Friday, April 29, 2005

Compare and contrast: New Job vs. Old

I have been at the new job for only 2 weeks, so I can't exactly say I know everything about the place, but there are already some major differences between this place and the last one.

In convenient table form:
New JobOld Job

No questions asked when I requested active noise-canceling headphones to wear in the noisy server room.

When my phone headset broke, I couldn't order a new one because the company was no longer buying them for employees (never mind that 90% of meetings/customer interaction is via phone). I had to ship them back to the manufacturer to get them replaced, and even then I got an urgent email from my boss's boss's secretary demanding I explain the $5 UPS charge.

The building is relatively new, and looks nice from the outside and the inside. The inside is kept clean.

The building was a non-descript downtown Indianapolis building. The interior was reminiscent of a Gulag Inprocessing Center in some Eastern Bloc Regime. There was Cheetos dust on the floor from some guy who was in my cubicle in the 80's.

Employees receive a bonus every quarter when the company achieves its goals for that period.

Employees got a chump change $500 bonus after working 4 days of 12-hour shifts over a weekend while the union went out on a grandstanding strike.

I have met most of the people I work with/for in person and interact with them FTF on a daily basis.

I never met 95% of the people I worked with.

There's an exercise facility with free weights, machines, treadmills, elliptical trainers, and so on. If you want, you can have a trainer assigned to you who will help you meet your fitness goals.

No exercise room, but there is a locker/shower facility featuring posters of runners with 70s hair that runners use. Warm water is available more often than not, but wear flip-flops in the shower, b/c I think I picked up Plantar warts there.

Use of the exercise facilities is approved of and encouraged from the founder of the company on down.

Taking smoke breaks with the boss is the fast track up the corporate ladder.

There are more, but that's plenty for now.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Redneck Playground of Horror

Today after visiting my sister at her new house we took our 2-year-old girl to a playground we had driven by many times. It is in a poor section of Bloomington nicknamed 'Pigeon Hill', but it appeared to be a nice playground all the times we had driven by. Thinking back now, though, there were never any people there when we had driven by. It has fairly nice equipment (at least you can't see the graffiti from the road) including a structure with several slides, one of them a 3 story high corkscrew slide. Our daughter loves slides, so she headed straight for it.

Not long after we arrived an assortment of locals converged on the place. There was a 20-something pudgy white guy with bad skin, bleached hair, and hip-hop clothes including the bandana/baseball cap combo, who was there with his buddy. At first I wondered what was going on with these 2 guys hanging out at the playground, but eventually it became evident they were there with Eminem's girlfriend, 8 months pregnant with presumably Eminem's child, and 5 other little boys besides who probably each had different daddies. I guess Eminem was keeping his distance, because hanging around a woman and a bunch of kids wouldn't look as cool as looking like some rapper pedophile on the prowl.

Pregnant woman's girlfriends were there. They all had tattoos, some had tattoos on their necks. There were no obvious 'white power' or 'Aryan Nation' tattoos, although they were the kind of women you don't want to spend long looking at, for fear a deranged methed-up jealous boyfriend will get the wrong idea and suddenly appear out of nowhere and tear you to pieces like a mother bear when you step between her and her cubs.

Pregnant girl's friends complimented her that 'you don't look 8 months pregnant'. I don't believe in my teens - early 20s I would have had any idea what various stages of pregnancy looked like. Anyhow, she looked like she had a whole basketball in there, or maybe a whole fetal basketball team. She looked plenty pregnant to me.

Around this time I am pushing the baby girl on the swing, trying to look like I'm not freaked out by everything, and in the distance I see a really skinny guy who at first looks black. Then he looks like he's wearing Al Jolson blackface minstrel makeup. Then he gets closer and his face looks all black and grimy, and I wonder between that and the way he's walking wobbly if he is just staggering away from a meth lab explosion.

He's there with his girlfriend/wife, a good twenty years older than he. He's holding her hand either out of affection or to keep from falling down. Their young daughter(?) is there too, stopped halfway down a slide with no apparent intention of going anywhere or doing anything.

All the while there's some shady guy sitting alone in a truck in the parking lot (which is even causing the tattoo girls some concern as to what he's up to), and some people in separate cars arrive and conduct some dubious transaction and leave. We let our daughter do the big slide one last time before we get the hell out.

We tell baby it's time to leave, and the tantrum starts. I pick her up, put her in the car seat in our conspicuously new Prius and we get the hell out as fast as hybrid synergy drive can take us.