Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Looking At Reality Through Grimy Glasses

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I can safely say that after spending about 8 years in my current occupation of payroll clerk, I've finally reached the level of not caring about my job in its present state. That level is one that no one really aspires to, which is to put in your 8 hours, not learn anything new and quietly decompose into a competent yet completely anti-social co-worker.

Now mind you, this has being going on for quite a while, but suffice to say it has accelerated over the past few months. The realization that a reputation created in the first six months, no matter how blatantly wrong it is, is impossible to change, gradually sunk its talons in until it took hold of my psyche and slapped it smart in multiple directions.

Nowhere has this point been driven home with clarity as with my writing.

Because I work in a state agency that is both hypersensitive and hypercritical about all things, it's virtually impossible to promote my upcoming book in any way without anyone filing a sexual harassment complaint. I certainly can't show the cover and I definitely can't leave any business cards out that shows the cover. I can't even promote the slick book trailer that effectively sums up the synopsis in less than two minutes.

In short, the only way I can really promote not only the book but my blog as well, is at the facility where I do payroll. There, the people are grounded in reality and are less likely to be offended, which because they work in a prison, is a perfectly reasonable assumption.


I'm back to reading again, which for the most part will be confined to non-fiction and historical fiction. At least until I can reconcile B&N's pain in the ass rules with my need to purchase books to review. My non-fiction reading has been scattershot, with topics as diverse as The Civil War, Native Americans and reservation living, memoirs and true crime/forensics read for enjoyment.

My historical fiction ha been confined largely to Edward Rutherford. I loved the first three that he wrote (Sarum, Russka and London), so to continue through the rest of his catalogue has so far been an absolute joy, as well as a welcome break from my current writing project.

Speaking of current writing project, I'm spending just the weekends writing it, which is due to the fact that I really don't have time during the week to work on it. At least in the physical sense that is. Mentally is a whole different issue, as with each part I complete, I find myself thinking about what the best path would be to continue with. At the moment, I wrote a particular scene that is now making the main character question her motives and her original plan of attack. Should be interesting to see what comes out of it, since an underlying issue in the story is The Stockholm Syndrome and how much is the main character suffering from it.

I've been commiserating with a friend about how sucky our respective jobs are and at one point, I told her that it sounded like her job was becoming like a Dilbert comic.

Boss: Mistakenly we transferred your position to another department but kept the funding, which means we'll pay you for not working.
She said it wasn't that bad, but it was more like "how many people does it take to change a light bulb?"

In state guv'ment, the answer is 8:

1 to change the bulb;

1 to micromanage the worker;

1 to requisition the bulb;

1 to deliver, 'cause you know, union rules and what not;

1 to stand by and observe that all the union rules are being followed, including that a fifteen minute break and a half hour lunch is being taken while the delivery is being made;

1 to supervise the union steward;

1 to supervise the union rep;

1 to ask for hourly status reports from the worker's supervisor.

To which she replied, "Touche'"

Touche' indeed.


  1. And that is why government lightbulbs cost so much.

  2. Bearman: As well as other goodies, like pens, paper and chairs.

  3. was listening to a Jack Benny episode today where the story was his program was not on the air. Finally he gets to the bottom of it...a specific cord is unplugged.

    He asks the electrician to plug it in to which he gets a long monologue about how the guy can look at the plug, examine the plug, test the plug, determine the cause with the plug, but cannot plug in the plug. If he does he gets in trouble with the union...

    It was funny because of the truth behind it.

    And now the entire government is a union...

  4. I am hoping you find a way out... I don't see why the cards would equal harassment, but then again, my boss and I have had conversations about polyamory, so I think my office is a bit more laid back than yours.

  5. I bet you could entertain thousands of prisoners with your story! Prob tho, only one would buy it then pass it along when done...
    I bet there's magazines you could advertise in at least.

    Getting paid not to work doesn't sound too bad from here. Hope the job doesn't stagnate too badly for you. Maybe they'll get a new printer or something to learn.

  6. Ha! To the light bulb thing. :) I quite understand.

  7. Darth: Not quite all of the federal guv'ment is unionized. There are large swaths where the unions haven't contaminated with their grimy hands.

    But, I can come up with real life examples at work that will match up with what you'd just said perfectly.

    M: In state guv'ment, there is quite the double standard. Sad to say, if you're a WASP man, chances are good that you can get smacked with a sexual harassment/hostile work environment complaint for showing a book cover like that. Never mind the fact that people (mostly women) are reading books with covers like that and they leave them out in plain view.

    So rather than spend time beating back another vapid complaint about myself, I chose to nip it in the bud.

    Snaggle: Most definitely, as the prisoners there are between the ages of 15 & 18, so this would be a splendid diversion for them.

    I won't say that the job is stagnating, but there is definitely some algae growth occuring, that's for sure. And getting paid for doing nothing is getting quite tiresome.

    Lynn: I think, in a way, we all understand. :D

  8. Oh man, I was just thinking the other day of tedious, repetitive jobs I've had in the past. I never lasted more than a year at any of them. Kudos to you for your tolerance.

  9. Separation of Work Life and Personal Life -- vital to our existence.

  10. S.R.: Thanks.

    I've had some tedious jobs before, but most of those went by the wayside in a few months or so.

    Most of this stuff though, I've never put with until I came out of the academic world.

    G.A.: Absolutely. Without, we be just mindless zombie tethered to a cell phone and a laptop.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

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So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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