Tag Archives: office

Admiring My Tool

Leatherman Squirt P4

I carry a Leatherman Squirt P4 and once in a while, I take out of my pocket and set it on my desk. Either because it’s poking my leg or I’m using it for some reason or another. Today I had it sitting out and was concentrating on our current big project, headphones on and oblivious to my surroundings.

When I suddenly noticed two of my co-workers leaning over my cube wall, looking at me. One of them noticed the Squirt sitting on my desk and started talking about how cool it was. Then our supervisor walked over and mentioned how I was popular today. The other of my co-workers piped up with “We were just admiring his tool” and all of us got the giggles. We thought about all the various ways she could have said that…

  • “Admiring his pocket tool”
  • “Admiring his Leatherman”
  • “Admiring his Squirt”

And decided there was no way we were not going to laugh at the comment.

Up in Smoke

It was another long, dull morning at the office. Fortunately, the afternoon proved to be quite a bit more interesting. While I was examining an issue reported by one of our beta users; I heard some shouting about a fire from one end of the building. Popping my head up like a good, office gopher; I saw some people rushing about, the overhead lights that was were off and the safety lights were on. Shortly after that I was told a fan in one of the bathrooms had caught on fire, burning/melting some of the plastic of the fan. There was only a little bit of smoke right then and the fire had been put out so I went back to work. Then the smoke got worse and I stood with some co-workers near an exit with the door open to the outside for fresh air. We stayed inside as it had also just started to rain. A few minutes later, we heard sirens and were told to either go to the top floor of the building or outside. I opted to stand outside. After we were out there for something like 20 minutes; we were told to go home for the day. Which was a sweet 90 minutes early, but I had a fearsome headache presumably from the chemical fumes off the burning plastic. What a day.

Update on the Nibble

Unlike the majority of Amercians, I did not head back to the office after the Memorial day weekend. Well, not back to my office anyways. Instead, I whipped out my interview suit1 and went to a job interview. It was a really good thing that I left early to get there as I got slightly lost. I stopped at a coffee shop and got directions. Yes ladies, men can and will ask for directions when we know we’re lost2.

After getting the directions sorted out (I missed overshot the street I needed to turn onto by 1 block), I arrived at the company’s office3. The building looked surprisingly new, though it was a bit warm inside. Though that could have been a combination of me being nervous and me having “suited up”. I had to fill out some paperwork (boilerplate HR background check authorization forms) and then waited a bit for my interview. Shortly, my interviewer showed up and took me back to his office. We went over my resume a bit, though it turned out his copy of my resume was missing the information about me being a UofI graduate. Fortunately, I had prepared for that eventuality by having multiple copies of my most current and most generic4 and I gave one of these copies to him. We discussed what sorts of things I do for my current employer, what I did during my college days and so forth.

But we also got off topic several times dicussing a variety of side issues: my Japan trip, Mindbridge, working for companies who close their local offices, being a non-traditional college student and so on. While I do not have an overbudence of interviews under my belt; this one felt like it went extremely well. I really felt like I made a connection with the interviewer5. As it turns out, the company is looking for 1 person for their computer operations department and 1 for their data warehouse. According the interviewer, the operations position is a bit lower than what I’m really looking for in a starting salary but he thinks I could be a good fit for the other position as well. He went on to say the company really needs to get these positions filled quickly before their busy season hits and I should hear something back in a couple of weeks.

Since the interview went so well and the only reason I was on time for it was the helpful coffee shop; I went back to have myself a little snack6. The shop is called the “Coffee Talk Cafe”. When I got there after my interview, the only people in it were the staff. The lady behind the counter was very friendly and we chatted for a bit. She wished me all kinds of good luck on my interview, while she rang me up. I got a toffee nut latte and a orange/pineapple muffin. I ate in the shop and so they nuked up the muffin, putting a little butter on top. It was divine. Yum, yum. *smile* It took them a little bit to make the latte and when the lady brought it over we chatted a bit more. Apparently, I resemble the lady’s brother and in my suit look very “professor-ish”. I left a little bit after that and am now home chilling out. I’ll br browsing the online want ads in a little bit (looking for other nibbles) but right now I feel really good about today and the interview I had.

1 Okay, it’s really my only suit.
2 We just don’t think we’re as lost as you think we do.
3 Per my long standing habit, I will not be discussing who they were.
4 Given time and available brainpower, I prefer to customize my resume for the company & job I am applying for.
5 Did I mention this person is also the hiring manager? Oh well if I hadn’t yet; I have now.
6 To be prefectly honest, this was my breakfast. I was feeling too nervous prior to the interview to want to eat anything.

Banana, Crackers and Gatorade… Oh my!

Well, I finally feel like I am at least partly back from the dead. But really, that’s getting ahead of myself; allow me to backtrack a bit.

2005. May. 7th. Ariesna and I were joined in wedded bliss. Unfortunately with her just finishing her degree and paying for a wedding money was tight so we didn’t have the cash to go some place exotic and we couldn’t really afford to spend more than a night away. So I picked a B&B just a few hours drive away. A helpful friend had recommended it as the most romantic B&B in the area. After the ceremony & reception, we drove out and enjoyed our one night there.

2006. Ariesna and I went back to the same B&B for an entire weekend. We ate out at a couple of nice restaurants, did a little shopping and hit up an art museum while we were there. It was a grand time, but by the end of it we were both tired. We got home, chilled for a while and eventually went to bed. Blissful slumber was interrupted at 4:30 AM by me waking up feeling like I was choking and/or drowning. I ran into the bathroom and spent the next 15 minutes or so kneeling in front of the porcelain throne. After getting myself cleaned up, I tried going back to bed but woke up a while later with the same problem. Again, I eventually got cleaned up and tried going back to bed. Later, I got the intense fun of making a trip to the doctor on what was supposed to be the last day of my vacation. I got weighed1, poked, prodded and a q-tip was shoved down my throat2. The doctor confirmed I had the flu combined with a sinus infection. However he was worried that I was severely dehydrated and wanted to put me on an IV to get some fluids in me. Alas after much poking (in both arms), they realized I was too dehydrated for the needle to go in properly. Eventually, they gave up on the IV and let Ariesna take me home. Though they did tell her to keep pushing fluids down me and recommended she get me to drink 2 liters of gatorade that day and keep pushing the fluids at me the next. She did so, continually waking me up from some of the best sleep I’ve ever had to drink, drink drink. And I don’t even like gatorade! *sigh* I mean the fruit punch version isn’t too bad but the rest…. yeck.

Anyhoo, I ended up spending the entire week home sick and now the night before I finally go back to the office I am feeling much better. I’m just not at 100% yet. My sinuses throb (and continually drain down my throat) and on top of that I’ve got an evening cough3 which feels like it’s going to rip my throat in half. But I’m still taking the anti-biotics the doctor prescribed and I’m hoping when the pills are gone so will be the last of my health problems.

Oh yeah, if you’re wondering about the title on this post that’s pretty much all the food I’ve eaten in the last week. It’s been thrilling. 🙁

1 No, I’m not repeating what that lying hunk of metal claimed was my weight.
2 Apparently, that’s part of the test for strep throat. Only nobody warned me in advance. Incidentally, the test came back negative but it has a 15% chance of failure.
3 It only happens after 5. No idea on why that is, but there you have it.

Employment Woes

Wednesday morning, my supervisor pulled me aside to tell me since management wants to go into beta just before I take 2 days of vacation. And since one of those vacation days conflicts with a week long Microsoft training course I was signed up for they are pulling me out of the class. I wasn’t happy about it. She wasn’t either but the decision came down from on high.

Wednesday afternoon, a co-worker and myself had to drive 4 hours to my current employer’s home office. Instead of heading straight to the hotel, we stopped along the way to get dinner. We ended up hitting the hotel around 8 PM. When we checked in there was a message asking us to call our supervisor. Neither one of us liked the sound of that. We tried calling her back but got her answering machine. We left a message and I went to my own room. I had been laying down for just about an hour and was thinking of hitting up the hotel’s hottub when the room phone rang. I picked it up and it was my supervisor. She was calling to tell me the company had decided to close our office once the lease runs out. Apparently, there’s going to be some sort of transition plan if you want to move out by the home office and continue working for the company. But as I told a co-worker, I’d rather slit my wrists then move to keep working for this company. So I’ve got somewhere between 4 – 8 months to find a different job1. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night and I wasn’t feeling motivated for teaching the next day.

Thursday, I went into the office. I chatted with a few people and they were all sympathetic (and wanting to know what we were going to do). Then I checked on the classroom and it wasn’t setup correctly, so I got to do some last minute running around to get it fixed. Then I taught, trying not to put them to sleep. The two big problems with the class were that it had to be put together at the last minute and I had 3 different groups of people attending the class. Each group having a different, non-overlapping skill set; making it impossible not to be too basic for one part of the class while being totally over the head of a different part. *sigh* Still some people seemed to get something out of the class and nobody actually snored through it.

Thursday night, we drove home.

Friday, I went into my soonish-to-be-closed office and while it was a dark humor going around; most people seemed happier than I’ve seen them for some time. Maybe good things will come of this moronic decision. Who knows? I just know that I’m going to be much more motivated to find a different job (I’d been half-heartedly looking already) and the company’s customers who pay support fees are going to get seriously pissed off2.

So if any of my readers are in the Eastern Iowa area and are hiring, maybe you could let me know?

1 We’ve got some kind of extension on the lease so it’s anybody’s guess when exactly our office will be closed, but we do know it will happen sometime between September and December.
2 From what I understand the majority of the company’s best help desk personnel are in my office. So the customers will have to wait longer to get somebody to talk to them about their issue(s) and then wait even longer for that person to fix their issue(s).

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