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Archive for March, 2009

Payday

Today is payday at the new company. The company pays its associates twice a month – on the 15th and the last day of the month. I’ve been paid monthly for the last fifteen years so getting paid twice a month will take a while to get used to. I arranged for direct deposit so I don’t get an actual paycheck. It took me a while to locate the payroll website so I could print a copy of my pay stub. Even though I am in the office I needed to use a remote access token and pin the gain entry to payroll site. That seems a little strange to me.

T and JR are in the office today to mentor and transition accounts to G and I. T and I had a nice reunion. She’s got an infectious laugh and is easy to get along with. T will be working with me on my first RFP. It will be good to have someone walk me through the process.

 T went to lunch with G and I. JR was invited but made an excuse about not ever eating lunch. He doesn’t look like he misses many meals. T remarked during lunch that the not eating lunch comment was a bunch of bullshit and that he was being anti-social as usual. I think T and I will have a great working relationship.

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The Bangs

Today was spent requesting access to systems that are necessary tools for the new job. JR gave G and I an overview of the job that answered many of our questions. I still want to follow the workflow of a request from initiation to closure. That may not happen until next week.

I ordered a second line for the house with unlimited long distance so I will be able to work from home. The company encourages associates to work from home but does not pay for a phone line for business calls. I can write off any unreimbursed business costs only if all of my miscellaneous expenses (business and personal) exceed 2% of my adjusted gross income. The unfortunate part is that my adjusted gross income is rather high.

Here comes the bitchy part. JR has one of the worst haircuts I’ve ever seen on a professional man. He has bangs that he combs forward. They lay flat on the top third of his forward and are cut in a straight line. It looks like a cross between Betty Page and Moe from the Three Stooges. I want to run a handful of product in his hair.

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My first week back at work was rather uneventful. Tomorrow G and I will be meeting with JR, one of our peers who works in the Denver area. JR’s father was VP at the company during my previous tenure before the merger with the French company. JR was given a mid level job just out college. JR freely admitted that his father arranged for the job. He has never been promoted and in the past had a reputation for being a slacker. I wonder where he would be if his father had not arranged for his first job. His father went on to run a spin-off company into the ground that the parent company bought back for pennies on the dollar a few years later. I’m not sure I want to take a lot of guidance from JR.

On Tuesday G and I will meet with T. T gave us both a glowing recommendation to the director. G and I both worked with T when she was a project manager. I feel I can trust her and look forward to her guidance. S still thinks T is a lush. I wonder if she will be hung over on Tuesday.

Going back to work has changed the way I look at the weekends. When I was unemployed there wasn’t anything significant to differentiate the days. Now that I’m working Saturday and Sunday have become days of freedom. I cherish the weekend knowing that I will return to the corporate world each Monday morning. I’m surprised how quickly I’ve turned into a person who looks forward to the weekend. For some reason I thought it would take a few months for that to happen.

K and I are going to check out the Sue Simon show at Spark. Sue is one of K’s favorite artists. He has a several of her small works on the wall of his office. I hope it’s a good show.

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In Like A Lamb Out Like A Lion

We’re having a blizzard in Denver today. The city will get up to 18 inches of snow while the foothills and mountain are expecting at least two feet. It has been very dry here so the moisture is greatly appreciated. Most flights are cancelled and several highways are closed due to accidents.

I’m working from home today. I’ll called the IT group early this morning to get a temporary remote access password. I’ve been taking required online classes – Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace and Proprietary Information and Records Management. I’m bored. I really haven’t started the job. I’m due to get a mentor on Monday. I have been given an account assignment but my manager could not explain what accounts are in the vertical. That’s not a good sign. Hopefully, my mentor will get me on track.

I’m not impressed with my manager so far. She’s seems a little scatter brained. I don’t know how she got to the director level. She scheduled a team meeting for the wrong time, forgot to approve my permanent remote access, can’t tell me if the company will pay for a second line for business calls, published the wrong phone number for me on the organization chart, and got one of my fellow new hires first name wrong. Let’s hope things improve going forward.

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Plumbing Fiasco #2

Last Friday while I was in San Francisco the house sitter called to tell me the sewer line was backed up again. She had cleaned up the mess and was going to shower at her friend’s house a couple of blocks south of our house. She had washed the dishes by hand instead of using the dishwasher. She would stay at our house but shower at her friend’s house on Saturday and Sunday.

When I returned home on Sunday afternoon I did a very small load of laundry to test the system. The sewer line backed up into the bathroom next to the office. I called a plumber and spent another $300 to have the line cleaned out. After the plumber left I noticed that the shower in the bathroom off the family room was littered with food debris (pieces of carrots, mushroom, and celery) from the back up. I had specifically asked the housesitter not rinse food down the kitchen drain for fear of a backup. I guess she didn’t remember my instructions. Then I noticed that there was no toilet paper in either of the bathrooms in the main part of the house. She had used five rolls of toilet paper in seven days (I had stocked the bathrooms before I left so I knew how many rolls were in each bathroom). I thought this was rather excessive but a friend advised me that women use more toilet paper than men.

Today the plumbing company returned to give me a second bid on replacing the sewer line. The cheaper bid ($5995.00) involves a backhoe and removal of the fence by the driveway and the fence at the back of the property. The excavation will also involve our neighbor’s yard (Tom & Sheila). The bid does not include the cost of repairing the landscaping in both yards. The second option ($7085) uses a Perma-Liner that replaces the clay pipe. Only one hole is dug in our yard and most of the plantings are preserved. K and I are leaning toward the second option so we don’t have the repair the landscape in both yards. It’s a good thing I’m getting paid soon.

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A Good Thing

At the dinner cruise on Saturday night I was seated between the Denver HR manager, R, and C, who works part time at the company. C’s wife, D, also works for the company full time managing a group of chemists (I’m sure her job is more complex than my simple explanation). C and D have one young son and are adopting a new baby boy from Korea. They are waiting for the call to fly to Korea to pick up their new son. D did not attend the meeting in order to care for their young son.

During dinner I came up with what I thought would be a great idea. Plane tickets to Korea from Denver can be very expensive especially when purchased with less than two weeks notice. There are many people at K’s company with hundreds of thousands of frequent flyer miles due to the fact that they fly from the States to Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Australia, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and so on. If a group of people donated miles then C would be able to fly to Korea at no cost. Since the company does not reimburse a portion of the adoption fees like my new employer, the free plane ticket would provide a financial break for C and D. They would be able to use money set aside for airfare for other necessary things associated with a new baby. I ran the idea by R, the HR manager. She thought it was a great idea and was going to socialize the idea with a few people. After the main course was served I talked to K about the idea. He thought that the company should use its frequent flyer miles to send C to Korea since the company flew all the spouses to San Francisco on frequent flier miles. There should be no need to solicit employees for donations. K went to talk to P, the Chairman of the Board, about the idea. The Chairman agreed it was a good idea. The company will have enough miles in April for the ticket. Then the Chairman’s wife, S, said that she though D and their young son should go too. She insisted that the company provide free tickets for all three. K came back to the table and told R and I the good news. K filled C in on the plan. The look on his face was a mixture of shock and amazement. I believe he was truly stunned that this happened so quickly. C went outside to call D to tell her to good news.

I was amazed that all this happened within thirty minutes. All K had to do was ask. Now if only they had a program to reimburse a portion of the adoption fees. I wonder if I should email the Chairman’s wife.

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Another Massacre

There was another round of layoffs at my former employer that started last week. I’ve been told 20% of the sales force was let go. Two of my former peers were also laid-off. The survivors are telling me that the atmosphere is very grim. Everyone is completely demoralized. I’m relieved that I’m no longer there.

The local office of my new employer is next door to one of my former employer’s office. I may stop by this afternoon to check on things.

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