So on Friday, the CEO asked me to take on some HR responsibilities. Mind you, I’m currently a contractor with zero benefits; yet, he wants me to sit down with new hires to review the company fringe benefits policies. Say what? A little weird, but whatever. I’d actually forgotten that within the last year, HR was something I thought about getting into… HR and recruiting. I always thought to myself, “I could do that kind of work… I think.” Well I suppose now’s my chance. But the disturbing thing about being asked to take on this new set of responsibilities is well, what the CEO said about our current HR administrator. Apparently, he hasn’t been too pleased. Of course, I was surprised, because just last week several of us (including the CEO) went to lunch with her. She was really cool and knowledgeable. I defended her. Here’s how my boss responded: It’s one thing to be cool; it’s another thing to be knowledgeable; it’s a third thing to deliver.
So I guess that’s why I’m not a business person. I like people; I give them the benefit of the doubt. Plus, I go by personality more than academics: I suppose I believe getting along is more important than having the book smarts. I don’t know. Regardless, what he said really bugged me. I mean, the other thing is, just because some people aren’t workaholics, that doesn’t mean the way they lead their lives is wrong. I mean, these are all individual choices, and I don’t necessarily think you should penalize an employee for say, prioritizing family and balance over work. Am I too much of a softie? I don’t know: I suppose I always find myself siding with workers rather than with management. Even when I was working at CDM, we did these management consulting projects evaluating the efficiency of teams at a government water agency and I always sympathized with the laborers. Come on, they were unclogging shit in your sewer pipes, clearing used condoms off the bar screens… hell yeah, they deserve raises. Shrug. Instead, the project engineer concluded that most of the workers needed to be axed. Sucked.
So I’m feeling a little disheartened with work, be it this workaholic lifestyle or the “rude” comments by the head honcho. All of this negative energy is compounded by a notice from our lame-ass apartment complex: rent is going up $300/month if we want to continue month-to-month leasing. Fuckers. So yesterday after work, we checked out this “charming cottage” in Menlo Park, down towards Stanford University. Jesus Christ. That place felt like a mortuary. Was fricking built in 1945. I thought I was going to croak just breathing in the stagnant air. Had all kinds of quirky decorations– like Chinese wood carvings mixed with shabby chic ruffles. Now I’m all for hodge podge, but seriously, this place was a mess. After being totally let down, we headed to PF Chang’s for a Chinese dinner. We ordered lettuce wraps and received three lettuce shells. Honestly. Three. I wasn’t even in the mood to pipe up about it. I just really wish I were elsewhere. I know, it’s the holidays and everyone is supposed to be all hunky dory. Well I’m bummed as hell. This isn’t how I want my life to be, and now I’m just among that list of people who are unhappy but are also paralyzed with inaction. What to fucking do now? To cap it all off, I got this for my fortune (because fortune cookies are Chinese, didn’t you know?): You believe in the goodness of people. Yeah, whatever. Tell it to the fucking hand. I put in my dues. I believed in the system, and look at this bullshit moron we elected as President. Some lady was on the news the other week for microwaving her infant to death. Wtf is wrong with people? Screw the goodness of people, man. I’m a misanthrope this holiday season, so whatever. Get this though: John’s fortune? Good thoughts make life better. Ha, ha. Is good thoughts going to pull us out of this sinkhole? I know, I know. I have a fortunate life. I could be deformed. I could really be on the edge of survival. But just tell me what to do to maximize on this privileged life. Donate to charity. Volunteer. Join the area Climate Change Action group. I’m doing those things, and still, I’m so frustrated. I’m irritated that companies squeeze as much as they can out of their workers and then as soon as the employee wants to negotiate and really bargain for perks, that employee is labeled greedy or “just in it for the money.” Such bullshit. I mean, if money were no issue, I certainly wouldn’t be working for the private sector (unless it was my own gig). Then, there’s our housing dilemma. There’s like no decent housing around here and it’s all expensive as hell. So now our choices are apartment complex A or apartment complex B, because none of the private landlords accept dogs bigger than 20 lbs. I mean, what is with the size discrimination? Isn’t the Bay area supposed to be dog heaven? See how I am just at my wit’s end? I can’t even convey my argument convincingly. I suppose it’s just the culmination of everything. I miss Shanghai. I miss my friends. I miss that great situation that ended. I had hopes of rebuilding, but I’m 30 now and when I shared my excitement last Friday about acquiring a new boardgame, my CEO rolled his eyes. Apparently, Scattergories doesn’t appeal to anyone here, so I’m left to play with John. And he hates the game. Like the kid in About a Boy claims, people need backup. Where’s my chain of islands?