Tag Archives: work

Talk less, smile more

Listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my walk this evening, I was struck again by Burr’s advice to talk less and smile more. It reminds me of advice given to me, mostly by men: show a pleasant face and keep your thoughts to yourself, go along to get along. It looks like there’s a fair amount of analysis of this line online, based on a simple word search. It’s mostly from a leadership perspective, but I’d be interested in reading a feminist analysis of the lyrics. Frankly, I know a lot of women who are absolutely finished with being told to smile more.

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Stepdad had surgery over the weekend and seems to be recovering. Because of coronavirus concerns, he was not discharged to a nursing home or assisted living facility, which is what normally would happen, and is instead at home with visiting PT and health aids. It’s not ideal, he’s still very weak.

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I want a vacation. I don’t even need to go anywhere. I just want to not be responsible for answering peoples’ questions for a few days. The whole working from home thing is not ideal for me. A lot of my colleagues are angling already for expanded telework in the future, but I very much miss the separation between work and home life. One colleague mentioned a tentative plan to drive to FL to stay with a friend and telework from there because she doesn’t want to spend a winter quarantined here. That’s…further into the future than I’m willing to plan on teleworking at this point.

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Whining here – feel free to skip

I feel like tempers are fraying.  Mine certainly is.  I was ready for the weekend by Wednesday.  Our workload is going up, and everyone is scrambling to figure out childcare for the summer.  We’ve been told to expect to remain teleworking through at least July 15.

I’ve been trying to get a particular tool/license for more than a year.  I did the research.  I priced the options.  I checked out whether the provider meets security standards and if it has other similar customers/clients.  I had demos and included potential users.  I put in the funding request for the last fiscal year and this fiscal year with the primary use case and a hypothetical use case.  I updated the pricing periodically.  I’m not sure what value the “coordinator” has added, since any justification request was immediately bounced to me.  I included it in the new end of FY and next FY budget request a couple of weeks ago.  And then Coordinator, who our Director thinks is already handling this, called to ask me if I had any opinions about this tool, or if I had thought of the use case or how many licenses we might need or how it could be administered.  Why, yes, I have.  AND I GAVE YOU THIS INFORMATION IN SEPTEMBER, THEN AGAIN IN FEBRUARY, AND TWO WEEKS AGO.  But sure, I’ll give it to you again.

Thursday was…not ideal.  Stepdad’s mobility has declined a lot in the last couple of years and he’s very accident prone (falls, stumbles) and has limited range for walking and length of time standing, even with the support of a cane.  (He has rejected the idea of a walker or wheelchair to date.)  What he took to be a fall last week turns out to have been an initial stroke or mini-stroke.  He’s hospitalized and working on being stabilized, but needs surgery; the surgery may cause paralysis but doing nothing will also cause paralysis. So.  Can call and check on him, but can’t visit.

Yesterday after work I went to the grocery store, which was incredibly anxiety-inducing.  I usually go early Saturday or Sunday morning.  Friday afternoon shopping was a bad idea.  It was busier than I’m accustomed to, although the cashier told me that it would get much busier after 5pm.  No one was social distancing.  While everyone was wearing a mask nominally, most of them had them pulled aside so they could talk on their phone or drink something, or just not covering their noses.  There was toilet paper in stock!  No bleach or wipes though.  (I needed dish detergent, which was in that aisle.) The eggs looked pretty picked over, but there was plenty of milk, cheese, yogurt, and frozen foods.

I finally steeled myself and read Akim Aliu’s Player’s Tribune piece.  It was as terrible as expected.  To then read the bullshit article* published by The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa glorifying the bullying of a Bruins player, framed as “boys will be boys”, and using really tone-deaf, ugly language made me wonder again if hockey and hockey media are redeemable.  It normalizes verbal/mental abuse, and articulates a homogeneous, white, cis-het, masculine worldview that thinks anything else is Less Than and deserves persecution until conformity is achieved.  The only excuse I can think is that The Athletic doesn’t employ anyone who is not already steeped in the -isms that are hockey culture, to the detriment of both the company and the writers.

*The article’s headline and one shortish paragraph have been removed.  But the headline is still visible in the author’s Twitter feed, and the rest of the article remains pretty illustrative of oblivious, ugly, dudebro behavior at best.  The edited out piece can be seen in a screen grab in the replies to the author’s Tweet.  The comments are both excellent and awful, with readers who are horrified and readers who say that’s a normal working environment.

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Today

I’m tired already and it’s only Monday.

On a positive note, the orange crush cocktails I picked up from Taps are delicious.

On a less positive note, the project manager who doesn’t actually understand the underlying substance has another idea for a great project. Uh, no. I mean, in theory, sure. But in practice, nope because the data sources suggested are not reliable.

I need more cocktails.

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A holding pattern

Last week marked the fourth full week of mandatory telework and social distancing; it had been preceded by a week of encouraged but not required.  It has not become more comfortable or routine to me.  We are busier than usual, and everyone is stretched thin between work and home schooling and worry (even as we know we are luck to be able to telework).

I’ve taken to putting an hour on my calendar in the middle of the day in an attempt to schedule a break for lunch and a walk around the block, but more than half the time it doesn’t happen.

Sacrificed a t-shirt to make a series of tie-able face masks.  Not ideal but better than nothing.  Wear them whenever I go for a walk now, even as I cross the street or walk in the street to avoid people on the sidewalk.

Hadn’t been to the grocery store in three weeks, and was out of fresh vegetables, meat, and dairy, so I went yesterday evening.  It was incredibly disturbing, mostly due to people’s behavior.  Still no toilet paper or cleaning products.  No flour of any kind at all. No eggs.  I’m not sure if that is because everyone had descended like locusts earlier in the day or if it is habitual.  Store patrons completely ignored social distancing.  They didn’t have lists and lingered or meandered.  No one (other than me) had a mask.

The nice weather this weekend meant a lot of people were out.  Most of them didn’t seem concerned about social distancing.  Very few of them had masks, and none of the runners did (still).  Very few moved to avoid contact with strangers.  Maybe we really are too stupid to live.

The seasonal farmers’ market should have started last Sunday but has been postponed indefinitely.  The city office that coordinates has some websites for the farms, so I poked around to see about delivery/pickup.  A few have CSAs, but most don’t do half shares; my experience with CSAs in the past is that a full share is WAY too much.  But I do want to help support, so I’ll see if maybe a neighbor wants to share.

Watched the second episode of ST:P.  Started reading Sharon Kay Penman’s Lionheart, but am kind of disinterested in Alicia as MC or potential narrator.  Have been enjoying the #recipesforthepeople videos posted by Chef José Andrés with his daughters.  The recipes aren’t necessarily things I would cook, but I love his delight in cooking/food, and his admonishment to respect the garlic.  (If I lived closer, I would absolutely be ordering takeout from his Jaleo – my two favorite dishes are the espinacas a la catalana and patatas bravas, which I do not share, sorrynotsorry.)

I need to learn about Duolingo’s theory of language learning.  I’ve been using the app to learn a little Portuguese for the last couple of weeks, and I’m utterly bemused by the vocabulary that they introduce early on and their sentence construction.  Is armadillo really an important word for a new language learner, relative to others?  The dog cuts the steak? Seems a little Noam Chomsky to me.  Having said that, my favorite words learned so far, based entirely on how they feel in my mouth and how they sound, are borboleta (butterfly) and tubarão (shark).  Some of it is strikingly similar to Spanish (tiburón) and some is not (mariposa).  And I find the app’s lack of explanation of rules of pronunciation and grammar a little frustrating.  For instance, for the difference in the pronunciation of the letter O –  as I understand it, O gets more of U sound when it is not in the stressed syllable, but that isn’t articulated anywhere.

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First week of telework

I don’t telework frequently, so while I have the technical ability – internet, laptop, security token to get into the network – I don’t have a designated office space at home.  I usually sit at the kitchen table or stand at the breakfast bar, or if I’m feeling decadent, I sit in the recliner.  Those are not feasible long term.  I need a bigger monitor, because I’m spoiled by the dual monitor set up at the office and need to be able to toggle between programs in a way that isn’t sustainable on a smallish laptop.  I also need a mouse, because the track pad isn’t great for the intensive maneuvering text around all day.  So I’m trekking to Office Depot tomorrow to get both.  I’m also contemplating buying a printer, because some editing just works better on paper.

I brought hard copy materials home from the office last week – notebooks that I keep serially, and the like.  But I think I need to go back in to get a couple of reference books.

The work itself has changed a little bit because of what’s going on in the United States.  So there are the usual tasks and projects plus more.  Which is fine, but complicated by inability to have in person meetings.  It is so much easier to walk down the hall and have face to face conversations.  So many conference calls.

Also, figuring out how much contact to have is difficult.  A lot of my group telework regularly, between two and three days per week, on top of condensed and part time work schedules, so there is no single day of the week when everyone is working; some days I’m the only one physically in the office.  I usually do drop-bys, but how to do that remotely?  Normally, I assume silence means business as usual, in part because the work itself is pretty transparent and trackable, but I feel like that is not a safe assumption right now.

My commute is short, so I have time for a walk in the evening, no gym now.  But I’m working more hours and accomplishing fewer concrete tasks.  Maybe I’ll get more done next week.

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Dear Interim-Boss-Who-Thought-He-Was-Getting-Out-of-That-Gig:

Asking me in JULY if I will do two tasks that must be performed in OCTOBER and NOVEMBER respectively?  Tasks that my now-retired-boss used to do?  That tells me that you aren’t going to have our vacancy filled by then.  You’ve had three months lead time plus three more before the work needs to be done; one task can’t even begin until after October 1, and the other until November 1.  

Six months isn’t enough time?  Really?

 
Also, when I say we feel adrift and rudderless, I’m not talking about just my office.  I’m talking about the entire program nationally.  You are underestimating the daily contact retired-boss had with EVERYONE.

I am NOT going to be backed into her job.  It’s not a matter of capability; I figured I’d be training the new person on how to do those tasks.  It’s a matter of desire.

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