Monthly Archives: October 2004

Sick Again!

Sick Again!

Geez, I am such a goddamn wimp over here. First week of work and I come down with a nasty cold. Serious runny nose, watery eyes, overall misery. Thank goodness for baba’s drugs– last time back to the States, I was totally hooked up with NyQuil, Tylenol Cold, etc. I don’t care if the drugs dont’ treat the condition. I just want to escape from the debilitating symptoms. That’s right. I’m all about the quick fix.

So I don’t blame my cold on my coworkers– it’s not like they are sneezing or spitting on me or anything. I say the culprit is central AC. Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with central AC and heating. In the office, I wrapped myself in a wool sweater (and it’s only the fall!), and I still couldn’t take the cold air blowing all over me. Fucking A.

Shanghai was gorgeous this weekend. I hung out on the patio with the pups. I read that supposed New York Times bestseller Who Moved My Cheese? book. So lame. I mean, yes the message is simple, but you don’t have to oversimplify and insult the intelligence of a normal adult! So besides reading that annoying book, I practiced some guzhen (god, how long has it been since I did that?), watched a Chinese movie, went to the salon, and worked. That’s right. First week of work and already, I’m doing overtime– an entire Sunday afternoon’s worth! I know, you’re playing the violin. Fuck you.

Did I tell you that taking the subway to work was a complete nightmare and a half? When it’s rush hour, the Chinese really know how to cram into every nook and cranny on the metro. I couldn’t take the thirty minutes of smothering, so I started riding my bike. If I ride like I’m in the LOTR, I can do it in about 25 minutes. Not bad. Of course, I work up a sweat, and it’s not the most comfortable experience biking my ass off in high heels… but this week, I’m gonna try a few things. First, I think I’m going to ditch the work bag. I hate those over-the-shoulder messenger bags. They look professional but are so flimsy and useless. I’m returning to ol’ faithful: my LL Bean bookbag. Sorry, all. I just can’t succumb to fashion that blindly. Next, I’m going to bike in an exercise outfit, i.e. sweats and sneakers. And then change at work. I mean, there’s no reason to suffer. Really. I’ll still look all dolled up for the corporate work environment, but I’ll at least be able to optimize my bike ride in. I’m going to start packing a lunch. Who says you can’t work like crazy and eat adequately? The Wuster is going to come only on Sundays– when I tutor her daughter Carol. During the week, I’m on my own taking care of the pups, errands, cleaning, and food. Fortunately, bubbey stocked me up with plenty of pasta, cereal, quick and easy goods. I’m confident I’ll make it through, thanks in part to my patented banana/honey smoothie diet…

Big Blue: Week 1

Big Blue: Week 1

Okay, so things sounded a little too good to be true. Yes, many of you (John included) thought I was a wee-bit too optimistic about working for an MNC in China. So call me naive. It’s always been my downfall. Here I was, thinking, “Wow, what an accomplishment. I got hired without the on-site interview.” Slight mistake. IBM’s e-learing division is on the 10th floor of Rui An Plaza, at the corner of the famous Huai Hai Road and HuangPi Nan Road. Very very prestigious location. The good news is that my commute is a bike ride to the metro and four stops north– about 35 minutes. Not bad. Well the bad news is, our team of 15 people is crammed into a room about the size of my dining room and half my living room. In other words, it’s corporate closet space. There are long tables spanning maybe ten feet in length, arranged in parallel, with about three people each table. So I have a co-worker siting right next to me (like we’re eating lunch together in a high school cafeteria) and someone directly behind me– so close that our chairs are constantly bumping. Yeah. BAD NEWS. On top of that, I have a crappy P2 computer that has Chinese Windows 2000 and a crummy, dirty, non-optical, non-scrolly mouse. And my computer freezes and has to be restarted about 4-5 times a day.

So my job there is sorta a blend of writer/editor/project manager. But strangely, they expect me to write in this environment where there is absolutely no privacy or sound proofing. I mean, not even those pathetic cubicle half-walls. So people are listening to audio e-learning clips, talking on the phone, yelling to each other from one end of the room to the other, getting on con-calls— all while I’m trying to fucking write and edit.

I mean, yes the people are nice, and since the office is all Chinese (with some ABCs or CBCs (Canada)), it’s good interaction for me… still, John has spoiled me with wifi at home, a sweet laptop, nice keyboards/mice, etc. I wish I were working at home again. 🙁

Oh well. So this week has been really busy. One of our big clients, Intel, has commissioned all this new employee orientation e-learning stuff. You know what’s so weird? I’ve been tapped to be the “voice” on all their Asia-Pacific materials. That’s right. My shitty, whiney, pep-less voice was chosen by the client. I don’t know what they’re smokin’. So stay tuned… for some future clips. “The Intel Channel Knowledge Builder Program is fast and efficient in delivering e-learning solutions to your employees….” Ha, ha. Cracks me up.

Oh man, I’m sick already. IBM blasts their A/C and despite my efforts to bundle up with a wool sweater, I caught a goddamn cold. Yeah, I had to cancel my class this morning with Frank because I had snot dripping out of my nose and an intolerable headache. God, I’m such a wimp. Fortunately, dad stocked me up with Nyquil and Tylenol Cold. Give me the drugs!! I am feeling better today, but I may take in my hot-water bottle.

By the way, John has already requested reconnaissance pictures of my disappointing work conditions… I’ll try my best.