Flavored coffee

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Why oh why?

Let me clarify, if you want to put flavored creamer into your coffee I think that is perfectly acceptable. However, flavoring the actual coffee grounds seems like weird practice. Mostly because I have now seen some of the strangest combinations of flavors in the office I work in.

I have co-workers who apparently like to try different kinds of flavored coffee. I have mentioned one of these in the past. I have yet come across another completely weird and out of character coffee flavor, at least I think so.

When you think of Death Wish Coffee Company’s coffee you envision an ultra-strong, no frills, no nonsense kind of coffee (at least I do). I have had their original coffee and it was strong and hit the spot. I liked it because it lived up to it’s name.

But, the other day I was at the office coffee maker when I saw someone had use a coffee pod that was a Death Wish Coffee Company’s Pumpkin Chai flavored coffee.

Image. Destoyed. Busted. Deflated.

Frilly, trend-following, wimpy coffee. At least that was what suddenly came across my mind.

I know because I said something to someone about it and magically a pod appeared on my desk later in the day with a note saying to “Try it.”

I did. Opinion not changed. Thankfully the chai flavor was stronger than the pumpkin, but overall wasn’t impressed.

I went out to their website and see that this appears to be the only flavored offereing. Sure, they have other “flavors” but they are more like the original with variations on strength and blends.

Anyway, have you seen this stuff? Tried it? Do you think it holds with the percieved image of the company?

Dream life?

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I was scrolling through the news this morning and I found an article that pretty much summed up what I think would be a dreamy life. I would love to abandon nearly everything and become a digital nomad like the dude highlighted in this story.

I would like to travel. I would like to live different stints in various parts of the world. I would like to have places to call “home” but have the means to explore. I would love to not worry about finances for the day to day things (granted, his monthly income is more than most). I would love to be that digital nomad so that I could work from anywhere in the world, whenever I need to or wanted to. I would like have the luxurious, simple life. Plain and simple, this guy’s situation seems perfect.

Let’s talk about the income though. He lives on about $8k a month. Would it be possible to live a luxurious life on say $6k a month? Probably. Obviously it’s about choices. But the extra $2k ups the game on not having to worry about making the wrong choices…LOL

I mean, really? Does anyone else want a dream life like this?

Cheaped out

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“Tradition” has been (or will be) broken. Actually, I am not sure how much of a tradition it is but I do know it is an annual occurrence that has taken place for at least as long as I have been with this organization. I am sure it started way before I became employed here.

The annual company/department picnic is today. Only it isn’t going to be a picnic today…

The picnic hasn’t really happened, of course, over the last several years because, ya know, covid. People freak out if you’re in too close proximity even when outdoors so it didn’t happen. But this year, the powers that be decided it was alright to have it again. As such, we will be headed to the park later this afternoon.

But, here’s the thing. It isn’t really going to be a picnic.

In the past, the managers have provided all the spread for a picnic lunch. Sandwiches, fruit, veggies, chips, drinks, etc. were all included with this time away from the office and official duties. People brought chairs and hung out in a relaxing atmostphere and got to know each other in a different setting.

This year, the managers have cheaped out. This year it isn’t a lunch so much as a snack time. Chips and cookies are the highlight of the menu this year. So, for most people, they will have to have a lunch of some kind before heading to the picnic.

Not sure why there has been a change from what was done in the past, but this is rather anticlimatic. Are we supposed to look forward to this? Doesn’t really seem like a celebration of another support year completed before moving into another school year support cycle. It almost seems more like an obligatory afterthought.

I guess I should just temper the complaint with the fact that I won’t have to be working during that time. But I would be much happier if they would feed me a regular lunch like in the past…

Trust the process

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Such a damn cliche. I get tired of hearing it thrown out there when stuff doesn’t go right and it hits the fan….

For me, I trust that the process is screwed and someone is going to have to fix or clean all this crap up.

Can you really trust the process when you saw and predicted the train wreck that follows?

I don’t hate being right, but damn if my track record isn’t near perfect.

Don’t use this phrase. Ever. Seriously.

No longer

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I awoke this morning to an email that made me pause for a moment. I knew the moment was coming. I have for a while, of course, but actually seeing it there in print made me pause and contemplate the past. A stage in my life is truly over and going back isn’t an option (at least not an easy one).

This morning I had the official notification via email from OSPI (Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction) that my teaching certificate is now officially expired.

Again, I knew this day would be coming for seven years (well, nearly 7…in a little over a month it will be 7 years since I left the classroom). It has been in the back of my mind and occasionally I would get reminded when I would glance at my National Board Certification. The expiration date was right there on the bottom – June 30, 2022. My state teaching certificate was tied to that because the National Board Certification linked the two and extended the state expiration date.

I am no longer a teacher.

It’s hard to say that. There was a lot of time, money, and effort tied to that part of my identity. Of course, I haven’t been a classroom teacher for nearly seven years, but to actually have that part of my life come to an official end (there was always that “open door” to go back) is a little surreal. I loved my subject and I really liked teaching students about it. I didn’t like all the time and politics related to the job.

I am happy with where I am now, don’t get me wrong. However, officially letting go of that part of me is surprisingly more emotional than I thought it would be.

I will always be a teacher, just not a classroom teacher. I guess I have to remember that. I still teach people in education about the software they use. I still teach teachers about the software they use to track student progress. It’s just a different kind of teaching.

Drudging along

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Today marks five days of working from home while miserably sick. Telecommuting has it’s advantages, though I have debated whether or not this is actually one of them.

Sure, I have sick days I could have used. But after being away from work for more than a week because of vacation, taking additional days away because I am sick doesn’t seem fair to my team and for all intents and purposes it hardly seems fair to me…the work load after being gone for vacation was bad enough. Add more because of being sick? It would have been overwhelming!

Sure, working while sick is miserable…on top of already being miserable. But, someone has to make money in the house. Sitting around all day focusing on how miserable I feel doesn’t make me feel better. At least there is some progress being made at work, even though I am not physically AT work. Telecommuting has it’s advantages in that I can still work without being required to take those sick days off. In another setting, I would have had to burn these days. In another job, these days would also go unpaid. That would add a whole level of personal stress so I am thankful for what I have.

However, there have been several times over the last couple of days that I wondered if I was going to be able to keep drudging along. Coughing into a headset while working with a client isn’t a good idea. Constantly sniffling/snorting snot isn’t a good sound. The throbbing in the sinus region pounds out a reminder that says, “Don’t think you’re even close to relief…” The wheezing in the chest, the rattling of gunk down there in the lungs, well, that makes for a pleasant surprise when a cough actually produces something to dispose of. The light headedness after a coughing fit is enjoyable only in the sense that the desire to lay my head on the desk for a brief period of time might lead to a nap…only to remind myself that I am supposed to be working.

I have taken a nap nearly every day during my lunch break. Those are a pleasant reprieve. Only to be awakened by an alarm that says I need to return to work. Damn oppresive alarms….

Anyway, I might be starting to feel better. It’s only been five actual work days, and probably five actual days of being positive (I don’t really know since my symptoms got worse after my last test and I refuse to waste a test if I am nearly 100% positive I know what I have). I’ll test again tomorrow to see what the status is. That’s give me a direction about whether or not I can return to the office early next week. I’ll follow that up with another test on Sunday, just to be sure it is safe.

Keep your heads down.

Paper jam

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I’d really like to thank whichever co-worker(s) continually jams the paper towel dispenser in the bathroom. It takes talent to do it on a regular basis and make it so others can’t use it.

Pulling the paper out and away from the dispenser has proven time and again to be the most effective way to use the dispenser. The cutter inside the machine works best that way. It cuts the paper towels just like it supposed to.

But whomever is doing this jamming thing, consistently pulls the paper towels sideways thus gathing all the paper in the corner, bunching the paper into a wad and rendering the cutter ineffective because it isn’t in that part of the dispenser. The next time the autofeed runs (because it is a sensor) it rolls the paper up into a tangle inside the machine, further jamming the dispenser even more.

It’s a pretty simple design and the function is also pretty simple. So, making it complicated can only mean that the person doing this is a moron. Continually a moron.

Thanks, moron.

Perhaps they need to have a paper towel dispenser orientation in the bathroom during the building tour given to new hires. It seems silly but is likely the only solution to this problem.

Clueless Chris

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It’s interesting that there are people doing jobs for others and they have no actual idea what the person they are working for does. A while back I mentioned that I was having “retirement envy” and that I was starting to wonder how I was doing on progression towards that goal (an evaluation) and possibly planning for the future. I have an acquaintance/ friend that I have known for a long time and it was my understanding that he did financial planning, as well as insurance sales.

Well, I called and booked an appointment and talked with whomever was answering phones, a guy named Chris. He didn’t get a lot of info from me (didn’t even ask my last name) and didn’t really even ask what it was that I wanted to meet about. I let him know with the initial phone call I was looking at financial planning for retirement. He booked the appointment.

I got a call today to confirm the appointment and when I confirmed that I would be there, I again mentioned that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to bring to the appointment. He said he would find out because he wasn’t sure. He called back and told me to bring documentation for insurance comparison. I let him know that isn’t what I was coming in for. That I wanted financial planning. I asked if I had misunderstood what services were being offered. Again, he didn’t know and was going to ask his boss.

Huh.

You would think that if you work there you would have some understanding of what your boss does and what services are offered.

Needless to say, the first impression of the office person isn’t a good one. Clueless Chris may be hurting the business if the communication is this clumsy about what services are offered by the office he works in.

I have a feeling the meeting this afternoon is going to get cancelled as I am not exactly looking for insurance (well, maybe some additional life insurance, but that isn’t high priority) at this point.

Just mediocre

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I have a meeting with my supervisor, or manager, later today. It’s kind of a “check-in” and not an evaluation or anything like that. It’s a time to just chat about how things are going, visit, and a time to voice concerns, suggestions, etc.

So, the meeting usually starts with the same question, or the same line of questions – “How’s it going? How are you feeling?”

Over the last several years, it been getting harder and harder to answer those questions. Do I really (I mean REALLY) tell the truth or do I just minimize what or how I am feeling and fudge the truth? In the past, it never felt like I needed to hedge the truth (much). I felt like I could be honest. But, as time has gone on, there isn’t the same feeling with my manager, isn’t the same feeling in the team, and isn’t the same feeling in the organization. It’s hard to pinpoint the change, but much of it stems from the feeling that management is no longer listening to what we need or want, isn’t willing to be work with people, and then really that translates to they don’t really care what the employees telling them. Granted, it’s a government job of sorts, so that hasn’t ever really been totally true but over the last several years it has not gone in a positive direction.

What do I say this afternoon?

Well, for one thing I will say that I don’t feel like I am doing the best job I possibly can. It has become increasingly difficult to do a good job.

Part of the reason is because our team has shrunk over the last year and it has been an incredibly slow process of bringing on people to replace those we have lost. There have been three new hires since the beginning of the year, but it takes time to get them up to speed (they have three years to be “proficient”) so they don’t contribute to an even distribution of the workload. Their knowledge base just doesn’t afford for that to happen. Additionally, because everyone has had to pick up extra slack, the projects we need to work on and the new knowledge we need to develop as experience software analysts can’t be done. Everything gets put on hold.

Another part of the problem is that we are supporting two different versions of the software at the same time. The migration process that was originally thought to take three years has turned into a disappointingly difficult process because of the poor development from the software creator. As such, there have been so many hurdles to overcome, software issues in the newer version of the software, that the process is now running on five years and there is at least another 3-5 to go before everyone is back to using the same software again. Learning and troubleshooting the newer version is slow, tedious, and unpredictable because when there are issues we are never sure if that is the way it was designed and supposed to work or if it is broken and needs fixed. Then trying to get the creator to make it work like schools need it to work (or at least similarly as the current software they already know and use) has been frustrating and tiring.

Needless to say, I don’t feel like I can give the clients the best of my efforts. I am spread too thin, can’t focus on much of anything without getting more duties, additional tasks, or trying to learn something new in either software. The best I can do is just mediocre.

Anyone feel like mediocre is a good thing?

I realize sometimes you just hang on and hope that things get better. It might. But how long do you hang on?

If my manager asks if I was looking for a different job, I probably would have to say that I am not actively looking but my eyes are open to other opportunities. I don’t have any at the moment, but if the right one came along I can’t say that I wouldn’t seriously consider it and jump ship if it was right for me. It’s not that I am unhappy, it’s just that I am not happy either.

Make sense? Probably not.

Mediocre.

I hate that.

Overly distracted

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It’s hard to focus today. There are so many things going on in the office today that it doesn’t help. They have been shuffling, reimagining, rearranging, moving, reorganizing, whatever you want to call it, the office space. Cubes are moving people are shifting noise is being made. Besides all that distraction, there is more going on inside me.

It seems like there are a hundred different things going on in my head at any one time.

I can think of 30 other places I’d like to be other than at work.

I have 50 things I’d rather be doing than working.

I can think of probably 5 (maybe more) people I’d rather be spending time with.

Can’t say that I am the ideal employee today.

Maybe tomorrow will be better.