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Chains on my ankles, again.

Peter said “Welcome back” to me, but it felt like a death sentence, and I replied, “Back to Hell.” Yes, my vacation is over and I returned to the office. Chains on my ankles, again. 

Work is still frustrating, my employer still sucks, Carlotta is still stunning, and the photocopier is busted so the November issue isn’t in the mail yet.

Also, sixty people were laid off on Friday, including nine from our office. Nobody from my group, though.

Among the unemployed is everyone who didn’t want to leave their desks on the day of the fire (Nov. 16). For your hesitation to evacuate and dedication to the job, we present you with a pink slip. 

The work those people used to do, Babs explained, will now be done at the merged super-company’s main office, two thousand miles away — though the merger, so far as I know, still hasn’t been approved by the Federal Trade Commission, or whatever bureaucracy is pretending to consider the matter.

There’s no reason that my work couldn’t have been relocated just as easily, and I’m sure that’s going to happen soon. Management resolutely denies it. Their denials are the confirmation.

Bullshit and layoffs, same old same old, and my, how I've missed the place. 

♦ ♦ ♦

It was nice seeing Kallie again, though. She told me about her vacation, going camping. I told her about mine, going to the movies. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Sorry, I gotta blow some steam about Jennifer. She's my ‘lead’ in the office, and I’ve never known why. There are five of us, and she’s the dumbest of the five, has no sense of humor, and scowls whenever any of us laugh. I’m uncomfortable saying this, because it sounds so sexist, but trust me, I’d say the same thing if she was a man: She’s the queen bitch of the office.

My first day at this job, it took me two minutes to realize Jennifer was going to be a problem. She has exactly the wrong demeanor for training new hires. She came at me full of arrogance and attitude, scolded me for asking questions, and gave long, rambling politician-style answers to the few questions I was allowed to ask — answers that said nothing, and left me quite confused.

I now know, it was nothing personal — just Jennifer being Jennifer. All of us know it. If we have a question that's even slightly complicated, we all turn to each other for answers, bypassing Jennifer. The prime directive is, never ask Jennifer your questions, because (1) she doesn’t like it when anyone asks questions, (2) her answers will be rushed even on a slow day, and (3) she’ll answer the question she thinks you’re asking, which probably isn’t the question you’re asking.

I'm venting about this because today, three new temps were brought in to do some of the semi-complicated work we used to do until July. Since then, that work has been done by a different department. That department was axed on Friday, so now we'll be doing that work again. It goes around, it comes around, and it always smells shitty.

Jennifer, as the ‘lead’, is responsible for training the new temps, and she told us all to "stay out of the way." She introduced the temps to the staff, but told them and us to avoid talking to each other this week. "We can be sociable next week, after the temps have been trained. For now, I want no distractions." I don't know if that's normal office behavior, but I don't like talking to people anyway. It doesn't need to be a rule.

They were close enough, I could hear everything anyway, and it was pretty bad. All day, Jennifer would give them a few sentences of curt and sometimes misleading guidance, and then leave them to do the work, until one by one they'd come to her with the simplest of questions — things she should’ve already explained — and her answers were all twisted and only more confusing.

And the scolding! Don't you want the new hires to ask questions, until they know what they're doing? I'd think, the more questions, the better, but Jenn wants the questions to be none. 

“I already told you the answer to that,” she said — and walked away.

“If you would’ve been listening this morning, you’d know that already…” 

At one point she was standing beside one of the newbies, badly explaining something, and she asked a perfectly logical question, and she replied, “No, no, no! Stay awake!” Her favorite response to a rudimentary question is often, “You tell me. I’ve told you that already, so now you tell me.”

I didn't say anything. It's not allowed, so I simply sat there and simmered. If I said something to the temps, Jennifer would yell at me. If I said something to Darla, she'd say I’m making trouble. If I said something to Jennifer, she'd deep-freeze me and probably sabotage me somehow.

So I watched and listened and wished I was still on vacation. If it continues tomorrow, I might have to sigh loudly and find my balls and say something.

Probably not, though. I haven't seen my balls in ages.

 From Pathetic Life #7
Monday, December 5, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life   

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