January 02, 2010

2009 just sucked.

2010, I dont know what Im expecting out of this year, but Im really truly hoping that its a hell of a lot better than 2009. Only a handful of people know the majority of the crap that Ive gone through in 2009, and its really a spider web of shite that is hard to explain. To finally put 2009 to rest, Im going to map out, vaguely, a lot of the problems that I experienced. Im not doing this chronologically, because honestly, its so intermixed that it would be hard to do so. If I went into a lot of detail Id have a post that could rival War and Peace in length.

Health Issues: Both Ktreva and I had some serious health issues. She had cancer and I had all my gastro/stomach issues. Part of which we are both still dealing with. Stress did not help my health issues at all, and usually aggravated it to a point that it caused complications. Because of these it had a negative impact and caused problems with: Finances, Work, Family and Friends.

Work Issues: There were a lot of issues that came around from work. At the beginning of 2009 I was still dealing with the backlash of Okla-farooking-homa. In fact I was still dealing with those issues in December. I had a real fear of going to jail over some practices my office was doing that had my name on it as in charge when really I had no say in the matter. It got so bad I was actually talking to the States Attorney and had a crap load of documentation backing up my innocence and ready to turn over for immunity, nothing ever happened with this because of my actions everything was corrected. We also had lay offs, inventory problems, Government intervention mandate issues, and other peoples mistakes I have to clean up. All of this over and beyond my normal workload. It had a negative impact and caused issues with: Family, Friends and Health Issues.

Family: Between struggles with Boopie and his grades. Clone and his behavior, dealing with the health issues, stress from work, arguing over finances, trying to help friends and some very extensive marital issues that are still unresolved, there was no comfort in family for me this last year. Especially the last half of the year. Due to a lot of this some friends were dragged into situations that they shouldnt have been and put them in a tough spot. This impacted work, friends, health issues and finances.

Finances: With as many health issues we had, we both missed a lot of work over the last year, much of it unpaid. Most of the time I was off was unpaid, same for Ktreva. Throw on top the cost of medical bills, even with insurance; there were months we had issues making ends meet. This impacted Family

Friends: We missed multiple re-enactments and friend outings due to health issues, family, finances and work. With a lot of the issues going on, some of my friends felt they were being alienated by me. It really wasnt the case as much as I didnt want to discuss my personal problems with them and that, even though they are some of my best friends, its still none of their business. Some people like to air all of their dirty laundry; Im not one of those types. If I need to talk I will, but Im not going to spread my business around just because. Most of them when I explained to them that it was a private issue and I just didnt want to involve them in it, they let it go and all was well. There was also a nasty rumor that was being spread about me that was completely untrue. Someone thought they new something with out any facts and started telling people their opinion but stating it as fact and the last I heard is still spreading it, even after being confronted. This impacted Health Issues, Family and work.

As I write this, I think about all the unresolved issues from 2009 that are at least going to bleed into 2010. Im just hoping that I will be able to get everything worked out. At the beginning of 2009 I had made a prediction that I thought it was going to be a really good year. How wrong was I?

Posted by Contagion at 01:26 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 05, 2009

Star back on the rise?

At work we have a client that is extremely unhappy with us, and has threatened to take their business elsewhere. They have a large contract with us and where their loss wouldnt be devastating; with the state of the economy we just dont want to lose anything.

In order to appease this client some very unorthodox concessions were made. Without going into too many details, what they are asking for would be something akin to those that work in a manufacturing area having each individual part made by hand instead of using machines. Coiling springs, bending tubes, filling bottles, loading trucks one piece at a time with out the used of any mechanical assistance or tools, each piece being identical and still keeping the same deadlines. Yea, trust me, its like that.

This agreement was entered into by executives and marketing with full knowledge that our painfully inadequate systems couldnt handle the request. They turned the how to over to our director to work out. Now Ive had my falling out of favor with my director and upper management since Okla-farooking-homa. Heck, remember I was in talks with the states attorney last December and January over possible fraudulent activities. Ive pretty much been persona non-grata for so long now that they dont even complain when I dont go to meetings.

When I was called into a meeting with the director and she was asking me what we could do to implement this agreement, I was floored. They havent asked my opinion on anything in so long that at first I just sat their quietly thinking she misspoke. When it became abundantly clear she hadnt, I really wasnt sure what to say. We spoke for a good hour on the situation, kicking around various ideas and doing the pros and cons over the different solutions. At the end I was assigned a task of overseeing the creation and implementation of the agreed upon procedures.

She gave me full control to make any changes I deemed necessary and to use any resources I felt necessary. I asked if I was going to have to run anything past my assistant manager or managers. The director advised me that for this case, I only had to keep her informed and run any major changes past her. I would have no interference from upper management in the office like in the past.

Ill be honest, my jaw about hit the floor.

My being a normally suspicious person, I started to think they were setting me up. I started adding caveats to various things like, I cant guarantee or Theres too much room for error and the like through out the conversation. My director flat out told me, There is a huge percentage of this failing and our loosing the client. We know that, but we want to do everything in our power to keep them. I couldnt help but ask why she chose me for this task. Actually hearing her say that she felt not only was I the best person for this job, with my background, skills and abilities, but that I would work the hardest to make sure everything was done to please this client in her opinion left me stunned.

It almost made me feel like they appreciated me.

I wonder what shell say on Monday when she finds out we are already ahead of schedule.

Posted by Contagion at 06:10 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 14, 2009


A man sits in a meeting. His attention has waned because the topic of discussion does not apply to him or his department. At one point his mind starts to drift to thoughts that ought not to be had in a work environment. His name is called and hes pulled out of his day dream, slamming him back into the cold, ugly reality that is the conference room.

Since he wasnt paying attention, he doesnt know what was asked of him, only that he heard his name. Im sorry, what was the question? was his response. Everyone else chuckles because they know he was not paying attention. The person holding the meeting laughingly asks, Not paying attention?

Oh, I was. Says the man, Just not to you.

The rest of the room erupts in laughter, the host nervously laughs.

Two hours after the meeting, the man is told of another meeting he has to go to now. One that involves his manager and assistant manger.

All the man can think of is, where did I leave off in that day dream?

Posted by Contagion at 05:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 06, 2009

Playing on her fears.

Sometimes people meet just dont get along. It could be because of political or religious beliefs. Maybe its because of an incident in their past, such as a perceived slight or insult. Sometimes its just because their personalities clash. Im sure weve all seen this. Ron meets Jerry for the first time at a friends house. Afterwards while speaking with the mutual friend they make the comments, I dont know, I just dont like that guy. Hes a total douchebag. These are the most fun, because they can spiral out of control quickly. They almost look for things to not like each other about.

Now these two can be even more fun in the workplace. Yea, you may not have to like each other, but you have to work together. They will do good for a while, and then something will blow up and they will drag everyone they know into it.

Well, I have this situation at work, and me being me, I couldnt help but to take advantage of it for nothing more than to make myself laugh. I have a Peer which henceforth shall be known as Talkative Peer (she never shuts up and turns a 15 minute meeting into a 2 hour meeting), who has a personality clash with another member of management that will be from now on referenced as Sports Girl, because she coaches and plays a lot of sports. Sports Girl and Talkative Peer have disliked each other for at least 3 years. They have always clashed and sometimes the arguments get so involved it was brought to staff meetings to resolve. We dont dare let them be in the same room alone. Yes, they hate each other that much.

Sports Girl used to be a peer, but she took a voluntary re-assignment to an Inventory Management position (similar to one I used to have). She didnt like the responsibility of having direct reports. In her position, we report to the same asst. manager. On Friday before I left for the weekend, they dropped the bomb on us that our current asst. manager is being moved to the other department in the office, and my entire department is going to report to one asst. manager, instead of two. Because of this Sports Girl is now going to have to report to someone at my level instead of an asst. manager.

Im sure you see where this is going, but Im going to finish the story anyway.

I walk up to Sports Girl this afternoon and say to her, I hear you are going to be reporting to Talkative Peer (Talkative peer has other management reporting to her, so this is a plausible situation.) Sports Girl eyes grew three times their size, her jaw fell into her lap, the blood drained from her face leaving her once copper tanned skin the moon pale look of a night shifting computer geek that only sees the sun when he has to wonder to the comic book store to buy the latest limited edition Laura Croft action figure to play with.

She looks at me with a horror that I had truly never seen in any humans eyes before in my life. Tears started forming, and her eyes became bloodshot. You could actually watch as the tiny veins filled causing the read lines to spread across the sclera (White part of the eye). Her breathing increased and small beads of sweat started to form on her forehead. In a very thin and wispy voice she says, wh-what?

Now I could have been nice and let her off at this point, but to be honest Im not that nice. So I said:

Youre going to be reporting to Talkative Peer.

Her eyes almost rolled back in her head and she wobbled a little in her chair.

Her, Really?

At this point, before it turned into a medical emergency because she was starting to hyperventilate. I let her off the hook with a, Nah, Im just horsing around.

Her look of horror contorts into a glare of anger. Her wide open eyes narrow, her almost corpse like complexion flushes back to an angry red. I swear you could almost see the veins in her eyes bulge! Her muscles clench as if shes getting ready to try to attempt to remove an arm and beat me with it.


Me, The hell its not! Meanwhile Im barely able to stay upright from the laughter. The rapid and complete change of moods from content in work, to deep seeded fear and finally to rage in under 30 seconds. The complete physical transformation that went with it was HILARIOUS!

Im holding onto the edge of her desk because Im laughing hard enough to get dizzy. Im trying not to laugh so loudly I distract the entire office, so Im trying to hold it in. Watching me laugh so hard, she started laughing. Called me a jerk and said that I was a real bastard She only got away with the last one because I actually like her.

She told me that since Friday when she heard about this whole issue, she had feared that was what was going to happen to her. So when I verbalized her worst fears the thought that they wouldnt have told her first ever crossed her mind. We then had a brief conversation about who she doesnt want to have as a boss. She said she would rather have me then most of my peers. I told her she was a damn liar. Of course that got a chuckle out of her.

This is good, because shes a bit uptight. Okay you could put a lump of coal up her arse and get a diamond in 24 hours.

Posted by Contagion at 05:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 02, 2009

I wish I could work from home.

My company has decided that it is going to start to experiment with the new frontier of cost containment, employee retention and moral boosting. They are going the way of Work From Home!

We have been discussing this for over a year now. Weve had some employees that already were working from home, because their jobs required a lot of travel and they where issued corporate lap tops. Over a year ago they decided to start rolling it out to positions that normally were in the office only. With the success they had there, they expanded it and just 2 weeks ago I sent a third of my minions home to work.

I have fifteen minions that directly report to me. There was a battle over which ones would go home. Now, I had wanted to take them out to the parking lot and have a last person standing competition for the slots, the other lairds decided that No, were only going to send the best of the best home! Okay, sure they deserve it, but what fun is it to determine where they get to work based on merit and ability as opposed to which one can claw the others eyes out faster? Im kidding; dont go all offended on me. I wouldnt want one of my minions to loose an eye then Id have to hire a new one because the old one would be useless. Sorry, I couldnt help myself.

Seriously though, since Ive sent my five minions home, they have not only shown an increase in productivity, but they really seem to like it. At first all five had the same concern about missing the social aspect of working on the job. Through the use of IM, e-mail and phone, they all say that they really havent lost that much contact with their fellow minions that are working in the office.

For me its nice because I get 1/3 less interruptions during the day. Where in the past they would just walk up to my desk and start spouting questions, now they have to call, IM or e-mail me. I can ignore those until a more opportune time to answer it. It frees me up to be able to manage my time better.

The only down side to this is that it is much harder to play pranks on people. Plus when Im horsing around with them, I cant give them an empty box when they Cross the line and tell them to pack up their desk. I mean theyre already home! I dont want to have to go get that stuff from them!

But there are still ways to do it.

Like turning off their IP address on the firewall and telling them that their ISP is no longer an accepted carrier due to security issues and that they will have to return to the office permanently. My minion called me instantly when she saw that IM. That was hilarious. I only wished I could have recorded that phone call to share with all of you. She wouldnt let me get a word in for five minutes as she gave me excuses and what shes going to do to fix it and all of this other stuff before I told her that I was kidding and turned on her IP address. Funnier still was the IM I received an hour later, I should have known better but I thought you wouldnt be able to pull pranks on us once we were out of the office.

Yes, a new and challenging form to have fun!

Posted by Contagion at 06:32 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 17, 2009

Weird week.

Last week my work sent me to Springfield (state capital) for an overnight visit. I have an easy time finding my hotel, but when I get there, the entire parking lot is blocked off. There is no way in or out. Now I'm not a fan of the hotel I was staying at, I only went there because that was the only hotel my company would cover the expenses. I have to park in the overflow lot.

After a nice long trip, I really wasn't in the mood for this crap, so I focused on getting to the door. I tried to keep my frustration and annoyance under control. Then when I get to the door with my one small bag. It was only an overnight trip. I'm stopped by a guy asking me, "What is your business here at the hotel". Of course I'm a little miffed because I'm thinking what a bunch of pretentious bastards. There hotel isn't that swag that they have to keep people out. I explained to the guy that I have a reservation to stay the night and that I need to check in. So he lets me go.

I'm swearing under my breath.

I get to the desk and check in. So I can't help but to ask, "Hey, what's up with the parking lot?" The girl at the desk responded with, "Obama's coming". I knew he was coming to Springfield for Lincoln's 200th birthday, but what does that have to do with their parking lot? When I asked her, she clarified, "No, Obama is coming HERE, he's staying in the hotel." When she said that, little things started to stick out in my memory. What vehicle's that were parked in the roped off area were all black and some kind of nice heavy SUV. The guy at the door, all the activity. It started to make sense.

After putting my bags in my room, I headed out to dinner. As I'm walking out I look at the guy(s) at the door and notice the ear pieces this time. I look at the plates on the big heavy SUVs, and they all have government plates. Some were senate plates, some where house plates, some were just Fed and State government plates.

When I checked out Wednesday apparently I missed Obama by a couple of hours. Honestly, that's as close as I ever want to get to the man.

Then the fun really began when I got to work on Wednesday. I walk into the office at 8:00 AM to hear that the entire building is being besieged by a computer virus. I spent the next 16 and a half hours helping coordinate the clean up with the IT guys that my company shipped in from all over the state. Yes, I said 16 and a half hours. I started my job at 8:00AM and didn't get off of work until 12:30 AM. I was tired as all hell.

I get home, and crash at 1:00AM only to get up at 4:30AM so I can get to work by 5:30AM. I needed to finish up what we started the night before. I was so tired that I kept making some very interesting verbal mistakes. Like telling one of my bosses that "this virus sucks the sweat off of a stump broke donkey". Yea, she gave me the same look you probably have on your face right now.

Since then I've still been doing some clean up on the computers at work. Which is why I haven't been my normal chatty and active self. It's also why there was no beer review last week.

Posted by Contagion at 08:14 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 10, 2009

Traveling again

I leave today to head to Springfield, Illinois on business. My company is sending me down there for a seminar. It sounds like it's going to be a really interesting one too! I'm pretty sure I'm going to be sleeping through most of it. They had two dates for this seminar, February 11th and February 12th. I had to attend on one of those dates.

All of my peers are supposed to attend as well. They, being undecisive lemmings that they are, decided to wait and "discuss it at our meetings" before signing up for a date. Me, I choose the date that worked best for me and signed up right away. When they finally got around to making a decision, they all had to go on the 12th. So I'm the only one from my office going on the 11th! Not that I have a problem with that at all.

For a week now they were all planning on leaving at noon on the 11th so they could go shopping when they got to Springfield. They included our office manager. When they said that, and I knew I was going to be going by myself I thought I would leave early to scout out Springfield for my trip next month for IGOLD.

I a meeting they were discussing when they were going to leave and it turned out they couldn't leave until 3:00 because of anotehr meeting our manager was in. Then I was asked what time I was leaving today. I told them, "I'm leaving at 2." I didn't figure it was a big deal.

When one of my peers asked kind of snottily, "Why are you leaving so early?", I was a little taken back because she was one of the ones pushing to leave at noon to go shopping. So I responded with, "Well I don't shop, but I decided to go down early to get some range time in."

Another one of my peers responded with, "I didn't know you golfed"

I responded smugly, "No, shooting range."

At that point they let it drop and wouldn't make eye contact with me for the rest of the meeting. Hopefully they learned to let their double standards go.

Posted by Contagion at 07:10 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009


My day at work was spent mostly in meetings. From 30 minutes after the time I arrived until 45 minutes before I left. I had a 15 minute break in the day for a lunch, but that was it. Of course I put in a 10 hour day on top of it.

You'd think I would have completed something, in the end nothing was accomplished other than me wasting a day.

I feel so productive.

Posted by Contagion at 09:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 15, 2008

Late update

I'm sorry about the tardiness on this update, but it's been a hectic day.

Ktreva came out of her surgery with no complications. They took more surface tissue off and again, the wound is open until the get the rest of the biopsies back. She's in a lot of pain right now. The area was already sensitive from the previous surgery and now the added procedure just compounded that pain. She's being a trooper about the pain.

However, she is still NOT following doctor's orders. She was told not to stretch, lift anything over a gallon of milk at the most, and to just rest and take it as easy as possible. Yea, well she's not doing any of the above. She stretched to hang up Christmas cards, has lifted suitcases and laundry baskets, attempted to put groceries away before I could get to them, etc. Yea, she's on the naughty list... and not the good naughty list.

Her stocking would be filled with coal, except I can't afford coal, and actually with the asking price, it's a pretty expensive gift!

Other than that, she's doing good. We are expecting to hear what else needs to be done with in a week. We know she'll have to have at least one more surgery, to close the wound. Hopefully that will be it.

On a bright side I did get some good news on my work situation. I'm pretty much out of danger from going to jail. Sarbanes Oxley (SOx) doesn't apply to my company. Even though we are voluntarily complying for with it's regulations. My company is a not for profit company and not publicly traded. SOx is designed to protect investors after the Enron and MCI Worldcom scandals. Thus, thanks to that loophole I'm clear of any unintentional or accidental wrong doing! Either way, I've amended how I sign off on the reports.

Now if you'll excuse me I need to go make sure Ktreva is sitting down and taking it easy.

Posted by Contagion at 08:05 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 10, 2008


Some things have come to head today at work, and I'm really, really worried that I may end up going to jail.

Before I went to Oklahoma, my office started some practices that were a little questionable. Now before I go any further, it's not my company, just the local office where I work. When I returned from Oklahoma I started questioning their new practices and work flows. In October I pointed out how because of these flows could be causing us to violate state law and federal law. Things got worse and when I had proof that we were indeed violating law, I pointed it out to management, which they ignored.

In November when I had to approve the pay out of fines and penalties, I gave them reports and documentation of the various violations that were perpetuated due to their decisions and policies. My information was ignored and the decision was made to continue on with their existing, and non-working, policies and procedures.

I kept warning, advising and documenting everything for management, going up to the director level... and it was all ignored. Last Wednesday, in a review, one of the managers made a comment that we were doing something that we absolutely were NOT. At that point I kind of came unglued and in a rampage worthy of my being sent to sensitivity class again, I spilled the beans. Including making the statement that, "I've been warning you since September about this, and you all ignored me." Later that day, in another meeting about something completely unrelated, we were interrupted by another member of management questioning a couple of inquiries. A blatant lie was told and I came unglued again. This time I went off with enough force that I really think I scared the management in the office that I might do something drastic.

One of the managers made the comment, "If you knew this was happening and these policies wasn't working, don't you think as a supervisor you should have brought it to managements attention?" I don't think a nuclear explosion had the volatility as my response. I pointed out that I had spoken up since September, that I pointed it out in various meetings, e-mails and memos. It was all ignored or swept under the rug. Then I broke the bombshell that I had proof and documentation of it.

Since then it has been an never ending cycle of management higher and higher up getting involved and it's the same thing every time.

Today we had a huge meeting regarding this issue and the director involved made a comment regarding a new plan... which is just like the old one... to resolve the problem. This time I couldn't hold myself back at all and made the comment that if they enact that plan they may want to talk with the State's Attorney because we are going to have their office investigating us by the end of the year.

I even made a comment that, those that have spoken with me may find this shocking, "(this) is completely unethical. I can no longer stand by and watch as policies and procedures are enacted that violate every moral and ethic of my being. You all acknowledge that what is going on is wrong, yet you continue to do it in hopes of covering up what was already done. My morals and ethics demand that I do not participate in these policies and procedures that I know are resulting in blatant violations of the law." For those of you that don't know me personally, I tend to joke around that I have no morals or ethics.

I had a one on one meeting with the director and explained that I can no longer instruct my staff to continue following these policies and procedures and I will not. I left her office to go back to my desk to issue new instructions to my staff and gather documentation to cover my arse.

As I was doing so I discovered that a little report that they had me checking and told me to "Sign off on" every week wasn't for exactly what they told me. It was part of the record retention for Sarbaines-Oxley (SOx)

Now I had been signing off on these thinking they were one thing, but in reality they where something else. It's my name on these reports and for what they were intended, they were not exactly accurate. Now I'm worried that when the investigation begins, I may end up being prosecuted since it's my name on these reports and I can NOT produce on ounce of evidence that I was instructed incorrectly.

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

Right now as I sit here drinking a bottle of whiskey trying to calm down, I'm worried that I may end up going to jail.

Posted by Contagion at 09:23 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

December 02, 2008

Wasting other peoples time.

A peer of mine came to me today to warn me about a nefarious plot. Allegedly some of my peers have spent weeks gathering information to prove that I have not been doing a certain task on a daily basis that I'm supposed to do. Of course this is going to be brought up in a meeting tomorrow morning.

As my peer was telling me about it, I picked up a stack of papers and said, "Yep, I haven't been doing these on a daily basis. Heck, if they asked I would have told them." My peer just stood at my blankly for a second and just burst out laughing. Her response was, "Good lord Contagion, I didn't think you'd actually admit to it!" My response was, "Why would I deny it? I haven't been doing it daily for 6 months. It's a waste of time. It only needs to be done twice a week." We both laughed at the whole thing, because the project I didn't do, was one she gives me daily.

I mean seriously, I never claimed to be doing it. I never said I was going to do it daily, and I never, ever, agreed that it should be done daily. Thus why would I deny not doing it daily?

The best part is that they spent all this time trying to nail me with something by trying to catch me in a lie. Yet, if they had just said something in a meeting I would have admitted it right off the bat. So now I'm going to ask tomorrow in the meeting why my peers felt the need to spend all this time trying to monitor me. Isn't that my supervisor's job?

Posted by Contagion at 08:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 07, 2008

Work is returning to normal.

Well, after a month of being back work is starting to return to normal. I'm still getting the shaft, but I'm not getting screwed.

Our inventory manager went off on vacation and since I used to hold a similar position to her, I got nominated to cover for her while she was gone. Of course I wasn't in the meeting that this was decided. They communicated I was going to be doing it by e-mail, why I was in a staff meeting. So I didn't find out until I was out of the meeting. When I responded by e-mail to the inventory manager that she would have to show me what to do, I received an out of the office message. Come to find out she left for her vacation right after she sent me the e-mail.

I've spent the last couple of days trying to figure out how to do her reports, which are completely different from what I used to do. Then I've spent hours trying to figure out how she got her data, which I'm not being very successful. Unfortunately I'm not getting very far. I'm getting pressure from other people in my office, however they aren't willing to step up and help. So I'm just doing the best I can and letting it go, my excuse is, "I'm teaching myself."

Now I'm going to sit back, have a drink and work on my resume.

Posted by Contagion at 07:22 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 23, 2008

Work so far.

Well I've been in the office a whopping whole 7 business days. In that time nothing has been brought up about my little, uh, heated expressing of dissenting opinions. However I have discovered that I have reached a level of "I don't give a damn" that I've never reached before. Including, I think, a nasty case of self-sabotaging behaviors. Such as telling a manager that bad management by her does not mean that there is an emergency for my team.

Oh something about the BlogCrawl must have gotten out at work. Some rumors about me, and AK-47 and a printer are working their way through the employees.

Posted by Contagion at 07:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 12, 2008

Home at last.

One last explosion from Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs.

Two hours sitting on a tarmac at the Tulsa Airport due to flight delay because of weather

Three seats in a row, me in the middle

Four and a half hours of being stuck in the plain on a 1 hour 45 minute gate to gate flight.

Five buses that arrive and leave before my bus arrives to bring me from O'hare to Rockford. Due to a traffic accident on 90 holding everything up.

Six hours and 45 minutes from boarding the plane, I finally arrive in Rockford.

It's all worth it to be home.

Posted by Contagion at 07:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 09, 2008

Boiling Point

Have you ever been pushed so far that you just can't take it anymore? Well I hit that point today. Since I've been down here in Tulsa this round the communication has been absolutely horrible. I get told one thing from one person, another tells me something different, then a third contradicts both of them. What the hell is with that?

I came down here with a set of directives to get accomplished. The first week they they changed those directives 4 times, most of the time I'm not finding out about it after the fact when someone gets pissed because my team didn't do what they wanted done. Then they were making changes with my classes with out telling me and then expecting me to be able to support all of this when they spread my resources to absolutely nothing.

I couldn't take it anymore after everything else when I had a peer down here get on my case because I was teaching something that someone else had told me to teach. All my frustration, anger and irritation over this whole thing came to a boiling point.




After a bout a 30 minute tirade involving three peers and a manager down here and my basically telling them where they can shove their support for the next three months, I finally calmed down. Even as I walked back to my desk I knew that probably was not the wisest decision to make. It's pretty much guaranteed to be repercussions for my actions.

Flash forward to 4:30. I get an IM from my manager. She wants to talk to me about the support for the class. Okay, I kind of new that wasn't all she wanted to talk about. She told me she was going to be on a conference call until 5:00. I told her I'd be back in the hotel by then, but she could call me on my cell.

I get the call. We discuss changes back in Rockford the need for support for that, the classes, personel and finally she says that they decided that I would better benefit the company back in Rockford than down here.




So I'm coming home on Friday for good. I will not be coming back down to this cesspool of a project. I'm washing my hands of it completely.

Thank Jebus.

Posted by Contagion at 06:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 04, 2008

Just in case

Before I came down here, Blogspawn Bruce advised me that my traveling companion is a couple of sandwichs short of a picnic. I never realized that she truly is insane. I'm not sure if she's bi-polar, paranoid, manic depressive or what, but damn the girl is CooCoo for Coco Puffs. I'm talking boiling the bunny crazy. She also has the social graces of an 8 year old.

She's staying down here this weekend with me, and honestly I'm a little afraid. I'm big enough that I can take her physically, but she might have that captain insane-o strength or just do something when my back is turned. So if for some reason you don't hear from me in a while, let me tell you now; Those of you that know my traveling companion give the police her name.

I'm going to try to avoid her as much as possible over the next couple of days, but I don't know if that's going to be possible. Next week I'm going to try to stay as far away from her as possible, which will be hard when we are in the same room.

Posted by Contagion at 06:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 02, 2008

Here comes the stress again.

After last weeks debacle my stress level was through the roof. Then I had a great relaxing and fun weekend. Now today I was at work no more than two hours when the stress came back. Everything started falling apart. I started catching flack for shit other people did. Finally, the staff that I was promised didn't show up today.

I couldn't locate them anywhere. Fortunately they were on a different flight and someone forgot to tell me the change in flight plans. But for about an hour I was stressing over how I was going to handle the week.

My slightly mental companion returned this week and is back to old tricks. That really wasn't what I needed. I've figured that she doesn't realize that I don't play games and that this is going to come back to haunt her. Either way it is not helping me out.

Now the upside is that I have more support than what I need this week. One office sent an extra person for support and another office sent a person up that wasn't supposed to. I don't know what I'm going to do with all of this support. Especially the office that sent a person that wasn't supposed to, she doesn't know the book of business that we are training.

System issues that were supposed to be taken care of last week, weren't. Access issues that were supposed to be completed two weeks ago weren't. And stuff that was supposed to be in place today hadn't even been started.

I'm pretty sure once this project is over I'm going to actively look for a new job. I know it's going to kill my re-enacting, but seriously my grey hair is coming in so fast that for those of you that know me, I'm starting to get the Reed Richards (Mr. Incredible, Fantastic Four) look. You know, where the side of my head is mostly grey.

Posted by Contagion at 06:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 29, 2008

One week done

Okay the first week in this trip to OK is done. This time things are going much smoother than the last trip down here. We did have a couple of major set backs, but I've taken care of those. There was a snafu with the plans for the next part of this conversion. Some are saying the next classes are canceled and I won't need to come and others are saying that we still need to be here. We aren't sure yet what is exactly going on. Because of the canceling of the next class I determined that it wasn't cost effective to have my traveling companion for this week to be down here.

She was to learn the product so that in October she could teach and help with the classes. But if they aren't having the classes in October then we don't need her down here learning this. They felt they had enough staff that additional classes wouldn't be needed by then and that they should be able to handle it.

When I told her that I was going recommending she be sent back home. She came unglued and went a wee bit psycho on me. I'm actually a little afraid she might do something stupid. She made accusations that I was stabbing her in the back... (Which I don't understand because this project has nothing to do with her.) Due to us not having any confirmation on what is going on with the next class I determined that I was going to let her stay, but that's only because I don't have any other resources.

Ktreva is going to a Re-enactment this weekend. It's her first without me. Originally she was supposed to work this weekend, so I didn't even try to get out of working this weekend. Then she didn't have to work, but it was too late for me to make plans to come home. Thus I'm down here for the holiday weekend and she is off re-enacting. Yea, I'm a bit jealous.

However, I get to do a little road tripping this weekend. I'm going to Oklahoma City to meet up with Rave of Quid Nunc and then I'm heading to Dallas to hook up with Bloodspite of Techography. So I'm going to have a good long weekend ahead of me. I may not be re-enacting, but at least I'll be busy!

Posted by Contagion at 05:53 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 26, 2008

Oklahoma Update

Things are going much smoother with project this time. There have been a couple of set backs and hitches that we didn't foresee, but other than that everything seems to be going really smoothly. I don't think I could have asked for this to go any better than how it is going right now.

The other bright side is that the last time I was in Hilton Doubletree in Downtown Tulsa. This time I am in the Hyatt Place suites. Which are really nice. I have a kitchen sink, fridge, work desk, 44 inch plasma TV with HD connections, A sectional couch with a large ottoman and some really nice decorations. This is a really nice hotel. I'm really more comfortable here than at the other hotel.

The Hyatt is a bit further away from the office than the Doubletree, but it's worth it. Especially since there is a ton of places with in walking distance for food, drink and snacks. Since I'm going to be here for five weeks, that's pretty handy.

I'm still looking for anyone down here that wants to get together. I'm working on something with Rave of Quid Nunc for Labor Day Saturday, let me know if you want to join us.

Posted by Contagion at 07:49 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 04, 2008

Tulsa, the weather and crap

After my overly morose and really depressing posts of yesterday Ive drank my way out of my funk. A case of beer just doesnt last as long as it once did!

When I walked out of the hotel this morning it was already a baumy 92 degrees at 7:45AM! The high today reached a heat index of 110, the low tonight is 79. Thats not a low, thats a farooking high! While it was so hot they had various heat index warnings issued for the area, back home was getting is getting pelted by storms. My support was supposed to fly in and be here by 10:00AM, basically leaving me on my own with the trainees for about 2 hours.

Well those storms really screwed up those plans. They were scheduled to depart at 8:00 AM. They couldnt board the plane until 8:45. Even after boarding they were not allowed to take off. The plane was taxied all over the airport to different run ways only to be reassigned to others as the weather broke. Employee-M called me on her cell phone at 9:15 AM to tell me that they were trapped on the runway. Finally the plane was able to take off, at 10:15!

Since they had been on the plane so long, Employee-M had to use the restroom. When she got went in, the toilet was full. Not the unflushed kind of full, but as the tank is full and there is no room left in the tank for you to flush anything more into. She called it to the attention of the flight attendant. Apparently they were not planning on a lot of people using the toilet, so the tank wasnt emptied between flights. Well an hour and a half on the runway would fill most tanks on a commuter toilet. The flight attendant had to get onto the intercom and let all the passengers know that the toilet was full. They still had an hour and half flight ahead of them. From the way my staff reported, the smell was horrible and permeated the entire cabin.

They finally got to Tulsa at 12:15PM. Then it was back to class. Fortunately the class seems to be doing really well with the materials and was not much of a trouble at all for me by myself. When they were finally in the classroom with me, I was able to sit down and get caught up on some of the other work I needed to get done. There is a better than good chance that I can actually make up a lot of time this week.

Posted by Contagion at 07:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

July 28, 2008


After getting up and the butt crack of way too early, I jumped my turbulence strewn flight to Tulsa. Folks, let me tell you somethign right now. If you've ever flown out of O'Hare, you know it's a nightmare. Tulsa Int Airport is the exact opposite. The people here are polite, friendly, helpful and actually are civil... completely unlike O'Hare.

When I get into the office, I check to see if the access to the programs I requested last week finally went through. Which it hadn't. After making a dozen phone calls, sending out a couple dozen e-mails and then finally reading someone the riot act, access was granted and we were able to get work done. I'm supposed to finish up tomorrow, and that may actually catch me up to only 2 days behind schedule!

That's good news.

However, they pretty much confirmed I'm going to be down here off and on through September. They are going to let me stay home for two weeks, and then send me back for another 3-4 weeks. So all of you Oklahomians (Oklahomites?), If we weren't able to get together you still have a chance.

Posted by Contagion at 08:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Week one coming to an end

Well, week one is about in the books. I'm heading in a little later today because we are traveling late into the evening and they don't need use until later this morning. We are about 3.5 days behind. Mostly due to system issues and conflicts with the training department. Training double booked people in classes.

So far this isn't going too well, but things did start shaping up yesterday. We were able to actually get some of the training of the new employees done and all the access seems to be available.

With Ktreva's grandfather dieing I was sure that I was going to have to end up leaving down here and miss more training time that would set me back even further. I'm not sure why, but they scheduled his memorial on August 2nd, so I'm not going to miss any time.

I'm still working to get this wrapped up in time for me to be able to come back for the Galesburg Heritage festival re-enactment I participate in. I at least want to get home for the weekend.

The good news is that I'm flying home tonight to spend the weekend with the family. I really miss Ktreva and the boys. It'll be good to see them again.

Posted by Contagion at 07:33 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

July 22, 2008

Declining even further.

Okay, so my bright idea this morning worked. I was able to get the IT problem resolved and it looked like I was going to actually start making process. Then it happened, System Crash! That's right the program I needed to use crashed early this morning and we weren't able to get any further along on the project.

I am now 1.5 days behind schedule and Not only are they talking about extending my stay, but possibly letting me come home for a couple of weeks and then returning for the month of September when a lot of the system issues are resolved. I'm going to be here still for the next three weeks, it's just they may send me back the last week of August and keep me down here for a while.

BTW, to all of you that gave me advice on coming down here, both good and bad, you all forgot one important factor. YOU DIDN'T TELL ME IT'S LIKE THE GATES OF HELL HOT DOWN HERE! I'm wearing wool suits in a climate with a heat index of 103! I'm tired of my testicles sticking to my legs. Thankfully I can set the thermostat in my hotel room to a comfortable 61 degrees. Then I can strip nekked and cool off.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to take Employee-M and her counterpart from another office to the mall to go shopping. It has to be me, because the company won't authorize a second driver on the vehicle. It's part of the job is trying to accommodate them on this trip as well.

Yea... this is torture.

Posted by Contagion at 04:43 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


Last night between tossing and turning, I had an epiphany! I think I may have figured out how to get the access problem corrected. When I get to the office this morning I need to make some phone calls.

Lets see if I'm as good as they think I am.

Posted by Contagion at 06:17 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 21, 2008

Not a good start

I woke up bright and early this morning. My plan was to hit the gym and exercise a little. Well that plan worked, what didn't was the muscle cramping because I'm a lazy SOB and rarely work out. I ended up cutting my workout short. After the gym time I came back upstairs and got ready for work.

When I get to the office I spent the first hour answering questions about this transition that I'm overseeing. That part went really well. I had all the answers they wanted and I was able to calm their nerves. EXCELLENT! There is nothing worse than having to do a transition like this with the new management being skittish about the changes.

After that I stared the roll out to the management and I hit a glitch. None of them have access to the programs that they need to handle the new business line. Their access is all screwed up. I spent most of the day walking to the IT department in Chicago trying to get them to understand the importance of them expediting this process. Of course IT was fighting me tooth and nail. They can't help because the people that are needing the access are in Okla-farooking-homa.

No matter how much I explained that they were working Illinois business and couldn't do this work with out the access and programs they just couldn't get it through their giant swollen noggins filled with all the tips and tricks for Halo 3 and daydreams of not just meeting a girl, but actually maybe smelling her one day. Yes, I'm a little bitter. At one point I told the mentally challenged, should have been a stain on the sheet, chuckle head that if I was in Rockford, I would drive to his office just to clearly explain what the issue is by drawing him crayon pictures. Yea, that was toward the end of the day after spending 6 hours working with them.

Needless to say on day one I'm already 2/3 day behind on what needs to be done and it looks like tomorrow may be a complete waste as well. The sad part is that I worked up until 7:00PM tonight trying to get everything in place. Right now I'm frustrated, annoyed and just plain tired. This does not bode well for me.

And to kick it off they director of the area was talking about promotional opportunities again. Once I got down here I saw that there are indeed some big promotional opportunities. I just really hope they don't try to "encourage" me to put in for one of them.

Now, if you'll excuse me, on my way back from dinner I stopped and picked up a six pack. I think I'm going to sit back, drink a couple and try to get some sleep tonight. The bed was too soft and I slept like crap last night.

Posted by Contagion at 08:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 09, 2008

Okla-Homa... Where Contagion comes whipping down the plains! UPDATED!

I just received word this morning that my trip to Oklahoma has been confirmed. Right now it's just temporary, nothing perminant. I'll be leaving on July 28th. For those of you that know my schedules... yes, yes that means exactly what you are thinking.

UPDATE: 10:45 AM I just found out that I'm actually going to be leaving on July 20th. It could last as long as until mid October depending on how things go. IE, the better of a job I do, the quicker this could be over with. There was talk again about this turning into a promotional opportunity. All of you know I want out of Rockford in the worst kind of way, but this is NOT what I wanted. I just wanted to move out of the city.

As for my re-enacting... That may be put on hold for a while. You all know how much that pains me. The worst part is that there could be a 3 week period I go with out getting to see the family at all.

Also, I don't own a lap top so blogging may become non-existant. However, if anyone knows were I can get a good/cheap lap top in the next 10 days, let me know.

Posted by Contagion at 06:29 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 08, 2008

Oklahoma here I come?

I returned from vacation to find out that my company maybe (75% chance or better) relocating me to Oklahoma. We have a large portion of our business that is being transfered to one of our offices there and they may be shipping me with it.

Ummmm, I'm not sure I'm completely liking this idea.

Why me? Because I have the most flexibility out of everyone in the office. Ktreva works for the same company and her position lets her work out of any office the company owns, thus it's no big deal. Add the fact that I am the most knowledgeable member of the management staff on this book of business. I've also turned around three areas I've worked in and handled four major projects in the last year successfully. My track record speaks for itself, I get results.

Now this is starting off as a temporary position. It could be just a couple of weeks or months. However, today they tell me that if all goes well I have the opportunity for advancement and relocation. Do I have a choice for the temporary period... no. The permanent part? Yea, I could always show a complete lack of motivation and drive.

Maybe I just need a new job all together.

Either way, any of my readers around the Tulsa Oklahoma area... You may have a visitor coming your way.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

June 24, 2008

Eating silage.

Okay, in an effort to help my gastro problems and just to be healthier Ive started eating Healthier breakfast cereal. Ive tried four different kinds so far and Im about to give up on it, especially this last one. Let me give you a run down on what Ive experienced so far.

A) Kashi Go Lean Crunch: Interesting flavor, I wouldnt say its bad, but Im not sure Id say I like it either. There is a very interesting texture to it. It gave me gas.

2) Kashi Go Lean Crunch with Honey Almond Flax: Again interesting flavor, I think this one tasted better than the regular, Im still not sure I like it. The texture was interesting. It gave me gas.

D) Life: Okay, this one may not be considered a Healthy cereal, but it had the green sensible solution box on it and comparing it to healthy cereals it matched up pretty good. I liked the flavor, I liked the texture. My family liked the break from the gas.

4) Grape Nuts: How this cereal stays on the market is beyond me. Seriously the smell kind of reminds me of silage. The flavor reminds me of the remnants of the mash they use to make beer. It doesnt taste like beer, it tastes like fermented grains that were boiled, dried and served with milk. I kid you not I think Id rather eat the box. I put four packets of sweetener into my cereal container just to choke it down this morning. Now Im sitting here feeling like there is a lump of soggy cardboard in my stomach. Except the soggy cardboard would probably have tasted better. To make matters worse not only did it give me gas, but it gave me unspeakably foul gas. I emptied a conference room with a tiny squeeker. Fortunately the cheek flapping, sphincter hurting colon bomb I let loose in the bathroom. When I regained consciousness and picked myself off of the floor, I helped the other victims evacuate the restroom.

I just want to know, is there a decent healthy cereal that A) Tastes good and most importantly 2) Doesnt give me gas.

Posted by Contagion at 05:58 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

June 21, 2008

Where in the heck has Contagion been?

Okay, I know I haven't posted in a couple of days. Sorry, about that. Let me fill you in on what happened.

First Friday at work we had a big meeting about the Hot Dog issue. First the other department had to be included, then they decided not to. Well long and short management said that they had to I got the the pleasure of cooking the hot dogs. We went over logistics and who is going to do what and when. It really was a colossal waist of time.

After work I went out with what was to be some of my peers for drinks and just kind of a"get to know you" think outside of work. It ended up just being me and one of my other co-workers as the rest all backed out. Fortunately Ktreva trusts me because me going out to a bar with another woman could seriously look like a date. However, since I'm completely devoted to Ktreva and not about to screw up the best thing in my life, I was just having drinks with a peer and talking shop. It was fun. My Peer had been going through a rough patch in her life and really needed to go out and get drunk. Fortunately for her, while many of you know me as Contagion... my secret identity... I'm also the heroic (Insert music) Drinkin' Buddy! (insert more music).

Yea, I learned two things about my peer that night. First is that she really has no self-esteem and she gets drunk on 6 drinks... in a 6 hour time span. At least she's not a crier.

Then today I had to go to work and cook the farooking Hot Dogs. I was borrowing a grill from Wes and I had meant to pick it up earlier this week. Unfortunately I had forgotten to, so at 7:30 AM I went to his house and picked it up on my way to work. I found out this evening when I dropped it off that while I thought I was being quiet, apparently I woke up his wife and a neighbor. OOPS!

Work was kind of a joke. I spent 7 hours there not actually working but being more of a morale coach. Of course I was wearing my "The floggings will continue until morale improves" t-shirt from the Bristol Ren-Faire. But I'm not going to go into that, lets just jump to the nitty gritty of it okay, the hot dogs. We had taken a roll call of how many people said they were going to work on Saturday and that wanted a hot dog. It came out to 40, I ended up getting enough food for 45 (feeding the 5 supervisors that were going to be there as well). At two hot dogs a piece, I bought a bulk amount of 90. The other department showed up with 3 packages of 80 hot dogs. So we had a total of 330 hot dogs.

Of course none of them helped me, and to be honest I told them they didn't need to help me cook, but I could use help in shuttling the finished hot dogs into the office. Well, I guess they took that as I didn't want their help at all. So I was cooking from 10:00AM until 1:00PM. It was a long hot day for me.

When all is said and done, at 3:00PM when the office closed, all of the other management but one of my peers from my department stuck around to help me clean up. There was about 100 hot dogs left over. I tried giving them away, I told the employees they could take some home. But no, nobody wanted them. I ended up taking home the left over hot dogs and buns. When I dropped the grill off to Wes, I showed him my gratitude for letting me use his grill by giving him 24 hot dogs and buns. It's not much, but hey I figured he could use them and they'd probably end up getting tossed.

All in all the day sucked. I hate my upper management and the peers from the other department, I'm annoyed at my peers from my department.

The only bright side is that I didn't get one complaint. Everyone like the hot dogs. For which I'm sure upper management will take credit for the idea.

Posted by Contagion at 03:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 19, 2008

It's just rude.

I cant believe the gall of the upper management in my office. Last month they advised us that on June 21 and 28, both Saturdays, we are going to be open to work It is expected that all management at my level be there 7:00AM to 3:00PM both days to support the staff that is there. Fine, not really a whole lot I can do on a Saturday, but okay. The problem is that one of my peers is getting married at 2:00PM on the 21st. This has been planned months prior to them deciding this was going to be a mandatory workday. Many of my peers, including myself, were planning on attending the wedding. Since Im going to be on vacation on the 28th, I volunteered to cover the entire afternoon shift and not go to the wedding.

It was decided that we were going to provide a meal for those that came in to work 8 hours as a token of our appreciation for working during the summer months. They discussed everything from salad bars, box lunches, potato bars, pizza, pasta, catered food and sandwiches. The problem is that this is all very pricey stuff and requires manpower to over see. Since it was originally going to be myself after 12:00PM, I wanted something easy. So I volunteered to grill Hot Dogs for those that committed to working 8 hours. Our department has about 80 people in it, there are a lot of people on vacation, and I figured wed get maybe 15 that were going to work the full 8 hours. I could handle this easily enough. I grill the hot dogs outside, between noon and 1 they come out get two hot dogs a bag of chips and a bottle of water on their lunch. Easy as pie.

Then the micromanagement began. We should extend this to anyone that works over 6 hours. Fine. Thats still only maybe 30 people. Then it was anyone that works 5 or more hours. Okay, now we are about 40 people. Still, thats not too bad, I had to make some changes in my plans to make sure that I could cover everything remember I was doing this alone.

Finally the mentally obtuse upper management in my office got together and decided that they were going to extend this to the other department in the office. The one that has about 250 people in it. With out consulting me they sent out to the management of the other department notice that ANY of their people working on Saturday will be given Hot Dogs and that I would be doing the cooking and shopping for it. Again, Im doing this by myself.

Now the kicker is that my peers in that department would pitch a fit if they planned something like this and my department was invited by management to participate. Case in point, last Januarys pancake breakfast. They had one and we had to hold our own on a different day as to not interfere with theirs. They really are a group of manky gobshite gits.

Well the manky gobshite gits got upset with me because I said NO! Thats right, I said I was not going to do the cooking and overseeing of a food distribution of about 300 people estimated to be here by myself. I said that if they want to come in and bring their own damn grill and do their own damn cooking, they are more than welcome too. If the people that have are coming in to help with claims processing and are putting in over 5 hours, Id feed them too. But I am, nay, I WILL not solo handle this entire thing. Now of course because I stupidly pointed out to management I was doing this alone, they are making some of the peers in my department come in and stay the afternoon, despite my saying they didnt need to. But my peers from the other department are refusing to, so they today decided they were not going to participate. Happy me.

Anyways I went shopping based on 40 people, and then one person added 5 more. Fortunately it worked out just right that Ill have enough for exactly 45 people, no extras.

And when upper management returns to the office Friday, Im giving them an earful. What they did was rude, disrespectful and just down right idiotic. I volunteered to do this for a specific group of people, but they just kept adding on more. It will be a long time before they see me try to do anything nice to help out anyone in that office again. I seem to get burned every time.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

June 17, 2008

Putting the cart before the horse.

Every year in July our company has it's annual reviews of all the hourly employees. We give them their reviews and then we give them a merit increase based on how good/bad they did. It sounds like a simple task, and it really should be. Except that the upper management in my office could make flicking a light switch into a ten part process that requires paperwork and approvals from three different people.

This year, because they live to micromanage every aspect of the office. Including giving out the reviews and raises. This year their eternal brilliance decided that those of us that have direct reports have to turn in a spreadsheet of all of our employees, their performance level, current salary, raise percentage, the dollar amount of that percentage and the new salary. They want this so they can approve the raises we give, even though corporately we are locked into how big or small of a raise we could give. Sounds easy enough, except there's one thing. This was due today.

We were only able to get the data for their production and quality since the 11th of June for the review period. To make matters worse, the information to do the full review can't be done for another week. That's right, they want us to figure out what kind of salary they do prior to being able to do a complete and total review of the individual.

When I questioned this decision I was told, "You pretty much already know how your people are going to do. Just go with that."

Anyone that knows me knows that I don't just make guesses or snap decisions when it comes to things that are going to have a direct impact on other people. Especially when it comes to the fairness of salary increases. I want data. I want facts. I want to make sure each person is getting what the have earned. That means I HAVE to do a full review prior to figuring out their raise.

Let me give you an example. Overtime. I take the amount of overtime a person works into consideration. We have so many "required" hours a year. Plus there is a lot of voluntary hours. One of the things I touch in on the review is the number of OT hours that my people work. If they aren't doing at least the minimum required then I start docking part of the raise the lesser they work OT. However, I also adding to it if they work a lot of OT and are productive. If they work a lot of OT and aren't productive, then I also start docking.

Last year I was sure that I knew that four of my people's OT figures were. I had two that always worked OT and two that never worked OT... or so I thought. While writing their review I discovered that Employee A, whom I thought wasn't working OT, actually put in twice the minimum required. They just never spoke about it and were very quite. Employee B, whom I thought was putting in a lot of OT actually was doing less then the minimum, they were just very vocal when they did OT and made a show of it. Employee C, whom I knew did a lot of OT was so unproductive on OT that I ended up banning her from working it for three months. Employee D, which never worked OT, actually never worked OT and was always trying to weasel out of it.

Basically out of the four I thought I was sure on, I only got one right. So what I "knew" wasn't exactly correct. You get my point, if I had done the raises prior to the review two people would have received raises more then they earned, and a third would have received one less than what they earned.

Well since they want me to do it their way, I just decided to save myself time and I'm giving all of my people the maximum raise they could have earned based on their production and quality. Hell it's a merit increase, why should their merit have anything to do with it?

Posted by Contagion at 05:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 03, 2008

Another day down.

I've been spread so thin at work that there is really almost no chance for me to successfully get anything accomplished. Too many projects, too little time, not enough resources. I'm almost getting the feeling they are trying to set me up for a fall.

I'd say they were, but my office management isn't that devious. Hell, I'm the one they use for such plans.

Needless to say, I just got done killing a crap load of robots in Robokill and now I plan on kicking back a beer or twelve.

Posted by Contagion at 06:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 29, 2008

No wonder they think I'm a math god.

I can't seem to get my peers and upper management at my company to understand basic math. I have 5 people that are trained on a product, only five. It takes about 4.25 people a day to get all the work done for that product. I end up loaning one of my people out to help with other products at least once or twice a week.

Well, I had one of my five get promoted. That left me with four. I have a second one that is being sent to another office to help train new employees there, that leaves me with three. I have one off each week on vacation for the next month that leaves me with two. Two people to do the job of 4.25 people.

Today one of my peers comes to me and says that one of her people is off on medical leave for the next couple of weeks and I have to give up one of my people for the next month to cover it. This was a surprise meeting with upper management and all. I explained the hardship that giving up one more person is going to put my one last remaining employee into. That didn't matter, they felt the one last remaining employee can hold the department together for at least a month.

Of course I'm going to hire a new employee to replace the one promoting, but that could take at least a week or two. Plus when they start they need to be trained and brought up to speed.

I can't wait until the end of June when I have to send my last remaining employee into a class for support... because they HAVE to be there. In fact they even tried to force me to give up two. I'm not kidding, I litteraly sat there with counters and did basic math with them to show them I didn't have anyone else. One of the upper management said, "It doesn't matter, they have to be in there." So at this point I asked who they wanted me to send. They gave me a name... Nope, she promoted. They gave me another name... Nope she is in a class out of state. They gave me a third name... Nope she's already in the class. They gave me a fourth name... Nope, she's on Vacation. They gave me the fifth name... Nope, they are taking the place of my peer's missing employee. That's when I got, "Well who's left?" and I kid you not people, my answer was rather calm and collected.

I responded back with, "Why there is no one left. That is what I'm trying to tell you. The only person that I'll have at that time is possibly a new trainee, for which I won't have anyone to train. And I can't put a trainee in a class to train other trainees."

... and they still said I had to get someone. So I asked them which project is least important and I'll pull that employee off of it and reassign them to the training room. To which my manager responded that I couldn't pull any of them. At the end of the meeting, they still couldn't grasp basic math and I still had to give up an employee I don't have at the end of the month. Plus I have to keep my regular work running smoothly and evenly.

So you'll have to excuse me while I wait for the three Advil to kick in so I can figure out a way to bend the space/time continuum.

Posted by Contagion at 04:14 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

May 05, 2008

Time to go in a different direction?

I had a blast last weekend, and yes I did get wet. Heck, I'm not sure I'd know what to do if I didn't get rained on. I've got a lot of stories, but I'm going to save those for now. I'm waiting for some incriminating evidence to show up in my inbox.

Returned to work today after the fun weekend. Like every day, it was full of meetings. I've decided I could be a very productive member of my company if it wasn't for all of the meetings. Today we had the grand daddy of the least productive meetings we've had. A meeting to determine how to schedule the late night shift.

In my department we have flexible hours. Meaning you can start anytime between 7:00 AM and 9:30 AM. You can leave after putting in your 8 hour day (plus 30 minute unpaid lunch). The last "shift" ends at 6:00 PM. We have to have a supervisor there until 6:00 PM every night. Most of us really don't want to work that late unless we really have to. In fact none of us want to do it. So we all take turns taking a couple of nights each month.

Now of course when ever the schedule comes out, someone complains about the nights they have or having to take time to pick nights, or just to complain. We've done this in many different ways and no-one is ever happy, except me because I don't care. Since enough people complained about it today we had this meeting. We were going to decide if an office assistant was going to do the schedule or if we were going to get together and work it out ourselves.

One supervisor in the meeting has a very domineering personality and always wants things her way, I'll call her "L". Another has a very domineer personality and wants to be in control, I'll call her "M". A third has control issues, Hence forth known as "H". Of course there is me. There were 12 people in this meeting. Yet most of the talking was done by L, M and H.

It started off with a vote, but everyone had to pontificate why they wanted to do it. As I was the second to last person to be asked and we'd been in the meeting for 25 minutes already I just said, "I don't care how you do it, someone's going to b&tch anyway." Some people were offended, some laughed, I just stewed at the stupidity of this figuring this meeting could have been over 5 minutes after it started.

Then H brought up that she hadn't been on the weekly schedule, just the weekend one, because her position dictates she has to get there early, like around 5:00 AM. She has to have the inventory and work set up for everyone by the time we start at 7:00 AM. This brought up a huge argument. L and M thought H should be on the nightly rotation anyway. H said she had no problem, but on the days she is on the schedule someone else would have to come in at 5:00 to do the inventory. L thought it wasn't fair and wanted to evaluate how H did her job. M agreed with H. They brought up the fairness of her staff and so on. This went back and forth. The whole time my anger just stewed.

Finally I blew up in a level of, well historic proportions. I've had an average of 9 late nights every three months. Normally I just pick up extras because I don't want to hear the bitching. L has picked up an average of 6 every 3 months. M and most of the other supervisors did an average of 7. If anyone had a right to be pissed off over the late night schedule, it should be me... and I wasn't.

I went on an angry tirade and ended up calling them all a bunch of whiny fifteen year old school girls. Which really pissed L and M off. Actually I shocked everyone in the room. It's been a while since I've gone that mental in a meeting and I don't think they expected it. A couple of the people thought I was okay and was sticking up for H, whom L and M were attacking. Some thought I was being rude and uncalled for. My response to that in the meeting was, "I don't F#CKING care!"

Three of my peers after the meeting ushered me out of the building and took me to a restaurant for lunch. They knew I was hot and was just a cross eyed look from erupting again.

Anyway, I think I may have gone over board this time and have crossed THE line. I probably won't find out until next week, but honestly if I did. Owell, it might be the best thing that's happened to me in a while.

Posted by Contagion at 05:55 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

April 16, 2008

Horrible day.

Yesterday is a day that will forever go down in my book as one of the worst days ever. It started off nicely enough but things took a turn for the worse quickly.

It all started while I was in a morning meeting, just after the meeting started one of my employees came into the conference room and advised us of an emergency. An employee that doesn't report to me had collapsed at her desk. Her supervisor, another and the managers went to check on her. The rest of us stayed in the conference room to finish the meeting. We paused for a moment when the ambulance arrived and then continued on. A couple of minutes later when it left with in minutes of arrival lights and sirens we knew something bad had happened. Usually when we have an incident the ambulance arrives, they stay for about 15 minutes prior to leaving and they leave rather slowly.

Upon leaving the room we were hit with the information that the employee had passed out at her desk, was having trouble breathing and they had issues finding a pulse. They had put an AED (Automatic Emergency Defibrillator) in order to find a heart beat. About an hour later our office was hit with the news that the employee had died. Most of the day was spent trying to comfort and support an emotionally devastated staff.

Then last night around 9:45 my phone rings. There is breathing on the other end and I have to say hello twice before I get anything. It was my mother. She was calling to say that she wasnt feeling good, she was rather incoherent and wasnt completing sentences. Then we were disconnected. I jumped off of the couch, grabbed my keys to head to her house as fast as Ktrevas van could take me. While in route I called her back to see if I could get specifics and to see if I needed to call 911. I thought maybe Dad was out and she was alone having problems.

When I called her back she told me she was heading to the hospital, Dad was driving. She handed the phone to Dad and he told me she was having chest pains and was complaining of not feeling good. They told me not to head over as there wasnt anything I could do at this time. So I turned around and went home.

Through out the night and this morning I received news that she was being admitted and that they were running tests. This morning Dad tells me that no matter what happens, Mom is not going to be working for the rest of the week, which is to be expected. He also told me that mom was stable and that the doctor was in checking on here and preparing to run some more tests to make sure everything is okay.

Needless to say, not much sleep last night.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

March 27, 2008

How to make my employees laugh.

The inventory at work is really high and we are trying just about anything to get it out. Yesterday in a staff meeting one of my employees jokingly made the suggestion that I should spend an hour doing basic level work in our office to help out. Everyone found this highly amusing as I was never trained on how to do that kind of work and the couple times I did it turned into a disaster. Everyone had a chuckle at this and let it go.

Then today I was talking to my employees. The inventory was bad, their moods were gloomy because of the snow and there was just some overall moral issues. So I thought, hey why the hell not. I jumped in and for an hour I worked alongside them. Of course they found this highly amusing. They were telling everyone what I was doing and they where coming over to see me in action. I wasn't the best at it... far from it. In fact I only ranked about 25% production. It's not like I was helping out a lot. Yet at the same time I was.

Because I was willing to jump in and do the work, it showed the lot of them that I was taking them serious and that I'd do just about anything to accomplish the goal. Plus it improved moral. After I finished my hour they all sat down and worked even harder to help out. Now of course my peers all think I'm daft. Hell I had one try to talk me out of doing it because she thought it would set a bad precedent.

Well that might be the case, but for an hour my employees were laughing and enjoying work and all it cost me was a little public humiliation. I think it was worth the trade.

Posted by Contagion at 05:38 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 21, 2008

I love conducting interviews

One of my employees received a promotion last month. That means I had to replace her. Yesterday and today I spent most of my time at work conducting interviews. I enjoy interviewing people. It gives you a look inside their head, it lets you see how they tick a little more.

As this is an internal promotion position only, I don't think some of the people applying for the job even really tried. Some of them came across as assuming that they felt the job was already theirs and this was just a formality. They didn't answer the questions or to be honest even try to answer the questions. I don't know if they just assumed that since they have been with the company 10+ years that I would just know how awesome they think they are. Well, if that was the case it kicked them in the butt.

I have two really close candidates right now for the job. I can't make an offer until Tuesday until I finished the high level review with upper management. That gives me three days to mull over my decision. It's so close I'm not sure if I should have them draw straws or if I should do like that commercial and make them fight in the parking lot for it.

Yea, I know... but I don't think management would approve of me bringing swords to work.

Posted by Contagion at 05:30 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 07, 2008

Terminator part 2.

Today I had to finish what was started yesterday. Again more terminations and more sever write ups. Yea, it involved that many people. By the time the dust settled, I couldn't walk through the office and make eye contact with any of the employees. Not that I wouldn't look at them, but they wouldn't look at me.

Every time I walked down an aisle, everyone would just shut up and start focusing on something else or walk away. One of my employees came up to me and asked me to just get it over with, and this person wasn't even on my list of offenders. I ended up having to have a talk with her, because she obviously did something wrong, but since the audit didn't catch it, no official talking to took place.

Later in the day two of my employees came up and asked if it was safe to talk to me again. I had to ask one of my peers people a question. When I walked up to them they were sweating and jumped when I said their name. The rumor on the floor is that this whole thing was my crusade. That someone narked them out and I ran with the investigation and termination. No matter how much I tried to explain that I was just the messenger, I don't think anyone believed me.

This afternoon before I left I had to take a conference call. When I asked one of the employees to join in the room because I wanted their expertise, they brought with their purse, coat and some personal effects. I looked them in the eye and rather frustrated said, "For the love of Pete, I'm not going to fire you!" I think they almost broke down in tears... of joy.

Great, I think this little reputation is going to stick with me for years.

Posted by Contagion at 06:04 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 06, 2008

I'm the Terminator!

Since Ive had direct reports with my company, Ive never had to terminate someone. Dont get me wrong, two of my people have been fired, but someone else did that when I wasnt even in the office. Hell, I didnt know it was happening until I got back and found out. Well, thats no longer true. In fact Im making up for lost time.

Back on Valentines Day, (again I wasnt in the office) there was an incident involving the misuse of company assets that involved A LOT of people. This was big enough that it went up the chain of management all the way to the executive level to determine what kind of action was going to happen. We ended up scouring through disciplinary records of the staff involved. Based on past disciplinary action, upper management made a determination on the type of disciplinary action was going to be taking place this time. They did this to make sure there was consistency as it involved employees working for different supervisors in multiple departments and units.

When the dust cleared it came down to everything from a warning for first time offenses to termination for repeat offenders. The only person I had involved received a verbal warning before so they were given a permanent written warning this time that could lead to termination if they do it again. Thus none of my people were getting terminated. Yet, I ended up doing all the other terminations.

One of the individuals terminated asked me to assist, just because Im a guy and she thought there might be trouble. The others didnt have supervisors in the office that day and the terminations had to be done. Because the other supervisors, even the ones that worked in the same unit, didnt directly supervise these people, they didnt want to do it. In fact they felt I should do it. They were scared of what these individuals were going to do, they were repeated disciplinary problems. Their logic was that they wouldnt get upset if I was doing it because, Contagion, youll kick their ass if they start anything. Yea, thats right.

So I spent most of the day terminating or handing out punishments to people. And Im not done yet. Nope, we ran out of time before we could get to everyone. Im mentally exhausted from doing this. I feel bad for the people that were terminated. Dont get me wrong, they brought this upon themselves, but really it should have been their supervisor or one they worked with that handed out the punishment. Not the guy in the office they deal with rarely. And contrary to some peoples belief, I took no pleasure from doing it.

The worse part is that word spread quickly. You dont start firing people left and right on the same day with out people not only noticing, but also noticing who is escorting them out of the office. Some of the people I terminated were friends with or relatives of employees of mine. When I returned to my unit for stuff, my own employees wouldnt look or talk to me. They kept they eyes diverted. At one point they were gathered and talking and when they saw me, they all scattered to the wind like roaches when a light comes on.

Needless to say, tonight Im mentally and emotionally drained. Id like to have a drink, but the only think I have is that nasty Bud Light Chelada.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

February 21, 2008

Another day down.

Well, I went to work today. My ID badge let me into the building, so obviously I didn't quit, or if I did they haven't removed me from the system yet. Which would be strange since it takes two months to get someone put into it, but 2 seconds to have them completely removed.

None of the upper management talked to me or looked me in the eye today. Two of my meetings were canceled and a third the upper management didn't attend like they normally do. I think they are hoping that I cool down and give it a couple of days before they approach me again. The problem is that they are making one huge tactical mistake.

I'm not illogically mad. Yes, I'm mad, but I'm not being illogical about it. Every time I went to speak with one of them regarding a decision I had made, they always had someplace they had to be and didn't have time to talk about it or were just gone from their desks. They are handling it in their normal crappy style, if we ignore it or give the problem to someone else, it will go away. I'm sure they figure give me a couple of days to "cool off" and they'll talk to me again.

The problem with this is that again, I'm not illogically mad. Their avoidance of the issue is actually throwing gasoline onto the fire. If they would buck up, act like proper management or even the adults they are supposed to be, I'd at least have some respect for them. This tactic is full of crap. It just pisses me off more.

I'm wondering what tomorrow has to bring.

Posted by Contagion at 05:44 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Going to work.

I guess I didn't resign my position after all.

Posted by Contagion at 06:56 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 20, 2008

I'm not really sure.

I think I resigned my position at work today. I'm not actually sure as it was toward the end of a very heated hour and a half discussion about how they were giving me the shaft. Right now I'm really trying to remember what exactly I said. I know that I eluded to finding another job, but I'm not sure that I quit.

I guess I'll find out tomorrow. If I don't go to work tomorrow then I guess we'll know I didn't.

Oh, and for the readers I have that work at the same place, you're going to be getting the same shaft this summer.

Posted by Contagion at 07:06 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 19, 2008

Relaxed to stressed in 30 seconds.

Just once I would love to be able to take some time off of work and not return to a maelstrom of issues. So I took three days off of work to go to Winter Camp. When I returned I was nice and relaxed. Yesterday I spent the day getting caught up on some paperwork for other re-enactments I was planning on doing and some various other issues and no matter what happened, I was cool and collected.

I wasn't at work for more than 30 seconds when one of my people started complaining about what was happening while I was away. They were just the first of a long line of issues that came up while I was away. Apparently when I'm not in the office, people can't make a decision. They hold all the problems and issues until I return and have me fix the situation.

I was gone three days, THREE DAYS, and I had over 600 e-mails at work. When ever management asked for something all of my peers responded with, "I'm not sure, Contagion will do it when he gets back." or my people would respond with, "I'll have to ask Contagion when he returns."

By the end of the day I really wanted to tear my cubicle apart.

Posted by Contagion at 06:38 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008


What the hell is wrong with people these days? When I was growing up, my father told me that if you get paid to do a job, you do your best at it no matter what. Im trying to install that sense of work ethic into my boys. It just doesnt seem to be like that for most people. Well most people in my company.

Most of the people there want to know what the company is going to do for them if they do their job. Not if they go above or beyond, but just to do what they were hired for and expected to do. They want things like special certificates for meeting standards, or prizes, or food bought for them or in one persons words Paid vacations to someplace exotic Yea, I kid you not, they wanted the company to buy them an all expense paid trip to Cancun just for meeting standards to keep their job. They demand incentives and rewards for doing the minimally required for the job.

In other words, their getting a steady paycheck isnt enough. Now to give you an idea, basic entry for our company is a data-entry position that starts at over $11.35 an hour. With that you get 18 days of Paid Time Off (PTO, which can be used as vacation or sick time), one floating Holiday. Health Insurance, dental, 401K with company match and once a year company bonus if certain goals are met. The insurance while maybe not the best, but still damn good, isnt badly priced starting at $49 a month for family coverage. Sure our coverage used to be better and prices cheaper, but with the cost of health care its still damn good and a might bit better than most out there. As long as you perform to the standard and dont violate any company policies you will get an annual raise. After five years you get 23 days of PTO, at ten you get 28 days. After five years you have almost 5 weeks of vacation, if you include your floating holiday.

Yet all of that isnt enough. They continuously want more, Heck these are the same benefits I get. The only difference is that I have to pay more for them because Im at a higher level of pay. Which is hilarious because everyone in that company thinks that management at my level makes some insanely large amount of money, which isnt true. In fact I have employees that make more money than I do. The ones that dont have the potential to make more because they can get overtime, Im salary. Yet, they dont feel the company is compensating them enough, they want more.

And when they do get more, they dont appreciate it. Due to business needs weve had a lot of overtime the last three months. Weve had a lot of people that were coming in on weekends and staying late trying to help us keep up with our customers. The management decided that we were going to do something nice to show appreciation for the employees by cooking breakfast and serving it to them last Saturday. I ran around for two days pricing and buying stuff for breakfast. We served them at their desks Pancakes, Sausages and Orange Juice. Saturday morning I cooked 18 pounds of sausages. I also helped with cooking pancakes. Three weeks in advance we sent out a notice to the employees asking them to fill out an order form so we knew how much to buy.

Right off the bat we started getting complaints. What, no toppings? Cant you guys get whipped cream and fruit to go on it? No Bacon? Can we have bacon instead? Can we have French toast instead? Id rather have waffles. Can I get eggs instead? Okay, I can understand some of that, but seriously its free food. We were doing it because we wanted to do something nice to say Thank You. We choose what we did because it was going to be the fastest, easiest and less messy meal we could make for almost 200 people.

While we were getting ready to cook a person from another department whos management did their gratitude breakfast the weekend before was complaining that they didnt come in on that Saturday so he didnt get anything. The individual then made the comment, The supervisors should come in every Saturday and cook them breakfast. Thats why they make the big bucks The individual was rubbing their thumb and first two fingers together in my peers face when they said it. When my peer asked if they were kidding, the response was, No. Fortunately I didnt witness it because I think that would have made me come unhinged.

Then while we were cooking people were complaining on everything from portion size. Three 4-5 inch pancakes, 2 sausage links and a bottle of Sunny Delight. I know its not the biggest breakfast but we had a budget and we couldnt go over. We ended up doing so and I fronted some money out of my own pocket to cover the difference. Some complained about the taste, there wasnt enough syrup, not enough butter, too greasy, their sausage wasnt burnt (yes, Im not kidding. Someone came in and complained that their sausage wasnt burnt.), they didnt get their breakfast as soon as they arrived, etc, etc, etc.

There was a ton more today at work of people complaining. I just started to tune it out so I wouldnt go off on any of the ingrates. Then to make it worse I was in a meeting today where they were talking about the feedback the employees had given on recognition and it was brought up again that multiple employees feel that the management should spend at least $5.00 each week to buy items for their staff. I think that was the last straw for me.

I dont think Im going to go out of my way to do anything like this again. Im done, why should I try to do something nice only to get complained at. Its not worth it.

Posted by Contagion at 07:04 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

January 08, 2008

Here comes sensitivity class again.

Blew a gasket at work again. I think I kept it pent up way too long. There has been a series of incidents that really pissed me off, but instead of blowing up, I rolled with the punches and just tried to be a team player. Maybe my personality isn't one that should do stuff like that, or maybe I should try more stress relieving activities. Unfortunately I can't get to the range as often as I liked, even I am starting to worry about my drinking and I think Ktreva is annoyed by how many times a day I try to give her a ride on the ol' love rocket.

Most of the problems started two months ago when I went to Tennessee with Bloodspite. While I was away my peers volunteered my people to handle a project that not only would take forever and a day to complete but would tie up at least 2 people a day, every day until it's finished. Than one of my highest producing employees gave birth taking her out of the office for 2 months. A lot of my people had vacation time making me even more short staffed. We had to give up people to help other areas and there was no one to assist me. There were days that I actually had 3 of the 17 people that work for me working on our daily work.

Then my grandmother died. While I was out of the office then a decision was made that three of my people would assist another arena everyday until they get caught up, be damned what my workload was. Rumor has it that it was stated that the decision was made while I was out of the office because "Contagion wouldn't go for this if he was here." Then they didn't even have the common courtesy or respect to advise me of the situation when I returned. I had to learn it from my employees and when I asked about the plan I was blown off.

Yet, I kept rolling with it and doing my best to keep everyone appraised of my situation and what I'm trying to do to correct it. Right now I'm back logged so badly that I'm in violation of state law and the company is paying fines. No matter what I said, no one else seemed to listen. Until today that is. I finally got them to understand that my unit can't handle everything dumped on them, I can't get assistance for them and I need to start pulling resources back to correct the situation.

Well one of my peers whom had the assistance I was providing pulled got upset and sent me a nasty e-mail stating that I wasn't looking at the big picture and taking care of our customers. The is the peer that had the assistance pulled from my area when my grandmother died.

I came unglued.

I responded with a rather lengthy e-mail explaining how I took offense to what they implied and I felt they were out of line. I explained the entire situation so she could see the big picture. It took me an hour to type it. Not because it's that long but because I had to re-write it three times. I was so mad the first three that it was really nasty and insulting. Even the copy I sent was pretty bad, but I couldn't make it any nicer. I wouldn't make it any nicer.

I'm fully expecting to get called into an office tomorrow, but I'm sticking to my guns. Even after cooling off I still want to go throttle the bitch.

Posted by Contagion at 06:35 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 14, 2007

Post meeting glogg.

Here I sit drinking Glogg. Why, well because my meeting today went way longer than I anticipated. It was supposed to last for one hour, but ended up taking up almost two full hours. To be honest it wasnt as bad as I expected. Mainly because I only walked in there with one sheet of paper and didnt go into a lot of details. We have all heard the old adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well if youre a male management in my female dominated office and you are the squeaky wheel, you dont get the grease but you do get hosed. Actually they would probably hammer me until I didnt move so I couldnt make any noise. That seems to be the standard operating procedure for this office.

So why did my meeting run two hours if I didnt talk about anything? Well because we had to dish about my people. IE we had to gossip. Any of you that have met me know that I do not gossip. I dont like it; Ive severed friendships because of their gossipy behavior. Most of the meeting was me talking about how good of a team I had, all of their strengths, where I want to develop some of them and where our weakness as a team is.

From the serious fishing expedition that was going on, I knew she wanted the dirt. Since I dont gossip, I dont have any and on the couple of people I did have something I wouldnt share it with her. The couple of situations I have my people told me stuff in confidence and Im not about to sacrifice their trust just so I can win points with the new management. I know my peers did, because they gossip all of the time. In fact the one that was in the meeting right before me I could make out parts of her conversation while I waited outside, she was gossiping like an old woman at a quilting bee.

I figured after maintaining my integrity and dignity for two hours, I deserved a hot beverage of happiness. By the white cockade on my pretty blue bonnet, Im going to have it!

Posted by Contagion at 06:50 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 13, 2007


Tomorrow at 11:00 I have a meeting with my new manager. She wants to know what all of what my unit and my responsibilities are. I'm supposed to go in there with all kind of documentation and reports regarding my people and including what duties I have that are outside the standard for someone in my position. I do almost three times the amount of work that the other's do. I'm also the one that ends up having to carry the burden for the rest of the unit when something goes wrong. I could use this time to bring that to light...

... or I'll do what I'm planning on doing and not saying a damn thing. See if I actually go into detail I know the answer I'm going to get. In a previous position I had, I reported to this individual. Thus I am familiar with her management style. I know if I say anything, not only will I still not get any support, but I'll be expected to fix the problems that they created by putting me in this situation. Her answer to EVERYTHING is, "How would you change it." So the conversation would go like this:

I get done explaining in great detail my extra duties, finishing with, "I really need some relief and assistance."

Her: If you where in my position, how would you change it?

Me: Well, I'd distribute some of these extra duties to others and on the shared duties I'd make sure they were doing them as they are supposed to and not leaving it up to one person.

Her: So why don't you do that?

Me: Honestly? Because I'm not my peers manager. Thus I can't force them to do some of this stuff. Especially since upper management assigned everything to me.

Her: I'm sure if you talked with them they would be more then willing to help.

Me: I've spoken with them, and asked. They say they will help, but don't do it.

Her: Do you say something to them?

Me: Yes, I've asked why they didn't follow through and they state they forgot or didn't have time. And since it needs to be done today I end up having to do it all. Most of these projects and duties are time sensitive. I can't just leave them to not get done. Especially since it's ultimately my responsibility they get done.

Her: I think this is something you need to work out with your peers.

Me: Okay, I'll do that. (Desperately trying to hide the sarcasm.)

Her: Good, I'd like to see the final proposal on my desk by the end of next week, including any other documentation you might have. And can you please add a 100 page analysis on the efficiency of your proposal.

Me: ... Sure ... (Figuring I won't do it and she'll forget anyway)

The gist of this is that I know I will be wasting an hour of my life tomorrow being told that I need to do more.

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December 10, 2007

Avoid the holiday party!

Saturday night I did something Ive never done before, I went to my companys Holiday Party. When I say never, I mean never. Not for this or any company or organization that Ive worked for have I gone to their Holiday party, and I can pretty much tell you Im never going to go again. It was a mistake that I shall not make twice.

I should have known the night was going to go bad when we arrived. I had thought it started at 5:00 PM, but it didnt start until 6:00PM. Fortunately at the hotel they were having the party, there is a decent bar. Ktreva and I spent the first hour and half sitting in the bar priming our livers. It didnt take long before other people from work started showing up. Thats when I noticed I made my first faux pas. They were all dressed nicely, I was wearing work boots, jeans, a black Guns dont kill people, Zombies Kill people t-shirt, an old flannel and a Packer hat. Not that I cared, I wear a shirt and tie every day; they can see how I normally dress for once.

After 6:00PM we headed into the room were the part was, luckily it was right across the hall from the bar. We quickly found a group of people we know, including Bruce, and sat down. Being the festive kind of guy that I am, I brought along a little cheer. After sitting I pulled out a thermos filled with Glogg. I poured myself a cup and shared some with the rest of the table. Needless to say fifteen minutes later no one was feeling anything. I also was sharing it with people as they passed by. Its funny to watch their reaction to drinking it. Actually I received my first two negative reviews of my glogg. That kind of hurts, because I now only have a 99% approval rating.

They served dinner buffet style. After dinner was supposed to be some presentations and awards. Well to be honest Id had enough of the atmosphere as I could have taken. There were people I didnt want to talk to coming up and talking to me. So I slipped out the door and headed back to the bar. Only to find my people from work there doing the same thing. Mainly because drinks were cheaper in the bar than in the party room. I sat down with a couple of people that I knew and got along with and started drinking there.

Ktreva had disappeared long before I left. She was quite the social butterfly, probably because she was heavily socially lubricated. In fact I think in the 45 minutes I sat at the table she was there for only 15 minutes. Which was fine by me, as long as she was having fun than I didnt care. Well that and she didnt try to make me socialize with people I have no intention of dealing with outside of work. I figured shed find me if she needed me.

After a while I decided it was time to leave. Not only was I starting to spout of angry comments at other management and my manager, but also I was starting to get the urge to throw things at them. Now you could say this was because I was socially lubricated and I was, slightly, but it was mainly because I was in a very uncomfortable situation. Alcohol doesnt make you do things you dont want to do. It lowers your inhibitions to do things that you know are wrong. Thus there are people Ive wanted to hit in the head at work for a while; I just had a nice heavy beer glass to do it with this time.

Besides me hitting the uncomfortable/angry zone, Ktreva was getting overly flirty with other guys. I needed to save us before one of us did something really stupid.

We ended up leaving and heading down to Fritzs. Why waste a perfectly good babysitter? Plus Fritzs is a happy place where I can be comfortable and happy. We ended up leaving just before close. Fritzs is better than any therapy session.

Today at work I caught an earful about Ktreva and my antics. First off, there were a lot of people that didnt know I was even there. Since we sat by the door and left right after dinner was done, most of the people didnt see me. Secondly, there was talk about the glogg. I think next year they are going to have a dont bring your own alcohol rule Lastly was some of the overheard comments I made to other management, including insinuating one of them was an idiot.

So in recap, going to the company holiday part is a bad idea.

I wont even tell you the reaction I had when other management suggested I help plan it next year.

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October 16, 2007

I think they may actually like me.

Today is boss's day. Typically I don't like getting gifts, it embarrasses me, and my people know this so they leave me out of all the gift exchanges and stuff like that. Today, however, I come back from a meeting and my desk is decorated in balloons and crepe paper. While I was in a meeting they swarmed my desk and decorated it to the hilt. Then they gave me a gift. Of couse now I'm embarrassed and my ears and cheeks are turning red so they are loving it.

They got me a new lunch cooler. The one I had was over 10 years old and looked like I pulled it from the bottom of a lake. In fact I know for a fact that one time I did exactly that after I dropped it while fishing. They got me a brand new, lighter and nicer looking cooler that has all kinds of pockets and compartments for different things.

To make it even better they packed it full of water and carrots. Since that 's mainly what I eat and drink at work is water and carrots. I thought it was a cool Boss's day gift. I think they just liked the facts my ears were red for about two hours.

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October 11, 2007

I am their hero

Its the magical Karma thing. You know, you do something good for someone else and something good happens to you. I went to an off site retreat today for work. I was kind of dreading this, as these things are usually nothing more then how to be more sensitive to your employees crap. As we all know Im the most farking sensitive arsehole in my company. Thinking that is what this was going to be, I really was not looking forward to it.

It was held at a log lodge owned and operated by the local YMCA. Its a nice location and I love the atmosphere of the place. The problem is that the heat in there is not exactly the best, but it does have two fireplaces. When I walked in the building had a good chill to it. Outside it was about 45 degrees and inside it was about 55 degrees. Everyone was complaining about the cold. I looked at the fireplace and made the offhand comment, Well, we could always build a fire. Our Director (Above manager) emphatically said yes, lets build a fire. Now I was just joking around, I like it cold and thought it was fine in there. But I thought, hey if they want one, I can build it. Then someone stated, You cant build a fire, we dont have any fire starters or newspaper. All we have is wood. Oh it was on. Im a re-enactor; if I couldnt get a fire started then I dont deserve to call myself a re-enactor.

I look at the wood supply, nothing but big logs. Okay, no problem. I pull out my handy dandy pocketknife and get to work. I peal the bark off some of the logs, scrape the inside and get a nice bundle of fiber. As I was digging through the pile I found a birch log with some bark still on it. Score! This stuff is fire making gold. Then I used my knife to whittle off some smaller kindling and tinder. When I asked if anyone had a lighter, no one did. But they found a book of matches that had two matches in it. Again I heard, Youll never get it started with only two matches and no newspaper or fire starters.

I scoffed.

I chortled.

Hell, I even giggled.

One match was all it took. I touched the burning match to the bundle I had made and it went up faster then house set to torch in any movie. People actually cooed and awed as the bright glow of warmth spread across the fireplace. They actually took peoples pictures standing around warming themselves by it. I had a lot of people thank me and tell me that I was there hero. These were sincere thanks and actually appreciated what I did.

Then Karma set in. Not only was the retreat anything but sensitivity training, it was actually kind of fun. It got out early and I was able to hit Carlyle Brewing Co. I needed to pick up some growlers of beer to take with down to Fort Obie for my friend Will. When I got there I noticed they had some new beers, including a Walnut Stout. I couldnt help but to sample a pint. OH MY HECK. If you like their regular stout, you should get down to sample one of these before its gone, they only ran single batch, but its damn good.

It was a good day.

Posted by Contagion at 05:59 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 05, 2007

I can't believe I did that!

I was talking to one of my peers at work as we were putting together an appreciation gift for our employees. We were in the middle of it when out of the blue she asks me, "What were you doing Saturday night?" My first thought was, "trying to kill off enough brain cells to not think about this place." But I responded, "Oh, just hanging out with some friends. Why?" She then tells me that she was just curious since I called her.

uh.... what???

Okay, as we all know last Saturday was the BlogCrawl. Which, I would like to personally thank each and everyone of you that participated or stopped by to see what kind of trouble I was getting into. During the time to get drunk phase of the crawl, I was down at Fritz's. After getting a damn good drunk on I decided it was time to start making some drunk calls. Hell, the only time I like talking on the phone is when I'm lit.

I started making my calls and I decided to call Boudicca to say "Hello! I'm drunk!" I picked up my phone looked her up in my directory and made my call. I start talking to her on the other line, only she has no idea who I am. I confirm using her real first name that I am indeed talking to her. And it takes forever to get her to recognize who she is talking to. She then tells me she is heading out with her husband so before I get a chance to pass the phone around to everyone, we hang up. At least five minutes of this conversation was trying to establish my identity.

I was a little hurt that Bou wouldn't recognize me to the fact I left a drunken comment on her blog about her not recognizing me on the phone. But then again I never call her so how would she recognize me. It never occurred to me that I called the wrong person. Because you know there is only one person on the planet that has that very uncommon first name of hers. (note sarcasm)

So now I have to back peddle and try to protect myself. This peer knows nothing about "Contagion" or Miasmatic Review, or the fact that I blog and apparently I made some references to myself that way. Fortunately enough for me, she and her husband were drinking too so she doesn't remember everything, that and because my phone call started a fight between her and her husband. Apparently he is the possessive and jealous type and wanted to know why another guy is calling her on Saturday night.

I guess next time I need to double check who I'm calling before I dial.

Posted by Contagion at 06:12 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

Oh why.

Guh, it was one of those fun days at work. Besides everyone of my football buddies confusing the hell out of me regarding what the plans were this weekend for the games (It's at Bruce's, no it's at Bob's, It's at Bruce's, Bruce has to spend time with his kid, so it's at Bob's.... etc), I also had to have one of those meetings. Actually I ended up having two of them.

You know what I mean by those meetings. Yea, the "Can I see you in my office, please close the door." meetings.

The first one was because of something I did. I guess my disgruntledness was getting the better of my tact filter in my brain and I slipped into old time Contagion. Not the "You're a farking Idiot" guy, but the one that would say things like, "You have no clue what you're talking about do you?" I guess it just irritated me that someone was preaching to me about inventory management when A) It's what I used to do for years and at one point they corporation modeled the position off of my style and B) It's from someone that has no clue about inventory management other then saying, "The inventory is too high!" Well no shite, anyone that can do basic math could figure that out. It was a fun two hour meeting.

The second one was because one of my employees did something that they really ought not to have done. I mean on a serious level. I had to get a private room for feedback and get everyone's sides of the stories and try to alleviate the situation. That was good hour long meeting that I think will result in another one tomorrow.

So from today I think I'll be seeing sensitivity class again. Or they could fire me... I don't think I'd get that lucky.

Posted by Contagion at 04:53 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

Twas hell i'twas.

I'm back from my retreat. God that was awfully boring, especially since most of the stuff they covered we covered at the Conference I went to in August and other meetings I've attended in the last three months.

I'd tell you more about it, but I really need a beer right now. For the beer review that is... yeah for the beer review.

Posted by Contagion at 04:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 18, 2007

Off again

Work is sending me off on another retreat. No, this one is not sensitivity class. What burns me about this whole thing is that again I asked "Do I have to go?" Because I have a lot of stuff going on at work, at home and with my health I didn't feel that two extra days out of the office would do me any good. In their infinite wisdom it was decreed that this, indeed, was a mandatory event and I have to go.

So last week I'm finishing up details and seeing who else is going from my office so we can carpool or what not. They have 8 of these seminars going on through out the year, so the sups attending were spread out. Come to find out that no one else from my office is attending this one. Even the ones that were assigned to go at this time aren't going. It seems that they weren't able to register, so they aren't going.

In fact most of the other management in the office is not attending. Needless to say this rather irritates me because if I had known that if I just held off registering for this and waited too long, that I wouldn't have to go.

This double standard at work is really starting to piss me off.

Posted by Contagion at 05:55 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 30, 2007

I am strong willed...?

My employees had a potluck as part of a baby shower for one of my people. The tables with all the food were set up around my desk, because thats where they had room for it. It was chuck full with all kinds of food I like. Fried Chicken (Cant eat), Potato Salad (cant eat), Pasta Salad (Cant eat), Chicken Salad (cant eat), Cake (Cant Eat), Chocolate Pie (Cant eat) and on and on. The only things I can eat are the raw vegetables tray and whole grain rolls.

Yea, the temptation was great all day. But I managed not to succumb to it.

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August 15, 2007

Oops, I forgot to tell you all something.

I just realized I forgot to share with all of you that I was going to be in Texas for the last four days. I left Sunday and literally just got back to the house. Sorry about that.

Here is what happened: Work sent me to Texas for a Supervisor Conference. (Not fun)

I didn't want to go and was told it was mandatory. (Then a bunch of other people didn't go, or once they got there they skipped out on the conference to go shopping.)

I learned that most of the females in my office are witches (-w +b) and they were probably that way in high school since they still act like they are. You know cliches, being judgmental, talking behind others backs, are only nice to you if they want something, etc.

I met a lot of people that I really liked and/or wanted to meet. It was great for networking, unfortunately most of my peers didn't take the opportunity for it as they where too busy being in their own little cliches.

Oh, American Airlines can mangle a suitcase like no one else, and they have crappy customer service in the baggage assistance area. Yea, I don't think I'm ever going to get that replacement suitcase.

Anyway I'm back.

Posted by Contagion at 04:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 26, 2007

Contagion. Now with more sensitivity.

I have returned from Sensitivity Class. It was a refreshing break from weekly grind in that a couple of things that have never happened before to me happened over the last couple of days.

Lets start off with the most insensitive thing that has happened. Tuesday night after dinner I returned to the Hotel Room. By nine oclock I was bored off my arse and wanted a snack so I ran to a little convenience store next to the hotel, sure it was a longer walk, but it cost a third as much to get what I wanted. When I returned to the hotel room there was still nothing on TV. Being the curious individual I am, and in a new place I started searching the room for anything and found nothing. So I went to look out the window. I peaked through the curtain and saw I had the wonderful view of another hotel. YAY! Just as I was about to shut the curtains something caught my attention, boobs. There was a couple having sex across the way from me and one floor down.

I did what any red blooded American male would do. I turned out the lights, repositioned the recliner in front of the window, got myself a drink and ate Cheesy Chex Mix while watching this couple go at it for 15 minutes. Hey, I was bored. They werent the best looking, but it was the best thing to watch. Sure its a little creepy to be sitting in the dark watching some strangers have sex across the way, but hey they obviously wanted to be watched and I was willing to oblige. I was just wishing I had brought with those binoculars that work gave us last year for something. It would have made the show more interesting. And before you ask, no Mr. Happy did not get covered in orange powder. Unfortunately there wasnt a repeat show Wednesday night.

This class was a little different then the other ones. Most of the people in this class were new management that hadnt done anything; they just needed to go through it. Technically, I think I was the only one sent for punitive corrective reasons. Of course they all seemed to be the uber liberal types. I was involved in more debates over Obama VS Hillary for president. I just smiled and nodded, until someone said something about outlawing guns. Then I very politely excused myself from the table, went outside and screamed at the tops of my lungs. Did you know homeless people dont like it when you do that?

Now here is where the twilight zone comes into play. Guess who the star pupil was? If youre gasping in disbelief and saying, no way, it couldnt have been you than youre right. I decided this time I was just going to toe the line and not cause any trouble. I turned out to be the star pupil. I guess something from those other four times sunk in. But I wasnt just the star pupil; I was leaps and bounds over the rest of the class. The instructor and the observers were all impressed with my feedback techniques and people skills. Stop laughing, I have them, I just never use them.

Now here is where it gets really weird. Today one of the observers wasnt able to come due to some family emergency or something. So the instructor had to fill the roll as the observer for a Roll Playing session. Since she was doing that, she needed someone to lead the class. Yep, she looked at me and said, Contagion, youve been most impressive in your knowledge of the material and interactions. Do you think you could lead the discussion on this chapter while I do the observations? Im sure you already have a firm grasp on the material, all you have to do is go over the material in the instructors book and make sure you hit the key points Ive highlighted.

What was I going to say? Well, let me rephrase that I told her I would. So for 45 minutes today I instructed the class on Mutual Respect. No joking, I was the instructor. I had a class full of students listening to me instruct them on the fine art of Mutual Respect and being sensitive to others feelings.

So now, for all of you that have been saying Ive been sent so many times I could instruct the class I guess youre correct. Either that or your psychic.

But to make you feel better, I did get a talking to once while there. During Arts and Crafts time (Dont ask) I was singing All For Me Grog under my breath again. And as usual it was the bawdy version. I dont know why a house of ill repute isnt being sensitive, but hey I learned my lesson.

Posted by Contagion at 06:39 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 24, 2007

For whom the bell tolls.

Do you hear something? It is the sound of a low, lamenting, tolling bell alerting people of a mournful event. For whom does the bell toll? That would be me of course. Now dont worry my good readers, this is nothing I wont survive. Ive been down this path many times before. Sometimes just for a partial day, usually for a day and a half. This time it is a 2.5 day long journey.

For today I head to sensitivity class again. (BONG!) There is a difference from this time to all the others. The class Im going to is an intensive two and a half day course designed to help those special cases where other classes failed. Let me translate that: This is for your really difficult people that have scoffed off all of our previous attempts at brainwashing them to believing that the entire world should be PC. (BONG!) We have specially trained instructors to help educate and enlighten the students to the emotions and perceptions of those they interact. Translation: We have highly skilled brainwashers that can reprogram your people to pussyfoot around others. (BONG!) Sessions include: Being more sensitive to your staff. Acknowledging others feelings in the work place. Difficult employee or an opportunity for personal growth. Helping you to help others. My employees, my friends. Translation: Sessions include: Dont make your staff cry. No matter what you do, dont upset the staff. Youre employee is a pain in the arse, but you need to ignore it. Why you suck. Lets join hands and sing Kum By Yah. (BONG!)

But on the bright side Im going to be able to eat on the company dollar at some of my favorite restaurants in Chicago. On Wednesday night if any of you want to meet me in Chicago for dinner that would be great. I'll be at Fodo's at 100 W. Grand. Since Im going to be away from a computer youll have to either call me if you have my number or contact Ktreva and shell get your information to me. If you cant or dont want to, thats fine. But do me a favor; just keep me in your thoughts for the next 72 hours.

May the powers that be watch over my soul.

Posted by Contagion at 05:02 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 26, 2007

Now she knows.

You may find this hard to believe, but I really am a man of few words. Few complimentary words that is. I have a hard time telling people how good they are at different things. Which makes my management style in our office completely different from everyone elses. Sure I tell my people when they do a good job, and give them a pat on the back. But I dont stroke their egos for doing the job that is expected.

Its time for the annual reviews in my office and if you recall I worked from home last Wednesday to get them finished. Not that mine were long, maybe a paragraph or two. Its just that I have a hard time coming up with long worded complimentary statements. I also dont like getting long ones. In fact I generally like them to just tell me what I do wrong and let me fix it. If you like what I do, show me were it counts.

And thats exactly what I did. After a year and a half of having direct reports, this is the first time any of them are getting a review solely based on my observations. Thus its easier for me to actually rate, appraise and praise them. Tonight I gave my first employee their annual review and showed them the dollar amount of the raise they were getting. After going over the appraisal and rating they read the brief couple of paragraphs I wrote about them. Then I said, Im not good with telling people how much I appreciate them, Id much rather show them. I slid the paperwork for their raise across the table. Her hands covered her mouth while she started to cry in happiness. I know that the message came across loud and clear. They did a good job and I appreciate all they do for the company.

Im actually looking forward to giving the rest of my employees their reviews.

Posted by Contagion at 07:19 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

June 22, 2007

Over the last month I had been talking about bar-b-que at work. Either it was good bar-b-que I had eaten or stuff that I had made. When I was talking about some smoked sausages I made last week, a couple of my employees asked me when I was going to shut up or put up meaning, when was I going to stop talking about how good it was and let them sample what I was talking about. The problem is that its time intensive and hard to bring to work. That is until today.

We had a baby shower for one of my employees. To go with the baby shower we decided to have a potluck. Anyone that has ever worked or works for my company knows that they will have a potluck any chance they get. Look its going to rain next week, we should have a potluck. Anyway, since this was for an actual good reason I thought I could take the time to make a nice bar-b-que treat for all of them. Wednesday, while working from home, I made smoked sausages between reviews. Once they had smoked for a good 4 hours, I coated each link in sauce and let it crisp.

Last night after the sausages cooled, I sliced them into bite size bits and put the remainder of the sauce on them. Then over a low heat in the oven this morning I re-heated them. I didnt make a lot, just because it was kind of expensive and they were spicy. At work I placed them on the table, with a warning label, so that no one got a heated surprise.

The best was when my employee that had been the most vocal about my bringing these sausages in actually tried one; she about coughed up a lung. I told her repeatedly they were spicy. But she didnt listen. She took one of the chunks popped it into her mouth and started eating. Her eyes started watering and she started coughing and gasping for air. I about fell over in laughter. But her review of them was what I was hoping for. They taste really good Then she added, But they are too spicy for me. Not everyone felt the same way. A lot of people really liked them; they ate most of the bowl. Everyone that liked it stated it would taste better on bread.

For too many of the people I had made them way to spicy. Even one lady that I work with that loves hot and spicy food thought it was a little excessive. But she made the observation that Its not spicy hot just to be hot. Its hot because the flavor dictates it needs to be hot. Which she translated into IE if you made them any milder you would throw off the flavor combination that made them so good.

Hell, Im happy with that.

Posted by Contagion at 05:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 20, 2007

Something Different

I have to do my annual review of my employees. Since it is something that needs a relative amount of privacy so others can't see what I'm writing about an individual, my company allows us to work from home for one day.

Today is my day.

It is a happy day.

I'll have my notification on all day in case I receive an e-mail. That's how I told my work to get a hold of me.

Update 11:23 AM: Holy cow! I'm about 3/4 the way done! this really is more efficient then doing it at work. I'm not constantly being interrupted. I'm going to go take a lunch break now.

Posted by Contagion at 07:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 19, 2007


There are some things that one just isnt meant to understand. The meaning of life, what happens to socks in the dryer, why people in small vehicles like to pull out in front of my truck while Im doing 55 MPH. Ive just come to the conclusion that these things are just not meant for me to understand. These last couple of weeks at work, Ive added yet another thing to that list.

Why is there no logic to the decisions made by my peers and superiors?

Example. Last week I had 6 projects that had to be done by end of business Friday. One of them I had known about since the end of May, but due to the availability of certain data, I could not get started on it until Monday. On Tuesday they sent me to another office on business, effectively taking away 20% of my work time. After busting hump all week it looked like I was going to finish all 6 projects by the end of business on Friday. Then at 11:00AM on Friday I get hit with, Contagion, I have a project I need you to handle. After some prodding and asking, it too had to be done by the end of the day. After going over my list of other projects and the precarious deadline for them as well. I was told that THIS project takes precedence. Then I explained that according to other management my other projects take precedence and to be honest the one that directly affected my employees was the one that I was going to finish first.

And before I could think I asked, If its so important, why are you waiting until 11:00 AM on Friday to give it to me. The response was that they had given it to someone else two weeks ago, but they didnt have access to the right reports in order to get it done today. Okay well fine but the reports they dont have access to, neither do I. So it was Okay, whats the soonest you can get access? Monday at the earliest, probably Wednesday was my best guess. Now, the logic of everything else that led up to this is escaping me and the more I learned the more confused I became. But it was after telling them Wednesday would be the most likely time to get the access when Im told. Well do it right away, we need you to get these reports done. That I had the revelation that I will never, ever in my lifetime be able to understand how my superiors and peers come to the decisions they make.

See the reason I wasnt originally given the project was because I already have a heavier work load then my peers. My peer that was given the original project sat on it for a week before saying she didnt have access. Instead of giving it to me right away or trying to get her access, they waited until Friday to throw it on my load. Then when I didnt have access, I needed to get it right away so that I could do the project late. Why not have the original person that screwed up request the access that day? Maybe they should have given it to me right away so I could have tried to squeeze it in. Of course they could have given it back to the original person and told them to get the access so they could do it late.

The sad thing is that if they were trying to do something to make me look bad, this doesnt work. Ive got all the documentation that they waited until late in the day to give it to me and that I didnt have access. All out of my control, so Im not worried about it. My work philosophy plays in well with this situation.

A bad decision by you does not make an emergency for me.

Posted by Contagion at 07:13 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

June 12, 2007

Business Trip

Work is sending me to Naperville, IL this morning. I'm not sure what time this evening I'm going to be back. The reason I'm going to this other office really isn't for fun reasons. Couple that with with the fact that no one really knows what is going to happen should make for a long day. Oh, and probably some extremely unhappy people.

O'well, I guess I'm just doing my job.

Posted by Contagion at 05:36 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 07, 2007

The joke's on me.

At my place of employment it is pretty common to see candy dishes or bowls set out for people to help themselves to a little treat. Heck, Im known in the office as the guy that has the good chocolate. (I work mainly with women, having chocolate at my desk keeps them mellower and me saner.) Yesterday was I was walking through my unit just talking to my employees about anything but work; I noticed one of them had a bowl with green, yellow and white Jelly Beans in it. Being as I am a Green Bay Packer fan, I couldnt help but notice it was their color scheme.

I asked her what was up with the Packer themed jelly beans. She advised that they are all flavors she didnt like out of this bag of jelly beans she had bought. The green was pear, the yellow was lemon and the white was buttered popcorn. I figured Id try one to see how bad it was. I started with a pear and about lost my lunch. It was disgusting. They laughed at the face I made while finishing it off.

Opting not to try the yellow since I dont like lemon, I grabbed a white one. Now, I love popcorn, and these werent bad. It didnt taste exactly like buttered popcorn, but you could get the similarity. Since I liked them, she told me to take all the white ones and I did. As I walked up and down the rows talking to my people one of them asked me what I was eating. Its popcorn flavored jelly beans. Theyre pretty good, I tell her. She then asked me were I got them. So I told her that the other employee didnt like them and gave them to me. She says to me, Make sure you dont eat too many, they are sugar free.

At that point I had already eaten about 30 of the things, and I knew I was in for trouble. I go back to the employee I got them from and confirmed they were indeed sugar free. She even has the bag they came out of. Right on the back it states eating too many can cause Gastric Distress. The main sweetening ingredient in sugar-free candy is Maltitol. Its also used as the active ingredient in laxatives. I had just finished eating a handful of these little gastric bombs. I knew was I going to be in trouble.

My employees are laughing, the one that gave it to me didnt think to warn me they were sugar-free, and found it even more amusing. After they all had a great laugh, and I explained that I was going to be able to spend some quality time in the bathroom, I went back to my desk. About 45 minutes later Im doing the duck walk to the bathroom as I feel a tightening in my bowel. This fun lasted for another couple of hours until it was finally out of my system.

Thanks to my employees, I think my colon is the cleanest its been in years.

Posted by Contagion at 05:44 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

Pushing sensitivity aside.

Its been a long time since Ive shared one of these stories with all of you, so I thought now is a good time to do so. Plus its a nice light story to help make Friday go by faster. Its been over a year, but now for an installment of Pranks pulled on Minions.

My company is big into the healthy lifestyle movement. They try to get everyone to eat healthier, quit smoking, and just make healthier choices in general. Part of that is walking a mile a day. For the record, I do not participate in these activities. I do have a couple of employees that do. The big thing is the walking. When the weather is bad they walk inside the building making so many laps that would equal a mile. If it is nice outside, they walk around the parameter of the property through the parking lot.

Yesterday as I left the building to go to lunch I see two of my minions power walking through the lot right toward my truck. They looked like they were concentrating really hard on making sure their arms were swinging properly and their pace was fast enough. With keys in my hand, my mischievous side took over. It pushed the sensitivity class reprogrammed part of my brain out of the way. Right as they got next to my truck, I accidentally hit the panic alarm. Anyone that has heard the horn on my truck knows this is not your typical little meep meep sound. Its a HOOOOOoooOOOOONK HOOOOOoooOOOOONK! that can rattle the teeth.

Or in this case make the power walking minions jump a good foot into the air with their arms flailing like the ground had just opened up underneath them. I quickly turned it off. When I go to them they where breathing harder then the power walking would have made them and they looked a little pale. I apologized for hitting the alarm, I meant to hit unlock. They werent mad; in fact they found it humorous. They just wanted to let me know they needed to take a longer lunch so they could go home and change clothes.

I hadnt done anything like that in over a year. Boy do I miss it.

Posted by Contagion at 05:00 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 10, 2007


You would think I would have learned my lesson by now. There is an issue at work that all of my peers and myself agree needs changing. Unfortunately we cant make that change with out approval from upper management. On Tuesday we sat down and talked it over amongst ourselves to make sure we were all on the same page. At that time I told them this will not work unless we all support it AND openly support it. If anyone backs down, then we wont get anything changed. Everyone agreed and wanted to make the change, it was decided that wed discuss this with upper management today in one of our bi-weekly meetings.

We are in the meeting, and one of my peers turns to me and quietly says just to me, Contagion, bring up that thing we spoke about. I should have realized what was going to happen then, but of course I didnt. I laid out my proposal, and as soon as upper management started questioning it or showed hesitation, they all started backing down. Some said, We cant do that. or It wont work.

The sad thing is that this change is not something that will have that big of an impact on me. They all want it more then I do, they are just too damn cowardly to say so. So instead they hang me out as the fall guy (Literally). But you know what, Ive learned my lesson. I know where the battle lines are drawn and that from this point on; its me versus them.

Posted by Contagion at 05:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 22, 2007

Why I'm a big pansey.

Ive been whining about a head cold for three days. Which if that isnt bad enough, I ended up leaving work early today because of it. The incessant dripping of mucus down my throat was annoying enough, starting to lose my voice was even worse. When the front of my face felt like it was trying to bulge out like balloon almost made up my mind.

The icing on the cake was when I made a huge no-no. I took some Nyquil at work. Which, normally isnt bad. I just get a little groggy but I feel a hell of a lot better. Well not today. My brain when into a vapor lock and I ended up making a huge mistake. How huge, uh well I ended up violating some Federal laws. It wasnt intentional. But in my Nyquil addled mind and rush to get work done before a meeting I completely missed a simple step in one of our procedures.

This allowed someones personal information to be released to the wrong people. Quickly I jumped on the phones and started calling all over the place to do damage control. I think everything has been taken care of, and the information was stopped before it was actually sent out. We wont find out until tomorrow if they where able to stop it in time.

So now I feel like a big wussy. Because I couldnt handle the discomfort of a head cold I ended up making a big mistake.

Posted by Contagion at 11:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 20, 2007

Mr. Contagion takes the stand.

I feel like Ive been put through a washer. Last night I started developing a sore throat, that turned into a full blown head cold by midnight. Between the post nasal drip and the river of snot flowing from my nose, it was a little difficult to get any sleep, which didnt help the cold any. That meant my mental capacity is not working at fully acceptable levels all day.

Then to make matters worse we had the first day of a three-day Audit at work. Not an internal audit, but an external audit. An outside company came to check our policies and procedures as well to make sure we are in compliance with State and Federal law. Guess who has to go before the audit review board this afternoon? Thats right, Mr. Groggy head. Why me? Well to be honest, I do most of the inventory tracking, I almost always wear a shirt and tie to work even though I dont have to, and Ive had experience going through these before.

I knew this was coming and that I was going to have to give testimony, but I didnt realize what it was going to be like. I spent an hour and a half being grilled by a panel of four over where we get our information, how we come up with our figures, and how we confirm that the information is accurate. Since two of the panel have never worked in my industry, it was really difficult to try to explain things to them.

About half way through, I started developing a headache. That made things even more difficult. Then they start questions where I came up with these procedures and policies. Folks, I would like to say that my mouth filter kicked in and that the last year of working hard to be a better corporate citizen paid off

but it didnt. I spouted off, I didnt. Someone else came up with them, I was just taught how to find the data using these methods and have been doing it since. If you really want to know why things are done this way, I suggest you come back three months ago and ask the guy whom I took over doing these reports for.

Yea, probably not the best answer. An hour and a half later Im finally released from my tribunal. I feel like I was raked over hot coals. At one point I had to lead the panel on a field trip to my desk to give them a demonstration of the reporting system and basic math. No Im not joking. I couldnt get them to grasp the concept that Beginning inventory + Receipts Ending Inventory = Releases. Yes it was really that simple.

Now if youll excuse me, Im going to go mix some Jack-quil D to take care of this head cold and to forget.

Because I get to do it again tomorrow only over a different procedure.

Posted by Contagion at 05:30 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Take back the hour!

Theresa of Technicalities talks about the lack of foresight by our elected leaders when they altered Daylight Savings Time. I agree with her, why fix whats not broke. Unless you want to break something so that people can spend money to fix what they broke. Yea, that was a confusing sentence. Me, I have a simple solution.

Today at work I announced that I no longer recognize nor observe Daylight Savings time. This year I will not change my watch, reset any clocks or anything. I am officially on Contagion doesnt give a flying rats arse time. That means that if they do not show up by 7:00 AM CST (Contagion Standard Time) they will be counted as late. If they leave after 3:30 PM CST they will not get paid for hours worked outside of standard business hours.

I explained to all of my peers and managers that if they do not comply with my time, then they will be violating my diversity and insensitive to my personal beliefs. I will be offended by their lack of diversity and understanding. The work hours will rotate around my scientific and logical belief that politicians cannot dictate the time. Sure they can tell you they are going to change it, but if you think about it, they really are not. They arent changing the time; they are just telling you that the time is different. If they told you that between March and November that grass is actually orange, and everyone says it is orange its not really orange!

Well dammit! Im taking a stand! Ive turned off all the daylight savings time features on my electronics and am set to make my stand. It is currently 7:30 PM in exactly 168 hours it will still be 7:30 PM not 8:30PM that Congress wants you to believe it will be.

So dont buy into the conspiracy to take away our time! Take back your watches, your clocks and your hour of sleep!

Now if youll excuse me, Im going to go replace my tinfoil beanie. Ive seemed to torn mine in the rant.

Yes, the above is a joke... all though I did actually tell my employees and my employer that I no longer recognize daylight savings time. I'm waiting to see what they do.

Posted by Contagion at 07:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 11, 2007

I'm bilingual?

Apparently my brain does have a filter to prevent me from saying things that will get me into a lot of trouble. It also seems that it speaks in different languages then I do.

I had a big meeting this morning at work. We were going over a problem we are having with some of our inventory. This has been something Ive been working on for 3 weeks to no avail. One of my two managers started making statements that where completely uninformed and outlandishly simple on how to deal with the situations. One of the statements was, All you have to do is make a phone call and its done. That statement would be the equivalent of saying is, All you have to do is push a button on a camera and you have a picture in your hand. Well, no. You have to load the camera with film, then you take the lens cap off, aim the picture, push the button, take the film to have it developed, the people there do there job and an hour later you have your picture. Sorry, I couldnt come up with a better analogy. The phone call was step one in a 30-step process. Phone calls had been made 3 weeks ago, so its more then that. There was a bunch of other stuff being said as well.

I tried to explain its not as simple as he would like to think. He kept insisting this could be done by the end of the day. In reality, even if I had an easy button and the planets aligned just right so that I had the powers of a god, the soonest it could be done is tomorrow, in reality it will be another 2 weeks while all the other departments involved get online. He just kept interrupting me, making outlandish statements and completely being an annoyance. My temper was starting to get the better of me, and it was getting heated in that room. Finally my temper let loose with, You farking idiot. You might want to shut up while the people that know what they are doing discuss this you stupid son of a beaotch.

It was at that point the buffer in my brain kicked in. However, instead of not letting me say anything, it translated it into a different language. A fictional different language. One that only the most hard core of geeks may pretend to know. No, it wasnt Klingon; it was Wookie. Yea, I said Wookie, as in Chewbacca from Star Wars. Thats right, in the middle of a meeting I let out a very loud Wookie howl. The meeting stopped dead.

My peers are looking at me with that, What the hell was that? look on their faces. The two managers just kind of stared at me as if I had spontaneously grown a second head. I was so hot that I didnt even realize what I had done until one of my peers started laughing and another one asked me what that noise I made was. Then in my head I heard the sound I had just made. Fortunately, none of the people in the room were big enough Star Wars fans to recognize it, except for one person. They did say it was an impressive Wookie howl.

Eh, at least I didnt get in trouble.

Posted by Contagion at 07:10 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 02, 2007

Why do I have to go back?

Why is the first day back to work after a long vacation from work so hard? I didnt do anything all that taxing, but damn if this day did not suck. It only took 30 minutes of me sitting at my desk to start day dreaming of still being in bed, watching TV or even just blogging. Alas, I had to be a responsible adult and go to work.

Thankfully there is another holiday weekend in two weeks. I need a break.

Posted by Contagion at 04:58 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 14, 2006

Tons o' tips.

Yesterday I bought lunch for my employees as an appreciation for all of their hard work. I let them decide where we would get lunch. Of course getting 18 people to agree on anything takes a minor miracle. After much debate, some mediation and finally my drawing a circle in the parking lot and letting two of them fight it out with staffs, they decided on a local Bar-B-Que joint.

When I called the restaurant two weeks ago to order the food, they where very helpful by assisting me place my order. They asked how many people I was feeding, asked me what I wanted. I went with pulled pork, rib tips, coleslaw, potato salad and cornbread muffins. They then helped me determine how much of each I would need. Everything sounded great over the phone.

Yesterday I went and picked it up. After I paid for the food, they brought out a huge bag with three large foil pans. I knew I had too much food, there was no way my team was going to eat all of that. Then the lady told me there was more. I ended up having to have two of their employees help me carry it all out to the truck. I had 10 pounds of tips, 8 pounds of pulled pork, 3 quarts of coleslaw, 3 quarts of potato salad and 24 cornbread muffins. Yea, there was no way they were going to eat all of that.

Out of all the people eating, I was the only guy. 18 women are not going to eat close to a pound of meat each. That would be enough food if I were having 10 guys over for an all day football fest maybe. That meant there was a ton of left over food. I offered it to my peers, to my bosses, to my bosss peers, to the secretaries in the front office, security, etc. I still had at least 8 pounds of left over meat, and at least one quart each of coleslaw and potato salad. Since I was the one that ordered it, I got to take it home.

Now as you all may remember, I loves me some good bar-b-que. This, however, is not good bar-b-que. Dont get me wrong, it tasted just fine. Actually the pulled pork was excellent, but this is nothing like the homemade stuff I make or some of those mom and pop rib shacks Ive visited. The tips were kind of tough and the sauce was a little on the weak side. Now dont get me wrong, that doesnt mean Im not going to eat it. It just means that Ive had much better.

For two nights now weve been eating on bar-b-que pork. They boys are happy, Im happy; Ktreva really could live with out the new and strange body odors that are emitting from us. Now if youll excuse me, I need to go hose the sauce off of the keyboard. Typing and shoving rib tips in my mouth at the same time is kind of messy.

Posted by Contagion at 06:59 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

December 12, 2006

Being sent back up.

I guess I tempted the fates. Almost a year to the date of my last visit to Sensitivity class I find out today Im being sent again. This time is utter bullshite. One of my employees did something wrong. Per our cooperate guidelines I was supposed to take some pretty drastic measures. After reviewing the case I felt my employees actions where a result of improperly communicated procedures.

Desperate to find an alternate method of dealing with the problem, I found a loophole that would satisfy corporate and have no punitive consequences on my employee. I.e. it ended up being a stern warning of Dont do that again. Perfect huh? Everyone would be happy right? Wrong!

Corporate didnt have a problem with it. My employee on the other hand felt it was unfair. She felt I was being unreasonable. Okay, there really were only two choices in the matter. I either take the severe route the corporate dictated or use the loophole I discovered, (Which according to 5 people in upper management only I would have found). The corporate way left her with one foot out the door and no chance for promoting, getting a raise or collecting any bonuses for a year. My method changed nothing, except her access to a region on the systems. Yep, Im being unreasonable.

This employee got together with another employee that has been having issues and filed a complaint against me. They may be legitimate about some of their concerns, but why it wasnt a problem 4 weeks ago, but it is now I have no idea. Oh wait, it all came to head last Friday. (Yea, they brought up issues that happened between July and early November.) Since my company really doesnt give any protection to management if something like this happens, its their word against mine and I lose.

The dates of my next trip havent been determined yet. Once I know for sure I will let you know, hopefully Ill have a laptop by then so I can live blog my experiences.

Want to know what really burns me up. One of their complaints was that I dont appreciate any of my employees and do nothing to make them feel like they belong. Yet since November Ive been planning an appreciation lunch for them tomorrow. Ive included all of them on deciding what day we were having it and what food is going to be served. Its being fully catered in. Right now Im half tempted to call the company doing it and canceling. If it wasnt for the fact I think that would do more harm then good, I would.

Posted by Contagion at 07:01 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

December 01, 2006

So I was wrong.

Well, Ill be damned; the meteorologists actually got one right. Heck this morning on the TV one of the local guys even made the comment, We finally made an accurate prediction on a winter storm. I just got in from shoveling 13 inches of snow off of my driveway and sidewalk. We dont own a snow blower mainly because we dont have enough pavements to justify the purchase. Top that off with the rest of the day Im hurting.

Yes, I went to work. I loaded up the family in Janine and headed out. We had no trouble navigating the roads what so ever then again a couple of times Ktreva had to point out I wasnt on the road anymore. Damn snow made all the landmarks disappear and I couldnt tell where the edge of the road was. Still, we couldnt tell we werent on the road and we had no trouble what so ever. After dropping off the boys we headed to work, I even took the scenic tour so we could view the idiots that where in accidents. There were 7 cars ditches, 3 rear-endings, 2 intersection t-bones and 1 jack knifed Tractor-trailer. . The idiots who think that four wheel drive means they dont have to be careful were out in force When I stopped at the gas station to get something to drink, the people working thought I was insane for enjoying the weather.

Of course I get to work and a quarter of my staff has called off. Its too dangerous to drive. Yeah, yeah, yeah whatever. 3 of the people that called off drive 4-wheel drive SUVs and one lives less then a mile from work. They just didnt want to come in and used the snow as an excuse. My employees that did show up even thought they were over-reacting. Especially since two of them told everyone the day before they where going to call off. It just annoys me that some people have a lack of work ethic. The ones that did show up today had a cakewalk day. I let them work on what ever they wanted and all the management got together and brought in pizza for them for lunch.

Now there is some downside to this weather. We have a new plowing company at work and they did a crappy job of cleaning off the parking lot. Not only did the not clean the entrances out, but they started late and plowed a lot of people into parking spaces. I spent most of the day helping employees at work get their cars out of snow banks, drifts and plow piles. I dug and pushed out 19 cars from 7:00AM to 2:30 PM. Some of my employees started worrying that I would hurt myself and wanted to know why no one else was helping. The told me that I should stop. As I told them, if I was stuck in the snow I would want someone to help me. Thus I see people that need help, Im going to help them. Its the golden rule; treat others as you would like to be treated.

Right now Im sore from head to two. So if youll excuse me, Im going to go medicate with some Jack Daniels.

Posted by Contagion at 06:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 14, 2006


I have been conducting interviews for a week and a half now. If Im lucky I will be finished by Thursday. At one point today I was ready to start hitting my head against the desk in the middle of an interview. The person being interviewed didnt even have a clue as to the position they applied for. I almost yelled at the individual to get out of the room, fortunately I had momentary control over my mouth and just smiled.

No, this person is not getting the job. Sadly enough, they weren't the worst one either. Even worse, they scored in the top 20 percent of candidates interviewed.

If Im lucky I will be done by Thursday. If it goes any longer I think I might lobotomize myself mid-interview with my pencil.

Posted by Contagion at 06:42 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 08, 2006

leaky willy

For two weeks now Ive had an issue at work. There is one bathroom there that use when I need to empty my bowels. Its the largest bathroom in the building, and the least used. It has four stalls and three urinals. For five years Ive been using the same bathroom and the same stall with out a problem. That is until two weeks ago.

I walked into the bathroom getting ready for my mid-morning constitutional. Heading into my stall to do my deed I stop dead in my tracks. All over the floor, the toilet and the seat is urine. GAH! Okay, I go to the next stall and its fine. For one day I can use a different stall. The next day I return. Again someone has pissed all over the toilet and the seat. When I say pissed all over, it doesnt look like they intended to give the exterior of the toilet a golden shower. It looked like they had no control over the beginning and end of the stream. I head into the next stall and again it is covered in urine.

This has been going on for two weeks. What the hell?!?!?! First I want to know what guy would use a stall when there are perfectly good urinals available? I dont want to hear about two guys shouldnt pee in urinals next to each other. Bullshit, thats what they are for, there are separators and at many places Ive seen guys lined up waiting to find any open urinal, mainly at football games. Now that isnt the case here. There is never enough traffic in this bathroom for all three urinals to be taken. There are not a lot of guys in the entire office, let alone in that part of the building. Whoever is doing this has some kind of issue with using a urinal.

Secondly I understand guys miss and at times there are drops on the floor. It happens, peeing standing up has its drawbacks. Its either the floor or our pants. This was no one or two drops on the floor or the occasional post sex miss-spray. This guy has serious control issues. He gets it everywhere. Its almost like hes afraid to touch his own unit in order to aim the damn thing. You can get away with that at a urinal, but when aiming for a toilet bowl you need to use some control. They dont aim themselves.

Thirdly, and most importantly WHY THE HELL IS HE NOT CLEANING UP AFTER HIMSELF?!?!?! For the love of all that is good and holy if your going to piss on the seat and the toilet, take some farking toilet paper and wipe it up. If youre not going to do that, at least use the same toilet so that those of us that have to shite can use the other stalls. One day all four stalls were covered in urine drops! The cleaning crew only hits the bathrooms twice a day. Once around noon and again at night after everyone has left. Personally, I dont want to walk around with turd fighting against my sphincter for 2-3 hours until the cleaning crew comes in and makes the toilets useable again. I also shouldnt have to walk across the building looking at the busier bathrooms for an open stall.

The perpetrator is an evil vile person. They have to be doing this intentionally with malice in their heart. I think they are trying to mark the bathroom as their territory and discourage others from using it. I dont know why, but they must be trying to keep people from laying the big stinky while at work. Let me just say that nothing, NOTHING is going to stop the shite spewing forth from me!

Posted by Contagion at 06:23 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 18, 2006

Nothing is safe.

Is there anything people wont steel? For three years Ive had candy at my desk. I set it out to show my appreciation to everyone that works hard. It started Christmas of 2002. Boopie was in Cub Scouts. They had a fundraiser selling popcorn. The Pack ordered some extra items to sell at various events besides what orders the boys took. At the end of the sale they had this tin that was 6 by 10 inches that had popcorn coated in chocolate. Instead of letting the troop take the hit, I shelled out the money and bought it.

Since I hate chocolate covered popcorn, I took it to work and let everyone help themselves to it the week between Christmas and New Years. Thats when I discovered that Chocolate made for a much nicer work environment for me. After the popcorn was gone (about 2 days) I started buying various candies to put in the tin. Hershey miniatures and kisses, Halloween candy, ETC. Its kind of like a trademark of mine to have chocolate at my desk.

Yesterday at work, one of my employees asked my why I hadnt put out the candy. I looked around and it wasnt where I left it. Since Ive been known to forget to set it out, I checked my desk drawer where I store it at night. (The cleaning crew likes to clean out the tin as well.) It wasnt in my drawer. What the hell? I looked around to see if it was moved or if something was set on top of it. It wasnt anywhere!

A couple of years ago the same thing happened, but some people took it as a prank. They returned it a couple of hours later when I noticed it was missing. Figuring the same thing happened, I was pretty sure it would turn up. Today it was still gone. So I started canvassing the usual suspects to see if they where playing a joke. No one had any idea where it went.

Since it now counts as a legitimate theft, I had to make a report with security. I laughed the whole time, because I felt stupid reporting a stolen tin. It was a ratty old tin, and the lid to it is still in my desk drawer, so I have no idea why anyone would want it. The missing candy doesnt bother me too much because I bought it to give away, but I am a bit annoyed that someone felt the need to take the tin. Its just a senseless theft of an item that really has no value what so ever.

Well whoever has it, I hope they enjoy it. But if they are thinking the candy in there magically reappears they are going to be disappointed.

Posted by Contagion at 05:36 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

There's a Challenge on the field.

I picked up a new toy over the weekend. While in Green Bay at one of the Packer memorabilia shops, they had a red coachs Challenge flag. Its the red flag that a coach throws out on the field if they disagree with a ruling of the officials. I just had to get one! It was only a couple of dollars and I figured Id have a lot of fun with it. Sure enough, I was right!

This morning while getting ready for work, I spotted my flag and tucked it into my pocket. I just couldnt wait to get a chance to throw it. It didnt take long for that to happen. While talking about my weekend with some of my football loving friends at work, one of them made the comment that their winless team was going to make it to the Super Bowl. Before they were finished with their sentence that flag was flying through the air. Of course all of the football fans found this hilarious. The non-football spectators had no idea what was going on.

All day I kept whipping out the flag every time I wanted to challenge anything anyone said. Then I used it at the wrong time the middle of a meeting. We were having a meeting going over new policies and procedures. One of my peers felt that a new procedure would hurt the department. The look on their faces when that red flag landed on the table was priceless. However, the humor was lost when I had to explain to everyone what it was. Of course the obligatory This really isnt the place for those kind of antics talks followed. Eh, I explained it was meant to be fun and liven things up a little. No one was mad, and I didnt get in any real trouble.

All I can think about is the next time Im at a football party and I get to start flinging it around when the officials make calls I dont like. Im going to have way too much fun with it.

Posted by Contagion at 05:52 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 03, 2006

I guess it is an issue.

I just got back from a business trip to Chicago. I’ve been there since Monday, hence the complete lack of posting. Work sent me for a class on diversity. (IE don’t discriminate against people different then you.) It was painfully evident after the first couple of hours that this class was misnamed. It should have been called, “If you are a non-disabled white heterosexual male 30-55, you have everything handed to you awareness class.” The class of 25 had a good mix of people in age, race, religion and gender. I’d throw in sexual orientation, but I don’t know what everyone’s was.

This class did more damage then good. That’s not just my opinion, but also that of at least 10 others that took the class. The class came across as saying that even though now you don’t look at race, age or gender when making decisions; you need to start. If you have four people applying for a job, it doesn’t matter who is the best qualified for the position. If they all meet the minimum requirement for the position, you need to then look at what race/gender/age you need to make your employees more diversified.

My jaw about hit the table. I’ve always been a person that didn’t look at race, gender, age or anything else like that. When I assigned tasks, jobs or gave a promotion I based it on who was the best for the job. Who was the most qualified, who would be able to do the work. Apparently I was wrong. I’m supposed to make sure I have a mix of employees. Thus the next time I do promotions since I don’t have a male employee, if one puts in for it and just barely makes the minimum requirements, I should promote them over anyone else. I’m sorry, that’s bullshite! I don’t care if the person is an albino Creole homosexual missing two legs and an eye. If they are the best qualified for the job, they get it.

Apparently, I’m wrong. It’s not about who is best qualified, it’s about what race, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation who gets the job. I’m very disappointed in my company right now. Here I thought I worked for a company that none of that mattered. A company that valued the employee for ability, skill and knowledge over anything else.

I hate being wrong.

Posted by Contagion at 06:51 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

April 11, 2006

Feedback time!

Okay, the interviewing portion was finished yesterday. I had to make my selection today. This afternoon I offered the position to the individuals that fit the best into the position. That also means I started giving feedback to those I had to turn down. This means I had to tell them why I didn’t select them. When I give feedback of this variety I do not like to just tell someone that I didn’t feel they where the best candidate for the position. I like to tell them why I felt they weren’t the best candidate.

As I’m breaking the bad news to them, I then go over their strengths and their weaknesses. When I was turned down for jobs in the past, this is what I wanted. As part of that feedback I also like to help guide them to fix those weaknesses. Since I haven’t given feedback on a rejection in a long time, ten years if you must know, I was a bit rusty. Thankfully I picked up a phrase from Tammi to help in my process.

Many of these same individuals will put in for the same position the next time it posts, and I really want a strong pool to pull from. At the end of each feedback session I would say, “What I need you to do for me is (insert task here)” Such as, “You where almost perfect for the position. You had all the personal, coaching and technical skills for the job. Unfortunately your production prevents me from offering you the position. If you can improve your production, you will be a serious threat to the competition. What I need you to do for me is to go out there, not let this interview get you down and increase your production. If that means working with your supervisor or peers to learn how to streamline what you do, then that is what you need to do. I really hope that the next time I interview for this position, I want to see you in here and make my decision next time even more difficult.”

Everyone that I gave feedback to today seemed to legitimately appreciate what I had to say. Even the ones that weren’t a strong candidate told me they appreciated my honesty and approach. Next time I have to go through this, I really hope some of these people fix their issues and give me a stronger pool of candidates.

Posted by Contagion at 04:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 10, 2006

More on interviewing.

Well the interviewing process is done. My post of interviewing tips was written after the first day, I really should have waiting until the end of the process before writing them. There are more tips to add.

-Calm down. If you are so nervous that you shake from head to toe during the ENTIRE interview, that does not give the best impression of you. We all know that the person being interviewed is going to be nervous. I take that into consideration, but when you are sitting in your chair shaking so hard that I can feel it through the floor into my chair and it’s vibrating the desk where I’m writing notes, that is NOT good.

-For the love of god, stay on topic. When we ask you a question, we want an answer pertaining to the question, not something that is completely off topic. IE. If the question asked is “As part of the position you will have to give negative feedback, have you ever given negative feedback and if so how did you go about doing it?” Do not answer: That’s a tough question, when I was learning how to do my last job I always had to do this task I wasn’t trained on. In order to do it I would look up the information in the manuals or ask my peers how to get the information. In doing so I taught myself how to do the job correctly.” WHAT?!?!?!?! Where did that answer come from? That’s a decent answer to a completely different question, but for the question asked it sucked!

-If asked what your greatest weakness is, the worst answer you can give is; “I don’t have any” Trust me, everyone has a weakness. When you say I don’t have one, it sounds very arrogant and egotistical. First this is a loaded question; it’s a BS question, it’s a question that interviewers ask to see what kind of personality you have. The best way to answer this is to find something that you aren’t the strongest at, state that and then turn it into a strength. The best answer I received to this question was: “My greatest weakness is that I’m over analytical. I will take extra time to analyze something I’m doing to make sure that it is done correctly. This has caused my production to drop off. At the same time I have near perfect quality. By analyzing every aspect of what I don’t make mistakes. It’s rare that something is returned to me for doing it wrong. However, after over analyzing everything I know exactly what I’m doing and what I’m looking for, so I no longer have to research as much and my production has increased.” My god, that is damn near a textbook answer.

-Do not lie, mislead or give false information. This is so important I shouldn’t have to tell people, yet out of the interviews I did I had no less then two people do exactly that during the interviews. I don’t know if they didn’t think I’d check on what they where telling me or if they were overstating their experience. Either way, when the interviewer finds out that you lied, mislead or gave false information, it’s more then likely going to move your resume to the “not likely” pile.

-Do not chew gum, suck on candy, or pop breath mints during the interview. It’s unprofessional and again gives a poor impression of you.

-Perfume/cologne is okay in moderation. If you wear so much that my eyes start watering, you have too much on. Scents should be subtle and barely noticeable, just hint of scent. Not a club of stink pretty. On the same note, do not drink a gallon of mouthwash before the interview. Sitting across a table from someone that smells like they ate a Christmas tree when they speak is rather distracting.

-Confidence is good, over confidence is bad, arrogance is just wrong. I interviewed a person that came in so over confident/arrogant that the position was theirs that even though they are in the running; it’s what’s keeping them from being a sure thing. I’ve never spoke with this person before; I really don’t know what they are like. If this was just something they did for the interview it can be forgiven, but if this individual is like that on a daily basis I don’t want them working for me. I don’t need a prima donna.

-For the love of all that is good, do not interrupt the interviewer while they are asking a question or speaking. Wait until they are finished, and then ask. Unless it is an emergency, i.e. the room is on fire and for some reason they don’t notice, you can wait until they are done speaking.

-Finally, there may be a thing as too much detail, but I have yet to see it in an interview. Remember, you are trying to convince these people you are the right person for the job. As long as you are on topic, (see above) go into as much detail as possible with your answers. You need to impress the interviewer with your knowledge and skills. I had one person go into so much detail, they where teaching me things. Yes, this person is a finalist.

If any of these tips helps even one person get a job, that’s great. I think some really qualified individuals may not get the job because they had some poor interviewing skills. They may even be the best person for the job, but they did not convince me that they where. That is what the interview is; making sure that the candidate is the best for the job. If you can’t convince me of that, then you aren’t going to get it.

Posted by Contagion at 06:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2006

Do you want the job or not?

I have all my access of today at work. At this point I’m still in shock it only took three weeks. For the first time I had to do direct interviewing for work. I have two open positions I need filling, and I’m the one that has to make the decision. Which leads me to where I’m going here.

DAMMIT PEOPLE! If you are going to interview for a position, internal or external posting, prepare for the damn interview. How hard is it to:

A) Dress nice, or at least as nice as the interviewer? I wear a shirt and tie every day to work. It’s not a secret that I dress nicely. By god, wear something that is business appropriate, not something you would wear to go out drinking or picking up a date!

2) Know something about the position other then you want it. Good lord, how are you going to convince me that you are the best person for the job if you don’t even know what the job is?

D) If you’ve ever been interviewed before, you have an idea of the types of questions they ask. Prepare for these, be honest, but prepare. When asked, “What do you think your greatest weakness is?” or “Give me an example of when you had to sacrifice a personal goal for the betterment of your team.” Don’t say, “I don’t have any” or “I’ve never had to do that.” Trust me you do, and you have! When you are put on the spot it’s better to have an obviously rehearsed answer then not to have any answer. Also it’s a good idea to have multiple examples to use for multiple questions.

5) Just because one person is asking questions and another is writing down answers, that doesn’t mean the one asking the questions is making the decision. Do NOT ignore the second person. I let the person assisting me do all the talking; I’m doing all the writing. The decision is ultimately mine, in 2 of the interviews I had today I swear the people being interviewed didn’t even acknowledge I was in the room. No eye contact, not even looking in my general direction. Okay, so I intentionally didn’t look at them very much. So how did I know? An old interviewer trick I was taught years ago. I had an object on the table in front of me that worked as a mirror; I was trying to observe their reaction and body language with out letting them know. No, I’m not the only one that does this. I’ve had four interviews in my life where I’ve seen others do the same thing. I’m not saying spend time looking for their mirror, just look in their direction and acknowledge their existence. Trust me, it makes an impression. Every time I looked up they where always looking at either my assistant interviewer or the table, yes I took marks off the interview for that.

That’s all I’m going to share with you now. Those are just the observations from today. I have three more days of interviews to complete, I’m sure I’ll find some other tips for you job searchers out there.

Posted by Contagion at 04:51 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 28, 2006

There is no tomorrow!

At this rate I’ll be able to retire before I get my access. I’m going to take Leslie's advice in my previous comments and get the Exec Officer involved at this point. I’ve had enough!

I had my first, uh, disagreement with my peers today. My employees are from both lines of business in our office. The supervisors from the line of business I didn’t come from didn’t like how I was doing tracking numbers. That doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is that they didn’t tell me that last week and just waited to complain about it today. I was able to make the changes and they where appeased. However, they do treat me kind of coldly. I think part of it is that I’m the “new” guy. The other part is that I think they resent someone for the “opposite” line of business supervising their people.

They’ll get over it, because I’m not going anywhere.

Posted by Contagion at 06:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 27, 2006

Contagion in Crisis Day 8

For the love of Pete, they really need to get my access sorted out! This has been the eight straight business days that I have not had the proper access to do my job. With two of the other supervisors out this week, that leaves only one other who can get all the stuff done that needs to be! Every time I talk to someone in IT or the Help Desk I get the same story, “It should be fixed tomorrow.” Today I finally got a little testy with them. When they said “tomorrow” again I couldn’t help but to say, “Do you guys have a different definition of tomorrow then the rest of the world? I’ve heard you say “tomorrow" for the last week and it’s still not fixed. Because if by tomorrow you mean next month, you need to make sure the people you are talking to speak the same IT lingo that you do.”

They did not appreciate my observation. I’m fairly sure that when I get to work tomorrow, nothing is working right because I don’t have access and I call them back I’ll get the same song and dance, “We don’t know why that didn’t work, we’ll fix it right away and it should be up for you tomorrow.” So help me if they tell me tomorrow one more time I’m going to snap.

Other then that everything seems to be going really well. I was going to wait 6 months before making any changes. Unfortunately I found some changes that needed to be made, mainly to assist my people in their jobs or to make their lives easier. Before I implemented the changes I talked with the ones affected to see if they felt it would help them. I had a resounding yes from them. Apparently it was something they had wanted but their previous two supervisors never did.

Unfortunately I did hear a bit of workplace gossip regarding me today. I overheard one of my people telling someone else “He’s not a bad guy at all. Actually he’s pretty nice and seems to actually care.” Dammit, stuff like that is going to ruin my reputation!

Posted by Contagion at 05:56 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 24, 2006

Week 1

There is the old saying, “No news is good news.” I call bullshite on that. There has not been one word about my helpdesk tickets regarding my access, I’ve called multiple times everyday for the last week and I’m still not getting anywhere. Oh well I will suffer to persevere.

I discovered early today that my predecessor must have decided that she really retired back in February. Half of the employee information I need is either missing or only half filled out. Nothing has been updated since about the first week of February. I was at work from 6:30 am to 6:00 PM trying to find, replace or recover this missing info. This is information I have to have by the end of next week. If I don’t have it, my employees may suffer from poor reviews and loss of wages.

And in case you where wondering why I left work so early when this information was so sorely needed, please read the below post. Clones birthday party started at 6:00. I was late as it was. Since he is only turning three, I don’t think I traumatized him too much. To be honest he was too busy playing with his brother to even notice I wasn’t there. Once I arrived all he wanted to do was open presents. Yea, I’m a bad dad.

I have to work tomorrow. I don’t know how long I’m going to be there. My entire weekend might be shot. That’s the price one pays for the position I guess. Just in case you are still wondering, yes I still love the job.

Posted by Contagion at 08:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 23, 2006

Day 4

Again no access, the issue is starting to negatively impact the corporation and I’ve had enough. Today I got one of the executive officers involved in the issue. They owe me a favor and I figure that it will make a good impression that I’m calling it for an issue like this and not some kind of trivial personal issue. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have it, if not that will make 9 days with out access.

Things are starting to fall into place; I still have a couple of hot spots I need to deal with. No, they are not related to my access. Being a creative person and taking the initiative I started using an older system to get the work done. It’s not as efficient and it definitely isn’t as accurate, but it’s better then nothing. My employees are way behind on their work. Yay for overtime!

My employees where able to witness that I am willing to sticking up for them. Earlier this week I had to mandate 5 hours of overtime per individual to be put in between Monday and Saturday. At a meeting earlier today they decided that they wanted everyone to be here on Saturday in addition to any OT they have already put in. No one really said anything, but I voiced my concern. “I told my people on Monday they had to do five hours between then and Saturday. Many of them have been putting in their time after work so they wouldn’t have to come in on Saturday. If I told them they had to be here, trust me, many of them would not have put in the OT during the week. This whole thing is wrong; it undermines not only my integrity in their eyes, but all of management. I’m going to uphold my original statement to them, as long as they have their five hours in they don’t need to come in on Saturday.”

I must have been influential because they decided NOT to force them to come in on Saturday. Not that we don’t need it, but I’ve always found that low morale on a Saturday equals lack of production.

Posted by Contagion at 06:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

March 22, 2006

Day 3

Still no access to the systems I need. Even though the day started out with what appeared to be a major breakthrough, it turns out that it was actually two steps back. We finally got me access to one of the systems that I desperately need. We focused a lot of time and attention on getting that access. Once I received it, we discovered that I couldn’t properly use it until I have access to another system. So we wasted all that time and I’m no closer.

The last of the employees that where being difficult came around today. All of them are actually laughing, joking and smiling with me. There are a couple that need some special work, but I’m confident at this point that I’ll have them all comfortable with me with in 2 more weeks. They told me to expect 6 months for that to happen.

I was “volunteered” for a management stunt today. I guess being the new supervisor means that I have to participate, well okay everyone has to participate, but I’m supposed to take a key roll. Fortunately for me I’m supposed to be some kind of surly, sarcastic announcer. I think I can fake that decently.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Posted by Contagion at 05:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2006

Day 2

Okay, I still don’t have access to half of the programs I need. That is making life real difficult now. The kicker is that when they gave me access to the half I needed, they revoked me from some others that I had need to use. It’s going to be a long week if this keeps up.

One of my inherited problems is coming to a head in the next day or two. Now I have the fun of dealing with that issue, which inevitably will bring up issues with the other inherited problems I have. Right now I’m in a lose-lose situation. I cannot make resolve both in a pleasant manner; I knew this going in. Knowing that does not make it any easier on me. It’s going to be a long week if this keeps up.

Two of my more resistant employees where laughing and actually joking with me today. This was a situation I thought I would have to work on for months to get to this point. There was some serious headway made today with both of them in our employee-supervisor relationship. That makes me feel good. It’s going to be a good week if this keeps up.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m loving the new job. There are a lot of challenges and obstacles to overcome, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to do it. The other supervisors have been great in assisting me when I have questions and I’ve been able to work out some problems with them.

I have not enjoyed work this much in years.

Posted by Contagion at 06:21 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 20, 2006

Supervisor, Day 1

My first official day as a supervisor went less then stellar.

There were system problems at work on Friday after I left. That means that people could not clock out using the online time clock system we have. When that happens, the individual’s supervisor is supposed to manually enter the punches the next day when the system is working. This morning when I arrived at work I had to correct the punches for 16 people. When I went to correct them I quickly discovered I STILL don’t have access to the systems that I need to do my job. Right now 16 people have some screwed up paychecks coming their way as it was all due by 10 AM, and as of 4:30 when I left, I still didn’t have access.

Then the next bit of fun I had was the joy of advising all of my new employees that they have to put in 5 hours of mandatory OT this week. If you want to make an impression with 16 new employees, this is the way to do it. Now mind that I didn’t say a “good” impression, just an impression. At least they chuckled when I asked them to hold off throwing things at me until the end of the day, as I didn’t want to sit around all sticky with fruit and vegetable juices all day.

Next I had to settle into my new desk. The person I replaced retired. She was a nice lady; she was so nice she left the desk completely loaded with all of her stuff, in case I needed it. Since she didn’t want any of it anymore, she just left it where it was, including personal effects. It took me 3 hours to go through everything that she left. I’ve always been part pack rat, but I have nothing on my predecessor. She had 3 staplers, 5 staple pullers, 6 boxes of staples, 34985720987459872459872346 pens, pencils and highlighters. 4 packages of legal pads, at least 500 hanging file folders, 30 pads of post it notes, more paperclips then I could fathom and an obscene about of pushpins. I also found reports and documents from 1993 as well as three boxes of floppy disks, 5 ¼ inch, that nobody seemed to know what they where and we don’t even have a computer in the office that has that size of drive so I could check out what they were. There where corporate reports from the 80’s and 90’s.

I have to go through every item before I can toss it. I feel like an archeologist digging through a newly found, untouched site. I’ve only made it through about 1/3 of the drawers so far; I have a long way to go.

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Posted by Contagion at 06:00 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

March 16, 2006

IT good

Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come. In order to get me ready for my new position on Monday, they have to change my profile on the systems at work. In doing so they had to delete my current profile. When they did that I no longer have access to half of the systems I need to do my current job. Now my job is ten times more difficult. Fortunately I only have half a day left at it.

At least everything should be working when I take over as supervisor. If not this is going to be pretty darn frustrating.

Posted by Contagion at 05:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 15, 2006

Good times.

Finally got home from work today. Not too bad, only about an 11 hour day. I was able to spend most of the day learning the aspects of my new position and about my new reports. For the first time in years I’m excited about work. I’m really looking forward to being able to work with these people and hopefully make their jobs easier.

I know there are a lot of rumors at work about me flying around. They are worried that I’m going to come over and make all kinds of changes. After today I decided I’m going to stick with my original game plan. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. I’m going to take the time to get to know my reports first and see what they need. If they have something that they feel would make their jobs easier, I’ll see what I can do. Until then, I think I’m going to leave things the way they are.

I just want them to be comfortable with me. From my own personal experience, I know there is nothing more stressful at work than getting a new supervisor and having them make a lot of changes.

Posted by Contagion at 06:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 14, 2006

Busy, busy man.

One of the company offices in a different city was hit by a tornado Sunday night. Being the nice guy that I am, I volunteered to step up and do my job for both my office and their office this week. Meanwhile I’m learning the systems and tasks for my supervisor position that starts on Monday. I’m looking at 12 hour shifts for the rest of the week.

To say I’m busy is an understatement. Normally I wouldn’t do all of this, but if it was my office that was hit I would want someone to step up and help me. Yet, this whole time all I can think is, “My last week”. And a smile spreads across my face.

Posted by Contagion at 05:26 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 13, 2006

I guess I am good.

It’s funny how someone goes from zero to hero when they are no longer going to be around. For the last 3 months I’ve been told that I suck at my job, which was one of the major motivators to put in for the position change. When it was announced that I had received the position, the manager I reported to suddenly became concerned “whether or not they could find someone capable of replacing me.” Her words, not mine. When they told her last Thursday that this Friday, the 17th was going to be my last day she flew into a panic.

An emergency meeting was called between her and my peers to go over… can you guess? Reports of all things! That’s right, the same crap we’ve been going over for the last 3 months we have an emergency meeting to discuss. Why? Because I’m leaving and they want them universal for when they find my replacement. We were all supposed to bring in a print out of each report we do and discuss how we use them. Then she was going to decide which reports she wanted us to use.

I went first, showed my examples, explained how they where used and where the data came from. Only one report that I use, the other office uses and they got it from me. When it was the turn of my counterpart from the other office to go over hers, she made the comment, “After looking at (Contagion’s) reports, I’m switching to those. They are quicker, they are easier to read and they have better data.” She then went on to explain that while mine take about 15-20 minutes to run, hers takes 1 to 2 hours. My one report system does the work that equates 4 of her reports.

Then we started going over one of her reports to track productivity. I was listening carefully, even though I’m leaving, because this has always been something that is annoying to track. While my counterpart was going over her report, I couldn’t help but ask questions and get clarification, make suggestions and in general improve the way it works. The manager was impressed because this was a problem they have had for 6 months and couldn’t resolve. 30 minutes of my looking at it, I had pinpointed their problem areas, corrected it and solved a majority of their problems, including making sure they have the correct information.

This meeting that was supposed to last an hour, ended up going on for two hours. Now this week they want to pick my brain some more before I leave. It feels good to finally be appreciated for the roll that I had in the company, even if it is too late to change anything. They want to schedule more meetings this week to go over some other things, but I don’t have a lot of time. It’s too bad they didn’t take me up on my offer of helping them with these back in December, or ever couple of weeks since.

Posted by Contagion at 04:05 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 10, 2006

Now I'm important.

It was a long day at work today. Between meetings (regarding my new position), my normal work and people who are interesting in my current position sitting with me to see if they want my job I barely finished anything. The next couple of weeks are going to be really hectic for me. I didn’t realize how much blog fodder I was going to get from this whole escapade.

I’d post more tonight, but I’m getting ready to go out. One of my friends from work is relocating to Arizona and we’re having a going away party for him tonight. I will leave you with this tidbit; now that I have this new position the “Contagion sucks at his job” opinion went down the drain and has been replaced with “CRAP! Contagion is only has a week left before he transfers!”

Posted by Contagion at 12:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 09, 2006

How to introduce yourself to your new employees.

When being introduced to someone of the opposite sex it is a good idea to not great them by saying, “I’m looking forward to having you under me.”

It could be taken the wrong way.

Fortunately for all that heard, there was much laughter.

Posted by Contagion at 04:01 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 08, 2006

Contagion the Supervisor

I GOT IT! Well it looks like my charm paid out. I over came the stigma of it being a lateral transfer for the supervisor position. That means no more minions. Since I’ll have direct reports I’m going to have to be more polite in my nicknames for them. This of course means no more minion stories; I’ll actually have to be nice to my reports. But maybe when I need to pull a stunt I’ll go over to my old stomping grounds. The timing couldn’t have been better either. My new manager (From the other office) is up to old tricks again. Now I don’t have to care as that in a week I’ll no longer be reporting to her.

And before anyone starts in on the EEOC BS about me getting the position; the candidate I beat out would have also filled more EEOC requirements than I did.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go do a little celebrating.

Posted by Contagion at 04:10 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

March 03, 2006

Interview Part 2

I had my second interview earlier today. Normally I have a good idea how the interview went. Either by the interviewer’s body language or ad-libbed questions at the end gives you a feeling of the interviewer’s oppinion. This time the two of them both sent off very neutral vibes, which is not a good sign. That and when I was leaving I went to shake one of the manager’s hands and instead she wiped her nose with a tissue. She did have a cold and I honestly don’t believe it was intentional. Her hand may have been moving toward her nose before my hand was extended in a handshake.

It’s not like I expect to get the position, in fact if you recall I didn’t expect to make it to the second round. Right now I just look as if I’m on borrowed time. If they do pass me over, then I will just apply again the next time something opens up. The experience of interviewing really was what I was looking for. This whole ordeal has been worth it just for that.

I’ll know for sure by the end of next week at the latest.

I sure could go for a beer about now.

Posted by Contagion at 04:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 28, 2006


This morning I had my interview for the supervisory position. It was easy enough, I’ve been in management long enough to know what kind of answers they wanted for the questions asked. My entire interview lasted about 50 minutes. Mainly because I always go into great detail when answering questions.

It also is because I turned on the ol’ Contagion charm. Most of you haven’t seen this rumored trait in me. In fact most of you probably think this something I’m making up. Those that have seen it in action know exactly what I’m describing. It’s about 25% humor, 25% positive attitude and 40% friendliness and 10% subtle flirting (unless I’m dealing with males and then I substitute with positive attitude). Over the years I’ve relied on that charm to get three jobs, two promotions, a wife and countless other things.

Only four people, including myself, put in for the position. For three of them it would be a big promotion, and one of the others is a friend of mine. She wants this position bad, very bad. This would be a big promotion and raise for her. The last couple of times she put in for a supervisory position she was passed over, as was I. What I’m wondering is what will happen if I actually get it and she is passed over again. It’s nothing but a change in duties for me, where for her it is an important promotion.

That train of thought is all for naught. They pretty much told me at the end of the interview that I’m not going to get the position. Since it’s not a promotion for me, it’s a lateral transfer and they don’t like doing lateral transfers. They would rather promote someone. Either way I should know for sure by the end of next week.

Posted by Contagion at 04:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 24, 2006

Bet they didn't see that coming.

The next salvo in the Contagion work saga took place yesterday. At 3:00 PM the other office asst. manager (Whom I now report to as they are “combining” offices. Yea, this sucks.) comes over and asks me if I had received the new flows for customer surveys. I told her I hadn’t heard anything about it. She tells me she’ll have it forwarded to me and if I have any questions to ask her. She told me that I would be responsible for tracking them. Great, I needed more on my plate.

I leave work at 3:30 PM, so when the e-mail came I just glanced at it and figured I could set up the tracking it today when I had more time. By the time I actually received the e-mail it was about 3:15 PM. Over night I had forgotten about this new project until about 8:30 this morning. When I pulled open my email and started reading the new guidelines, I could feel my blood start to boil.

The first thing I noticed is that this “new” flow went into effect last week, everyone knew about it but me for a week now. Next I noticed that I’m not supposed to just track them, but I’m supposed to also review them. If there is a complaint on one, I am supposed to ensure that someone works it and responds to the member. Since this effects every inventory manager in corporation, I wasn’t as upset over that. The fact that they held it for a week before telling me pisses me off.

Those damn things spent a week building up and they all had to be out today. Every single one of them had to be touched, reviewed and assigned today. There were 304 of these things to be exact. Most of my day was spent sorting through these things and assigning them to people to work. Meanwhile my counterpart from the other office has been doing it for a week now, so hers was a daily manageable 40.

Now don’t you go worrying, I did just fine. What they underestimate is my ability to deal with high-pressure situations and short deadlines. At 2:15 I finished the last one. Setting a divisional record, I cleared 304 surveys. I can’t wait until Monday. In my mind I can picture the smug looks on their faces when they ask me if or why (because you know they won’t check first) all the surveys weren’t done. Then I can smack them down with the hammer of Greatness that is me! The best part was that I took 40 minutes to donate blood and I still got them all done. Not only where they done, but they where done properly.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go build up a mass of troops and kill me some French! Slaughtering the villagers makes me happy

Posted by Contagion at 04:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 16, 2006

Here I go again.

With all the raging at work about how bad I am, it inspired me. They all seem to think I suck at my job. It seems that the current promotions have been based on incompetence and desperation to get someone out of a position. They even made a crack about this today in a meeting about an employee that is incompetent. I believe the exact quote was, “Well I guess we know who the next promotion goes to.”

Based on this, I put in for a promotion. Well, it’s not really a promotion; it’s a lateral transfer. I’m putting in for a supervisory position. Yes, people will actually directly report to me if I get it. There will be no raise or even a tangible benefit to this. Why would I put in for it then? Because right now my current position is in a dead-end track, there are only 2 more positions I can promote to in it. Those positions open up rarely. The last time was 5 years ago, and the people in them don’t appear to be going anyplace soon.

If I spend some time as a supervisor it opens up a lot more opportunities for me. I’m all about the opportunities. Anything that makes me more marketable is a good thing. Sure, maybe it’s wrong for me to work hard to make a better life for my family and myself. (At least that seems to be the message the government is sending me.) I’m still going to do it. Maybe this will be the move that leads to my total world domination.

There is a very good chance I won’t get the position, not because I’m not qualified, but because they don’t like doing lateral transfers. They would rather promote someone into a position then transfer someone. It’s rare that they actually do a lateral. There’s also the fact that I’m not the most well liked person on the management staff, maybe that’s because I have a penis. Yes, you read that right.

The total management staff in our office is around 85% female. They are a very tight group and tend not like adding y-chromosomes to their numbers. Now, to be fair the office itself is about 75% female, so it could be the ratio of applicants to positions. Then again I know of 3 male management position individuals that were fired or demoted for trumped up harassment charges. I know personally two of them and the remaing one the other management admit it was BS.

Either way I guess I’ll wait and see what happens. We just have to see what is mightier, sucking or the penis

Posted by Contagion at 06:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

I'll take my experience over their ego.

It just never ends. Tuesday in our morning state of the office meeting, we were discussing same day responses to inquiries and the obstacles we have in meeting our goals for them. Out of the blue, the manager I now report to (from the other office) states she wants me to start running the reports and giving feed back to my minions that don’t have below a 92% same day responses. This request comes at least once a year from someone who thinks they are the first person to come up with this brilliant plan. I’ve been doing this job for four years and not once have I ever thought of doing that! < /sarcasm>.

In fact a couple of years ago, I was damn near being a Nazi about it. That is when I discovered that it’s not possible to find out the exact percentage of the individual CSR. Sure, corporate gives us reports saying what each individuals percentage is, but it’s wrong. They know it, and any Inventory Manager worth a damn knows it. Meanwhile my counterpart is smiling and nodding like it’s a great idea. To burst the bubble, I spoke out.

“It’s not possible. The reports are inaccurate. They may show someone had an 80% closure rate, but it’s not their fault. They transferred the inquiry to someone else and they finished it. The person that originally took the call doesn’t get credit for the closure, even though it’s closed. I tried this a couple of years ago and all I succeeded in doing was dragging the morale through the mud. The employees end up getting upset that we are chastising them for doing something that they didn’t do, and rightfully so.”

Well that wasn’t good enough; nope they still wanted to do it anyways. Of course, the wonderful support from peers really helped me, that’s right; they cowered in their chairs not saying a word. This went back and forth for a good 15 minutes. Then I made this statement, “Look, I’ve done this before. It doesn’t work. All we succeed in doing is pissing off the employees. This has no benefit to anything. I can’t get the data you want and I am not about to stir up trouble and make a bigger headache for me just to prove I’m right. I’ve been using this software for 4 years, if you don’t want to learn from my experience then do it yourselves.” For the record, most of the people in the room had only been dealing with this system for about 8 months, and even my peers that have been working on it as long as I have acknowledge that I am the guru of what the software can and can’t do.

At the meeting, they decided to discuss this more at a later time. Wednesday’s morning meeting arrives and there I sat. Sure enough in walks the other office manager all smiles with a stack of papers under her arm. As soon as the meeting starts, she says that her and my counterpart found a report that shows what each person's same day responses are. I kept my face schooled as she spoke about this great find. Just so you know, this report has been on the system for 6 years, they damn well should have known about it before yesterday.

She passes the stack around and wants everyone to take one. Soon enough all of the supervisors are Ooohing and ahhhing like the yes men they are. With a slightly smug look, the manager looks at me and says, “What do you think?” I grin big. Unknowing to her, she just played into plan perfectly. I figured they where going to try to blindside me, so I came prepared. Standing up I personally hand to each individual in the room a packet that includes an example of the same report. Next I proceeded on this little spiel, “I didn’t figure you would believe what I said yesterday so I took the liberty of gathering some examples of how this report is flawed. Since I didn’t want to spend much time on this, I figured two examples would be sufficient, if you would like more just come see me after the meeting. Here we have production on two of our employees. Employee A shows at a 100% same day response, employee B shows at a 90% same day response rate. Based on what you where saying yesterday you would want me to provide feed back to Employee B, while praising employee B, correct?”

They all acknowledged that was correct.

“Here is the problem. Even though the report shows that employee B had a 100% same day response rate, she never takes a phone call. She is one of my off the phone employees. Thus, she is closing other people’s inquiries. In fact if you look at employee A, two of her inquiries that she didn’t get counted for was closed by employee B. If you turn to page three you will see a separate report, this is a list of all the inquiries employee A started yesterday. You will notice that 2 of them where closed by employee B. They are the highlighted ones for your convenience. Now the other 3 of Employee A’s non-closures are sitting in our Technician queues.”

“Employee A did nothing wrong, all of her pends where proper. Yet you want me to give her feedback and tell her to do better? I think not. I think we as management need to give feedback to the people that are supposed to work these items and aren’t. To me, part of being a leader is knowing not only when to address and issue, but with whom.”

When I finished I think any one of them would rather have been hunting buddies with VP Cheney, than sitting in that room with me. They conceded my point and dropped it like a bag full of rotting mayo and horseradish. It’ll be interesting to see what happens today.

Posted by Contagion at 03:54 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 31, 2006

It is important, dammit!

When I was distributing work this morning, I noticed one of my minions had flowers on her desk and some congratulations cards. This is one of my minions that I get along really well with and talk to on a daily basis. I’ve even been to her house for a party and helped her husband assemble a wooden outside play tower. Trying to rummage through my dysfunctional memory to pull up what she was being congratulated for, I walked up to her.

Curiosity was getting the better of me, I asked her what the flowers and cards where for. She responded that her mother was just being overly emotional. Okay, I’m lost. I know her mother; she’s not that type. Pushing for more details, I was able to get the truth from her. She had finished her courses for an associate’s degree. She graduated just yesterday. I congratulated her and she just shrugged it off and said, “It’s no big deal”. If it had been someone else, I would say she just didn’t like the attention, but this minion does like the limelight.

My minion doesn’t feel that this is a big accomplishment because it took her four years. Four years in which she raised a child (currently 5 years old), maintained a home and worked full time (putting in as much OT as she could.). She could only take one to two classes a semester. And she finished in 4 years, yes about twice as long as normal, but with all that added responsibility. I tried to explain to her that yes it is, it is a very big deal.

When a kid right out of high school goes to college, they don’t have the other financial obligations an adult has (Mortgage, Childcare, etc). They don’t have to take care of a kid and they don’t have a house to maintain. Admittedly, there are some that do, but they are the exception, not the rule. I went to college on a full ride, I worked on breaks for drinking money (I’m not going to lie about what it was for.), but I had no responsibilities. I took 18 hours of classes each semester. During the summers, I took some classes at the local community college so I could graduate a semester early. I wanted to get into the workforce and be a productive member of society. Yet, I think what she did warrants more respect than what I did.

I’d love to go back to school to get my masters in law. Unfortunately, it’s just not financially realistic for me to do right now. Any reputable law school in the area would require me to be fulltime the first year and I can’t afford to not work and support my family. Knowing that, I look at her accomplishment and can’t help but to be proud of her. For fighting the odds to better herself, to make life better for her family, I respect her.

I told her all of this and she still doesn’t see what the big deal is. “It’s only an associate degree,” she says. No, it’s not. It is a college degree. It is more than a high school diploma and it’s her first step to a bachelor's degree. And yes, she is planning on continuing to get her bachelor’s.

Even though she doesn’t understand why others think this was an accomplishment, I still wanted to recognize her accomplishment. Today I took her to lunch and refused to let her pay for her meal. No, it’s not a lot, but it’s all the company will allow me to do. (We have a stringent gift giving policy.) She appreciated it, but still felt I was making an issue out of nothing. She is wrong.

Posted by Contagion at 01:06 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

No words.

SON OF A… All right, I think I’m going to be sent back to sensitivity class again. Not that I’ve done anything yet even remotely to get a talking to, let alone sent to sensitivity class. Nope, but by the end of the month I may just explode in a ball of anger that would rival Hiroshima.

Some of you may remember reading my post about how I suck am not good at my job, according to some people. They wanted me to use these other people’s reports to track data, because it was so much better then mine. Then last Friday I went off on how I was instructed to use these reports and I thought there might be a change.

I wasn’t wrong, but it wasn’t the change I was expecting.

I reverted to using my system for information on Monday; everything seemed to be going better. That was until today. As soon as our morning state of the office meeting started one of the Assistant Managers announced that my counterpart from the other office came up with a great new report. It’s so great it is going to change drastically how both offices are going to be able to track data.

I was skeptical. My counterpart hasn’t had a good, original idea since she got her position. Sitting back, I was waiting to see what she had created or at least what new method she was using to retrieve data. Sitting back in my chair, bracing myself, I waited for her to start. She was nervous and barely made eye contact with anyone. She wasn’t used to being in the spotlight in these meetings, so this wasn’t unusual. She started:

“This report will allow us to track volumes. We will be able to track over all volumes, aging, how many items we lost cycle on and how many we will lose if we don’t close it today. It will also show us how many inquiries we handled on the same day we received them.”

Okay, my interest is piqued. This is sounding good, I have a report that does all that, but it’s a little labor intensive. If she’s found a faster, better way to do it, YAY ME! Anything to make my job better or easier I will gladly embrace.

Imagine the surprise on my face when she unveils her “new” report and it is the report I created and have used for 3 years. Now imagine, if you will, not only a look of shock, but also my complete and utter inability to speak a word. My counterpart is getting praise and applause, FOR MY FARKING REPORT! Then the other offices assistant manager put match to fuse. She said, “Contagion, what do you think of this report? Will you start using it right away?”

Slowly and deliberately, I pushed my chair back from the table.

Slowly I stood up, head down looking at my stack of paper work, with this “new” report right on top. Leaning on the table with clenched fists, knuckles white and veins throbbing, I look up. Making eye contact with first my counterpart, who diverted her look, and then the assistant manger, I quietly, very quietly, say, “I think this is a great report, it has its issues, but it is better then anything else that is available. The person, who created this, in my opinion, should be congratulated on all the hard work and effort to create such a report…” The assistant manager is smiling. “Will I start using this report? No. No, I will not START using this report. I can’t, it’s not possible. To start using it would mean that I’d have to stop using it again. See, I’ve been using this report, in one form or another, for three years now. I created this report 3 years ago. I’ve been bringing it to this meeting every day, except when you told me to stop a couple of weeks ago because it wasn’t good enough.”

“Now, today, when you think someone else created it, it is a good report? I’m not saying that my counterpart stole this report; you can’t steal something that was given to you. I am not even saying she is taking false credit for creating it, I honestly think you just assumed she did. Now I will blame her for not saying she didn’t create it. Right now, I think it is in my best interest if I excuse myself from this meeting.”

At that point, I grabbed my reports and left the room. I was so pissed that I didn’t raise my voice once. There was no yelling, no screaming, no swearing, I was calm and collected. I went back to my desk and sat staring at my monitor for a while. My hands where shaking in a rage… yes, a rage… so badly I couldn’t type.

I’m curious what is going to become of this, because now all the management in the office knows exactly what’s going on.

Posted by Contagion at 12:39 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

Trend setting.

It looks like I started some kind of trend at work. All day yesterday I was talking about the Winchester and a couple of my minions went with to pick it up. When we returned to work the minions kept talking about getting Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) cards. You need a FOID card in order to legally purchase and own a firearm in the State of Illinois.

Ktreva needs to get hers just in case there is a problem and so I can get her a pistol of her own. Also, just in case something should happen to me, there would be no legal problems with the firearms we already own. Yesterday I told my minions I was taking Ktreva to go apply for a FOID card today on lunch. They decided that they all where going to go get theirs at the same time. So today at lunch I’m taking 3-4 minions and Ktreva to go apply for FOID cards.

Then they want to look at the pistols and rifles to see what they want to buy when they finally receive a FOID card. (It can take 3-4 months to be approved). All of them are novice firearm owners so I’m trying to talk them out of buying the hard to maintain and learn to operate style firearms. One of them wants to buy an AK-47 for home defense. For the first time in my life, I uttered the phrase “You’ll shoot your eye out” and meant it. I’m also trying to explain why .44 magnums and semi-autos are not good beginner weapons. I was taught and believe that you are better off buying a revolver in medium to small caliber for your first firearm. Others may disagree, but it’s my opinion and you probably won’t change my mind.

I recommend Revolvers because they are easier to clean and maintain. They are much more forgiving if you get a little neglectful than a semi-auto is. If a semi-auto isn’t cleaned properly, it is more likely to jam or malfunction. The worst I’ve seen a revolver do is have the cylinder not open because the release pin was gummed up. I’ve seen too many semi-autos end up needing serious repair work done because of improper cleaning and storage.

I don’t recommend large caliber just because when a person is first trying to learn to shoot, they need to work on control first. The kick of a large caliber gun may just be a little too intimidating and they may have issues developing control. Why not start with something smaller and working your way up to a larger caliber weapon. Plus if you are going to use it for home defense, as many claim, you don’t want something that is going to blow holes in the side of your house and into your neighbors.

Not that I’m a firearms expert, far from it. I just happen to be the one person they know that has a functioning knowledge of firearms. They trust me and value my opinion. No matter how funny I think it would be to watch one of them try to learn to shoot using the .450 (Yes, four five zero rifle round, not forty-five pistol round) revolver a local store has, I would strongly discourage them from buying it.

Today at work that has been what all the buzz is about. Going and getting FOID cards, looking at handguns and learning to shoot. Every time I turn around I hear someone talking about what kind of gun they want, what they’ve shot and how long before they can buy one. I’ve had some other minions start asking me questions about firearms. They all know I shoot black powder, but apparently they never thought I knew a thing about modern.

I wonder if I can use this on my next work evaluation to fulfill part of my mentoring criteria.

Posted by Contagion at 12:33 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 20, 2006

When the wrong button is pushed.

It happened finally. After weeks of crap being dumped upon me, I snapped. Don’t worry my fine contaminants; I still have a job. I said I snapped, not I went postal. I can’t go into too much detail on here for numerous reasons. It all started off with upper management questioning a decision I made. Fine, I don’t have a problem with that. They just wanted to know why I did what I did. I explained it’s because I didn’t have the resources/tools to do the job. They didn’t understand what I meant, so I gave this example: Sliding a piece of paper across the desk. “Your goal is to sign this piece of paper in under 30 seconds. It’s an easy enough goal. However, you can not use a pen or pencil, the signature has to be clear and legible.”

When I was told that isn’t possible. I explained yes it is, Just very difficulty with a bit of sacrifice and a lot of pain. They asked me then if I didn’t have the resources/tools to get do the job, then how did I meet the goal last year. I responded with, “I made them. Take a hammer away from a blacksmith and he can’t do his job. Now he may be able find a makeshift hammer that just barely works. Yet this hammer may be just good enough to make a better hammer. Then he may use that better hammer to make an even better hammer. Now he can do his job properly again. That is what I did, I found makeshift resources, used them to create better resources, and then even better resources. Finally I was able to do my job properly.” Fortunately they actually understood that analogy.

So the decision they where questioning is why I used resources outside the norm instead of the ones I was given this year. When I explained that instead of spending months starting over, I went to the reliable resources and tapped them. While they are getting the job done, I’m making new resources to take over. They understood that, and wanted me to send an e-mail going into detail the whole process. Which I sent out, to all management in my office, VP’s and Executive Directors explaining my actions, including hard data to support my decisions.

Then I was asked a question about our inventory. I told them that I didn’t know and I’ll have an answer for them as soon as possible. In the past when they asked I had always had the information for them with in minutes. When they asked me why it would take so long, it was then that my gasket blew.

Contagion: “Why? You want to know why? Do you really want to know why? Because you have me using the other offices reports and flows to do my job. It takes them two weeks to get this information; I can get it in a matter of minutes. But my way sucks, so I had to use their glorious system that was so much better. You want your data, I’ll start running it now and you can have it as soon as I get it, probably about a week.”

Upper Manager: “Why would you switch flows to something slower? If your system works better, why not use that?”

Contagion: “I’m not going to point fingers to the person sitting to my right or her counterpart, but they said how great this other system was and wanted me to use that. Since I report to those people, that is what I had to do.”

Now my Asst Manager is glaring at me. If looks could kill my head would have exploded like a watermelon being hit with a .50 cal rifle.

Asst. Manager: “When did I say that, and why didn’t you say your system was better.”

Contagion: “Last week, and I did. I said that I can get the same data faster, but everyone was all enthralled with my counterparts `success’ that they ignored me. I’m used to that. I could tell you that your chair is on fire and everyone would ignore me. When someone else points out the chair is on fire, then I get yelled at for not pointing out the fire.”

Asst Manager: “I don’t think we understood…”

Contagion: “Maybe if you guys weren’t busy telling me how everyone else is better at my job then I and listen to me, then you might have.”

Now both my Manager and Asst. Manager is looking at me as if I just physically assaulted my Asst. Manager. My Asst. Managers eyes where filled with the flames of anger. The conversation went on, but you get the idea. It was not pleasant for anyone else but me. Hell, I even made the comment in the middle of it, “Well there goes my raise for the year.”

The funny thing is that I had to do a self-evaluation today. I hate these things. If the person I report to/who supervises me, actually did their job, they would know how I’m doing. I’m not expecting a raise this year, not that I didn’t meet my goals or that I don’t think I deserve one. It’s because the person giving me the review thinks I suck. Then again I don’t think the above conversation helped any.

She also wasn’t amused when I turned in my self-evaluation. The last question on the form was, “What could I (Your supervisor) do to become a stronger leader for you?”

I answered with: “Nothing, you are practically perfect in every way.”

She sent it back with a note to change that. I don’t know why.

Posted by Contagion at 05:46 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Not so shocking.

It has been a while since I've regailed you with a tale of my minions. Thinking you might be forgetting what it's like to work for me, I wanted to remind you. I was thinking of which incident to go with, when all of a sudden the following happened.

This morning one of my minions tells me her phone is dead, nothing works on it, not even the lights. When I get to her desk, sure enough the phone is completely dead. She says it was working the day before and when she left, but when she came in this morning it was dead. Before I called the help desk on this, I thought I’d look to see if it was unplugged.

It had been a while since I had “fun” with one of my minions and this was just the perfect time to do it. Thinking to myself why not, I started talking to my minion:

Contagion, “It looks like you yanked some wires out of the plug.”

Minion, “Okay, I’ll call the help desk.”

Contagion, “Now, just wait a second. This is just like phone wiring; I think I can repair this.” (I do some repairs around the building, it’s not part of my job duties or description, but I know how and it’s faster then the help desk. Then once I get it working, I call the help desk to let them know.)

Minion, “Okay, do you need me to do anything?”

Contagion, “Nah, just stand back and hand me stuff as I ask for it.”

Minion, “Have you done this before?”

Contagion, “Not on this type of phone, but electrical and phone wiring is all pretty similar, it shouldn’t be that different. It’s just a matter of conecttinngngngngngngngngngngngngngngngngngng” (Feet flailing kicking the ground, body gyrating like a drunk trying to do the centipede, head banging like a some one going through shock therapy, facial muscles tense as lips are peeled back in grimace of pain. This goes on for about 10 seconds)

Meanwhile, Minion, “OH GOD, OH GOD, OH GOD!” (Panicked look on face Blood drained from head, eyes as wide as saucers, doing the “I’m scared dance”)

Contagion: (Stops flailing and is laughing his arse off)


Contagion, “You’re eyes were huge and the color still hasn’t come back to your cheeks… that was funny as all heck!” (Yes, I said heck. At work, my language is as clean as the Pope’s is during mass. Unless, I’m really, really pissed and then I may use the occasional “damn”)

(Ktreva goes walking past. We work together, no she is not a minion… anywhere… sigh)

Minion to Ktreva, “I hate your husband. He’s a jerk.”

Ktreva ignores minion as she is in a bad mood and heading somewhere in a hurry

Contagion, “See, she doesn’t care either.”

Minion to me, “Someday, somebody will get back at you for doing stuff like that.”

Contagion, “Someday was six years ago and that somebody was Ktreva.” (Grins)

Minion, “I’m telling her you said that!”

Contagion, “Be my guest, it’s not like I haven’t said it to her.”

Minion, “I don’t know how she puts up with you.”

Contagion, “Neither do I. That reminds me, time to buy her more jewelry. Keep her happy and my life is easier. Now go sign on to another computer, I can’t fix this. I’ll get the help desk involved”

My minion is still glaring at me, and this happened five hours ago. Some people just don’t have a sense of humor.

Posted by Contagion at 01:09 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

Work = Hell?

They have done a reorganization of the staff at my place of employment; they are also working on merging two offices (completely different lines of business) into one. This has made for quite a bit of excitement in the employees. By excitement, I mean rumors in the staff and meetings for me.

Today’s meeting schedule goes as follows:

8:30 -8:45: Morning assignments of work. (I lead this meeting and it was over with in 8 minutes.)

9:00 to 9:30 Daily state of the office meeting. This should only last 15 minutes, they schedule 30minutes just in case, it ran for 50 minutes in order to discuss the 10:00 meeting.

10:00 to 12:15 Standard operation meeting. I go because I’m told I have to, only to sit for 2 hours and 15 minutes doing nothing but staring at my note pad thinking to myself, “Someone please shoot me, please”. This is also, where I’m told by peers in the other office that is merging with us that I don’t know how to do my job. That I should do things they way they do it, and that my procedures are bad. The whole time when anyone asks me for data I can give them exact figures while the other offices inventory manager can only say, “I’ll have to look into that and get back with you in two weeks”. At that point, I’m told I’m going to be tracking the other offices inventory using my crappy procedures because they like the information. I actually only was needed for 30 minutes of this meeting, 25 of those minutes was being told I suck don’t know how to do my job.

12:30 to 1:15 Lunch. Sometimes I have a lunch meeting; those are rare. Today I had a lunch venting with my wife and a couple of trusted minions and a work friend. Which is good because I blew a gasket and was blurting out stuff I shouldn’t have out of anger.

1:30 to 2:00 Afternoon update: This is where we discuss what we talked about in the 10:00 meeting. I walked out of this meeting after 25 minutes of recapping how much I suck don’t know how to do my job, so I could go suck do my job.

2:30 to 3:30 Divisional Planning meeting: This is a teleconference I do to plan the next week’s inventory and coordinate assistance for other offices. This is where I do my mentoring to teach other people how to suck do their jobs as I do.

3:45 to 4:15 and 4:30 to 5:00: Unit Meetings. This is where each week they break out the minions into smaller groups to share vital information. This week I have to join these to explain why they have to take responsibility for their own actions follow new tracking guidelines for data.

5:00: Get the fark out of Dodge Leave for the day. I’ve only been at work since 6:30 AM. I guess I should have stayed longer, but then again I suck am not as good at my job as others are.

6:00: See how quickly I can drink a bottle of Jack Daniels

What gets me about this whole damn thing is that if I suck am not good at my job, why does every other office in other cities turn to me for answers to their problems? It’s just the other office in my building that wants me completely to change how everything is done, to their style. They do this by, and I’m not kidding saying things like, “Our methods are great we can get this data and information in weeks, and are making headway to actually meet our goals.” Meanwhile, I get data with in an hour, and am meeting two of my three goals and the third one I’m almost there.

Posted by Contagion at 05:24 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006

Just leave me alone!

Today is not a good day for me to have come to work. I should have stayed home today. The longer I’m here the more pissed off I’m getting. It all stems from three little things.

A) Why call a meeting to ask me information if you are not going to believe a damn thing I say and go around afterwards doing the research yourself? Don’t waste my time.

2) Don’t pitch a fit about no one supporting anyone’s plans when you don’t support theirs.

D) I am very busy; do not waste my time with meetings to discuss what is going to happen in a meeting. If the meeting your are discussing doesn’t involve me or I’m not invited to it, don’t invite me to the meeting that is going to discuss that meeting.

Posted by Contagion at 09:04 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

Just not my truck.

I am the most reviled man at work right now. Due to some changes in goals, I’ve had to implement some new procedures and policies that are very unpopular. Mainly because it makes the employees take accountability of their own items and doesn’t give them much of a time frame to get it done in. Unfortunately, the time frame issue is not something I can do anything about. New corporate guidelines dictate what the time frames have to be.

What really makes me laugh about the whole thing is that I’m being single-handedly blamed for these new procedures and policies. What isn’t realized is that I was just a part of the brain trust that came up with them. They are more stringent then I had originally thought they would be because of others that where in on the decision. Since it was “super happy fun” bad news that would get the troops up in arms, and it directly had to do with my job, it was decided I got to be the one to send out the notice. It seems to be that way with my job, if there is good news someone else gets to send it out, if it’s bad news I get to be the messenger.

This doesn’t bother me, except I drove my truck to work today. I’m afraid someone is going to key it, slash the tires or even worse… piss on the tailpipe! Maybe I should buy just a cheap POS to drive until things cool down. That way if anything is done to it, I won’t care.

Posted by Contagion at 12:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 19, 2005

My minions love me.

Everyone thinks I’m too hard on my minions. People say that they don’t respect and like me. Some have even said that I keep them so far away from me that none of them know or understand me. I say that all those people are nothing more then damn liars!

Here’s proof that not only do my minions like and respect me, they knew me better then I thought they did.

This is my Christmas gift from a group of them. A bottle of Seagram’s 7, which happens to be my favorite cheap whiskey. Yes I prefer Jack Daniels, but I can get a large bottle of Seagram’s 7 for less then a small bottle of Jack Daniels. When I’m at home I generally drink 7&7’s. One bag of Ranch Corn Nuts, I love ranch Corn Nuts. My wife won’t let me eat them because they make my breath absolutely horrible. One pack of Listerine CoolMint PocketPaks, These serve a two-fold purpose. One is that obviously I’m addicted to the damn things, but also when I eat the Corn Nuts they’ll help me stay married. Finally “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks. C’mon folks, this is perfect! I’ve already started reading it and updating my own Zombie contingency plans. However, to be objective, the author of the book has some of his facts incorrect. When I’m finished reading I’ll do a full critique.

Now you tell me, do my minions love me or what?

Posted by Contagion at 04:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

December 07, 2005

Horrible Lies!

ACK! Something has gone terribly awry in the land of Contagion. Something bad that needs to be changed quickly. There is a rumor floating around amongst my minions regarding me that I just cannot let continue. It’s not that I mind rumors flying around about me; in fact, I try to encourage as many as possible. The more strange stories about me, the more people don’t know how to react in my presence. Some rumors are true, some are false, I let them continue as long as they add to the mystique that is me.

This time someone has gone too far. Two of my newer minions came up to me to ask a couple of questions this morning. Since they where new and the questions legitimate, I answered them in a clear and concise manner. They thanked me, and then I heard one say to the other, “Minion J was right, he is a nice guy.”

Like fingers on a chalkboard, my brain reeled from that painful sound. NOOOoooooo! They are to fear me, be nervous when I’m around and try to keep from having “meaningful conversations” with me. There was no time to act, I had to react quickly, and my reputation was at stake. Since these where two newer minions, I didn’t want to scar them permanently, so I felt I would let them off with a stern glare this time. Minion J could not be excused for such malicious slander and libel. She would have the bear the brunt of my wrath.

Walking over to Minion J’s desk, I noticed she was talking to Monitor Minion. PERFECT! First thing first, I had to address the fact that they where chitchatting and not working. This sent Monitor Minion scurrying back to her desk. Then I turn to Minion J and say, “I hear you are talking about me.” Of course, Minion J denies the accusation. Then I say to her, “What makes it worse is that you are spreading vicious lies about me.” Minion J claims to have no knowledge of what I’m saying. Blood has drained from her face.

Then I dropped the hammer, “I heard two people talking about how you said I was a nice guy.” Minion J noticeably relaxes and slumps back into her chair. She starts to laugh, LAUGH I tell you! She goes on to explain she feels behind my gruff exterior that I’m actually a nice guy and she’s seen proof of it. She then goes on to give me some obviously misguided examples of my being “nice” to people.

Foolish Minion! What she misconstrued as my being nice, was nothing more then my attempt to get more work out of my minions. Their working harder makes me look better. If that means occasionally I have to do something like give recognition, appreciation and going to bat for them, then so be it. It’s not for them, it’s purely for me!

I would never do anything actually to help someone else. If I did, then people might start expecting things from me, and I can’t have that. They might try to talk or socialize with me. My walking by their desk may no longer scare them into working harder. That crosses the line on my code of ethic. Moreover, nice guys don’t go to sensitivity class.

Well, just to make sure Minion J got my point, I increased her workload for the day. It was all about squashing this nice guy image she’s trying to bestow upon me, and not to prevent any rumors of favoritism.

Posted by Contagion at 11:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 06, 2005

Thank you for the concern

I have received some e-mails from people today concerned of my state of employment or a perceived soon to be lack of employment. At this time, I would like to thank all of you for your concern on the matter. I appreciate you would take time out of your day just for me. Thank you, Thank you very much.

Let me lay your concerns to rest. My job security is Fort Knox, executive management likes me because I get results and that is what they want. The management in my office likes my results, just not my style. That is why they keep sending me to “sensitivity class”. You need to recall the one I went to back in October was not in response to any actual or perceived transgression of mine. They sent all management to it. It wasn’t actually called a sensitivity class. It was a leadership camp. However, being to previous sensitivity classes it contained much of the same material, hence why I refer to it as one.

Prior to that, it has been 3 years since I’ve been to a sensitivity class. The reason I was sent back then was because I had a dumb arse (fired shortly after) that kept screwing up big time on the same thing. I had explained to them 2-3 times how to do it properly in one week only to have them completely screw up the next week. When I approached them this final time they gave me my ultimate hated excuse, “I didn’t know that.” I’ll admit my temper got the best of me.

I stood there, went over everything we had done the previous weeks, showed them their notes that I made them take the second time I gave them feedback. It was when I said, “We’ve gone over this multiple times last week. You did know about this, do not tell me you didn’t. Either you think I’m a fool or you are lying.” To be honest I didn’t think that was so bad, I wanted to yell at them, “You are depriving the people around you of valuable oxygen you lump of biological extract!” But I didn’t. I did make the individual cry. So, off the sensitivity class I went.

The first time I went? That was due to a stupid joke someone said about me. It wasn’t even do to my actions. I was in my previous position with the company and I was trying to get some work done, and I had these people keep interrupting me for stuff they shouldn’t have been. I told them they needed to leave me alone. (I was not management at the time.) Later on one of the individuals called me “Mean and hateful” jokingly, someone else over heard it and called the corporate ethics department. Whenever a complaint like that is filed with them, the individual had to go to sensitivity class. That department and guideline isn’t there anymore. What’s funny is the two that where joking about me being “Mean and Hateful” keep it up to this day just to see if they can get me sent back.

See, you have no reason to worry. Nothing bad will happen to me; except I may blow my top and you’ll get a funny story out of it.

Posted by Contagion at 12:59 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

do I need an attitude adjustment?

Guess where I get to go next week? I’ll give you a hint. It is a direct result of this incident. Unless you’ve never read me before, you’ve probably guessed Sensitivity Class. You would be correct! I get a two-day two-night expense paid trip to the suburbs of Chicago to learn to be “nicer”. This is the fourth time in the last 6 years I’ve been sent. I don’t think it helped when they told me, I responded with, “Yea, I’m sure it’ll take this time.” Some people just do NOT appreciate sarcasm.

Then to make matters worse, we had a big staff meeting this morning and we were going over our “days out of the office” this month. This is just so that we know when someone has either off-site meetings, vacation time or training. When it was my turn, I couldn’t help myself. Neither tact nor shame has been a strong point of mine. I just spouted off, “I have this Friday off, next Tuesday and Wednesday I’m being sent to Sensitivity Class, oh and there is a chance I may get some more spontaneous days off, it appears none of us learned from my last outburst.”

Yes, they pulled me into an office and addressed my attitude with me. First, Sensitivity Class is a private matter between upper management and I. Second, I’m pushing the line of being disrespectful. Third, I cannot plan an “outburst” just to get days off.

Yea, Yea, Yea… says you. I kept my mouth shut…. This time…. For once. I did point out that since I was the one that brought up sensitivity class, they didn’t violate corporate policy. That policy is there to protect the person being sent, not the company. With which they agreed. My brain wanted to go off and “educate” them that I will show proper respect when they deserve it and if you didn’t want me to use this little vacation time loophole, you shouldn’t have shown it to me. I was thinking of trying to get another Friday off to help someone move.

When I returned to work yesterday, it’s shared with me that they promoted someone whom should not have been. At this point, I will digress about this topic due to the fact that some of my minions read this blog and I don’t need them seeing my true feelings on the subject.

God, that speaks volumes doesn’t it?

Posted by Contagion at 12:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 02, 2005

It's not a vacation!

Ah my good and faithful readers, I am currently live blogging from my very own computer at home. I’m sure you are all asking yourselves, “Wait, how can that be Contagion? You work, you have minions to torture and inventory to move.” Well today I don’t. I have some “Time Off” for the day. Apparently my peers and management don’t like being called “Farking Idiots” in the middle of a staff meeting. I just don’t understand why not, they are. It’s not like I was caught lying to them by saying, “You are the most competent and able management staff I’ve ever had the privilege of working with or for.”

So I’m going to spend some time today doing stuff like…. Trimming my toe nails, catching up on blogging, trimming my finger nails, read some blogs I’ve never been to before, trimming my facial hair, doing some Christmas shopping, trimming some pubic hair and I think I’m going to travel across town to get some Taco Johns for lunch. Why? Because I can, what else am I going to do with the day? The shooting range isn’t open on Friday, plus I really don’t want to travel an hour and a half just to spend an hour shooting to drive back. I did some math, with the cost of bullets, fees and gas it usually costs me around $100.00 for an hours worth of fun. I can invest that $100.00 into alcohol and spread it out for 4 hours. MMMmm, Alcohol… I can do that!

OH! Maybe I’ll go see a movie… no, can’t do that. I refuse to be the dork that goes to movies by themselves. And before any of my readers who do that get on me, yes you are a dork for going to the movies by yourself. Find a friend for pete’s sake, I’m free today!

Heck I’m free possibly even into next week, rest of the month, could be through the beginning of next year. I think it depends on how pissed off they really were. Oh, I guess I should at least pretend to be remorseful. Wait, I just can’t. Even after getting a good 10 hours of sleep and not being pissed today, I still have no regrets. To be honest, when I return to work I think I might do it again, just in case they missed my point. These people need to realize they are farking idiots!

Well I’m off to visit the blogosphere. My IM is in the on position so if you e-mail me I’ll probably respond right away. If you don’t then you will never know the joy of having e-mail chat with someone the likes of me!

Posted by Contagion at 09:24 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

November 30, 2005

This shouldn't surprise me.

Just when I thought I was done being so pissed off that I thought I was going to blow a gasket. Something happened today that just sent my anger back into over drive. I’m so pissed right now I can barely type. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the details at this time, so I don’t want prematurely to launch into a tirade only to do a retraction later. I guess that puts me a step up over the MSM.

As soon as I have all my facts sorted out I’ll share the fun with all of you, I promise. Until then I’ll just leave you with this teaser, when promoting someone it should be based on ability, drive and a proven willingness to do better. When telling someone they didn’t get the position they should not tell them stuff like, “You are limiting yourself because you are working too hard.”

Thanks to that kind of feedback I just lost one of my best producing minions. She now feels that she is being punished because she is a hard worker.

Did I ever mention my peers are farking dumb arses?!

Posted by Contagion at 01:01 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

November 22, 2005

Mr Nice Guy

My job is very… unique in my company. There are only a handful of people that hold my position. Adding to the fact that I’m the Senior level, which makes it even more rare. That makes my job a lot more difficult then it really has to be. Why? Because no one else in my office understands all that I do. This has its ups and it’s downs.

The upside is that because they don’t understand what I do, including my manager, at review time I always do well as long as the goals are being received. They don’t know how I meet them, just that I do. Or if I’m not meeting them, they want to know why. When I try to explain, I can actually see their eyes glaze over. Just last week I had my manager ask me to explain to her some of the stuff that I do. After 5 minutes of just doing the basics, I could tell she was lost. The other upside is that when I do make a mistake there is a 99.99% chance that I can correct it before anyone can detect it.

The downside is that since no one knows all that I do, they tend to think I don’t do anything. Thus, they think I have a lot of spare time. This is absolutely positively not the case. I can see where they get that idea. Between gathering data and assigning work it looks like I’m walking around just chatting a lot. If they actually ever paid attention to what I was doing/saying they would see that yes, sometimes I do just chit-chat (like everyone else) but usually I’m talking about work. I’m checking on what the person is doing, what they’ve done, or trying to correct problems. Sometimes they see me sitting at my desk just reading e-mail. What they don’t realize is that I’m waiting for a program to finish compiling data for a report I’m running. While they system is doing that, I really can’t do much else until it is finished, it takes up a lot of CPU power. Hell even checking my e-mail is really slow. How slow? Think of downloading a 100k file using a 14.4 dial-up. Yea, that slow.

What inevitably happens is that when some new task needs to be done, I get volunteered to do it. Usually when I’m volunteered it’s followed up with the phrase, “He’s got the time.” That brings me to the hellacious day I had today. First there is a guy that has a related job to what I do, but they are not the same. It would be like he’s motor oil and I’m gasoline. He keeps the parts moving, but I’m making the engine run. With out the both of us the office stops functioning properly. There is a reason why corporate have two separate people doing these jobs. IT IS WAY TOO MUCH FOR ONE PERSON TO DO. Except in my office, when the other guy is gone. I have to do his job AND mine and heaven forbid something goes wrong with either. Does he have to back me up when I’m gone? Nope… he has too much work to do.

This other guy is gone this week for the holiday. The last Friday of the month is when my goals are measured, since the last Friday of this month falls on a Holiday that means I get until Wednesday. That means I loose two days of production and have lower goals. (For examples sake if I had a full 20-day work month I could only have 500 items left at the end of the month, but since I only have 18 I can only have 470. It’s hard to explain other then that with out spending three days and 5 posts.) Plus his goals are due next Wednesday and I have to do my best to meet those as well. Needless to say my life is rather frantic right now. Throw in system problems, two added assignments because I don’t do anything, and covering for a supervisor, plus my regular mentoring and my week has been hell. I know I’m good, but I’m not that good. Something had to give today, and it did. All the sensitivity training they had sent me to went right out the window.

There was no time for me to caress, finesse, argue or even instruct people today. It was barking orders, telling people off and basically taking command of the situation. Something I do a little too well from what I’m told. When I left today some of my peers where a bit annoyed, well okay they where down rite pissed at me for undermining their authority. As I told one of them, “If you had an inkling of how to do this part of your job properly, I wouldn’t have to do it for you.” When my manager came to me to talk to me about the situation I responded with, “You have me doing my coworkers job, I have my job, I have to conduct training, make sure the employees are doing their jobs, deal with system problems, help this other department, on top of trying to meet my goals that are due by end of business tomorrow. You have effectively taken away all my resources, made it so that there is a better then likely chance I will fail and you decide NOW is a good time to chat with me about my attitude? Do me a favor, schedule a meeting about it for next Wednesday, that seems to be what this office likes to do best and that is my next free time.” Her response was, “I don’t think this is a good time.” After she walked away I mumbled, “No shit, what was you first clue? The blinking red alerts on my monitor telling me we are in trouble or the blinking red alerts in my eyes that say disgruntled?”

Luckily I had enough sense to wait until she was out of earshot to say that.

***Clapping, with a big grin on my face***

I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings!


Posted by Contagion at 05:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 08, 2005

But its quicker and easier!

Sometimes I swear my company does stuff just to make the employee’s lives difficult. At the beginning of September, we switched to an electronic/online system for reimbursement of work related expenses. This covers things like travel, conferences, client meetings, etc. The old system all you had to do was fill out a form, attach your receipts and give to your manager for signing. Then the manager would send it to the reimbursement department. In about 2-3 weeks, you would get a check for the amount submitted. It was relatively easy to use and you had a definite period for reimbursement.

This new system has complicated the process to the point of annoyance. Now you have to go online through their very user-unfriendly system called Concur. Then you have to create an expense report AND an itinerary if you traveled. If you used your company card, you need to wait until the expenses show up in the system before you can put in for reimbursement. Once gone through all that, adding each line and correcting all the mistakes that the auto transfer system makes you can “submit” it. What they mean is that it sends an electronic signature to your manager, and then it prints a copy for you to fax to another office.

Putting it like that makes it sound not so bad, IF IT WORKED! I went to Texas October 17 through the 21st. I paid for EVERYTHING with my corporate card. The items never showed up in Concur like they where supposed to. Every time I asked someone about it, they told me, just wait it can take some time. So I waited and checked every couple of days. Yesterday I received a Bill from the Corp Card company wanting payment. When I came into work today, my charges STILL were not showing. To say I was irritated would be an understatement. When I contacted the help department, I received the same song and dance. This time however I refused to listen to them and explained; It’s been over 2 weeks and nothing has showed up, yet I have a bill to pay the card. Now someone says, well it must not have transferred, lets look at it. Sure enough, it didn’t transfer properly and I have to manually transfer the charges.

Then when we first switched to this system, I was told that if you paid on your corporate card, you don’t need receipts. The system will accept what is received from the card company as proof of payment. Okay! That makes sense; they already have the charges on the card and can see from where the charge originated. Why would they need another receipt? Well once again, I was misled. Nope, if you have purchases for meals or taxi/limos/car services you still need a receipt. Now, it is looking like I’m going to be stuck with paying close to $100.00 out of my pocket, because I don’t have those receipts. I had them when I came back from my trip, but was told, “You don’t need them”. To the best of my memory, I believe I threw them out. That was AFTER I was told I didn’t need them because I used my corporate card!

Everyone that I have talked to that uses this new system hates it. They all have the same complaints and have run across the same problems, including the receipt issue. One person I talked to is still waiting for reimbursement from a trip they took back in September!

Under the old system, I would have submitted my form the day I returned and would have received payment by this Friday at the latest. With this new system, I may not get reimbursement until… ever

Posted by Contagion at 02:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 13, 2005

I can only do wrong.

So last week my work sends me to this sensitivity “leadership” class. Basically, I was told that I needed to change my personality and try to be nicer and more positive. I know my job is not on the line, but I figured when it comes time for my review it would be nice to show that I’m trying. All week I’ve been smiling at work, being nice, saying hello and just being cheery in general. Here are some of the responses I’ve received to the newer “nicer” Contagion.

“It’s disconcerting to see you so happy.”

“Why are you smiling? What are you going to do to me?”

“It gives me the creeps that you are saying hello to everyone. It’s like you are planning a hit list.”

“I don’t like when you say please and thank you. It gives me chills, not the good kind.”

“Did you get some last night?” (Nice, huh? If I had said that I would be instantly back in sensitivity class or fired However, because it was females that said it to me, it’s okay.)

“We’ve decided that your being nice is wrong. We liked the pressure of having to worry about you coming to chew us out.”

“Are you on Prozac?”

“STOP BEING NICE!!! I can’t work in these conditions.”

“You said hello to me… what did I do wrong?”

“You know my name?!?!?! Does this mean I’m getting fired?”

“I’m scared; you’re going to shoot someone aren’t you?”

I just can’t win. They complain when I’m my normal work driven self and they complain when I’m nice and caring. I’d try being a ripe bastard for a while just for their reactions. If I thought, I wouldn’t be fired for driving someone to commit suicide.

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 12, 2005

Cowboy boots and Kilts.

Next week my work is sending me to Dallas, TX for three days and nights in order to get some training. While I’m down there I need to check in on a mentoree or two and see how things are going. As I’ve only had contact with them via the phone, e-mail and video conference this could be interesting. Maybe I can put some of my newly found sensitivity leadership skills to use while I’m there.

My issue is that I’m flying out of O’Hare international scareport (If you’ve ever been there you understand why I call it that) and crashing landing in Dallas/Fort Worth international airport. Flying never bothered me, until 9/11. Now when I get onto the plane I start profiling people, keeping me eye on everyone and in general just waiting for someone to cause trouble. Its not that I think it’s going to happen, but if it does happen I want to be prepared for it.

I know me, I know how I am, if someone did try to highjack my plane I probably would die trying to kill them by using my glasses frames to stab them in the jugular. I’m fine all the way up until I actually get on the plane, then my nerves step in. All I have to do is stop what I’m doing, and focus on something else. This however goes against years of training and conditioning. For me just completely ignore the mass of people around me in an unfamiliar place is difficult. I’m a big boy, I’ll just have to suck up and deal with it.

While I was in Texas, I was hoping to be able to meet some bloggers that are down in that area. Upon looking at mapquest, I discovered that TLTTF is not exactly with in an hour’s trip from Dallas. Then I discovered they are probably going to be traveling anyway. Since they are the only Texas bloggers that I read, that I am aware of, there goes that idea.

I guess I’ll just have to fill my free time by “playing” with my mentorees.

Posted by Contagion at 01:07 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 10, 2005

I'll show you sensitive!

Last Friday I had to attend what they called “Leadership camp”. People, I don’t care how you try to sugar coat it, but sensitivity class is sensitivity class. Trust me, I’ve been sent to two actual sensitivity classes in the last 4 years. Sure, this had a different structure and some new material, but there were many of the same principles behind it. This time I actually had fun, then again I made it fun; not just for me, but for the other people. In doing so, I did learn some new things. As soon as I walked in, I knew this was going to be interesting. Out of the 37 people in the class, I was the only male. So let me share with you what I took from this sensitivity class.

*Do not show up 30 minutes late and say, “I thought this started at 8:30… Eh the extra 30 minutes of sleep were worth it.”

*I work for a company that definitely does not hire based on looks. I’m not vein in any sense, in fact, I think I’m pretty much a hideous man-beast, but I was the best looking person in that class.

*After taking the personality test the instructors do not like when you enthusiastically shout out that you scored “perfect” for the “Dominant” personality. (Out of 20 possible points for the dominant personality, I scored 20. The instructor said that the highest he had seen before that day was 16 and he’d been doing this for 10 years.)

*They like it even less when you tell the lesser beings in the class to bow down in awe.

*When you are placed in a workgroup filled with submissive personalities… you get exactly what you want.

*During the part of the class in which you are to come up with ways for your “personality profile” to work with other “personality profiles”, if you are dominant the correct answer is not, “Pretend you care about them”. (Even if it is true. There were two other Dominant personalities in my class, not as dominant as I am, but we all felt that way. However, I actually said it out loud.)

*When they say you are going to do some role-playing, do not shout out, “I want to be the wizard” OR “Can I be the policeman?” (Especially the second one… Thank jebus someone besides me has a sense of humor!)

*In the middle of the roll playing session if you don’t want to do it anymore, just shout out, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M DEFENSIVE?!?!?!?!?!”

*If you are put into a group that has no creative or artistic ability and you are supposed to do something creative and artistic; the best thing to do is stand up and announce to the entire class after your presentation, “As you can see our group has neither creative nor artistic ability. If we could pay you back the 10 minutes of your life lost listening to us babble we would.” We had best presentation!

*If you are a dominant personality and placed with a group of creative and submissive personalities, you can sit back and let them do all the work and give you the credit.

*One does not have to like or dislike a person to scare them.

*Being the only guy with 36 females can be fun.

*Being the only guy with 36 females in a sensitivity class can be dangerous.

*Being the only guy with 36 females with an average weight of 250 lbs in a sensitivity class can be hazardous to your health, if you know what I mean… And I’m sure a lot of you do.

*After establishing that you have a “dominant” personality, it is not a good idea to point out that you are the highest level management in class and you should be able to do what you want, even if that includes taking a nap in your truck.

*DO NOT LAUGH DURING THE LANCE ARMSTRONG FIGHTS CANCER MOTIVATIONAL VIDEO! Nothing you say or do will fix the damage that you have caused. (I was thinking of an incident that happened earlier in the day and not paying attention. I started chuckling when they where talking about how he almost died from cancer)

*Finally, if you have to go to one of these things try at least to have fun with it, even if that means dragging the rest of the class down with you.

Posted by Contagion at 12:54 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 07, 2005


My employer is sending me to an offsite location under the ploy that it is a "leadership camp". However, I have discovered the truth. It is in fact a thinly veiled sensitivity class.


I just don't understand why.

Posted by Contagion at 08:01 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 04, 2005

This is not good.

Upper Management dropped a bomb at work today that has a 25% of the office happy, 70% pissed and 5% (Management, including myself) scrambling to repair the damage. I don’t know if they didn’t think this through completely or if it was just decided, we would do damage control after the fact. Either way no matter how you look at it, the timing was horrible.

It was decided that they where going to give the Customer Service Reps in our company a merit promotion. Meaning they move up one pay grade. As part of this they are creating a new position, Customer Service Technician. We currently have technicians, but now the CSRs will be the same level as them, so they are creating a special position for the Technicians in the Customer Service arena. The current technicians in customer service we have will need to apply for their jobs. However, they are not guaranteed to get the position. If they don’t, then the company will find them another position of the same level, which probably means they will become CSRs.

This has my current technicians all worried about what is going to happen to them because they don’t want to go back to being CSRs. The other technicians that aren’t in the customer service arena are pissed because they basically feel that are being under appreciated and that they did all this work to be promoted only to have it negated by this change. The CSRs will be the same level as the regular Technicians.

The rest of the employees are under the impression that not only are they not appreciated, but that the company doesn’t care about them. From talking to many of them, it is clear they don’t understand what is going on. It’s not that they company doesn’t appreciate them, the company is admitting that they were under appreciating the Customer Service arena and is trying to make up for it. The company decided that for the amount and type of work that the CSRs do, they were not being justly compensated. IE they were overworked and underpaid for the demands put upon them. People just don’t understand that. I happen to agree with corporate’s assessment, to a point. They may have encompassed positions that didn’t warrant the change.

But there is a problem with corporate’s plan. They didn’t include everyone in the Customer Service arena. The support staff that assists the CSRs and technicians was completely and utterly ignored. Their peers in the different arenas have to know a fraction of what they do AND they aren’t required to know as many systems as the support staff in customer service. They basically do twice the work as their peers, yet are paid the same. Three of my minions fall into this category and to be honest, they have every right to be pissed off. Prior to the CSR’s getting this promotion they didn’t really mind, now they do.

Morale has bottomed out in every area outside the CSR arena. To make matters worse the CSRs are loudly and tactlessly talking about their “raises” to everyone. This is only pissing off the others. Most of the other management is basically telling others to “deal with it.” I however am trying to do damage control. A pissed employee is a bad employee. I’m trying to sooth those that I can in hopes of not taking a production hit today. However, that is not looking too good for me. As for my three minions that received the short end of the stick, I feel very bad for them. I’m trying to see if I can’t get this rectified, however it doesn’t look like I’m going to have any success.

I just hope tempers cool off here shortly. There’s been too much talk of quitting and the refusal to do tasks by the employees. If they don’t we may end up doing a lot of training here in the next couple of months.

Posted by Contagion at 04:14 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 22, 2005

Faunacide in the city.

It’s been a while since I’ve regaled you all with a tale of my cruelness to my minions, so I thought I would share a little incident that happened today… strictly for your mirth.

This morning I heard two of my thralls talking about killing a deer in order to make sausage. Of course, my interest was peeked, killing deer and eating it, how any red blooded American re-enacting male could not want to get in on this. When I asked what brought this up, since neither “J-man” or “Big-T” seem to be the hunter type, they tell me that minion “Sherby” killed a deer with her truck on the way to work. Jumping out of my chair, I exclaim, “What? A dead deer ready for the taking? Where?” Visions of a new deer hide and fresh meat for the weekend filled my head.

Plans of field dressing the deer in the parking lot were dashed when they said, someplace on Spring Creek RD. They weren’t exactly sure, but it had been a couple of hours since the incident and Spring Creek is a pretty busy road. Walking over to Sherby’s desk, I start asking her questions.

Me: “I hear you killed a deer this morning.”

Sherby: “It was an accident, it jumped out in front of me. I hit it with my Dad’s truck.”

Me: “Did you grab the deer? Did you call the police?”

Sherby: “The deer was too big for me to pick up, so I left it on the side of the road. It wasn’t an adult deer, but it was still too big for me. Why would I call the police?”

Me: “Because in Illinois if you hit a deer with your vehicle, it is the law that you contact the police, plus you’ll need the report for the insurance company. Where did you hit the deer at?” (You do have to contact the police if you hit a deer; this is true)

Sherby: “I hit it on Spring Creek down by the river. My dad only has liability, so we won’t be filing a claim with the insurance.” (She hit the deer in downtown Rockford! All the luck! By this time, the crews would have cleaned it up, it would have been flattened in traffic or the homeless would be eating better then I am tonight!)

Me: “You still want to contact the police. If you don’t they can charge you with leaving the scene of motor vehicle accident with a fatality. You don’t want the police showing up at your dad’s door to drag him away do you? You left a dead deer in downtown Rockford, where there are cameras and witnesses that can identify the vehicle.” (The police will NOT charge you with leaving the scene of a MVA with a Fatality for reducing the surplus deer population.)

Sherby (looking worried): “Killing a deer is considered a fatality?”

Me: “Of course it died. It’s like a homicide, except it’s a faunacide. Instead of dealing with a human you have an animal” As far as I know there is no such thing as a faunacide, I believe I made that word up on the spot. UPDATE: Actually googling it, there appears that someone else came up with it before me.

Sherby: “Is that bad?”

Me: “Well yea, it falls under the animal cruelty laws. It’s a felony in this state. It’s equal to clubbing kittens with a golf club” (lie, lie, lie… BTW, I just liked that analogy so I used it, there is no special law for clubbing kittens with a golf club.)

Sherby (eyes wide and teary); “It was an accident! I didn’t mean to hit the deer!”

Me: “What if that had been a kid you had hit? Would you have meant to hit the kid, probably not? Because this is a deer that makes it okay? That’s just wrong. That poor deer was out, enjoying life and trying just to survive and you go and squash its head with the front of your truck. Now the poor little deer will never be able to grow up and enjoy life. At least when a hunter kills a deer they eat it and use the carcass. Not you, no you just leave its lifeless body on the side of the road where its death is meaningless!” (Did I mention she is an animal lover? No… ahhh, now it’s funnier!)

Sherby (eyes misting over, voice shaky): “That’s not what I meant; I never meant to hurt anything. I wouldn’t hurt an animal. I don’t know what to do.”

Me: “What I would do, if I were you, is call the police. Tell them that you hit the deer and that you just now where able to get to a phone. They will tell you exactly what you need to do. You should still be in an acceptable time frame, so I don’t foresee any problems.” (This was legit advice. She did need to call them and even though it was technically a lie, since she didn’t know she had to call the police until now, this was the first chance she had to call them).

Sherby (looking better) “Thanks Mr. Contagion. I’ll do that now.”

Twenty minutes pass, I walk back over to Sherby.

Me: “Sherby, what did the police say? Are they going to charge you with Faunacide?” (Because cops charge people with crimes over the phone?)

Sherby (looking releaved) “Luckily no… I just need to go file an accident report.”

Me: “You got lucky this time!”

Later when she left to go to lunch with minion Blond-T, I asked who was driving. Minion Blond-T responded she was. This set up this parting shot:

Me: “Good now maybe more innocent deer won’t be slaughtered at the hands of the Sherby.”

I couldn’t help but laugh while Sherby gave me the evil eye and Blond-T laughed.

Posted by Contagion at 04:46 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 18, 2005

Lunch time fun

Today for lunch, I decided to eat something I haven’t had in a long time. After speaking with my wife, we decided to hit a nearby restaurant to pick up some take out after we ran some errands. During our excursion, I was excited at the prospect of eating one of my favorite dishes. Even more appealing was watching people’s reactions to my eating it at work.

Sushi is one of those dishes that not everyone likes, or can stomach watching other people enjoy. Most of my minions fall into later category, they avert their eyes and cover their facess like it might magically leap off the tray and land in their mouths. This is part of the appeal of my getting sushi for lunch. I love walking around eating it; savoring the taste and texture, while people watching me in disgust. Their reaction makes the meal even better; it’s like a mental MSG that just enhances the flavor!

Today’s lunch was even better then I had anticipated. While ordering my normal spicy tuna rolls, I decided to get a couple of other items, White tuna and Shrimp. When the order came out, I checked the bag as I normally do with take out. Opening the bag, I peeked in and saw two shrimp heads peeking back up at me. Never before had I ordered the shrimp sushi from this restaurant before, thus I had no idea that when they make the shrimp, they fry the heads and serve it with the rest. The heads come complete with cloves for the eyes. To say I found this amusing is an understatement. I almost burst out laughing in the middle of the restaurant. I knew I was going to have fun with this one!

The two-block ride to work seemed to take an eternity. By the time I arrived at my desk I could barely contain my mirth and excitement over the ensuing hilarity. Since I had never ordered shrimp sushi from this restaurant before, I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to eat the shrimp heads or not. While debating with myself on whether or not to eat it, I noticed that the heads appeared to be dipped in some kind of batter and fried. Okay, I decide that I should eat the shrimp heads.

Taking my tray of sushi, I start walking around; acting shocked and hurt when people will not accept my offer to try my sushi, especially the shrimp heads. By all that is good and right in the world I swear that one of my minions almost threw up upon catching site of the shrimp heads. Not all of my minions dislike sushi I do have a couple that genuinely enjoy it. When I came around to one of their desks, she took me up on the offer to have a piece. Right away, she noticed the shrimp head and asked if I was going to eat them. As if I knew what the hell I was talking about, I responded I was. She said she wanted to try the other one. All right, I have a partner in the shrimp head eating. She took one; I took the other and prepared to start eating.

The people sitting around her all stopped to watch. Looking at the shrimp head you could tell it still had the shell on… and the feelers and little legs where still attached. Yet the whole thing was battered and fried. I guess that technically doesn’t make it sushi, so I don’t know what the hell it was actually, but it came with my shrimp sushi (the tails over rice). Not sure exactly if how you are supposed to eat this, I just popped the whole thing in my mouth and crunched down on it.

My minions looked on in horror as if I had just eaten a baby. Apparently, the crunchiness of it made for interesting noises they could hear, which makes sense since the sound inside my head was deafening. One of my minions hurriedly turned her back on me and turned an interesting shade of green. Another squealed, “I can’t believe you ate that” Even my minion who likes sushi looked at me in horror. She was shelling the shrimp head and just eating the meat out of it. Multiple people uttered the phrase, “I think I’m going to be sick.” Me, I just smiled and pretended to enjoy it.

Yes, I said pretended. It was damn nasty. It crunched like… like… like hardened shrimp casings! I could handle the extra crunchiness, but the taste was horrible. It tasted like… like… like the smell around a commercial fishing pier. It also didn’t smell to pretty, it smelled like it tasted. Have you ever eaten something that as soon as you put it in your mouth you knew you where not going to enjoy it, no matter what? Well that was this shrimp head. Yet I continued to chew and swallow, I’ve eaten worse in my life.

Smiling the whole time while my brain screamed, “IF YOU DON’T GET THIS OUT OF YOUR MOUTH SOON, I’M GOING TO FORCE IT OUT FOR YOU!” Pretending to enjoy it, I swallowed. At this point my brain shouts out, “I meant spit it out, not swallow it… idiot!” My stomach handled it just fine; then again, my stomach probably was just happy there was food. After eating a couple of pieces of pickled ginger and a spicy tuna roll with extra wasabi, I was fine. My taste buds no longer had a residue of the vile tasting thing. My minions just watched mortified as I cheerily ate my sushi. The one that had the other head quickly threw it out stating she had lost her appetite.

I enjoyed the rest of my sushi immensely and I’ve been thinking about the shrimp heads. If I knew then what I know now, would I still eat the shrimp head? My answer would be yes, yes I would. Why? Just for the reaction, it was worth it!

Posted by Contagion at 04:03 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

Flesh Eating Minions

Have you ever had a hypothetical conversation, during which you say something to hurt another person's feelings? How about if the conversation was about something that was so improbably you would only see it in movies? That is exactly what happened to me yesterday. Some of my minions from work and I went to lunch, while there we started talking about Zombie movies. This brought up the topic of what would you do if zombies started roaming the earth.

It was during this conversation that I hurt my minions’ feelings. If you are still reading at this point, I’m sure you are wondering how. As you may have been able to tell by now, I’m not a normal individual. Being a little obsessive compulsive on various things, I tend to like having emergency plans, “just in case�. My plans contain a contingency for zombies. Okay, now I won’t blame you if you stop reading me now and delete the link, but just here me out. You never know what is going to happen. All it consists of is my plan for invasion by a foreign country, ala Red Dawn. Except that I have it modified for Zombies, Space Aliens and a super disease, ala The Stand. See it’s not AS weird as you were thinking… or it’s even weirder now that you know the rest.

When I went into in-depth detail about my plan, both of my minions said that if zombies did start roaming the earth they where going to come with me. This is where the trouble begins; I told them both that I would not take either because they would be liabilities. Neither of them possess and skills and knowledge that would be useful. My plan consists of my having people with at least a general knowledge of specific topics for it to work. Neither one of them had anything that I could use. Then they asked if I would bring my wife and kids. Which I told them I would, but only because it is my wife and kids; I would however leave my parents and sister. Now they are telling me I’m cold and mean. Then finally, my minion, Big T, says to me, “Well we’ll just show up at your stronghold and pound on the gates.� This is where the hurt feelings happened.

I looked her dead in the eye and responded with, “I’d just shoot you in the head. That way you can’t rise as zombie and I don’t have to worry about providing for you.� (In most zombie movies, if you damage the brain the zombie ceases to function.) She has not stopped giving me crap about this since. Apparently just because I get along with her and my other minion Ton Loc, that I am obligated to keep them safe from zombies. My thing is that times are going to get hard and the more people you have the harder it will be to supply and take care of them. In addition, there is a greater chance for something happening and someone getting bitten; being turned into a zombie themselves. Big T then tried to justify that her husband would fit into my plan, and he might. When I told her that I’d put him into my “Maybe� pile (yes, I called it a pile. They all found this highly amusing), however that I still wouldn’t take her; she became even more upset.

Now I’m just laughing at the whole thing. C’mon people, I am so skeptical that this scenario would ever happen that I’m willing to say it will never happen. How can she be that upset over something that isn’t ever going to happen? Also does anyone else have a zombie contingency plan or is it just me?

Posted by Contagion at 03:59 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

Contagion in the City. Part 3

See parts one and two here in case you missed them.

Thursday morning I started off with another room service breakfast. This time I had a three egg, ham, cheese and mushroom omelet. It was okay, I was expecting better for the price. Fortunately, I was not the one paying for it. The omelet was bland; it was as if they used no seasoning what so ever. I ended up putting a lot of salt and pepper on it. At least the coffee was good.

I arrived at work early again, I wanted to make sure I could call the office in case there where problems. This time they had screwed up my report generator. Being the ever pessimist, I planned on this happening and walked them through the quick and easy fix I built for it. My peers think I’m some kind of computer genius. This is far from being true, I just don’t underestimate their ability to somehow bypass three levels of security and passwords to delete a table that is needed for the database reports to run.

I again kept ahead of the rest of the class. It was during the down time that I finalized the plans for the Mouse Incident. At the end of the class I was again so far ahead that, I did assignments that the rest of the class didn’t do. I figure I just learned more doing that. After class, I went and played the mouse trick and then went back to the hotel.

After my poor experience with the food at the hotel, I decided to head out to another restaurant. Not knowing the city very well and wanting to eat somewhere that isn’t a major chain, I decided I needed some help. The concierge was more then eager to help me. A problem arouse because I wasn’t being helpful. She would ask me what I wanted to eat, I told her food. Then she wanted to know what kind of food, I told her the edible type. Her face was starting to show signs of frustration, so I explained that I don’t know what I want. I know I don’t want seafood or Indian food. I had Irish the night before and I wanted something that was unique to Chicago. She understood where I was coming from so she asked me if I liked French food. French food… I’d never eaten French food before. We have a winner! Feeling proud of herself, she gave me directions to a local French restaurant that is supposed to be the best in Chicago as she made a reservation for me.

I hop in a cab and head off on my way to see what the surrender monkeys eat. After arriving, I realized that I wasn’t that far from the hotel, so I decided I would walk back after the meal. As I entered the restaurant, I notice that I’m slightly underdressed. I walked in wearing shorts, t-shirt and a decent over shirt. The host is wearing a suit; the wait staff were all dressed with ties, shirts and slacks. The rest of the patrons were either wearing business attire or semi-casual clothing. I was shown to a table, in a corner.

The gayest French waiter I have ever seen in person or on TV came to my table. He had a think accent with a lisp. There was a very feminine style in his posturing and actions. For some reason I found this very amusing. I cannot explain as to why, but I did. After going over the specials for the day, he asked me if I would like anything to drink. Just when I thought, he was never going to ask. I replied with, “Yes I would like a Jack and Coke.”
Which lead to this conversation:
Waiter: “Monsieur, we have a fine selection of wines, I would be more then happy to suggest one for you.”

Me: “No thank you, I’d like a Jack and Coke.”

Waiter, “But Monsieur, a nice wine would be gentler on the pallet and let you enjoy the flavor of the food more.”

Me, “That’s okay; I’ll take a Jack and Coke.”

Waiter, “Monsieur, we offer some of the best wines that are made. You would find them very refreshing. They will compliment the meal better.”

Me, “Do you not have Jack Daniels?”

Waiter, (Somewhat snotty) “But of course we have Jack Daniels.”

Me, “If you didn’t want people to drink anything but the wine. Don’t stock it. Now please go get me a Jack and Coke. I will consider a wine when the meal comes. (I lied) Thank you.”

Waiter, “Very well Monsieur, I shall bring you your drink shortly.”

The waiter leaves and brings back my drink I order my meal and sit and drink while looking at the other patrons. Nobody of any real interest, so I didn’t spend a lot of time watching them. The interior décor was nice enough. I wasn’t too impressed. Before the meal, the waiter brought out some bread with fresh roasted garlic and butter. I love fresh whole clove garlic. Unfortunately that is the last nice thing I have to say about this meal.

The waiter brought out my meal and asked if he could interest me in a nice Chardonnay. I declined and ordered three fingers of Jack Daniels. (I know they don’t really use that term anymore to order whiskey, I still do it just to get a reaction out of the wait staff) For those of you that don’t know what that means. When you place a whiskey tumbler on the bar, lay three fingers horizontally on the outside of the glass and fill until it reaches the top of them. The waiter looked indignant and started to go back through the reasons why a wine would be better. I shut him up this time with, “Just get me my god damned Jack Daniels and a glass of water.” He quickly hurried off to get it for me and I heard not one thing more on it the rest of the night.

I ate what they called Chicken Bocuse. This sounded very good; it was chicken over fresh spinach with a Morel Mushroom sauce. When he brought it out it smelled very good. There where whole mushrooms in the sauce and I thought I was in for a culinary delight. How wrong was I. The food was bland, very bland. It had barely any taste to it what so ever. It was as if they had cooked the flavor out of the chicken, mushrooms and spinach. Then the chicken was kind of stringy and tough. It was a little hard to cut and chew. The mushrooms where also tough, for mushrooms. I was highly disappointed in the meal. I paid and made my way out. It was as I was leaving I noticed that the restaurant was located between the Hershey Chocolate Superstore and the Ghirdelli chocolate shop. As I stood there, I had to call my wife to tell her about it. She is a huge chocolate fanatic.

Then to top of my night, I went back to the hotel and was looking for a movie to watch. Again nothing, I really wanted to watch, and there was nothing on the regular channels. I ended up getting Alexander. Okay, this movie was horrible; it was three hours of pain. May I never be tortured with it again.

Friday went fine, no incidents and I was able to leave Chicago around 3:00. That means I missed most of the traffic. Especially since they had Taste of Chicago, A free concert at the new park that used to be Meigs field and the Cubs played the White sox. I was able to get home rather quickly. There was a bad accident just north of Rockford that caused a delay. Fortunately, I was only stuck in that for about 2 miles.

Posted by Contagion at 06:05 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

Contagion in the City Part 2

Day two in Chicago started off pretty well. I slept until 7:00 am. Normally I’m at work by 6:30, since my class didn’t start until 9:00 AM I wasn’t about to get up as early as I normally do. I had room service breakfast, the food was pretty good. However, you have to keep in mind I had Bacon and Eggs, it’s pretty hard to screw up bacon and eggs.

I left for work about half an hour before I had to be there. I had less then a block to walk so I was early. People in my office where supposed to run reports for me on my customized report database. None of them had ever done this before. I had been trying to teach them how to do it for the week before I left, but they would continually screw it up. I wanted to make sure I was at a phone that I could call them with time to spare if I needed to walk them through the process. When I called they advised me they had it all figured out and there weren’t any problems. Off to the classroom I went with a good 20 minutes to kill.

The only other person in the classroom upon my arrival was the instructor. I had him for an intermediate level of this class about 8 months ago. To say I was surprised when he recognized me is an understatement. Class went off with out any problems. I tended to get ahead of the class by going through the book and doing my own thing, This would annoy the other people taking the class as when they would try to look to see what I had done, I was on at least one full lesson ahead of them.

During our first break I decided to go up and say hi to one of my mentorees. We had talked via e-mail and the phone, but we had never met as mentor to mentoree. The only time I had met her face-to-face was last November in Texas at a conference. The thought of telling her I was coming into corporate headquarters never crossed my mind. Mainly because this trip was for training, it had nothing to do with neither my normal duties nor mentoring. Security was able to supply me with her location in the building. Her desk was easy enough to find and as I walked up I noticed she was on the phone. Being courteous, I waited for her to finish he call before I started talking to her. She had various signs and memos on her walls so I started reading those. A memo on inventory control particularly held my attention. I hadn’t notice she finished her call until she turned to get up from her desk. She hadn’t noticed me come up to her desk, so when she saw me she jumped for the ceiling and did a muffled scream. It’s amazing how many people have that reaction to my presence.

She inquired as to why I was there, and I explained the whole class thing. I didn’t have a lot of time to talk left as my break was almost over so I told her I go to lunch at noon and suggested she should take her lunch then as well. We agreed to meet in the cafeteria at noon. After we found a table I just started talking to her about various things. It was about half way through lunch she asked me what I wanted to talk to her about. I stopped, looked at her and told her, “Nothing, I was just being social.” Come to find out she had lunch plans but thought I was telling her she had to go to lunch with me. She canceled her lunch plans to have a “mandatory” lunch with me. Trying not to laugh, I explained that no, I just was being social. There was nothing of any importance I needed to discuss with her. Then I explained that I don’t know many people in Chicago and I just didn’t want to eat lunch alone.

When class was over I went to the best Irish pub that I have ever been to. Fado’s Irish Pub has great Irish food, an unbelievable atmosphere and great prices on their drinks for Chicago. The interior of the pub was once a pub in Ireland that was shipped over piece-by-piece and reassembled. It’s just something you have to see to believe. I’ve eatern there before and I love the place. Plus there was no way in hell I was going back to the hotel restaurant and since they also did the room service I wasn’t about to trust that either!

They were having a celebration last week because they where going to sell their millionth pint of Guinness by the end of the weekend. I saw the signs and when the waitress came to take my order I told her I wanted a Pint of Guinness and the corned beef and cabbage. I was in an Irish pub of course I’m drinking a Guinness. Plus then I can help take credit for them selling a million pints of the black gold. The waitress leaves when this guy comes up and asks me if I’d be willing to take a survey, he’d give me $5 for my time. I thought, sure why not, I’m by myself so it’s not like he is interrupting an important conversation I was having with the table ad. I tell him to go ahead and sit down. I’d be more then happy to answer his questions.

He tells me he is doing a survey for Guinness and has 27 questions to ask. The first question out of his mouth was, “When was the last time you ordered a Guinness?” My smart arse responds with, “About 20 seconds before you sat down.” His next question was, “Over the last year, about how much alcohol do you think you drank?” I just started laughing, he couldn’t say over the last month, or last 3 months not even 6 months. He had to go a year. I have drastically cut back my drinking since February. I had actually given up all drinking for two and a half months. I had a bottle of Seagram’s in my fridge for over 4 months. That was unheard of in my house. To steal a line I heard from Grau; I’m not an alcoholic. I’m a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings. Once re-enacting season started I picked up drinking again, but nowhere near as heavy as I had been. I would go through a bottle of whisky about every 7-10 days. I would mix in a good helping of beer in with that. There for I answered him with, “More then I can count.” He wanted a rough estimate, so I told him, on average over the last year probably about 10 cases of beer and 32 bottles of liquor. The guy kind of chuckled and told me not to worry, he had a guy earlier that day reply with about a two cases a week. He then started asking me questions about the beers I liked and what I knew of them. I made him and the tables around me laugh when he asked me to rank beers in the order of preference and one of them was Corona. In all seriousness I told him that any beer you have to put a lime in the bottle to make it drinkable is not a good beer. The only time I drink Corona is when it is given to me and there is nothing else and even I have been known to go with out then to drink a Corona.

Then the guy started asking me about this new beer from Guinness called Smithwicks. Until that time I had never heard of it. During the survey as questions were asked, more often then not I had a smart arse answer to them. Question: What is the main reason you would drink a Guinness? Answer: I woke up. Each answer was completely serious, it just came across as funny. One of the last questions was; would you be willing to try Smithwicks knowing Guinness makes it? My answer was, actually I was going to try one next. I’ll try any beer once. After the survey as I was ordering a Smithwicks to see what it was like, the guy told the waitress to add it to his tab. He said that he appreciated my blunt honesty and the fact that I was trying the beer on his recommendation. He still gave me the $5.00 and bought me a pint. If you are wondering the Smithwicks was pretty good. It’s no Guinness.

After I left the pub I decided to walk back to the hotel, no need to spend $7.00 counting tip for a ride. It was a hot night, but the wind off of the lake made it seem not as bad. When I arrived back at the hotel I was going to watch another movie, however the hotels video on demand was broken so I ended up watching Gladiator on TBS. It was the best thing on and it’s still a horrible movie.

Posted by Contagion at 06:09 PM | Comments (6)

June 27, 2005

Contagion in the City. Part 1

Ahhh, it’s good to be back. Did any of you even notice I was gone? No. I rather figured as much. After my trip into Chicago, I have so many stories to tell all of you, but to keep this from turning into an overly annoying long post I’m going to break it down by days.

Tuesday, June 21. Day 1

This was the least eventful day of my trip, I would have skipped it entirely except it sets up the mood for my time in there.

The drive in was interesting. I was heading into Chicago. I left my office at 3:30 and hit the road. I was hoping that traffic wouldn’t be that bad. I should have known better. Even though the vast majority of people were leaving downtown, there were many people heading in. It still took me two and a half hours to go 90 miles. I had one of the company cars to drive. This thing had some serious issues with the brakes. Every time I would depress the brakes, the car would vibrate violently. It was like driving over bumps in the road before a tollbooth or along the side of a road. The car stopped fine, but it was nerve wracking. I kept waiting for the brakes to go out. Personally, I think it is the rotors on the vehicle. When my van had the same issue, it was because of warped rotors. I will tell you this, whatever the problem is it was annoying during stop and go traffic.

I stayed at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. I had never stayed at this particular hotel before so I used Map Quest to get directions. I knew how to get to corporate headquarters; however, I was not exactly sure how to get to the hotel. I usually walk or take taxis when I am in Chicago; I’m not familiar with the one-way streets or the street names. For my own comfort, I felt it would be in my best interest to have the directions just in case. I looked at the directions once while in the stand still traffic to make sure I knew where I was going. Map quest told me to take Michigan Ave to Lake St. Then it told me to turn left off Lake onto N Columbus Drive. I followed the directions, turned onto lake and noticed that it ended at Stetson. It doesn’t go through to N. Columbus. It took me a little bit of driving around in a circle, due to one way streets or uncrossable medians. It was just more annoyed that Map Quest would be that wrong on whether or not a street connects. I’m sure at one time, it did, but it has since been turned into a plaza.

After getting to the hotel, everything seemed to go well. I had a small scuffle with a bellhop over my luggage. He wanted to carry it, and I wanted him to leave me alone. I can carry my own damn luggage. I’m not that lazy. He offered to carry my suitcase for me. I politely declined his offer. While walking to the check in counter he insisted on carrying it and tried to take it from my hands. As he grabbed the handle, I stopped walking and jerked him to a halt. He almost fell to the floor. I looked him in the eye and said, “I can carry my own luggage thank you. You might not want to try that again.” I then gave him one of those smiles that were more a baring of the teeth then actually friendly.

I checked in easily enough and made my way to my room. It was a decent room. I’d had much better. In fact, I used to stay at the Swissotel when I’d go in. They had really nice rooms. Work no longer will reimburse for the Swissotel, which is why I changed to the Fairmont. Although the bathroom in my room was huge, it had two showers, one stand up and one in a tub. By the time I was finished checking in, it was almost 6:00. It was time for me to get something to eat and drink. Not feeling like leaving the hotel nor did I want room service I decided to eat at the hotel restaurant.

The restaurant was called Aria. I walked in, told the hostess I needed a table for one. I received the first of many, “God what a loser looks”. She showed me to a table, gave me a menu and listed off the specials for the day. I was the only person in this restaurant. Upon opening the menu, I didn’t really see anything that looked good to me. It all seemed like odd combinations. However, something about this tickled my mind. I just couldn’t place what it was. I placed my order for my entrée and a Jack Daniels, neat. I get my drink and then a different waiter brings over a basket of flat bread with a tray that has four different “dipping” sauces. Except these sauces where in fancy square containers with a small spoon for spreading the “dipping” sauces onto the flat bread. I tried a piece of the bread to see what the sauces where like. My brain was telling me I should know something about this, but I couldn’t place it I tried the first sauce and it was okay. I tried the third sauce and it was again okay, but the taste was very familiar. I tasted the third sauce and a memory came slamming home. I know this taste, I recognize the bread and sauces, and I remember the strange combinations on the menu… THIS IS AN INDIAN RESTAURANT! That is Indian as in from India, not as in American Indians. I hate Indian food, and it hates me. They say they are “culturally inspired, comfortably American”. I say bullshit; my gut wasn’t comfortable at three in the morning after eating there! I’m trying to get the taste of curry out of my mouth. I’m near gargling my Jack Daniels. It was too late to cancel my order. I resolved myself to choke it down and just hope for the best.

Before the main course comes, I order another Jack Daniels. It arrives just as the main course does; I take a small bite… more curry. Did I mention I hate Indian food? I finish off what I can, following every bite with a swig of Jack Daniels. Other then some potatoes in a horseradish sauce, I did not enjoy the meal at all. I really didn’t enjoy it when the bill came; I had a charge for $49.00. I look at the breakdown of charges; they hit me at $9.00 a piece for each drink. I took a reaming for a meal that not only did I not enjoy, but continued not enjoying it until the next day. I kept burping up the taste all night long.

After I left the restaurant, I decided I needed another Jack Daniels to get rid of the taste, Of course it still cost me $9.00. I decided to make this last one count. Sitting at the bar I just poured the entire glass into my mouth, swished it around for a couple of minutes like it was mouthwash and then swallowed it.

After purchasing a giant bottle of water and a diet coke, I retreated to my room to watch a movie and then get some sleep.

Tomorrow Day 2.

Posted by Contagion at 03:52 PM | Comments (7)

June 23, 2005

Top Ten Reasons My Mentoree's hate me.

I am still in Chicago. However I was sharing with one of my Mentorees about the wonders of the blogosphere. After she got done pointing, laughing at me and calling me a "Big Nerd". I thought I would show her how it works.

Her idea was for a top ten reasons my mentoree's hate me. So here we go.

10. I don't have the common courtesy to advise them I will be in town. I just show up, smile and say, "I'm here!"

9. I force them to alter their lunch schedules so I don't have to eat in the corporate cafeteria alone.

8. I sneak up and scare them when they are working. (This is accidental, I do not actually try to scare anyone, scar (mentally) yes, scare no!)

7. My presence makes them feel like they were sent to the princepal's office.

6. Since I know no one else here, they field the brunt of my jokes. (Which includes disabling their mouse and hooking up a cordless one that I control. More on this later)

5. They feel the need to be in the office by 7 AM and stay to 6 pm just to make sure they can get all their work done, AND talk with me.

4. They don't get a corporate paid trip to a luxury hotel for three nights with meals included.

3. They are afraid that if I get displeased, I will toss them out of a window 22 stories up. Which is completely untrue... Because then I would have to start the mentoring process over with a new person!

2. I wont shut up about re-enacting and blogging.

and the number one reasons my Mentoree's hate me:

1. I use my briefcase as a cudgel to knock them out of the way so I can use their desks/phones/terminals to check my e-mail, figure out the inventory, contact my office and blog while on lunch or after I'm off the clock.

There you have it folks. Just a little mid-trip update.

BTW I have some blog fodder stories that are either going to make you laugh or ask why the hell you associate with me.

Posted by Contagion at 04:48 PM | Comments (7)

June 20, 2005

Time to spend the corporate dollar

I am leaving to spend three nights and days in Chicago tomorrow. Due to the length of stay and the nature of my trip, corporate will be putting me up in a hotel. In fact I'll be staying at the Fairmont in lovely downtown Chicago. I also have a fairly decent, okay it's really good expense allowance for meals. Therefore, I'm going to be eating in some really nice restaurants. Plus I get to drive the corporate car in for my trip so I don't have to put any wear and tear on my vehicle. That and I think they realize it will be cheaper for me to take their car then for them to reimburse me for gas if I drove my truck.

The only problem with this trip is that I'm going to be bored off my arse. I hate eating in restaurants alone. That means I'm probably going to end up eating at the hotel a lot. I don't like drinking alone, therefore I wont be spending a lot of time at some of the bars and in particular a great pub I know. I don't shop, so that's not an option. I'm just going to be bored.

I would have loved to bring my wife with, but she can't take the time off of work and we have two boys she has to watch while I'm away. I don't have any friends that live remotely close to downtown Chicago so it's not like I'll have anyone to socialize with after hours.

I just hope the hotel has some decent movies on pay-per-view.

Posted by Contagion at 09:31 PM | Comments (7)

June 17, 2005

Supervising minions

I am having a rather interesting day. First off, some jerk is calling for overtime tomorrow and making people come in. Oh, wait… that was me. At least I’m being a nice guy and pulling duty as the OT supervisor for the day. I’m not making one of the others come in to do it. That would just be rude, especially since it was just my unit that was coming in. Well after I volunteered to be the OT supervisor for the day, other areas have now decided they want to do overtime as well. They are asking me to supervise their people as well. I’m going to be here anyway, I figured what the hell. Well this is now kind of exploding out of control. What was originally just my unit, expanded to cover one person from another unit. Then it was another two more people. Now I’m up to an additional eight people on top of the 12 from my unit coming in.

Fortunately, all I have to do for those additional eight is to verify what time they come in and go. They have to check in with me when they come in and leave or I won’t sign either overtime slip. I’m strict that way, but I’ve noticed on other Saturday’s when I’ve come in that people would arrive late and claim they have been there the whole time. I, being a hard case, make everyone check in with me so that I know what time they arrive. If on their slip the start time doesn’t match the time they came in, then I won’t sign it. My unit knows and understands that. I’m making sure all the people from other units understand as well. Apparently, the other unit doesn’t like the idea of this. *I* don’t care.

Due to my irritation at the exploitation of my willingness to act as OT supervisor for my unit, I had to blow off some steam. It just happened that one of my minions provided the perfect outlet.

Minion, “Hey Mr. Contagion, Where is Minion T? Did she call of sick?” (Minion T and her are good friends)

Contagion: “Minion T no longer works here. We had to let her go last night.”

Minion: “Really? (pause) I wonder why she didn’t tell me.” (Starting to look upset over the firing of her friend)

Contagion: “She was probably embarrassed by the fact she was let go and didn’t want to tell you. You guys where having that production issue, and she just couldn’t keep up.” (Minion T is the same minion from the Monitor Incident; she is one of the best producing minions I have. Her and this minion are both doing very well, I have been trying to get them to keep their quality up with out letting their production drop off…Neither is even close to even a verbal reprimand for either)

Minion: “Really?”

Contagion, “No. She is going to be late today.” (Smiling)

Minion, “Why do you do that? That’s not something to joke about! I was sitting here getting worried. After we finished talking, I was going to call her. Don’t do that to me! IT’S NOT FUNNY!”

Contagion, “Yes it is. And you’re talking to the guy that joked about his father being dead. Nothing is taboo to me.”

Minion, “It’s still not funny.” (Contagion is laughing his butt off) “You need help. I’m going back to work.”

Ahh, the look on her face was priceless. I only wish I could have taken a picture of it to share with all of you. That really helped improve my mood, a good laugh always does. I’m also preparing for tomorrows workday. Since I am working on Saturday, it is a Kilt and work boots kind of day! Every Saturday I work, I wear a kilt and my work boots. It throws the people off. I have them convinced that I dress like that every Saturday.

Posted by Contagion at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

June 10, 2005


It looks like all my efforts and hard work have finally paid off at work. I received a promotion at work, it comes with a nice raise and some more perks. I will be doing the same job I have been however; I am now considered a “Mentor” in the position. I will have to help people in other offices that have my position to do their jobs better. I also have to assist the minions in my office to do their work more proficiently. I am now expected to give more feedback and coaching on various incidents.

There is also talk of possibly having people directly report to me. This is not definite; it is only in discussion. They do not know if they want to go that route at this time. There is only two other persons in the entire company that shares the same level and position I do. This would be the first time they had anyone in our positions actually having direct reports and they are not sure if they want to do that yet. They feel that having to deal with the administrative parts of employees may interfere with our job performance. Personally, I think I can do it and wouldn’t have a problem.

I know we all had a laugh at my expense months ago when I first talked about this. I am also now worried exactly how I am going to do. Obviously, my people skills are not the greatest. However, that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve busted my ass in this position for almost three years and they recognize all the hard work I’ve put into it. Moreover, it is a step in the direction I do want to go!

In celebration of my promotion… I’m doing nothing because I really cannot buy you all a drink or I would. I cannot hand out cigars, because I don’t think my DSL would transfer them undamaged. I don’t have any idea what else I could do that isn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg.

However, I am going to buy myself a nice bottle of Scotch to celebrate.

Posted by Contagion at 04:34 PM | Comments (9)