Author Archive

Going Out With a Bang (at least let me dream the dream)

I started working for a terrible boss about 3 months ago and have since asked to be transferred to a different department.  Unfortunately, the move has not happened yet and as each day passes, she’s making my life more and more miserable.  Her creativity in how to be a bitch is actually rather impressive.  In a moment of utter frustration (and fantasy), I drafted my resignation letter to the CEO while laughing maniacally inside.  Now if I only had the balls to eat instant ramen for 3 months straight while I looked for another job.  Letter below for you enjoyment.

Dear Mr. XXX,

You obviously don’t know me but I have been working here at XXX for the past 2 years and have decided that if I must go, I might as well go spectacularly.  That is, in part, a reason for this letter.  The larger issue that I hope you will take to heart is how employees are treated here under your stewardship.  I do not write this intending to burn bridges, but if they must burn, then so be it.

Overall, I think that XXX has been a relatively nice place of employment.  It has its flaws, but what organization doesn’t?  And for the most part, my time here has been an enjoyable one.  I have met and worked with a lot of wonderful and talented people, many of whom I can now consider close friends.  However, in the past couple of months I have worked under a certain manager who has had the impressive skill of making me reconsider my life’s course.

I am in no way a hasty or emotional person.  In fact, I think most people would say that I’m almost devoid of that particular side of humanity.   Thus, it is with the utmost mental clarity that I tell you that she might possible be the worst person I have ever had the unfortunate fate of meeting in a workplace environment.

She insults my intelligence, my person, and my work.  She has deleted my work in front of me and told me to my face that what I spent time on was worthless and that she needed to do everything herself.  Yes, my work was subpar, but is it any wonder with such a toxic manager abusing her authority?  I have given it a thorough reflection and have come to the conclusion that I do not have the mental fortitude to withstand her incessant attacks and my work suffered greatly under her “guidance.”  But the reason for this letter is not to give you a detailed account of the sling and arrows I endured.  That would take too long and be too reminiscent of a historical account of the inquisition.  Nor is it my goal to inform you that just as my predecessor before me, so too do I wave the white flag of surrender in the face of such daunting bitchery.

Mine is a nobler goal in hoping that you can change this organization for the better so that you can retain people like me.  I think I have a lot of talent and I believe I can give a lot to the organization.  Everything in my history, including my Ivy League pedigree, attests to this fact.  I did not want to leave, but the structure of the company did not allow me to stay.

Once I realized that I could not handle the abuse, I very quickly asked for a transfer out.  There was no place for me within my division so I looked elsewhere.  Unfortunately, and idiotically, a transfer to another division required a sign off with an endorsement from my current manager.  Talk about not making sense.  Any and all doors close when the hiring managers in the other buildings see a manager bashing an employee regardless of reason or it if is even deserved.  The fact is that this perspective employee comes with baggage and there are plenty of other who don’t.  The reason for rejecting me is pretty simple.

During the process, I was also told by HR to apply to a single position at a time for reasons including “for purposes of ensuring that both your manager and HR are aligned with any applicable and transferrable skills at the right time.”  This logic is flawed on two major fronts.  If my manager’s treatment of me can best be described by a medieval depiction of Hell and has told me to my face that the work I produce is worthless, what makes her insight into my skills worthwhile?  Furthermore, my HR manager has no idea what I do or what my performance is outside of what she hears from said manager.  It’s pretty obvious that they will be aligned and that alignment will not be in my favor.  The second issue is that the statement placed no consideration for the desperation that I was feeling to get out.  Things got worse daily, and since I’m looking regardless, what does it matter if it’s one of ten different positions?

If an employee does poorly, he or she can be fired or disciplined.  If a manager manages poorly, there are no repercussions and the employee either needs to grin and bear it or leave the company altogether.  I have spoken to many people, including those in very senior roles and they have all advised that I find employment elsewhere.  They too saw no way around this ridiculous system.

Is that really the only choice?  Why is it that mangers are not held to high standards for developing those under them?  Why are they not held accountable for doing a terrible job?  Every year there is a review from the top down, but never one from the bottom up.  Those are all pertinent questions to aks, and you also need to wonder how much talent you have lost over the years because of situations like mine.  This is a common problem among all large scale organizations where the employment base is so broad.  Those at the apex are so far removed from the daily grind of those at the bottom that they don’t see these issues.  But know that the issues are there and good, hardworking employees leave while their cancerous bosses remain.

If you do decide to ask questions, I have no doubt that you will receive some rather unfavorable stories about me from the party in question.  Some may be made up and some taken out of context.  Some may even be true because I did lash out immaturely during the height of my frustration.  Regardless of what you may hear or conclude, know that I am not writing to sway your opinion of me.  All I hope for is that you will at least think about holding members of this company accountable for the abuses that they commit while wearing the mantle of management.  I also hope that you will think about a way to change the system so that those unfortunate enough to run into such abuses do not suffer for them.

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Real Life Conversations with a Trust Fund Baby: On Buying a Car

TFB: I just bought a Mercedes.  Good crash test ratings.

I thought you license was suspended for the next year?

TFB: It is.

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Real Life Conversations with a Trust Fund Baby: On Driving

TFB: I got into a car accident.

You okay?  What happened?

TFB: I was tired and the car drifted.

What did you hit?

TFB: A tree and a pole.

Did you go to the hospital?

TFB: Went to jail.

Jail?

TFB: Cops said I was drunk.

TFB: You drank and drove?

I wasn’t drunk, just tired.

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Real Life Conversations with a Trust Fund Baby: On Laundry

TFB: I’m going on vacation for two weeks, do you think 7 shirts are enough?

Sure, you can always do laundry.

TFB: Don’t know how, I’ll just buy the rest.

What did you do in college?

TFB: Got it washed at home.

You went that often?

TFB: Every 3 month or so.

You have enough clothing to last 3 months?

TFB: Yes

Then didn’t you just have to wash it at home?

TFB: My maid does it.

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Fake Exercise

For a normal individual without any sort of physical abnormalities, body weight is a relatively simple mathematical formula.  Your body naturally burns X amount of calories just by being alive.  Physical activity will add Y amount to your caloric expenditure.   If I is the variable for intake, or how much you consume, then:

If I = X + Y, bodyweight will stay the same.

If I < X + Y, bodyweight will fall.

If I > X + Y, bodyweight will rise.

Weight loss or lack thereof is, in most cases, the manipulation of the above function.  Many people diet, which causes a reduction in variable I.  Many will choose to exercise which is an increase in Y.  Some may choose to do both to maximize their results.  Regardless of which route is chosen, as long as the variables change over a prolonged period of time, results will ensue.

Now the office I currently work at is predominantly female.  As a result, weight loss is a frequently broached topic.  Besides the annoyance of listening to so many body image issues so consistently, I don’t see much harm in this chit-chat.  What really bothers me is the loud declaration and gross exaggeration of facts by the most vocal of those who sit around me.

To put it bluntly, these ladies are on the, shall we say, larger side.  For some reason unbeknownst to me, they choose to raucously articulate their physical exploits at least two or three times a week.  Now I have nothing against fat people.  It’s most oftentimes a choice and who am I to judge how they live their life?  But at the end of the day they are fat for a reason, whether it is a lack of self-control, poor dietary habits, or what have you.  So if they really are running marathons, playing volleyball, tennis, and softball, chances are they shouldn’t be fat.  Hell, I’m in great shape and I’m pretty certain that I cannot run as many marathons and partake in as many sports in the period of time they claim.  Nor do I wake up early in the morning for a “quick” three to five mile jog through Central Park when the weather allows.  That is not a ridiculous distance, but neither is it a cakewalk.

Fact of the matter is, if their activity level is truly that high, then they should be far from the rotund states that I see every day.  I don’t mind if they are fat.  I don’t mind if they want to talk about their exercise routines.  Hell, at the end of the day, I really don’t mind that much if they lie about what they do.  But the line is drawn when they belt out their efforts as if they were Moses on the Mount.  No one needs to hear it and if they really want the rest of us to appreciate the pains they go through for weight loss, at least lose the weight first.  It’ll be more believable.

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Office Gossip

I think most of my recent griping is going to be focused on the office.  My office environment is slowly shredding my sanity, and the behavior that is leading to this issue is something I can vent about through this blog.  So vent I shall.

Water coolers, the stereotypical gathering place where co-workers gather and gossip.  A place to waste away a couple minutes of otherwise boringly spent time pushing keys and papers at the desk—an escape if you will.  Now there isn’t a water cooler at every office, but people make due.  Kitchens, hallways, whatever the case may be.  People find their own little retreats.  Unfortunately for me, my cube neighbors’ retreat is situated in their cubes.  Cubicles are not recording studios.  Not much acoustic blocking engineering went into their creation.

Now that wouldn’t normally be an issue.  I’m not a touchy guy and I like to think of myself as being pretty laid back.  However, it’s a whole different ballgame when people refuse to speak at a normal conversational decibel level.  The group of cubes right over my rather insignificant cube wall covers an area of a good 200 square feet.  Good amount of space for three but by no means is it acreage worthy of the noise that is generated from within.  They are loud, and for no reason, it’s pretty damn annoying.  That’s strike number one.

The louder things are, the harder they are to filter out.  Regrettably, I’ve never been good at filtering at any level, one of the reasons why I can’t listen to music while I work.  I would start focusing on the song.  The result is that each minute of the conversation is a bullet of information that I don’t want to know being shot directly into my brain.  That’s not even the worst part.  If the topic is not work related, which it isn’t most of the time, then each conversation runs a gamut of a whopping three to five themes—weight loss, shopping, wardrobe, and the occasional trip/special event and celebrity gossip.

I don’t need to know the details of their latest diet or juice cleanse or body image issues.  I don’t need to know where they went to look at x, y, z, why they ended up buying x, y, z and what their plans are for those items.  I don’t need to know what they think of each other’s ensemble on a daily basis.  And for the love of all that is holy, someone please expand their vocabulary to encompass more than the single adjective of “cute.”  Cute does not describe anything.  The use of cute is nothing but a nod of approval, in which case they only need to nod once.  There is no reason that they need to rearrange their sentence four different ways when the only adjective they use is cute.  This particular issue is soastronomical on the annoyance scale that it covers both strikes two and three.

There are so many things in the world people can talk about.  A terrorist just died after a decade long man hunt.  Japan is in crisis.  A handful of European countries are hanging onto their economic lives.  Commodities are out of control.  Gas prices have hit over four dollars a barrel in some places.  There are hundreds of people rebelling across the Middle East.  Hell, Donald Trump is contemplating a run at the White House.  The list is infinitely long.  Why won’t they talk about anything remotely intelligent or important?  At least then I can listen and be educated asto their opinions on some events and issues.

Alas, it is not so.  Instead I’m subjugated to listening to the lowest common denominator of female gossip eight hours a day, five days a week, and every morning my brain wakes up screaming in terror of what waits only a short train ride away.  Let the countdown begin.

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Spitting

Please don’t spit in the street.  There are plenty of trash cans and other waste receptacles.  If you must spit, please do so away from the masses.  Maybe do it in a corner or edge of a building where it has a much lower probability of touching another human being.  Nobody wants to see your phlegm hit the sidewalk or accidentally step in it.  I understand that the sole of my shoes will block me from direct contact and that I’m probably stepping in much grosser things every day.  But just the thought of it is pretty unpleasant and we could all use a little less unpleasantness in our lives.

The worst is when someone spits somewhere people go for recreational purposes, like large lawns in the summer time for example.  Do you know what people do on large lawns in the summer?  They sit on them.  Or lay on them.  Many use towels, but some don’t.  And regardless of whether or not there is a degree of separation between mucous and skin, it’s still very disgusting to be on the receiving end of the contact.

Another place is a playground or basketball court.  I’ve seen many a young man spit around the court while playing basketball.  While I’ve never seen anyone spit directly on the court, I must ask another question.  Do you know where loose balls go?  They are called loose balls for a reason and many times it goes out of bounds.  Out of bounds to where all that spit is.  People dribble basketballs with their hands.  I really don’t understand why people spit with abandon everywhere they go with no thoughts as to how it will impact those around them.  It just isn’t very hygienic.

Next time you decide that you need to divulge some of your bodily fluids in a highly public arena please consider whether or not you’re willing to have whoever is next to you spit on you.  If the answer is no, what makes you think others around you are willing to touch your discharge?  Pretty good question right?

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Gym Annoyance

I live in a high rise apartment building with a relatively good gym on premise. It’s a little on the small side for a building with so many residences, but fairly comfortable for the true number of people who actually use it. I don’t always have quite the amount of room to spread out that I’d like, but I’m able to save money on a gym membership so I’m reasonably content most of the time.

I consider myself to be relatively healthy. I eat well and live an active life that includes three visits to said gym per week. I don’t particularly like or dislike the gym so it’s really the people there that make or break the experience. People who frequent the gym fall into a multitude of distinct categories.

There are the meat heads. They show up to pump as much iron as possible, grunt as much as possible, check themselves out during and between sets in the limited number of mirrors available, and generally do what meat heads do. Their workouts are typically long, inefficient, and primarily focused on the beach muscles. There are the inexperienced ladies. They show up to hold a couple of small dumbbells, do some random exercises they recently saw in a magazine, try a couple machines, and walk around. They might sweat, they might not, but they usually linger for a short period of time and then head home. There are the cardio fiends. No explanation needed. There are the weak willed. They show up only during holidays, pre-warm weather, and any time new gym membership spikes due to a gnawing sense of guilt and a slowly expanding waistline.

The list continues and I could probably write multiple excerpts on the ecosystem of gyms. Unfortunately, that is not what this blog is about. I just tend to meander when I write. No, the true topic of this article is a creature that defies all of the gym’s natural rules and sits in a new genus I created specifically for her. It’s rare for me to complain specifically about one single person. I like to generalize and extend my thoughts onto the action itself rather than the individual. However, I will make an exception in this case. I dub her Gymnasion Obesus Molestia.

What are the traits of said genus you ask? Well, it pretty much boils down to being fat, loud, obnoxious, and totally incapable of being in the gym without pissing off the other patrons. She shows up with a trainer who I feel incredibly sorry for. The warm-up consists of chatting and more chatting. I don’t mind when people have conversations in the gym, but being very loud when you’re only a foot away from your intended target in a quiet space is rather uncalled for. Furthermore, she does not chat because she has anything interesting to say but rather to delay the onset of the physical activity that she’s paying good money for.

When her trainer finally gets her to begin, the complaints begin. It usually starts with something about the excruciating pain that any physical activity inflicts, followed closely by an equally loud dose on how crazy her routine is. It then spirals into something about her trainer bullying her and making the routine harder than it needs to be. The entire cycle take maybe 2 minutes to complete and is repeated every two or three reps of a ten to fifteen rep set. Note that she stops moving when the complaining begins so she’s not actually feeling any pain while she’s talking. Then multiply that by the forty-five minutes that she spends in the gym. The sheer amount of complaining this woman does probably burns more calories than any of those sessions. My workouts tend to focus on efficiency.

My sessions are one hour long and I go early in the morning so I don’t have to fight over any single piece of equipment I might have to monopolize. I work out in a total body circuit that hits everything hard and fast, leaving my muscles spent and ready for that satisfying ache of a job well done. That being said, it is no easy task to push myself that hard when a Gymnasion Obesus Molestia is in my presence. The stuff that comes out of her mouth is by no means akin to Pericles’ Funeral Oration or anything else that inspires and drives men to new heights.  Working out in that environment feels like carving my way through ooze. It slows me down, drains me, and leaves my mind and body bruised and battered like I’d just survived a twelve round brawl with a couple of dudes from the movie 300.

I just might have stumbled upon the modern day reincarnation of the Siren. The only difference being that instead of a seductress with the head of a woman and the body of a bird that sings sailors to their briny doom, she has the head of a woman, the body of a pig/turkey, and a voice that drives men to their breaking point of human tolerance and physical endurance.

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Lazy Elevator Rider

Riding the elevator for three floors or less should be outlawed for those individuals who have no medical condition preventing them from walking.  The average height of a floor in a building is roughly twelve feet, rounding up for good measure gives fifteen.  Adding in a liberal five feet between floors yields a vertical climb of forty feet to get to the third floor.

That’s all, just forty feet.  That’s probably less distance than the average American walks on their circuits between TV, fridge, and restroom on any given night.  No one is asking these people to climb that distance on a rope, on the outside of the building, or in any other sort of physically taxing way.  It’s a walk up stairs that pass United States building codes for safety and ergonomics.  These stairs are not hard to climb for the average individual.  It really just boils down to laziness.  I can appreciate laziness.  Everyone, me included, is guilty of lapsing into laziness a lot of the time.  But I try to refrain from lazy behavior when it might be a nuisance to others.  And believe me lazy elevator riding is incredibly annoying.

People generally lean toward the unhappier side early in the morning, during evening commutes, and other periods when they are in a rush.  That’s understandable.  Now imagine riding down from the fifteenth floor, stopping, going, stopping, going, each extra passenger slowly grating on your nerves.  Then when you’re almost there, the elevator stops on the second floor and in waltzes a perfectly healthy two legged human being.  Your ride is prolonged for another precious thirty seconds.  Thirty seconds that you will never get back.  Thirty seconds that might have made you miss your train or bus.  Going down is generally more annoying than up, but not by much.

The worst offenders of lazy elevator riding are those individuals who do it to go to the gym.  Let me reiterate that—the gym.  You’re going to a place where people go to sweat and indulge in hard physical activity and you can’t walk a couple of stairs?  The extreme irony comes from those who ride for a floor only to hop onto a treadmill, elliptical, cycling machine, and the granddaddy of them all, the stair master.  As I lay witness to these instances unfolding, my brain literally blue screens from its inability to process the reasoning behind such an act.  The people are taking the elevator to go climb stairs.  Mind boggling.

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m4s0n501

Subway Pole Leaner

How I hate you subway pole leaner.  You know who you are, don’t feign ignorance.  You think you’re the best thing to have happened to civilization since the discovery of fire.  You carry yourself through life with an overzealous swagger.  You know who you are.

You’re sneaky too.  There is no clear demographic that you hide in.  You can be of any race, any creed.  Men, women, well-adjusted transsexual, it doesn’t matter.  You are impossible to profile.  You attack from all angles, like terrorist sleeper cell that attacks people’s nerves and sanity.  Sneaky bastards.  And unfortunately for the rest of us, you bring your vulgar disregard for public well-being to the NYC public transportation system.

You also attack at all hours.  This means that you lean on those poles at the most annoying and inopportune of moments.  Rush hour?  Consider it done.  Late night/early morning bar return?  Of course.  You will firmly plant you ass, shoulder, side, or all of the above, on the balance lifeline of your fellow commuters.  People are packed into the trains like the obese at an Old Country Buffet.  And like those unfortunate souls, we struggle to stand.  Especially during the stop/go delays and abrupt turns that are the hallmarks of NYC commute.  These trains have hand holds for a reason, but that’s not good enough for you, you need a cradle.  Then you have the gall to remain oblivious to other people suffering, unable to stand properly because they don’t have anything to hold onto.

Some people try to give you a massive hint by slipping their hands in to grab the pole, brushing your body in the process.  Some politely ask you to move.  But in most cases, your ego is too massive to care.  So let me break this down for you.  Working a pole is only permissible at certain places and times.  Just to give two examples, it is okay if you’re at gym class or working at an establishments involving a lot of one dollar bills which help you “pay your way through college.”  Bodying up during a ride is not the correct venue.  The next time you decide to do it, think of all the trouble you’re causing your fellow commuters.  If that still isn’t enough of a deterrent, I sincerely hope that someone will punch you in the face.

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