Posts in Category: Day Jobs

Advice from the Door Security Guard

A few months ago, I had had a rotten Friday, followed by a rotten weekend, and I came to work Monday morning feeling and looking like hell. The morning door security guard is always of disturbingly sunny disposition. For awhile, I couldn’t figure out why he was so damn happy all the time, but I gradually started to realize that, in addition to having the dullest job in the universe (worse than mine, even!), a lot of the assholes who come in don’t even acknowledge his existence. So he gets excited when people like me—people who actually talk to him—get to work, which automatically puts him in a better mood.

On weekends, the morning guard videotapes weddings to make extra money. You learn this type of crazy information when you talk to the guards. Also, they tend to never check your bag at any point in time ever if they feel they can trust you. So, if you plan to steal from your place of business, be nice to all the security guards—it’ll pay off!

So on this Monday when I felt so shitty, the guard noticed, and as I attempted to make my way past him, he just started rambling:

“You know, one of the weddings I taped this weekend, the groom stood the bride up. I’ve been taping weddings for 22 years, and that’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen. So, you know, you might have had a bad day, but it could be worse: you could be her.”

It was surprisingly insightful coming from a guy who, as far as I knew, was only interested in weather reports and the subtle and not-so-subtle differences in the array of new Dunkin’ Donuts flavored coffees. But more than that—it actually did make me feel better. Not in the “ha-ha” schadenfreude way commonly associated with me, but in that wake-up call “yeah, my life really doesn’t suck that much” kind of way.

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Free Food Bonanza!

So in addition to the free lunch I complained about earlier, last week we also had a “holiday pot-luck” on Tuesday. I saw a few vague signs advertising it, but I neither brought anything nor found where this pot-luck was supposedly taking place.

On top of that, on Friday morning somebody brought in bagels for breakfast. Today somebody brought in cake and holiday cookies. Tomorrow we have another free lunch—an all-you-can-eat buffet at a Chinese place down the street—and next Tuesday, when we close, there will be another free lunch, making a total of four this month (there was another one earlier in the month), and that excludes all the other random times people have brought in cookies, candy, and other shit like that.

And all I have to say about this is: people bring in terrible, unhealthy food for others to snack on, and Management pays for terrible, unhealthy lunches. When you aren’t eating free food, you are expected to sit on your ass for eight hours. And there are people in this country who don’t understand why there’s an obesity epidemic.

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More Goddamn Food!

Seriously, it’s out of hand. Today, a box of Entenmann’s donuts and a box of chocolates were set up by the printer. Then, around 9:30, I got this e-mail from Management:

Subject: Lunches

We will be bringing in lunch Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

One day will be Chipotle and I think the other will be a sandwich platter from Subway.

The Chipotle menu is in the cube across from me, please come and fill it out by the end of the day tomorrow.

Thanks and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Good… God. That brings the total of free lunches for this month up to five. That’s more than one a week.

I was also grilled, in a really strange way, about not showing up to yesterday’s free lunch. My boss came up to me and asked, “What time do you usually get here in the morning?”

I responded, “7:30.”

“Okay…” A beat. “Why didn’t you come to the free lunch yesterday?”

Way to segue, right? I wasn’t sure if I should get into my whole objection to the thing, because often corporate people find my anti-corporate views a little strange. Then they start whispering behind my back and all of a sudden I’m accused of being a dirty Red, and the police start chasing me through the farm commune and I end up beating a cop to death (in my defense, he shot the leader of my “two-and-a-half-cents-a-box-ain’t-enough-dag-nabbit” protest group first!) and have to leave my home and family to avoid prosecution. But, you know, maybe it’s like Casy says. A fella ain’t got a soul of his own, just a little piece of a big soul, the one big soul that belongs to everyone.

I went a little out of my way to get to that reference, so you people better appreciate it.

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This might surprise you, but my frenzy to find a new job is directly proportional to the number of mistakes I make. Or so it seems; maybe it’s just because I’m still doing the job of three people, because the revolving door of temps can’t seem to settle on somebody competent. Or maybe it’s all a big soupy pile: they’re overworking me, so I’m hating the job, so I’m searching for new work, so (possibly as a consequence of all three of those things), my performance is slipping.

Let’s just hope I find another job before I start setting invoices on fire…with my mind!

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Mean It!

Authentic signage from eastern Kentucky (click on it for a larger image):

This photo was taken in the general vicinity of Rush, Kentucky, on the trek to find some old family gravesites. Incidentally, the dude did mean it. We were shot at a little while after we edged past that sign. Oops!

This photo does not rank as highly on my list of classy eastern Kentucky signage as the sign outside a small trailer on the side of U.S. 60 that said, “FINE KENTUCKY HAND-CRAFTS & TANNING BED.” Unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate that picture. Alas…

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My work phone rang today, which was a startling and unusual occurrence. They accidentally mislabeled my phone number in the staff directory, and I’ve gone to great pains to keep it that way because, frankly, I don’t usually need to talk to anybody on the phone, and I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone, so I don’t want anybody calling me. And since nobody knows the number, it’s a rather convenient way out.

So the phone rang, and I thought it might be a job, although I only listed that particular number one time before I realized maybe all they need is my cell phone, since it might be a bad idea to be discussing the details of a job or scheduling an interview where many people can hear me and know I’m searching for a new job. I picked it up anyway. “This is Stan,” I muttered.

“Hi, this is Ron, from Gossamer Brokerage, and investment firm in Manhattan,” said the friendly voice on the other line.

“Uh…” I responded.

“I’m calling to see if you have any interest in [insert spiel of investment-related rhetoric that I only half-paid attention to],” Ron continued.

“I’m not interested in that at all,” I said.

“Would you like to switch your existing account to our firm?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“Your name is on this list because our records indicate that you have an investment account. Is this correct?”


His tone switched from friendly to an “I need to back out of this call as quickly as possible so I can move on to the next person” tone. “Okay, have a good day,” was all he said before he hung up.

I’m still trying to figure out how he got the number. I wonder if they just somehow got ahold of an outdated directory (or are just randomly dialing the any combination with our set prefixes) to cold-call people at our company. I’m guessing around here, finding people who have investment portfolios will net a lot more “hits” than “misses.”

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A Few Things

· Yesterday I snuck out of work early to see Woody Allen’s new movie, Match Point, with my old friend Kelly. We both enjoyed it a whole lot but agreed that it’s just a little bit too long. Long movies aren’t bad unless they feel long, and there was a section in the middle that just dragged. Oh well.

· There’s a whole slew of new “contractors” (that’s a fancy word for “temp”) at work this week. I hope one of them will usurp the job of this guy I can’t stand. He’s obsessed with the idea that, at some point, his temporary work will blossom into a full-time position. While it’s true that it could happen, it most likely won’t because nobody can stand him. And I realized today why I, personally, dislike him (aside from all the other reasons): his voice and speech pattern are almost identical to my former blog-nemesis, Owen.

· Thanks to the new contractors, I…had no work to do today. They say they want to help everyone—especially me, as I’ve still been doing the job of three people, since the previous temp disappeared—but it seems a little shady. I don’t know about you, but I can see the writing on the wall, and it says, “YOU’RE FIRED BECAUSE EVEN OWEN JUNIOR IS MORE WELL-LIKED THAN YOU!” Time to step up the job search.

· I just posted this on a friend’s blog. Make of it what you will…

A few years ago, one of my friends gave me a big book, a compiled “best-of” from a magazine called Found. He said he thought it’d be good for me, to help me come up with story ideas. It contains zillions of letters, drawings, diary excerpts, notes (including stuff as mundane as shopping lists) that people have found all over the place and send to this magazine. It’s pretty awesome, and it really is kind of a nice writing tool—you can open to any random thing and get a dozen story ideas just one little note. And on top of this book and the magazine, I’ve kind of become obsessed with the whole concept. If I ever see something like that on the street—which is rare, actually—I’ll grab it and see what it says. I’m a strange person.

So in the same vein as what you’re saying, because I haven’t yet found a “real” job and I’m bored out of my mind at this one, I’ve started “losing” things—doing the opposite of the magazine, intentionally dropping or almost-throwing-into-the-garbage-can-but-missing or just tossing out into the wind whatever scraps I have lying around. You might consider this “littering,” but you’re wrong. Okay, you’re right, but this place would drive me nuts if not for the notion that somebody will pick up my scraps and, I dunno, think about life differently. I know there’s a 0.00001% chance of that actually happening, but it’s the wildest, craziest thing I can do within the confines of a terrible job.

· My obsession with the most fascinating band in the universe, the Beach Boys, reached critical mass a few nights ago. I had a dream that I was at a family Christmas party circa the late ’80s (I was as old as I am now, but everyone else was younger), where I was engaged in a pretty heated argument about the greatest album of all time. I was arguing with a time traveler (???), who one could strongly argue is an authority on the subject, that the Beach Boys’ seminal 1966 album, Pet Sounds is the greatest. Which is interesting, because while it’s definitely in the top five, I’d say Matthew Sweet’s 100% Fun has the top spot pretty well secure. (Then again, this was the late ’80s, so 100% Fun wasn’t out yet.)

As I argued, surprise party guest Mike Love heard the veracity and (typical) high quality of my reasoning and asked, “Are you a musician?” I told him that yes, I was, and he informed me that since Al Jardine had left to tour on his own, they were looking for a new guitarists, and would I be interested?

As I stammered like an idiot to answer him, I started to mentally ponder the ramifications of this deal. This could be great for my nonexistent music career (even in the late ’80s, which is well known for its terrible music!), but at the same time teaming up with the horrible, litigious Love would betray my idol, Brian Wilson, and I wasn’t sure I could do that, no matter how much it would further my career. As I considered all of this, I woke up. Pathetically, I was half-disappointed that it wasn’t true, but I was relieved that I wouldn’t have to make such a difficult decision.

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Promotion / Phone Interview

So last week, I thought the new contractors would lead to my downfall. It seemed logical: bring in some temps, oust the old guy, eventually bring in a new guy. Although to my credit, if it requires more than one temp to do my single job—a job that, by and large, I do in about half of an ordinary work day (the other half is spent fucking around or disappearing from the workplace, which is why I figured I was on my way out). As it turns out, though, on Friday—the day after our monthly close—I was introduced to a new set of duties. I was—what the hell?—being promoted. Again.

But in the meantime, combining my assumption that I was getting fired and my hatred of the job in general, I had intensified my job search, sending out between 12-15 resumes a day for most of last week, mostly administrative or editing positions. I received—this won’t come as any great surprise if you’ve seen my employment history—one response, and I was frankly surprised to get it, but I pounced on the opportunity like some sort of malnourished jungle cat that has spotted a female mauling a zebra.

The employer sent an email asking to set up a phone interview, which told me she had read my résumé (or, at least, skimmed it enough to know that I am, in fact, working). And she still got in touch with me! This was either a very good sign or a very, very bad sign. So we bounced a few emails back and forth and settled on a day and time: today, at 11:30.

I know it’s only a phone interview, but I worried that this would lead to an immediate in-person interview, and at the moment I bear a sad resemblance to the bloated, disheveled late-’70s Brian Wilson, do this weekend I shaved my beard, and this morning I slipped out of work at around 9:15 to ensure I would have enough time to get a haircut, eat my lunch, and do this phone interview. As it turns out, I had about an hour to spare, so I went home and made careful use of my time, going over my largely fictional resume and looking at pornography (not simultaneously).

I quietly calmed myself. I was pretty nervous because this would actually be a really good job for me, and it’s local (many of the jobs I’ve been applying to are out-of-state, which might be why nobody calls me), and I didn’t want to blow it by being a total ass. It takes a lot of concentration and effort for me to not be a total ass, so I got myself into a vaguely Zen place and made the call at 11:29. The phone rang, and I felt the butterflies twirling around my abdomen. I betted them down with the promise of more pornography after the interview, and just then, the phone…clicked over to her VoiceMail.

What the hell? Did we not have a very specific time set up? What the shit is going on? I tell her when I’m available, she sends me the exact date and time, and then…nothing. I left a very polite message, reminding her of our scheduled interview, then hung up. I decided to wait 15 minutes, and if I got her VoiceMail again, I’d tell her I’ll wait around for another 15, and then I have to go to work. Even casual readers of this blog (and by that I mean search-engine robots, though I don’t think they’re reading for content) would laugh at this suggestion—of course I was bluffing and trying to create the illusion of a work ethic. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Fortunately, she called me back at 11:41, and we had our interview. She told me about the company, then asked me questions about myself. Typical interview stuff: what’s the deal with my shitty resume, how exaggerated are your qualifications, where do you see yourself in five years? I rambled, stammered, repeated myself—I thought it was going terribly, until she started going on and on with details about the job requirements. I’ve had enough job interviews to know, basically, I’m in. Maybe I don’t have the job yet, but I suspected an in-person interview was on the horizon—and I was right.

“I’d like to bring you in to meet the team,” she said. The team? All right, I know what this means: if I get along with “the team” and seem like I’ll be, ahem, a “team player,” I will get this motherfucking job. Which is nice. It pays well, it’s a writing job, and it sounds like there will be enough to do—or, at least, enough of a cooperative group environment—that I won’t be bored out of my mind all the time.

Yeah, I’m excited, and I’m also terrified that I won’t get this job. At all.

So, loyal readers (and disloyal enemies who enjoy feasting on my misery—you know who you are), keep your fingers crossed. I might, for the first time in my life, enjoy some sort of employment-based success.

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Meeting “The Team”

This week has been extremely haphazard for me as far as actually showing up for work. Part of this, I guess, is my subconscious feeling that I’ll get this job I’ve interviewed for; mostly, though, it has to do with having almost no work—even though I got “promoted,” I managed to clear up “months” of work in about a day and a half—so on Wednesday I didn’t go to work at all; Thursday, I left early (around 11) to have lunch with Lucy, then didn’t go back to work that day; and on Friday, I had my in-person interview with “The Team.”

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Forgot to Mention…

Remember that job I interviewed for last Friday? I received this e-mail on Monday:

From: Potential Employer <>
To: Stan <>
Date: February 6th, 2006, 10:12:25 AM CST
Subject: RE: Administrative Assistant

Dear Stan,

Thank you for coming in last week. We enjoyed meeting you and appreciated you taking the time out of your schedule. The position was filled this morning, and so we will not need to meet with you further.

Best of luck in your job search and career endeavors.

Potential Employer

“Thanks” and “Best of luck” aside…cold as ice.

To be fair, as I wrote when I met “The Team,” “…I felt a tiny pit of fecal-related doom balling up in my nether regions as I realized, to my dismay, that I don’t think I can actually do this job.” Notice the subject line says “administrative assistant”—a very basic secretarial job was outlined on Craigslist, which was the main reason I applied for the job—I knew it’d advance toward a writing-intensive position, but in the meantime I could handle the administrative bullshit while I learn the ropes. On the phone, she expanded the tasks so that it was more of a support-writing-type job, and I was fine with that, but in the in-person interview, she upped the ante even more and started talking about all of this additional crap that I really didn’t feel I could handle. So I suppose it’s better that they didn’t hire me; if they had, I probably would have been fired after a few weeks, and that would have been much worse.

So I guess it’s time to kick up my feet at my current job, while continuing my frantic employment search.

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