Monday, May 21, 2007

Take this job and shove it.

A few days ago I was searching for an old TripTik for our Gatlinburg trip and came across an old letter of resignation from a job 10 years back. And it brought back memories of how fun it was to quit that particular job.

If was fun for several reasons, but mainly because it was the only graphic design job I ever got to quit... willingly.

For a lot of people older than me, the idea of changing jobs ever year or so seems alien and unfathomable. But for those of you 30-somethings and younger, changing you job every year is a habit. You learn quickly to keep your resume updated and sometimes you even get to know the folks at your local unemployment office on a first name basis.

Since 1989, I’ve gone thru 7 design jobs. Gone are the days where you entered a company on the ground level, worked your way up the corporate ladder by dedication, hard work and respect (and maybe a little ass-kissing) and, after decades of loyal service, were rewarded with a nice pension and a gold watch.

Nope. Sorry folks, but that Saturday Evening Post portrait of the work ethic is as dead as a roadkill possum.

Nowadays we all make constant changes and additions to our resume. We all keep in contact with a wide variety of friends and former co-workers to continuously network in order to find a better place of employment. And some of us are lucky enough to be in a field where businesses close up on a regular basis.

But like I said, I was able to leave this job willingly. This was the car graphics place owned and operated by a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’ll give them credit in that they never used their religion, or the lack of mine for that matter, as an excuse to hire or not to hire. But working with Witnesses is quite strange. I only had one employee ever try to ‘convert’ me and I shut him up fast. We’d worked together in the same office for several months and the subject never came up. One day out of the blue we just started talking religion and, after a long discussion, the conversation ended with this:

CoWorker: “So, do you ever read much?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. I read all the time. I love books.”

“Well, if I gave you a book, would you read it?”

“Sure. If you return the favor and read a book I loan you.”

End of conversation. Never to be brought up again. And if you know me and my book collection, you know why he never followed up on his offer.

There were a few factors why I was glad to leave this place besides the Witness Factor. They paid me squat. I had been laid off from a newspaper job and this was my next place of employment. They started me out at less what I was making before (and THAT wasn’t impressive to begin with) and, even with a raise a year later, I will still making less.

There was also the blatant eavesdropping of the Head Accountant’s son (nepotism was bad here). He found great pleasure in hacking some secret files and reading all of our emails every night while he was supposed to be working.

And there was also the fact that two of our supervisors had hair that was not their own. It was really hard to keep a straight face when the president of the company scratched his head and his whole hairline moved. Or when the production manager was running late and came in with his rug improperly glued to where you could see the weave peeling from his smooth head.

At one time I wanted to get fired I disliked that place so much. Witness boy eventually left my office to work elsewhere and he was replaced by “Tony” who became my partner in crime. We were bad, very bad. When we shared an office with a large glass window, we covered the glass with pictures of fish so it looked like we were in an aquarium.

We eventually got kicked out of our office (so an expensive piece of printing equipment could reside there) and got moved to a cubicle. To make it more ‘homey,’ we installed blue film and ruby lith in the overhead fluorescent lights to give it a disco effect. We hung up Christmas lights and curtained off our cubicle doorway. Toys littered the floor. It looked like a damn day care.

We also had a growing ball of scrap vinyl from the car graphic cut-outs that we rolled all over the place. Tony eventually learned how to walk on it and would often be seen ‘rolling’ down the hall.

We also flipped Slinkies down the stairs. There’s nothing better that having the toupee-wearing president open his office door to see my ass in the air as I toss down a Slinky to a waiting Tony at the bottom of the stairs.

All this and I never got fired. Instead I job hunted until I found Job #5. Which allowed me to create this lovely piece you now see. I handed one to each of my supervisors (including the Toupee President). I even rolled each one up and included a ribbon and wax seal.

So now I’m on Job #7. Been here for over 5 years and I hope they continue to keep me. But I’m always on the lookout for something better. Habit now. Part of the Generation X Mental Training for the Job World. Hopefully I’ll never have to create another resignation scroll, but you have my permission to use this as a template.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Getting my kicks on Interstate 75

Been kinda quiet round these here parts. Work’s been slow, but just started to pick back up. Doesn’t matter. My brain hasn’t been at work for a while. It’s been walking the strip in Gatlinburg.

The brain trip has been interrupted a few times. I’ve been devouring an average of 3 books a week and I’ve been meeting/emailing with my Haunted House team - yes, major construction starts in 3 weeks, can you believe it? But when I’m not engrossed in a book or in a virtual conversation about ‘Timmy, the boiler room monster boy,’ I’ve been focusing my thoughts on our upcoming annual trip.

My brain has been up and down the strip several times now, making note of all my favorite shops and eateries. I’m making a shopping list for Pepper Palace (so all you Pepperhead friends of mine, you better let me know your requests soon), keeping plenty of room in the trunk for any swords or other metal toys we might bring home, and salivating at the thought of Best Italian - home of the world famous Garlic Rolls.

Yeah, it’s gonna be a great trip. The cat vomiting on the carpet yesterday can’t get me down. Nor the fact that I just tore a contact lens and am now sitting here half blind. Gas prices... well, yeah, gas prices always piss me off but it’s not gonna totally dampen my outlook. Hell, the fact that Jeremy Falwell just croaked kinda makes up for that. Plus the weather’s supposed to be pretty damn nice.

I so enjoy this roadtrip. This year is especially nice since we’ll be traveling in the new Honda and giving my Focus a break. The spouse and I let my iPod run the whole time with us playing a goofy version of Name That Tune. Plus we’ll be making stops at a couple of the Christmas decor outlets.

Now I can already hear some of you say, “What? YOU?! YOU going to a CHRISTMAS shop?” Well, yes, actually. See, I’ve got a project this summer. Our own little State Fair actually has a Christmas Tree competition. And I’ve been saying for years that I was gonna enter something very non traditional. I’ve already got a 3 and a half foot tree, a can of black spray paint and a bunch of purple lights. All I need are a ton of purple ornaments.

Yep, a “Gothy Little Christmas” is gonna be my entry this year. I already have the all-red tree, but it’s not exactly entry-worthy. We’ll just take this here fake tree, paint it black and lavish it with all purple decorations and see what we can win.

The spouse gets into the whole holiday decorating, too. A couple of years ago we stopped at the ‘drunken Santa outlet’ and he went hog wild with lights.

(The Drunken Santa Outlet is not the real name of the place, Hell, I can’t remember the name of the place, but on the billboard it has this poorly drawn Santa that looks terribly intoxicated. See for yourself...)

(Yeah, I told you it was bad. But they have great stuff. And the spouse looks cute, so I had to post this.)

So in 3 days we’re outta here. We can’t wait to get filled up on hot sauce, pasta and Garlic Rolls. Then kick back in the hotel pool and, as the garlic/hot sauce mixture seeps from our pores, make soup.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Random thoughts and links, part 104

Well, I hope everyone celebrated No Pants Day in proper form today. I couldn't exactly participate pantless at work but dammit, now here at home with my fat, lumpy ass parked in front of this here iMac, damn straight I ain't wearin' no pants.

It definitely feels good to let it 'all hang out,' so to speak.

In the good news department, the allergy invasion seems to be weakening. The headache migrated from the front of the skull to the back, then disappeared completely while the nasal irritation has turned into a simple back-of-the-throat drainage. I think I'll live.

And June the 6th can't get here fast enough. Looks like we got us a new season of Ghost Hunters. So the phone and the computer will be shut off Wednesday nights this summer. Emergencies will just have to wait until Thursday morning.

I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday: "George W. Bush; The President Quayle We Never Had." And speaking of Stupid White Men (I'm currently reading that right now, by the way - great book), the local gas stations are currently ass-raping everybody for gas at $3.19, although some places have lowered their price to a bargain of $3.08. At first I thought it was to drain every last penny out of the Kentucky Derby weekend visitors, but according to Gas Buddy, the ass-raping is rampant in other areas, too.

Lousy bastards. Getting us all lubed up for one hell of a summer already.

One last thing before we get to the links. Looks like we done scared another one away. Our new guy in our department at work is already bolting... after only 3 weeks. Seems that he got a better offer elsewhere.

Now hold onto your butts, especially you local friends and neighbors who've known me for more than a decade. Guess, JUST GUESS, where new guy is going? Go on, I'll wait...

THE JEHOVAH WITNESS PLACE! That one graphics company I worked for back in '97 that A) paid me dick - hence the reason I left; B) was owned by a bunch of Jehovah Witnesses and C) whose President of the company had hair that was not his own.

Yeah, I discovered that about 3 weeks into the job. I was sitting in on a meeting with the President himself and, as he leans back in his chair with his hands behind his head, gave himself a good head scratch that shifted his entire hair line. Some weeks it would change colors, like from blonde, to black, to brown, to ash. I think he had a collection of them that he randomly chose from each morning. Or maybe he was trying to coordination with his shirt and pants each day.

Needless to say, I warned new guy about where he was going. Personally, I'm shocked the place was still around. When I left in '97 others were leaving in droves for the same reason. Plus business had slowed WAY down, too. Hmph. Guess they're paying better than dick now.

Once again, who knows what kind of life form will be inhabiting our little dark corner of workspace hell next...

Onto more fun things.

I am so making one of these... they look so comfy.

The spouse and I play Scrabble occassionally... these look comfy, too.

The joy of being an Art Director in advertising... yum.

Why is this funny?... I do the same thing after about 9 chocolate covered espresso beans.

Hello, I'm a Mac... and I'm a Domino.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Big Sneeze

It’s that time of year again. The weather is nice and warm. The flowers are up and in full bloom. The trees are budding and leafing out.

And the interior of my skull is on fire.

It started this weekend. Very subtle. Hardly even noticed the occasionally sniff. Spent lots of time outside, planting 106 purple, blue and lavender pansies in the front yard. Got to spend some time on the deck, too.

Then Monday I can barely keep my head up and straight because of the weight. It felt like a bowling ball on a pipe cleaner. I think every ounce of blood was in my forehead. My vision blurred a little as each heartbeat thundered thru my skull. A healthy dose of Exedrin® Migraine killed that bad boy eventually, but that’s when the sneezing started.

Normally I don’t mind sneezing. Sometimes it’s kinda fun. But not when I’m at work. I’m have a horrible fear of sneezing at work. Because you never know when a sneeze could result in a fart. Gawd, that’s embarrassing. Your whole body decides that expelling offending matter thru the nose is not sufficient and chooses to utilize every orifice instead.

So I sit there constantly stifling off a potential sneeze. And making frequent trips to the bathroom to ease off any tension.

The other dilemma is, as mentioned, the burning. As soon as the seasonal allergies kick in my nasal passages close up completely. Breathe Right® strips don’t work. Vicks® vapor stuff only works a little. Unfortunately my only option is nasal spray.

Nasal spray is horrid. Yeah, it opens you up and you can breathe but it leaves a nasty, chemical taste in your mouth and your nasal passages feel like they’re housing an entire colony of fire ants.

And it’s worse when the pain goes to your ears. And your mouth. Right now my ears feel like I’m at 30,000 feet and the inside of my mouth is acid sore.

But I can breathe, if I don’t mind that each inhalation is stirring up the fire ants, causing them to break out the flamethrowers in celebration.

I was hoping to kill this year’s hay fever off quickly. I’ve been free-basing the vitamin C, drinking gallons of orange juice and herbal tea with locally-produced honey (supposed to help with allergies) and chomping Cold-Eeze® when I remember. But last night I was miserable. The spouse made sure I was aware that.

His quote today: “Man, when I came to bed last night and saw you sitting up reading your book, you looked like hell.”

It’s nice to be loved. Oh well, I’m saving a special sneeze for him later this evening.