Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is THIS why I went to college?


Here before you is the view from my “office.” Note the vast expanse of carpet and office furniture, prompting great minds to contemplate questions such as, “How do they make carpet with so many colors?” Why do they have a trash can in an uninhabited office?” and “I wonder who waters that plant in the manager’s office."

With a layoff quickly approaching, the mind turns back across two years spent here. Remember that time the ceiling started dripping, and then the drip turned into a stream, and then the acoustic tiles started to disintegrate until water was everywhere because the upstairs maintenance man screwed up when he was trying to drain a water heater?

Yeah… That was an interesting day.

So this is my cubicle, where I spend eight hours a day. And yes, I’m getting laid off June 30th. I don’t have anything else lined up yet. It’s an exercise in faith. If you’re worried, console yourself in the knowledge that I’ll have much more time to come up with interesting blog topics.

Here’s the radio that gets me through the day with it’s constant companionship. One of the best things about living in San Diego is that you get to listen to The Mikey Show every morning. I’ll have to tell you about it sometime. If you think I’m exaggerating, you’ve obviously never heard the show.

(Incidentally, if you’re worried that the antenna is blocking my phone, don’t. It’s not gonna ring. It never rings. And if you’re worried cause you noticed my pink headphones…um…they were on sale, ok?! Lay off!)

This is my “Kanban Board.” It’s actually not so much a board – more a piece of paper. The company figured a board would be a waste of money, since I’ll be laid off soon anyway. (Do I sound pathetic yet? Just wait.)

A few months ago, somebody decided I might not have a balanced workload. See, I have four different managers in this office. As a result, no one has any idea what I do on a daily basis, unless I make a mistake. Then I’m big news.

Yesterday, one of my four managers (the office’s Lead Administrator) came by my office with a chip on her shoulder. Honestly, I have no idea what happened to get her mad, but she had to take it out on someone, and I’m glad to be of service. Hey, whatever I can do to help, right?

So she starts questioning me on the legitimacy of all the items on my board, moving my “Urgent” items to the “non-urgent” column. (Forgive the inconsistent capitalization. I wasn’t allowed to create my own board. It’s best that way, as I might screw it up or something.)

So this lady is crumpling up notes and throwing them in the trash, because they’re not the sort of things that are supposed to go on the board (Dang! I’m such an idiot!), and ends up taking three or four with her. (Obviously, I wasn’t doing them correctly.)

The next hour was spent training her on how to do the tasks I’d been screwing up.


Do you ever just have to vent? I’ve tried for so long not to do that. I mean, at least I don’t have to make sales calls all day. I’ve done that before. At least I’m not going door-to-door, trying to sell vacuum cleaners that cost almost $2,000 each. I’ve done that too. I’m not unemployed…yet. Basically, I just have to show up every morning, do eight hours of data entry, and then go home. I have to keep remembering that.

Seriously, if work were fun, they wouldn’t have to pay you to show up, right? And I realize this is just a job I’m doing to pay the bills while I put myself through my second Masters program. So why is it so tough to do this day after day? One more picture…

This is the official work clock. Sometimes I get crazy ideas, like hooking it up to a VCR so I can fast-forward to 4:30.

Let’s get serious for a minute though...

This is the school of character. Even as I write, I think about what a spoiled little American I am. But that’s kind of the point, right? God puts me in situations like this to make me better than I am. Really, I have a pretty great life.

I think about the lady that messed with my Kanban Board yesterday, and in all seriousness, I have to wonder what her life is like. I just sit there and smile, cause I can do that. Who cares, right?

She can’t do what I do. You know people like this. They’re miserable all the time, and all they know to do is take it out on other people. You want to be mad at them, but if you really think about it, it’s just sad.

Somebody once told me that if you squeeze a piece of fruit, nothing can come out except what's inside. You can’t get lemon juice out of an orange, and you’ll never get apple juice out of a kiwi.

So what comes out when you get squeezed? When things get tough, how do you behave?

Does violence come out? Or anger? Or meanness? Is it faith? Is it character?

When things get worse, do you get worse with them, or do you get better? Do you become a more admirable person or a less admirable person in rough times?

Cause whatever’s inside is gonna come out when you get squeezed.

Me? I’m a mixed bag. That’s why God’s got me in the school of character…again. Pray that I learn quickly.

Before I let you go, don't forget! Between now and Sunday I'm giving you a chance to win a month long subscription to Netflix just for coming up with a good question! Read about it here.

Your friend,


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