Posts filed under ‘Work’
The other morning, I was walking down Spear Street in San Francisco, and saw this on the ground outside of an office building:
You got it. A printer thrown out of the window of an office building in an obvious fit of rage. There’s still paper in it!
Am I the only one reminded of the movie Office Space with the scene where they steal the printer and beat it senseless in a field? Here’s the clip (but if you’re sensitive to foul language I suggest you turn down the background music).
My office carpet produces an insane amount of static electricity. I failed Physical Science. Twice. So that may not be exactly what is happening. I remember a rod being rubbed against a rabbit fur? I guess in this example I’m the rod. But I’d rather be draped in rabbit fur. That’s beside the point though. There is tons of electricity in the office. Touch the filing cabinet. POW. Grab something off the printer. ZING. I don’t know why I’m surprised every time it happens. But I am.
Since realizing the potent force of electrons, or protons, or Jimmy Neutron, I’ve had one goal. To have an intern shock his mouth on the metal door handle to our office. Why? I have no idea. But I nearly got one to do it. We locked the door, double locked in fact using a lock on the ground, to ensure that the door wouldn’t fling open and deteeth him. He chickened out. But just by getting close, the two of us have been close since he left the office, nearly two years ago.
What else makes a strong intern? Killer guest posts for one. For another, being neither heard nor seen, yet managing to keep my outbox empty of clutter. Not calling me “Bud” in the hall is a major one. You should also keep your shoes on while at the copier. Where I work, summer interns are a special level of intern. During the school year, the truly devoted are interns. Once summer hits, everyone whose Dad or Mom is owed a favor gets in. You can spot these gems by their designer duds, high heels, couture bags, too much David Yurman, and Barack Obama pins.
While we’re fondly recalling intern memories (not fondling), here are a few more.
*Telling a managing partner at the firm picnic that he was a summer associate in his second year of law school, when in reality he was an intern in his sophomore year of college.
*An 18 year old getting totally hammered at an Orioles game, having his car impounded, and being forced to stay in a hotel near the stadium. It being a work night, he drove in the next day directly from Baltimore, neglecting his hygienic duties.
*An intern who in the matter of one week had her dorm catch fire, her car blocked in on the street, and a mono scare, all which prevent her from showing up to work on time.
It is wonderful to take part in guiding these brilliant young minds that are so full of hope and promise. We are fortunate to see these rising stars who look down on the entry level jobs in the office that none of them could even hope to get. Here’s to them.
Have you ever had a class experience ruined by a disruptive classmate? The over-commenters, the know-it-alls, those that can’t enunciate their “t’s”? In my case, the culprit combines the first and third categories, rendering the last 12 hours of a certain professional training utterly trying.
After the teacher spells something out in the clearest of terms, this classmate says in a meandering tone, “You mean to tell me that [verbatim repeat of what teacher just said]?
Then, she causes the real grievance by bringing out the Henry Higgins in me. “Even d‘oh dey say it, dey don’t mean it? Dat’s why dey do dat?” With her commenting 30% of the time, this means I’ve been listening to this for 3.6 hours in the last week, not including breaks. What’s an English major to do?
Perhaps remind myself that at least the know-it-all has completed the program and isn’t coming back to class. This woman would ask an insanely long question based on her personal experience as an agent. She would then get an answer from the instructor and whip out, “Yah, I know, that’s what I tell them,” before the instructor was even done with the explanation. After a few sessions, a theme emerged from her client scenarios where she’d always end with, “Yah, I thought they were my friend.” Astute classmates could observe why “friends” became no longer when working with this person.
Posted by JL
While it was noted earlier that my sister on a mission has a few more months of being on IRF sidelines, a tale came into my mind of one of her forays into the world of pyramid schemes. She went no further than the sales pitch meeting held in a strip mall in Orem, UT, but came back with a stirring tale to tell. If only the hidden cameras of 20/20 could have been there.
Leaving Gold’s gym she found a flyer on her windshield advertising a way for students to make easy money to the tune of $400 a week. In her open-minded state she thought, “What have I got to lose?” and it didn’t hurt that Sconecutter refreshments were being served. So off she went alone to the meeting where a botoxed, tweaked all over peroxide blond made her case for the entrepreneur audience to enlist five of their friends to also sell the product line.
The product was environmentally friendly cleaning supplies that weren’t poisonous if swallowed. Challenged by a belligerent snowboarder about the reality of such a claim, Trixie bolted to the sample table, grabbed a spritz bottle of window cleaner and asked, “Who’s telling the truth now?” while dousing her mouth vigorously with sprays of the window solvent.
Apparently it didn’t taste much like Skittles and she started gagging and had to run to the hallway drinking fountain to gurgle it out. No one ended signing on to sell the labor of Trixie’s mind but it is surprising how often such schemes take root and spread. Particularly in Utah County the birth place of NuSkin, Neways, and Tahitian Noni. Regardless of their claims of legitimacy, they all seem a little shady.
Posted by JL
Every job has its perks. Mine enables me to attend the annual All Candy Expo. Chicago’s McCormick Place is taken over by wall-to-wall confections… and I get paid to walk the hallowed halls and sample the newest innovations. Gum, Candy, Snacks… Last year the biggest trend was dark chocolate and printing the percentage of Cocoa on the package. This year the flavor that EVERYONE is trying to get a piece of is Blueberry Pomegranate, which I find to be a lovely combination.
As I walked down aisles 1 and 2, each little piece of Fudge, each sample of hard candy was an utter and complete delight. I filled my bag like a overgrown, under-dressed Trick or Treater. Aisles 3 and 4 came and I was still excited, but walking faster, taking fewer samples, and my excitement diminished with every aisle until I finally ended up skipping the last couple aisles. My coworker one time referred to this phenomenon as the Law of Diminishing Returns. I said, “More like the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility.” Like the cool kid that I am.
So, by popular request, I am addressing the difference between these economic laws. Since I am not a economics expert (other than knowing the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility when I see it), I went straight to IRF reader, Masters of Economics Candidate, Mikel, who quoted from his MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics:
Diminishing marginal utility is exactly like the candy example, usually though it has to do with purchasing something, but same idea. The more you have of something, the less valuable an additional unit is to you. The law of diminishing returns is more specific to production. So, if you have fixed capital and keep adding labor to it, your marginal and then average returns to labor will diminish after some point. You get less output out of an additional unit of labor, as you add more and more labor. Instead of too much candy, this would be like having too many workers and not enough computers. So, it is usually said “diminishing returns to labor” or “diminishing returns to labor with respect to capital”. They both describe curved functions, and the measure of the slope of a curved line. So, graphically they look similar, even though one is describing an individual’s utility function (convex), and the other is describing a production function (concave). They both measure the changing slope of a curved line. I think that pretty much explains it.
So there you have it. Your first piece of candy is more highly valued than your 10,000th. The law didn’t stop me, however, from topping off my bag with Almond Joys and Pomegranate Jelly Bellys (and Lemon Heads for Joey). The Willy Wonka Soundtrack has that effect on me.
Thanks to Mikel for doing his part to educate our loyal readers on this important subject. And I’m here to answer any questions about gum and candy.
Posted by LeMare
Since working from home over the last sixteen months, I’ve experienced the bad and the ugly of talking to clients, bosses and others from my makeshift satellite office. Were it not for my ever-busy fifteen month old assistant in the background (whose music class teacher accuses of having “wiggle worms” in his overalls–she also can only communicate in verse), background noise wouldn’t be an issue. Dear Boy caused me a bit of panic back when he was three months old and breastfeeding round the clock.
In that stage, he could be placed on his Boppy pillow and I could continue to work on my computer completely uninterrupted while he fed. I became so immune to his little nursing soundtrack figuring that was the best time to make calls since he wouldn’t fuss at all. Imagine my surprise two minutes into a conversation when an events manager in San Francisco asked nonchalantly how old my little one was, with no prior indication from me that I had a baby. Flustered, I replied, realizing he heard my suckling child loud and clear in California, and he then said, “Oh, my wife and I have a five month old so those sounds are quite familiar.” Needless to say, I weeded his hotel out of the running for our event and got off the phone with a new set of personal phone regulations.
Now along comes a product for the stay-at-home worker or those that just work in smaller offices that want to a) block unintended background noise of dogs, babies and doorbells and/or b) create the illusion of workplace productivity. This CD creates a bustling background of “busy office” sounds like ringing phones, mumbling co-workers and incoming faxes. Two tracks exist depending on how badly you want to want to get off the phone with your client, “Busy” or “Very Busy.”
Thriving Office makes the grandiose claim that no one has ever returned one of their CDs out of dissatisfaction, since they also allege that by creating the myth of a busy office (starring you), you actually will get more work done in the end. The Pioneer Press points out an additional perk as “[giving] comfort to the lonely telecommuter.” Now one thing is for sure.
While I’ve had to mute my line during conference calls when Dear Boy takes over on the drums…
I’ve never been lonely as I’ve ducked work calls to attend to matters of greater importance, like perfecting Yoda’s Halloween strut.
Posted by JL
As we’ve shared many embarrassing moments this week in posts, this little gem just had to be shared at the expense of our blogger laureate, Joe Miller. My friend Joy tipped us off about this most interesting new 2008 pin-up calendar of LDS missionaries and this is the following email exchange which took place this morning:
From LeMare, 10:50AM: What on earth–is this real?
From Joe Miller’s brother (who is receiving Joe’s work emails at his old address for some reason), 11:18AM: LeMare, I’ve changed my mind—you can use this address to email Joe anytime. You’ve put me on a new path. I have a new aim in life…Mr. “June 2008”.
From LeMare, 11:19AM: So these guys are REALLY on missions, and they’re REALLY posing shirtless with their pants as low as A&F models??? Certainly not while they’re ON their mission???
A couple of them are pencil-necked geeks. Some, not so much.
From LeMare, 11:34AM: I couldn’t look at this page too long because I was afraid that people were going to come up behind me and think that I am some kind of sick degenerate.
And, in thinking about it… would they be right?
From Joe Miller’s brother, 12:07PM: I’m not sure what you are suggesting. My wife hasn’t stopped looking at it since I showed it to her. Her favorite is Matt.
From Joe Miller, 12:18PM: Ok, someone just walked into my cubicle as I was checking out the website. My mouth was agape in shock but I wonder how my coworker interpreted my expression due to the fact that he immediately exited my area like it was an accident he ever ran into me. My life is now over.
P.S. If you have a picture of a recent Return Missionary, nominate them for the 2009 edition here.
Posted by JL
I am the proud nurse in an acute unit psych hospital. I like my job. It’s hard to get bored when people all about you at any given moment could be screaming, threatening, throwing things, hallucinating, and the like. I’ve heard curse words I didn’t know existed; I’ve become sadly familiar with the slang for every drug out there; I’ve been grabbed, kicked, spit at; and I’ve become acutely aware of how devastating behavioral health disorders can be. I’ve sat with tearful patients suffering from such severe depression they are suicidal. I’ve sat with parents in despair over their children’s illnesses and adult children watching their parents slip into dementia. I’ve sat with tearful grown men, detoxing and losing all pride. I’ve read newspaper accounts of former patients succumbing to mental disease and doing horrible things. I’ve seen people I know, and I suffer for them, and I can’t go share any of it with my husband, ever. I’ve told him I feel like a Bishop, only in hearing all the heartache, and having to hold it in. My shifts are sometimes crazy (aware of the pun), sometimes poignant, and ever busy. As I tell my husband, nurses learn to work a full day without eating, drinking, or peeing. Sometimes it’s funny (not the illness, but the situation), sometimes so serious. Sometimes you have to laugh, because if you don’t, you’ll burn out and quit. It really fuses us staff together as a team. Of course, I like it better when patients are calm, cooperative, processing issues. There’s a definite sense of purpose in helping those who have fallen on hard times and whose illnesses are every bit as real as cancer, and can be every bit as deadly. It’s nice when you have patients you feel like you can help instead of just manage. This column is not meant to mock my field or those we serve. I respect both. I love both. This column is meant to have a little fun with those moments that need to be laughed at. I will not discuss my name, city, or hospital, and I will never give particulars that could jeapordize confidentiality. So here goes, Edition 1:
I guess my job is crazy (still aware) often enough, that I really enjoy it when it is boring. A recent shift proved anything but boring…. I was out in the day room when I saw a man out in the courtyard running full speed for the wall. I watched for a second, until a coworker jarred me out of spectatorship. I unlocked the door, ran out in the courtyard, only to find that a patient on another unit had eloped, jumping over a very high wall. Some male coworkers unlocked the courtyard door and ran, following the most obvious path the patient could have taken.
I, feeling like Sidney Bristow from Alias, quickly eyed a path, less obvious, that could have been taken. I gallantly ran (in very uncomfortable shoes) a short ways down that path, past a window on my unit. I didn’t get very far before I determined that I had no desire to overtake said patient… alone… in a wooded area… So I stopped, realizing I’d rather let him elope successfully, and turned around.
I walked past the same window, ran toward a public area, and another coworker yelled out to the people if they’d seen an escape patient running. Ouch, I thought, for PR as I watched eyes bulge. I directed the police toward the area, but their job proved a breeze, since the original two male staff had already overtaken the patient on their original course.
By now, limping with blistered feet, I defeatedly stepped onto my home unit. Any lingering feeling of being Sidney Bristow vanished when a couple of coworkers laughed, mentioning they had witnessed my spring of action into the woods, my abrupt halt, and my hasty return. Sidney’s missions were sexy.
Nothing sexy about being a psych nurse.
Over the course of almost five years of marriage, my ethnicity and the ethnicity of my husband have been in constant question. I am Caucasian, but my married last name in combination with my one syllable first name sounds extremely Asian. Before I met my husband and heard others referring to him as a lacrosse player from Virginia, I thought, “Funny, I didn’t know any Asian Mormons there in high school.” So I see where people can get the idea.
It has died down considerably since we first moved to this area, but we still get calls from various speakers of Asian languages on our home phone. Sometimes it takes up to three calls for them to decide that we really aren’t the Lees they’re looking for that night.
My old dry cleaner felt a kinship with me because we shared the same last name. I’m pretty sure she thought my husband was Asian because she’d always tell me she could have the clothes done a day earlier than I requested, giving me a kind of “wink, wink, nudge, nudge, I’m-only-doing-this-because-you’re-almost-one-of-us” knowing glance.
At PBS, the back of everyone’s business cards featured an assortment of different head shots. Just to hammer home the point that we supported diversity, the profiles included a young African American man with dread locks, an elderly white woman and an Asian woman. I quickly learned to stop using the Asian woman cards because people at stations would finally meet me and 1) be confused about my identity and 2) have thought I was vain enough to put a huge stylized self-portrait on hundreds of business cards.
For those not familiar, in our church we have a visiting teaching program where two people are assigned to visit other women in the ward monthly. Last I heard, my newly assigned Asian companion who hasn’t met me yet was asking everyone if they knew a middle-aged Asian woman by my name. Someone corrected her and told her I was mid-twenties, white and blond, and she said, “No, but she’s married to a man who is also Asian.”
The irony of this whole situation is that Lee isn’t really my husband’s family’s real last name. Hundreds of years ago when his relatives were sailing to America, they arrived and thought that their last name of Nielson sounded too foreign and wanted to pick something more American. They couldn’t have picked a better name!