muckefuck: (Default)
The eclipse was fun. I was a bit disappointed that no one had planned a party for it at work like the one we had during 1994's partial eclipse, but apparently they did and I just didn't hear about it because when I showed up around noun, there was a clutch of people with deviled eggs, donut holes, and cookie-box eclipse viewers. By the time of the big moment, there were nearly a hundred people present, a mix of staff and students with perhaps a few randos. As you might expect, there was a bigger gathering a little farther north near the Observatory.

It was cloudy, but that actually had the advantage that at times you could glance up at the sun without the aid of glasses. (Those were the times when the viewers themselves were useless.) We only had 88% coverage. Judging from the reactions of my friends who were in the path of totality, maybe I should've gone ahead with my plan to go down to St Louis for the occasion. My sister and her kids were someplace with 99% coverage and even they didn't get to see the corona, so it would have involved planning an excursion southward and I just wasn't up to it.
muckefuck: (Default)
Even before [profile] monshu's fateful office visit a year, a month, and a week ago my interest in work was flagging. It peaked modestly during our 2015 reorg, which I saw as an opportunity to move into new areas, but the response from my new boss was that she basically wanted me to continue doing the the same job I've always done. I wasn't thrilled but I also knew that, given all the uncertainty about my husband's future, this wasn't the time to make any sudden moves--a conclusion which is short order was 100% validated.

Last year my focus was anywhere but at my desk--a situation that my boss and überboss were completely sympathetic to--so this can got kicked to the end of the year. I quickly stooped to pick it up, thankful for a complete change of pace and a chance to get involved in some group work again. But at the last minute, I drew back and gave it another toe-nudge. At the time, I blamed grief. My domestic worries--the flood, the rats, the fridge, the finances--were becoming overwhelming and it was tough to find brainspace for anything else.

In time, those tides have receded as well, exposing some nice firm beach...that I still have no interest in racing over. Things turned up a bit last month when I was draughted for translation project and started getting excited about development opportunities for me and other staff again. I still didn't feel particularly engaged, but I could see a future where I would be.

And now this. Yesterday, after a stimulating workshop, I dallied with a couple colleagues and learned in short order that:
  1. a recent hire I was reasonably fond of had been let go two weeks ago without so much as an acknowledgment
  2. the only remaining representative body for professional staff had been killed
  3. a complete reorganisation of one of our major public service programmes had been carried out in secret by the upper administration.
In conversations with other colleagues today, I learned that however bad something looks at first glance here, upon closer examination, it's worse. Not even those collaborating with the firee on specific projects had been told; one spent a week working on a presentation before getting the news from a back channel. And admin had actually convened a task force on the public service programme which spent a year-and-a-half assembling a report, all of whose major findings were ignored in the reorg.

In other word, SSDD. The whole two-year initiative to "change the way we do business" was the giant farce we all feared it was and the new hires (including my überboss) who we considered on board are just as head-in-ass as the old guard. Communication has gotten worse and some of our most reliable workhorses and best advocates for outreach and collaboration are eying the exits.

Which I guess I should be doing, too, but that toxic inertia which has seeped into the rest of my life is still very much in my veins whenever I walk in these doors. I have stability and security here and a lot on my plate for the coming year. (Tomorrow's condo meeting is reminder enough of that.) So yeah, there has to be a reckoning, but does it have to be now? Not if I put my head down and my hands over my ears, no, no there doesn't.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Last week I made a vow to meet everyone's responses to [ profile] monshu's death with a spirit of generosity and I've done a pretty good job of keeping it. Not yesterday, however. Near lunchtime I suspected La Vache was making an attempt to wish me sympathy so I spent the rest of the day dodging her. At Chicago, she basically tried to get the Old Man fired, encouraging a disgruntled employee to bring a complaint against him and just generally being a dick to him (and later me, when we started associating). I'm sure he'd forgiven her for this--he was letting go of all his old grievances as he felt death approaching--but I'm not him and I couldn't imagine hearing her offer condolences without saying something cutting like "One thing I've always admired about you is your chutzpah" or even just a nonplussed "Really?"

So I fled and ended up at another bank informing another indifferent functionary about his death. But where Friday's employee covered up his indifference with good customer service, Monday's was careless and inept, drawing increasingly curt responses and even admonitions from me. I think it's the first time someone has offered me a business card and I made no show of taking it in order to be polite. (For all I know, it's still lying their on his desk where he dropped it.) There was a loud, cranky old man in the neighbouring cubicle and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.

Fortunately, [ profile] bunj is in my corner. Despite a Bavarian Totencold, he and e. stopped by in the evening to pick up a death certificate so he could file the will first thing today. He tried going to a branch of bank #1 to wind things up, but they wanted not only the affidavit and the certificate but also a copy of the will and he didn't have one with him. I don't know why I'm so impatient. There's plenty of money in the joint account to handle known expenses for the coming month it will take to have the assets transferred to me but it's just a messy state of affairs having no control over his funds and I don't like it.

I made the wrong call by deciding I didn't need any lorazepam to fall asleep last night so I stumbled through today and blew off my afternoon meeting. I guess I should be consuming the slack people are extending me at work while it lasts. So far, I've been resisting the urge to respond to the umpteenth expression of sympathy with a novel response like a cheery "All's well that ends well!" I guess it helps that today I heard mostly from people who I have nothing against and who really have been through some shit so there's a weight to their words I don't find in everyone's. Always is interesting, btw, who comes through in these moments and who doesn't. I have a growing stack of condolence cards on my desk now and they're nearly all from colleagues I wouldn't have expected.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
There's a bullying streak in me that I'm not at all proud of. I'm not sure how much of it I picked up at home (from my older brother and my father) and how much from my peers but it's been a part of my personality since at least primary school. It most often manifests itself as "taking the joke too far".

Today I took a joke too far with one of my coworkers. He's a vocal Cubs fan, so I enjoy rubbing my Cardinals' loyalty in his face. We generally always make a minute or two when we meet to give each other the business about this or something else. Today, that all went terribly wrong.

I was sitting on a bench in the corridor outside my office taking a break to check my social media and I heard a tremendous THUMP on the wall behind me. I looked around the corner and found said coworker grinning at the water fountain. I wasn't amused. "That was super mature, you know," I told him. But then we exchanged a few friendlier words and I went back to work and forgot all about it.

A couple hours later, I was coming back from lunch and saw him ahead of me on the path wearing his Cubs cap. So I rushed up behind him and snatched it off his head. He made no attempt to chase me, so we continued toward the building, chatting all the way. I kept about ten-foot away from him at all times, just in case, and mocked him about the dampness of the sweatband. "The joke's one you if you ever try to put it on," he told me, smiling.

As we got nearer the building, I spied a post and ran up to it to perch the hat on top. And this is where things took a heinous turn. I was standing near him and he asked me to fetch the hat. "I think it looks good up there," I said. Suddenly anger flashed in his eyes and he said, "I'm not fucking around any more, go get my shit." "Calm down," I said, but since I didn't make an immediate move toward the post, he grabbed my hand and wrenched my mobile phone out of it.

He demanded again that I get the hat. I insisted he return the phone first. "My phone is a lot more valuable than your hat." "As far as I'm concerned, they're the same. What if I just threw this away and broke it?" This is the phone I carry with me always, since it's my primary means of contacting [ profile] monshu when I'm not at the hospital with him. So I stood my ground. He gave me the phone, I retrieved the hat and tossed it at him before walking directly back to my desk without a further word.

My best guess is that my playground behaviour triggered some ugly old memories in him and he responded in kind instead of how would be appropriate for an adult with a job to lose. His jibe about reporting me to the head of personnel for "harassment" (flung out seconds before he snapped) began to weigh on me, so I wrote up an account of the incident, just in case. I hadn't intended to report it myself, but I ended up saying something without naming him because I found myself so jumpy I was looking around corners whenever I left my desk.

We agreed it would be best to give him the weekend to cool down. I suspect he probably needs a little time to deal with why his reaction was so disproportionate anyway. At the moment, I don't feel physically safe being in close quarters with him. If I'd had any idea this was a possible outcome, I never would've started something, but people carry around so much psychic baggage that I should know it's always a possible outcome.
Feb. 3rd, 2016 04:14 pm

A new start

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I am staggering through the day today--I'm doubting I'll make until five--and I'm choosing to blame a combination of sleeping poorly, getting soaked at lunchtime yesterday, and the two-day effort to declutter our workspace. It was much needed and long overdue, but also strenuous and exhausting. I tried to pay as little attention as I could to whatever nonsense my colleagues were getting up to around the corner (such as unpacking several boxes of materials which are under embargo and can't be cataloged) and focus on my own area. It looks much changed--the head of another work group asked, "What happened to all your stuff?" as he was passing through--but I feel exposed without my comforting towers of books on either side.

One of the discoveries which came from offloading a couple long-beached boxes was that there is nothing holding the access panel on the wall in place except for the desk itself; although I can see screw heads, they're clearly not attached to anything. That explains why sound travels so well up from the sub-basement; today I even felt a draught of cold air I suspect is from the same place. I also found some amusing printouts given to me by a coworker who is no longer here, but fortunately no dead vermin. Whew!
Jan. 13th, 2016 02:43 pm

Ad finitum

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Yesterday's get-together was a little sad and awkward. The idea was to spin off an LGBT "affinity group" to discuss...something. But we weren't really sure what. Apparently, whatever faculty/staff group we had on campus has gone dormant and no one seems really interested in restarting it. Right now it's just an orphaned webpage with a few outdated staff contacts.

The elephant in the room, of course, was whether our organisation actually needs such an affinity group. I tried to steer us toward this question by talking about the equivalent group at my last place of employment floundered after domestic partner benefits were made available to all staff and faculty. That just prompted some limp discussion of what other causes we could take up. What about homeless LGBTQ youth? Does anyone know of any bias incidents? What about queer foreign students, is anyone reaching out to them?

I estimate that the average age in the room was 50, which makes me wonder if there hasn't been a paradigm shift and we're on the other side of it. When I drop in on online discussions of sexuality among 20-somethings, I find myself confronted by an entirely new vocabulary. And not just for "new" identities--the entire categorisation system doesn't line up with what I know. Their whole conception of gender seems fundamentally different from the binary I was raised in, and that affects everything else.

So it's frustrating: there are clearly some rewarding conversations to have and plenty of worthwhile work to be done, but I don't see this particular constellation of individuals leading me to it. The one ray of hope was the suggestion that we get together with members of some of the student organisations and have them break down for us how they see things and what we can do to help.
Jan. 7th, 2016 02:12 pm


muckefuck: (zhongkui)
[ profile] monshu also came down with something this week so I wasn't expecting any kind of fuss for Epiphany. I was totally prepared to be warming up a potato pie from Sunday and instead came home not only to baked halibut and sweet potato risotto but a tremendous nut-brown roscón de Reyes. Naturally, I found the coin, though my one official act as King was to take down the tree--ceremonially, that is, which is to say I removed the finial and extinguished the lights. Later I returned and put away the most important ornaments but lost steam before it came to wrapping all the glass baubles in tissue.

I also got to play Rex Magus at work, since the nameplates I'd ordered before New Year's came in and I made a point of delivering them personally in order to bask in everyone's delight. (Honestly, it really is the small things.) I also had something more personal to give away, my 2013 edition of Best European Fiction. I'd been talking it up to a Bosniak coworker and finally just decided to gift him with it. First, though, I had to make a push to finish the last dozen stories or so. I tackled most of them over break, but still had two unread as of Tuesday night, so I read one on the ride in (Eloy Tizón's "El mercurio de los termómetros") and the last (Ray French's "Migration") at work only moments before handing it over.

He and I both agreed what we'd really like to see is a bilingual edition, because neither of us can read all the languages represented but we could each make a serious dent. That's too specialised a market for a paperback, however, but would be easy enough to do electronically if not for the fragmented way in which foreign language rights are parcelled out. In any case, with that off my plate, I'm poised to make a final assault on the last quarter of Gösta Berling and select my next victim.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
A flurry of lake-effect snow as I rode in this morning promised an easy return to work but then I got here and found out there they're doing some noisy construction work in the next room. It's actually in the machine room below me, but because of the odd way sound travels, I can hear not only the grinding of powered saws but voices as well and feel some of the vibrations. On top of that, I'm still getting over my cold and have been voiceless since yesterday morning. So happy there are no meetings today.

I made it my goal yesterday evening to reach the halfway point in Gösta Berling and I did. It's not the most engrossing thing I've ever read but interesting enough that I do find myself saying, "Okay, one more chapter" much of the time. I'd like to finish it in a week but I know it's more likely to take two. After that I might try Halldór Laxness again. Or maybe Er ist wieder da, my Christmas gift from [ profile] bunj? We shall see.

I may also try to regain some of my lost Swedish. The conversation Saturday evening turned to television--as it so often does when an Baoigheallach is involved--and prompted me to discover that season 2 of Bron/Broen is available on NetFlix. Watching that will help, and might even get me to pick up a Swedish-language work again (though I kind of doubt that).
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Is maith an lá so a bhí agam aniogh. Bhí craic againn ag an obair. Do threoraíomar fochéimithe tríd an leabharlann ar feadh dhá uaire agus mé ag tionlacan sé grúpaí san am san. Do bhíos go litriúil ag rince idir chuairteanna leis an áthas a bhi agam. D'fhanas ann tamall tr'éis sin chun cuidiú le comhleacaí ceisteanna d'fhreagairt is a leithéid. Do shíleas go mbeinn tuirseach ar fad ar teacht an tráthnóna ach bhíos go beo friochanta go fóill. Níor é ach an turas abhaile a chuir an tuirse orm. Do chaithios dhá uair leis chomh maith ach diabhal an spórt a bhi iontu!
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Four days after switching to a new system at work, people seem to finally be calming down. I have to cut my nearest neighbour some slack since she was out for two days (with a root canal, no less) and so is technically on Day 2 of the new regime rather than Day 4. Still, a little less talking back to the screen would be nice. For the first time, though, my last remaining direct report hasn't come to me a half-dozen times half-panicked about some quirk of the system.

So far, it seems like we've lost more than we've gained--but it almost always seems that way, doesn't it? I'm holding out hope for new efficiencies which we simply haven't discovered yet. But so far, I've only been able to eliminate one step from a procedure whereas everywhere else what took one keystroke now takes anywhere from two to five.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
One of the local organisations is hosting its annual Stand Against Racism and staff are being encouraged to attend, something I don't recall in previous years. But there's a special urgency this time since only last week racist graffiti was found written on the walls of my workplace and the big boss is anxious about the optics.

Does that sound cynical? It's hard not to be about these sorts of things. In principle, I find nothing wrong with concerned individuals rallying together for a cause. I know some networking always goes on at these things and boring meetings in church basements and dowdy storefronts simply don't have the same appeal. Plus it must cheer some POCs to see a bunch of White people holding supportive signs. I know if I'd seen a Stand Against Homophobia back in the day it would've done me good.

But that was when I was more idealistic and the sheer intractable vastness of the issues didn't intimidate me so much. When I look back over the progress of LGBTQ rights in my lifetime, I see a huge advance for assimilationists (like me) and small steps for the rest. It seems like a similar situation for POCs: somewhat better conditions for those already in the middle class, same old story for those shut out of it.

In order to encourage ongoing engagement, today's rally will feature "selfie signs" where we're all encouraged to write "how you stand against racism in your daily life". Is there anything I could write which isn't flat-out embarrassing? Yeah, I engage people in discussions of racial issues online. I'm sure that's done so much palpable good for victims of institutional racism in this country.

Maybe if I turn up and there are a significant number of POCs present, this will feel like something more than just a guilt-freeing exercise for Good White Liberals. But not much more.
Jan. 20th, 2015 10:34 pm


muckefuck: (zhongkui)
It's not often that I can say I've contributed to foiling a crime. (And by "not often", I really mean "not ever".) But I arrived at work to find an urgent message from my überboss about some titles which had shown up on the desk of a used-book dealer. The attempts to obscure our ownership stamps made him suspicious so he got in touch to see if they were missing from our shelves. I found no indication they'd been properly withdrawn, so security decided to refer the case to the police.

But it doesn't end there. I cc'ed in the head of circulation and she revealed that we'd been hit already by book thieves with a similar m.o. They obtained borrowing cards using pseudonyms, checked out their full allowance of recent textbooks with a significant resale value, and then disappeared. In fact, one of the books they made off was an earlier edition of an identical title! Replacement costs ran into the thousands at our library alone, and we weren't the only ones targeted.

I have to say, I'm anxious to hear what comes of this. The last time we lost serious money to a serial book thief, someone wrote a book about it.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
We knew something was up when the helicopters starting arriving. Five of them (although many people missed the first, which was smaller and touched down only briefly before taking off again), including two huge black ones that made the building shake. I wasn't there to see it, though; this was Monday and I was showing around my 24-hour hire. But it all took place on the lakefront during lunch hour, so I had a steady stream of coworkers prevented from taking their daily constitutional returning and feeding me details.

The next day, we got confirmation of what we'd all suspected: President Obama was scheduled to give a speech on campus later in the week and that was a dry run. The subject was the economy, so the venue was the Kellogg School of Business. Naturally tickets were in short supply, so simulcasts were set up in various locations around campus.

This morning, the shuttle was diverted two blocks to the west. Every parking lot I passed was closed off and guarded by someone with dark glasses and a walkie-talkie. Now that I knew what to listen for, I went running outside at the first sounds of approaching aircraft. The lagoon was lined with people all craning for a view.

Many of the security detachment were screened from us by the trees, but we spotted a lone black-garbed cop cycling around on the lakefill. The gap at the far side of the trees began to fill up with silhouettes. Suddenly, the motorcade began heading out. We were taken aback by the number of vehicles: at least a dozen, mostly white vans.

I ate my lunch and then headed to a room on the first floor, where I found the President's speech already in progress. Despite his protestations, it was a campaign speech after all, but a good one. I met it with cynicism, but I found myself choked up in a couple places and ready to laugh or cheer in others. About halfway through, I sniffed inwardly Course he won't mention immigration. Ten minutes later, he mentioned immigration. He spoke surprisingly forcefully about increasing the minimum wage. Best of all, he rejected trickle-down theory out of hand, challenging anyone in his audience to produce empirical data of its effectiveness.

Afterwards, I rushed out again to watch the Executive Flight Detachment of Marine Helicopter Squadron One take off again. As the huge black military machines swung overhead, I thought for a moment about the hundreds of thousands of people in this world for whom this sight would be terror-inducing rather than awe-inspiring. Then I joined my colleagues and made jests about going out to search for souvenirs and declaring this "Obama Day" in perpetuity, to be celebrated with doughnuts on the shore of the lagoon.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I slept badly and woke up in the wee hours with a stomachache. It subsided later, but I still used it as an excuse to come in a bit later so I was able to see off Mom. It was bright and overcast at Loyola but became darker and darker the further north we traveled until it became obvious we were heading into a thunderstorm. Drops began to spatter the window as we neared my stop. I hit the ground running to the accompaniment of a tremendous KRACK-A-THOOM! and reached the shelter of the arcade just as the big drops began falling.

The rain had stopped by lunchtime. I was walking to a cafeteria on campus and the route I was taking reminded me of fall two years ago when I regularly went up with my student assistant to one of the branch libraries to work on materials being sent off-site. I hadn't heard from him in about a year and I idly wondered what had become of him. Not half an hour later I was standing at the railing tossing breadcrumbs to the sparrows when I heard someone say my name: the same student assistant, now working for a start-up while he finishes his degree.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
It sometimes strikes me as absurd the amount of effort we put into materials security in academic libraries. After all, regardless of the institutional precautions, there's no real trick to stealing books from the regular stacks of a university library. (Special collections are a different matter, particularly in the wake of Forbes Smiley.) It's a simple two-step procedure that I will reveal to you now:
  1. Select the book(s) you wish to steal.
  2. Take them to the nearest emergency exit and walk out the door.
Even if there are security cameras mounted at these doors, what are the chances someone's going to take the time to review the footage? Big libraries don't take regular inventory anyway; the only way they generally notice something missing is when some other patron asks for it. I suppose RFID tags have the potential to change all that, but the current industry standard is passive tags which can only be read from within the same room and even these can be spoofed simply by wrapping them in aluminum foil.

The security procedures where I work are particularly obnoxious. Many years ago we decided to use tattle tape which cannot be desensitised. This means is that any library book will set off the exit alarms, whether the book has been checked out or not. Every patron has to remove tattletaped materials from their bags and pass them around to an exit attendant who checks for checkout slips. I find it so annoying that I rarely ever check a book out myself (something that garners me a lot of grief from my colleagues).

In fact, my borrowing privileges were actually blocked for years because of a fee dispute: I was told that staff weren't liable for fines, so when I got overdue notices, I ignored them. Eventually, three books I had were declared "lost" and I was charged a replacement fee--which wasn't waived when I returned the books. Only just now, when I checked out an umbrella for protection from midday rainstorms (which missed me) did I realise the block had been removed--years ago by someone who doesn't even work here any more.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
Yesterday was the retirement party for one of my most beloved colleagues. Turnout was high, and included not just people from our workplace but members of the academic programme he worked most closely with and various professional organisations. Standing out among the button-down shirts and floor-length skirts was a guy with a Celtic moustache wearing hiking shorts and a t-shirt with a gym logo. I kind of rolled my eyes at the inappropriateness of grad students and went back to the buffet.

As the ceremony started, I was appalled to see Mr Camp Counselor sitting at the front of the room with the other speakers. He was actually the head of the programme, and his speech was as rambling and uninspired as his appearance; he sounded exactly like the Wyoming backwoodsman he was. Afterwards, I remarked to a coworker, "You're getting up to speak at a retirement party, put on some damn pants." She replied that that was just his "look" and she had respect for the way he remained "true to his persona". More eye-rolling. "Everyone has multiple personae," I said, "and part of being a grown-up is knowing which one is appropriate for a given situation."

But maybe I'm generalising too much from my own experience again? It's said that one of the reason homosexuals have been historically overrepresented in the dramatic arts is that we learn performativity from a very young age. By puberty at the latest, we know we have one self that the world will allow us to inhabit and another that we can only express in restricted situations. (The pioneers in gay lib, of course, are the ones who said, "Fuck that!" and chose to present that more fabulous self everywhere.)

More likely, though, this is just another good bourgeois virtue that I've fully internalised. Every situation in life--school, church, work, camping, etc.--has its own uniform and its own corresponding code of behaviour. Respectability is linked to learning the fine distinctions between them and ignoring them marks you as (at best) a bohemian and (more often) low-class, countrified, Other. It's made me cynical of the notion that there is a "true self" which it is a virtue to express always. If your behaviour isn't indexed to context, then it's antisocial--and we all know nothing good can ever come of that.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
  1. die Brandschutzübung
  2. de ontruimingsoefening
  3. el simulacro de incendio
  4. el simulacre d'incendi
  5. l'exercice d'incendie
  6. an druil dóiteáin
  7. yr ymaferiad tân
  8. ćwiczenia przeciwpożarowe
  9. 소방연습 (消防練習)
  10. 消防演習 xiāofángyǎnxí
  11. 避難訓練 (ひなんくんれん)
Notes: I suspected this was coming. At the security refresher last week, I joked that Facilities was only waiting for better weather since they know there would've been hell to pay had they staged a drill with two feet of snow on the ground and below-zero wind chills. As it happened, the weather could hardly have been nicer. In fact, the only complaint I heard was that it was all over too quickly.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I think my fondest memory of yesterday evening will be the three of us--me, [ profile] monshu, and Diego--slouchng in the front room trying to suppress our yawns because we were all enjoying the conversation so much that none of us wanted to be the first to admit we needed to wind it down and seek bed. It wasn't even that late, but between early rising and (in my case) late falling, we were all bleary. Plus, a hearty meal of (boughten) spätzle and (homemade) Swedish meatballs accompanied by a bottle of Naia and followed by mini Derby pies was definitely weighing on us. Besides, by then we'd accomplished what I'd hoped for: Diego (who works from home) had plans to join the Old Man for a midday concert on Monday.

It's been a somewhat stressful week, but things are looking up. I have my old reliable back in the assistant position, and he more than proved his worth today helping me out with a tattle tape test. This required that we set off the exit gates repeatedly for several minutes and I could tell he was getting more than a little embarrassed, but I coached him through it and then hustled us past the angry glare of the instructor who was attempting to conduct a class in the lobby at the time. Now I feel like the two or three other projects I've promised for delivery by the end of the week might happen as well.

And spring continues to burst out all over. Dad and I saw the first Judas tree over the weekend and now they're even coming into bloom closer to the lake. No hawthorns or dogwoods yet, but ornamental pears, plums, and more cherries. Plus azaleas everywhere, periwinkle in full bloom even on the south side of the streets, and trees leafing out right and left. They're predicting height-of-summer temperatures for tomorrow--which, if true, will make my office a swelterbox. Time to pack some shorts.
muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I didn't realise quite how much [ profile] utopian_camorra's imminent departure was affecting me until this evening's meal. I was struggling to relay to [ profile] monshu what he had told me about an intriguing dispute at our workplace and when the Old Man contradicted on a point, I just shut down. There's a lot I'll treasure from our working together, but as I told at the end of our lunch out, I felt like the culmination was when I was volunteering at the front desk and he was in charge of it. That felt like a real collaboration: He told me I was his most valuable volunteer--"someone who actually cared"--and I felt listened to and respected.

The contrast between that and the current regime is stark. I've learned to my cost they're not interested in consulting me about how to fix the problems there. What I didn't realise is that they haven't been consulting him--someone who ran it very successfully for six years--either. Why does every good thing get ruined? As [ profile] monshu's experience shows, you spend years building something up only to see it fall into the hands of incompetents who run into the ground before your eyes. It was good that he got away from that and I'm glad UC is getting out, too. Yeah, there'll be problems at his new job, too, but as he put it he won't have all the "baggage" of a place he's worked at for fifteen years in various positions.
Jan. 17th, 2014 09:27 pm

On balance

muckefuck: (zhongkui)
I left work in such a good mood today, at the shuttle stop, I began engaging the woman in front of me in conversation. Normally I just want to get home without anyone getting on my tits. I asked myself what was different and realised that I'd spent a far greater chunk of my day hearing the sound of my own voice than usual. It's enough to make me rethink what I should be doing for a living.

Basically the whole morning was taken up with a "train the trainers" session for small discussion group facilitators. To get a benchmark of where we were at, she asked us each to stand up and address the room for about a minute. While the others were jotting down what they might like to say, I jumped up and spoke my piece. At the break, I shrugged off compliments. This is the kind of thing that comes so naturally to me I reckon it to my "invisible competencies". Plenty of people, by contrast, would rather be punched in the gut--repeatedly--than have to get up in front of a roomful of people. So this is a talent I could be making much better use of than I am.

Certainly I've got to do something to keep the job interesting. I'm not going to be returning to the front desk any time soon--not unless there's a real shakeup of personnel. As the old adage goes, don't make someone a priority for whom you are merely an option, and that's all I was to them. Worse, I was an afterthought: It was clear I only heard from them when they were preparing something else and realised, "Oh shit, I never got back to Da." Sad to end fourteen years(!) of service on such a sour note, but it happens all the time--just ask the GWO.

He's doing magnificently, btw. New curtains arrived Wednesday and now he has a properly Wizard of Ozian nook for his cataloging work. His nasty scrape from his spill on Sunday is healed up to the point where he can be seen in public without his Carnival mask. We'll be celebrating with brunch on Sunday morning and dinner at jinju Sunday evening.


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September 2017

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