframe. In those areas here uber is quickly becoming a critical last mile of the transit system, with a large percent of ride starting or ending at a metro.

Uber is quickly becoming more of a fun hobby than a job.  Although I am still averaging about $20/hr it is more about trying to maximize the income and meet interesting people while keeping my 5 star rating.  Last night the airport was a bust, as every cab and Uber in town was there.  I guess for the bigger cars, especially the SUVs, the math makes more sense to wait for that big fare that justifies 2 hours of sitting but for a Prius I need to keep moving to make money, preferably on surface roads where the battery does more of the work.


Last night I picked up a couple of guys clearly at that fun "I know where you work and where you keep your spare toothbrush but I have no idea what you really do and I have no clothes at your place yet" stage in their relationship.  Listening to them clearly sizing each other up in terms of future potential was quite funny.


Later I got a guy leaving his job at a posh Connecticut Ave assisted living facility and took him home to NE DC.  Along the way he talked about how he grew up in DC, and how he lived near one of the new Walmarts that recently came to the city. He said it had raised the value of his family's home but also brought more crime.


The last pickup was 11pm at the Takoma metro, where two young au pairs, one Czech and on German, were stranded.  One the way to their respective houses they told me they had a few days off of work for the holiday so they went to NYC for the parade, then to Philadelphia for shopping and the museums.  Stunningly attractive, with expensive looking clothing and accessories, they seemed to have spent most of the trip shopping.  They were loaded down with bags full of new purchases.  At 11pm outside the Takoma metro I am frankly shocked somebody didn't rob them in the 5 minutes it took me to get to them.





Probably shouldn't go on Facebook:

Back at the office after the office Christmas party and a valiant attempt with a couple of colleagues to ensure that none of the quite nice fizzy wine the uni paid for was wasted...

Before I can go home, I need to examine a Masters' thesis.

Let's just say that, if I had written a Masters' thesis, I would want it to be examined by me this afternoon...

Still playing catch-up...  This one's from the staff party, Nov/22.

I won an award, cuz I cleenz gud.  These awards are presented at the annual staff party, one to me and a few others to deserving recipients, but I didn't have to give a speech [couldn't think what to say anyway; was actually kind of stunned when The Boss started mentioning cleaning in the context of presenting an achievement award to someone... and as comprehension dawned on me, I started to duck-down into my chair, because I really had no idea what to say].

This is going to look a bit silly with all the redactions, but I never name names online, including employers' names.


Correction; *we* won an award.  Really, there's a lot I don't worry about any more, because I know it's getting done properly; this leaves plenty of time to fuss over other odd details around the gym.  And that really makes a difference.  So I got out the label-printer, added the names of Mz.Clean and the weekend guy, who covers her nights off, and mounted it in the janitors' room;


[See what I mean?  Sharing the credit does look a bit goofy with all those names blacked-out here, but you get the idea.]

And taken in context...


BTW, I love how the bowling gets more emphasis than the music festival, in the poster on the right.  :-)


Didn't expect Mz.Clean would wear her Zombie Bowling T-shirt the same night I'd put it up [with no knowledge that I'd been redecorating at all, let alone what specifically I'd been sticking on the walls], and that kind of blew my mind.

Always Free.




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The works both continue to go well.  In the day job we have been busy closing things up for the year and planning for Q1.  We are helping a women who just retired for Homeland Security with an NSF grant to develop s simplified survey small business owners can use to assess cybersecurity risk.  The grant has little chance but it is fun to work on and prepare for anyway.

The woman herself is quite interesting, ex-DHS, ex-DIA.  She is like one of those really fit grandmothers, then one that jogs every day and does stuff to keep busy.  Were life like a network TV spy show she would be ordering assassinations of petty dictators and pesky hippies whilst chairing the neighborhood tulip club.

I hit my $300 goal for Uber earnings for the month last night.  It took about 20 hours of work to get there but I also was able to download and analyze quite a bit of data to maximize the income next month.  Essentially, only work saturday nights, start off in Georgetown (very dense, wealthy, young, and with limited access to public transit while being separated from the rest of city enough to make walking difficult).  From there, follow the calls.  I found myself bouncing back and forth between the same 4-5 neighborhoods.  Since you get a minimum for the pick up, then a per mile fee and a tiny per minute fee you want either >1 mile trips or 4-7 milers.  Past that or in the little valley between 1-4 you tend to not make as much .  But you can't tell where you are going until you make the pick up.  The advantage is most DCers don't know the streets anyway, so you can use Waze to game it a bit and take the longer route around the worst traffic.  Frankly, it is just best to get as many butts in your car as possible each hour.

You want to avoid stopping at all, so you should have everything in the car you need.  Guys, this means a plastic bottle with a wide mouth.  Parking is tough to find in busy areas and easy to get to bathrooms are even tougher to find.  I have no idea how women handle this.

The stories from this gig aren't as fun as those from the bar, but you meet interesting people.  The passenger chooses if they want to engage and most do at least a little.  I have had the curator of the Griffith Observatory, she was in town for a talk at the Dept of Agriculture, mostly to a bunch of soil scientists.  I shared that I made the mistake of calling soil by the name dirt in from of some of those guys once and they were not happy.  It turns out she had done the same thing during her speech, and dropped a dirt joke that bombed.

Most of the rest of the time I don't get to talk to people at that extent, so what you get is a window view of their life at that moment.  

-The Air Force Pilot taking the beautiful Air Force doctor out for night a holiday bar hopping in Old Town Alexandria.  His self-deprecating humor had me on his side, she was ex-law enforcement, smart, and stunning.  All I could think was those genetics would make the perfect kids.

-Two mid-twenties young women who wanted to go from Bethesda all the way to a nail bar in Ad-Mo.  At rush hour.  50 minutes of listening to them complain about the poor service in the Bahamas, how much their men complained about the cost of things they wanted, the perfect dog breed, and how to groom a husband.  Real Women of DC, here is your cast demographic.

   *a nail bar is just what the name implies, have a glass of wine while having your nails done.  I have no idea how you avoid fucking up the new nails but I assume it involves a very long straw.

- The two young guys out for a DC Improv night to see this guy.  One gets a very angry call from his girlfriend.  I heard her yelling about pornhub and him contritely deflecting her inquires.

-The guy meeting his NBC producer wife at the Naval Observatory for a christmas party with Joe Biden.

-A lovely school teacher on her way to the Kennedy Center to see a concert starring The Washington Chorus.  A member of the Chorus herself, she was unable to meet the schedule for this performance and so was just going to enjoy it while dishing some of the backstage gossip she had heard about the lead singer on the way there.

Came back to work after vacation today, which is never pleasant. But my job found a way to completely make me hate the place. We're having an "open house" this week. So I have to dress well. Nothing like vacuuming the hair off cables in your Sunday best, right? 

On top of that, tomorrow I get to work my "normal" 3:30am-Noon shift, then be back at 3:30pm until around 9pm to help host this open house. So I'll get to glad hand and pretend like I'm interested in clients, while fetching them drinks and hors d'oeures and whatever other bullshit needs doing. All while in the presence of one Jerry Springer, our celebrity guest. 

I gotta find a new job, which probably means I gotta movie. Also having done a cursory glance at the market, I probably need to find a new field. Nothing more fun than realizing the experience you've been getting is largely useless because the entire industry only wants to hire people fresh out of college and never pay anyone more than a starting wage. 

Tonight we had a catch the sponge ball arcade type machine to entertain us at break time. Catch as many red balls in 30s, in one hand to win an Xbox One. My mate caught 11 and won the console. 

After four weeks of 60hr nights I didn't even try. Losers lose.

Today's work treat is a free 'Peak 2015' t-shirt. Temp staff have been given different t's by the agency. Talk about dividing the workforce. It's laughable.

Also, we have coffee barista/bar that's giving out Costa/Sbucks style drinks all shift. Gonna be hyper Mocha city for me.

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