Once or twice a year I get up early, haul myself down to the donut shop and get something not good for me. What can I say? We all have our vices, right?
A short time ago I made the trip. Along the way, around 9:15am, I passed a tavern. Out front was a guy leaning against the building not far from the front door. It was a cold, wet, gloomy morning and an arctic 30 degrees (not counting any damn wind chill).
The man was smoking away.
Look on the bright side, I thought. At least I’m not him.
Who says I can’t have positive thoughts? Apparently all of mine come tinged with a wee bit of judgement. Perhaps that’s not ideal but I can live with. It makes the donut that much more delicious. At least I have taste buds.
As you probably know a pharmacy called CVS recently made big news by announcing they were phasing out sales of cigarettes (and other tobacco products) in their stores. Now I don’t know CVS from a hole in the ground. I’ve never been in one. I tend to avoid places like that.
Still, I welcome this bit of news. It feels like a step in the right direction to me. I actually heard something on the news about tobacco companies are hurting due to reduced sales. Is that supposed to be troubling? In the United States sales of cigarettes have reportedly dropped by 31.3 percent from 2003 to 2013.
Some, like me, thinks that’s a pretty good sign.
Then there’s that other group. You know, the people on Twitter who embrace the #boycottcvs hash tag. I guess you could call them the yin to my yang.
Hang on to your hats, space cowboys. It’s time, once again, for the epic battle between good and evil. Anyone know if George Lucas is a smoker?
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The Sneaky Entitlement Society
Two affluent men are running for the office of President of the United States. That means it’s time for another round of one of our most-cherished traditions: finger pointing at the bottom-sucker “entitlement” folks.
Strangely enough, despite the type of things I normally write about the workplace, I’ve never been fired from a job. Weird, right? Inconceivable! You’d think a hater like me would be one of the first to go. Yet, somehow, it’s true. And, as a result, I know remarkably little about things like Unemployment Insurance (UI).
I gather it works like insurance. When employment is high, employers are paying more taxes into the UI program which creates a surplus. When there is a recession, less revenues are paid into the program and payouts (in the form of benefits to the unemployed) increase. The net result is a social net that saves for a rainy day and minimizes the disastrous effects (on society and the individual) when there isn’t enough work.
The program is paid for by employers in the form of payroll taxes.
How am I doing so far? I might be wrong on a few of the details but I think that’s about it.
The fun part, of course, is that the program is based on the premise that there isn’t enough work. In other words, if you quit or get fired, this program isn’t for you. Move along, move along. I guess that basically means it covers employers who are laid off.
Every one of my lateral or down-spiraling career moves has always been preceded by a “take this job and shove it” phase, so no unemployment benefits for me. Because I’m a responsible worker I’m left to dream about other avenues of escape like Mama Compensation.
Is the person who receives unemployment insurance benefits part of the “entitlement society?” You tell me. In the meantime, I think I may have found someone else who is. And it might not be who you think.
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A breath of fresh despair
Another year has passed me by, still I look at myself and cry, “What kind of man have I become?”
Next week I’ll have been at my new job for a whole year. Anyone who’s read my blog will know that the change from Job #2 to Job #3 (as numbered in the Decade of Despair*) didn’t quite go as well as I’d hoped.
Ever curious, I had a eye-opening thought. “Hey, thanks to the blog, I can go back in time and find my first mention about the new job. I wonder how long it took for me to get my feet wet then turn to the blog to vent?”
By now my rails against Job #3 have become so frequent my wife had to order me to limit them to once a week. But what was it like back in the beginning. Sometimes I tend to forget.
October 22, 2010: My last day at the Job #2. I celebrated with a post entitled “So Long, and Thanks for All the Pish.” Good times, good times. And one of my favorite Photoshops, too. Just look at me back then. All glowing and full – dare I say it? – optimism for the future because I was getting out of something bad. Oh, the heady days of yesteryear!
Exactly how long did that feeling last?
If I remember correctly, October 25, 2010, was my first day on the new job. The first sign of trouble was a mere four days later, still my first week at Job #3. Wow!
Even I am impressed by the epic fail of such a short period of time.
By that very Friday I celebrated with a post entitled, “This post is IN STOCK.” This humble missive griped about the rampant dishonesty and unethical business practices I found myself dealing with during a week that consisted mostly of sitting in a chair and watching my boss work on his computer. (That’s what he generously called his “training program.”)
Yes, the Universe didn’t waste any time in letting me know that the small business I’d just hitched my wagon was remarkably similar to Job #1 and Job #2 – only worse.
It made a perfect bookend to my personal journey through the Decade of Despair, a decade that began with the presidency of George W. Bush and me literally staring at Job #1 on Sept. 11, 2001. That particular date was necessary so I’d never forget exactly when it all started. Or my place.
Next week I celebrate a year at Job #3. Those wishing to express condolences can send them to my attention at the local funeral home with the giant Las Vegas-style sign.
* Decade of Despair. This is a term I coined to refer to the ten years starting on Sept. 11, 2001 and ending on Sept. 11, 2011. During this period of time I worked a series of three different ecommerce jobs where I was ostensibly hired for my webmaster skills yet primarily worked as a whore.
Strife Favor thrown by the boss
It’s a perspective disconnect kind of thing. The small business owner feels as if he/she is doing you this huge favor by allowing you to work for them. From their point of view they are good, decent people taking on an awesome responsibility for you and your family. Yes, you’re so lame and incompetent that you couldn’t wipe your own ass without their assistance. I guess that’s why they hired you.
I find this point of view quite odd.
These are the same people who will add to staff only when they are sufficiently convinced it will line their own pockets with coin. Otherwise they sure as fuck wouldn’t do it. They don’t bother to cross the street unless there is profit in it. Yet, there they are, in your face, telling you about how benevolent they are, how altruistic motives informed their actions, and how they’re doing it all for you.
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