Better off?

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We’re coming up on an election again – Nov 2. As I look at the ballot sitting on the counter along with the Voter’s Guide, I am forced to stop and think about where we were a year ago. The question that keeps coming up in my mind, am I better off this year than I was last year? Maybe it’s an unfair comparison, maybe it isn’t. How are we to judge our politicians if we don’t look at it through that lens?

There were lots of promises that were made from the Democrats – LOTS of promises about making things better for everyone, if they could just get rid of the evil, orange man in the White House. Well, they were able to swing the vote (one way or another) to get their guy into the office, along with a whole bunch of other offices, with a promise of “Build Back Better” and it’s time to survey the land for improvement.

I don’t see any. None.

We’re coming up on a year and, quite frankly, I am not better off. I am actually noticing a lot of changes that are making life just a little bit more uncomfortable. The changes are slow in most cases, but there are some rather obvious ones that haven’t been slow at all.

I don’t know if you have noticed….of course you have noticed, jeez, you’re not blind…but the cost of EVERYTHING has gone up. Like everything! Automobiles, food, fuel, electronics, you name it. There isn’t a single thing that I have notices where the price has gone down. It’s more expensive to buy anything and everything. Those bills are creeping higher and higher. This wasn’t the case a year ago, so I am not better off there.

The government keeps reaching into my pocket and taking more money. Taxes have gone up on payroll, the ones that already existed before this administration took office (at the national level and the state level). But since then, there have been new taxes (not ones I asked for or voted on) have been added to my paycheck. So, nope, not better off here either.

Here’s something to think about too. About a year ago, most everyone was unvaccinated because the vaccine was just being approved and getting ready for rollout. Hospitalizations were high, but there was no claim that they were overwhelmed at that time. Now, more than 2/3rds of the country is vaccinated and they want to blame everything on the unvaccinated. Supposedly the hospitals are overwhelmed and there is now a mandate for workers to be vaccinated to keep their jobs and businesses want proof of vaccination before you can spend money at their place of business. I am near certain I am not better off now than I was last year at this time.

The media doesn’t report the facts, they report agenda. The “fact checkers” don’t check facts, they check against an agenda. Social media suppresses speech it doesn’t agree with, factual or not. Tolerance, across the board, is at an all time low. Natural rights are being taken away in favor of government granted privileges. “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness” seems to only apply if you are falling in line with the group-think. Think outside of that, well, you’re a hateful and intolerant bigot and you don’t deserve the same things being claimed all people deserve when they weren’t in charge. Again, I am not better off here either.

The border crisis is at epic proportions. China is flexing it’s muscle across the globe and making things less safe and testing supersonic missiles . There are cyber-spies or hackers under every rock (seemingly) these days. Afghanistan was a freaking disaster, where the Taliban have regained power and a safe haven for terrorists is now open for business again. North Korea is launching more missiles. Iran is doing their own thing with nuclear development, again. The world isn’t getting any safer, so I don’t feel better off on this front either.

Sure, some would argue that the Republicans are blocking everything the Democrats are trying to do to make things better for all
Americans. If they would just let the infrastructure (and other pet projects of the Liberals) bill pass…all I can say to that is that you’re dumb if you think that is the answer. Sure, the infrastructure needs some definite improvement, but you do realize that the money has to come from somewhere, right? The government is either going to reach real deep into your pockets (especially if you’re rich and worked hard for that money or made wise choices to get it) or it will be grabbed from businesses who will pass along the lost revenue due to taxes on to the consumer via higher costs on the goods you buy every day. YOU are going to be paying for that giant price tag, one way or another. So, no, that plan doesn’t really make my life better either.

So, What do you say? Do you like the way things are going so far? Are you truly better off today than you were a year ago?

Afternoon drag

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I take a late lunch. I take a late lunch on purpose. I most typically take my lunch at 1:00pm so that there is less time at the end of the day. I am off at 4:30pm, so there is 2.5 hours of the work day left when I get back from lunch. But, as of late, I have noticed a problem.

The afternoon is dragging after lunch.

Like. Seriously. Dragging.

That 2.5 hours between the return from lunch and the end of the work day seem just as long as the first 5.5 hours of the day. What’s the deal with that?

There has got to be a reasonable answer for this but I am just not finding it. Instead I spend the afternoon watching the clock and hoping that somehow the end of the day gets there faster than possible in the time/space continuum.

I make coffee.

I go to the bathroom.

I visit co-workers (when I am in the office).

I work on the never ending list of work.

Nothing works.

Why are afternoons so hard? Do you know?

Mandate BS

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Well, as predicted, the squeeze has now trickled down to me. I am just come right out and say it. This is utter bullshit. All of it.

Requiring a person to put something in their body, against their will, is tyranny in it’s purest form.

Governments that force it’s citizens to do anything to their bodies is wrong. Governments that take away an individual’s sovereignty over their body, has no justification whatsoever.

Threatening a person’s livelihood is nothing short of coercion. It is no different than the sidewalk thug putting a gun to a person’s head and telling them to hand over their wallet.

Move On

Sure, there are other jobs out there. But at the rate of government overreach at this point, no job is safe. Who’s to say that changing jobs won’t have the same requirements down the road. There is precedent for it now. Plus, finding a job that is comparable in income and benefits is a difficult task. It’s not simply a matter of going down the street and applying for a new job.

Unemployed

Benefits will be denied. That’s the second bullet in the government’s gun. They aren’t just going to make sure you can’t continue in your current job. They are going to make sure there is no safety net (you know, the one you pay into every month via a payroll tax) should you choose to buck the system. Not only is the gun to your head, but it is cocked and ready to fire.

Comply

This is what they hope will happen. They aren’t banking on people actually standing up for what they believe in. They aren’t counting on the fact that there will be a large number of people who won’t compromise their beliefs in order to keep their jobs. They are assuming that the number will be small and that, while it may be uncomfortable for those who are still working, the loss of a percentage of employees can be covered and replaced in a short period of time. That’s really where the question in this whole thing stands. How many will stand up and say NO? How does this really impact the businesses/organizations/companies that are already facing a shortage (ever heard of the healthcare shortage or the teacher shortage – these aren’t areas where you just go out and hire Joe Blow off the street)?

This is excruciating.

I have to admit, this is a tougher choice than what I thought it would be.

If I make the choice to move on, I leave a career that I enjoy and people (for the most part) that I like. I set in motion a series of decisions that impact not just the immediate status of my life, but also puts at risk the future plans and aspirations I had. What is currently a fairly comfortable existence financially suddenly becomes rather uncomfortable and quite possibly a struggle that sets my financial future back years. It basically feels like starting over.

This is no small decision.

The timeline for making the decision gets shorter with each passing day.

What would you do? Or, if you have been put in a similar situation, what did you do?

As I expected

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I am back home in my garage office and I have to say it feels so much better. As you know from a previous post, Unhappy returns, I have to start going into the office at least two days a week. Totally and wholly unwelcome development in the work from home saga.

Anyway, I have just spent the last two days doing the whole commute in the morning and afternoon, office interactions, meetings, and getting reacquainted with a cubicle work, and cubicle moving/reorganization.

The office was noisy. There were people always coming over to say “Hi” and to catch up. I had to set up my computer in a totally different arrangement since my home office uses three monitor and the office only has two. My headset had to be reconfigured to actually be able to talk to people via Zoom and Teams (of course, you don’t realize this until you are in a call). Everyone is bathing in sanitizer and wearing masks… Can’t use the lunchroom. Sheesh.

Honestly, I didn’t want to leave my cube and I didn’t really wanna be there in the first place. So, I did my time and got outta there! I hate that I am going to have repeat this whole disruption to my best work environment on a weekly basis.

Ugh.

So, I am back in the friendly confines of the familiar and I like it. This is where I should work from all the time.

Unhappy returns

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The time has come and I am not liking it whatsoever. Mostly because I feel it is so unnecessary. I can literally do this anywhere in the world and having an office, a cubical, is the most unwanted and unnecessary thing in the world right now.

Tomorrow, I have to start going back to the office.

The telecommute policy has been expanded, but that still means I am going to have to go back to the office on an average of two, sometimes three, days a week, depending on the month and various other activities that need in-person attendance.

Of course, we all now know that nothing really requires an in-person presence since we have been away from the office for 15 months straight and we have been doing our job completely and totally without fail for that time.

As you can probably assume, or tell, I am not stoked about this in any way.

The fine print

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Don’t you just hate it when businesses offer something to their customers, only to find out “the fine print” would exclude you from receiving the offer?

Over the last couple of days I have been considering an upgrade on my cell device, an iPhone 8 Plus. I have done my research and I am ready to make the leap and upgrade to an iPhone 12 Pro. I have been watching the sales, the promotions, and looking at a different carrier so see if that would make a difference in the offer. I am currently with AT&T, and honestly I haven’t had any issues with them other than the cost, which seems steep in comparison to some of the others at the moment.

Anyway, I finally decided to pull the trigger after talking to one of the people at the phone kiosk in Costco. They told me that I could get the iPhone 12 Pro, 256GB, for only about $15/month with a trade-in of my current phone. That basically worked out to about an $800 trade-in value for my 8+. WOW! That’s a pretty good trade, which I have never done in the past because it just wasn’t worth that much and I could get more from selling it myself. Trigger pulled…I started the process.

So, I spend about an hour with the guy and we were most of the way done with the process and then I got, “Oh, wait, I didn’t see in the fine print of the ad that you have to upgrade your phone plan. Are you wanting to do that today too?”

WTF.

Is it “bait & switch”? I don’t really know, but it sure feels like it.

Why the hell do these phone companies give deals to new customers but really don’t care much about retaining their current customers? That is what really rubs me the wrong way. They do very little to incentivize you staying with them. There is no loyalty program – I’ve been their cellular customer for probably close to 20 years. No discounts or special upgrade deals for those who have been with the company for a long period of time.

Ultimately, I am going to end up doing what I have always done. Upgrade and then sell my current device privately.

It could have been so easy, except for that fine print. That fine print always makes easy not easy. It gets you every time.

Changing telecommute

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Well, after telecommuting full time for the last 16 months, there is a date to start going back to the office and I am not sure I am all that happy about it. Actually, I am sure that I am not. I lied. I am not happy about it.

Yes, I realize that the expectation to be at the office for work has always been there but this whole situation has fully exposed the fact that we don’t need to be in an office to get our job done. We have proven beyond that shadow of a doubt that our job can be done fully remote and that our clients have been affected to the smallest degree possible. In fact, many have commented over the this time about not really even realizing we were all working from home except that they knew we were working from home. That’s how we roll. There was no break in service, ever.

Anyway, the time has come to get back to the office and there will still be a telecommute policy as before, except that there is a new proposal to expand upon it. Frankly, I don’t think the expansion goes far enough and while I haven’t talked to any of my co-workers yet, I am sure there are quite a few who will express similar feelings.

Prior to the pandemic, we were allowed two days a week (40%, with a few limitations on what days they could be). Now, we are going to be allowed three days a week (60%, not sure of limitations yet). Also what remains to be seen is whether or not this policy has built in flexibility, meaning I don’t have to have a set three days but can pick and choose when I want to telecommute.

Anyway, I don’t think three days is enough.

It could be and should be more.

Perhaps I’ll see what is out there, in regards to full time telecommute and whether or not a change can be had.

Never hurts to have options, right?

How about “No”?

There is at least one in everyone’s life. There is at least one in everyone’s working sphere. There is always one. They are exhausting, annoying, and their success in getting to “Yes” is a rarity.

That person who won’t take “No” for an answer.

Good grief, I wanna shove an ice pick into my ear as deep as it will go and then wiggle it around like I am trying to make round cookie balls.

I jut got off the phone with a client who, no matter how many times I explained the limitations of the software and no matter how many times I explained the exact same info in a different way, she still wouldn’t accept that she couldn’t bend the software to her will.

She even suggested that maybe the people who made the software could program what she wanted into the software.

OK, that might have been a viable (and costly) answer in the past, but the software developers are focused on the new version of the software and aren’t taking requests for the current software even if the client pays for it.

Instead of adapting to the way it works and educating the people who use it (or are expected to use it), she just wants it to work the way she wants it to work.

OK, lady, we’ll get on it just for you.

No, not really. Stop asking already.

I am the fourth person you have talked to about this. We have pushed the software as far and as close to what you want, but there is a limit and our answers are all the same.

NO

We can’t do any more for you.

NO

NO

Got it?

Anyone else have a person that just take “NO” for an answer?

The instructions

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Stop trying to take the easy way out. By easy way, I mean the one where you have someone else do it for you.

Nearly everything you buy these days, nearly everything you work with these days, nearly EVERYTHING has some kind of “User Guide, “User Manual,” “Setup Guide,” “Assembly Instructions,” “Directions for Use,” etc.

Seriously. Have you opened a box of anything and not found at least some documentation with directions or instructions of some sort – either right there on the paper or directions to find them online? So there is honestly no excuse for not knowing what to do, how to use it, or how to set it up.

Unfortunately, society has become a bunch of “anti-instructionists.” (Yes, I made that up, but I can’t think of anything else to call it.)

It used to be that the cliché was that men were notorious for not reading the instructions and just jumping right in to figure it out (even if it meant taking something apart multiple times to get it right). That cliché has been turned on it’s head as, apparently, all people are just too lazy to read/learn/discover/follow directions. So many people are just willing to have someone else do it for them (or, to put it more bluntly – DEMAND you do it for them).

I know I am a little bit on the unusual side, since I do in fact take time to read the documentation included with a product, or posted online. I don’t always read them AT the moment of unboxing but I do eventually get to it. It depends on the level of complexity involved. I have even read the manuals that came with my car (hey, I like knowing about all the features that I may or may not use!). So, I do go through the trouble to learn about something. Sometimes it is trial and error and sometimes it is because I actually put effort into it and did it the right way.

Work lately…work lately is a bunch of people who don’t bother to read the documentation the software owner puts out. They don’t read all the supplemental documentation we create to further assist in use of the software. Hell, they don’t even watch the video we produce to give them visual aid in using the software. Instead, they just call use and take the easy way out – they want us to do it for them.

It’s frustrating that day after day after day people call and ask the exact same questions they asked three days ago, or 24 hours ago, or 6 weeks ago. Seriously, people, it’s part of YOUR job. Learn it. Read it. Discover it. Work in it and work at it. You aren’t going to have a crutch all the damn time.

OK.

Deep breath.

I guess my rant is over.

What type of person are you? Do you read the instructions and learn or do you completely ignore them and rely on someone else to do it for you? Do you follow directions to do things correctly or do you just make it up as you go and hope for good results?

What type of person are you?

Friday vibes

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It’s Friday.

It’s sunny.

It’s been a long week.

Friday vibes got me wishing I was anyplace other than working…well, I guess anyplace is maybe a tad of an overstatement. So, how about someplace I’d rather be…

Can I get an amen on that?

Who has the power to give me permission to just bail on work and get the weekend started? Anyone? Anyone?

Time is moving so slowly…and watching that clock doesn’t make it go any faster….