More Work BS

If it is one thing I will say, having the office right next door to the conference room has its advantages. I hear EVERYTHING. Whatever schemes the bosses are up to make their way to my hyper-sensitive ears and I get the “inside scoop” as it were on a lot of the shady bullshit they’re pulling, and what I overheard yesterday made me physically sick and it serves as a reminder that it’s not what you know it’s who you know.

I am the 2nd LEAST paid person in this office despite having by far the most education. The only person paid less than me is the HR lady who is honestly way underpaid. The person right above me is our so-called “inventory manager” and he makes the equivalent of $1/hr more than me based on 40 hours (note: he’s hourly whereas I’m salary; he gets overtime, I do not so the discrepancy is even bigger)  but he has less education and less time in the company than I do, so it’s already unfair to me.

What’s even more unfair is the discussion I overheard yesterday (though luckily I will be long gone before this even comes to fruition). The powers that be were discussing who will be replacing our branch manager when he retires as he’s nearing retirement. Well, having the most crane knowledge of the bottom feeders as well as the longest time served, I would be the logical choice for that position. Did my name ever come up in the discussion? No. Whose did? Young, uneducated “inventory manager’s.” Why? I’m not a suck up and I will stand up to the powers that be and tell them they’re full of shit when they are. Inventory manager? Hah, he sucks up and kisses ass. He’s got shit all over his nose. He’s their little bitch and always quick to tattle when someone says they aren’t happy here or are considering moving on to other employment. To make matters worse, he doesn’t know the first fucking thing about cranes, how they work, etc. – all he knows are individual pieces of cranes (not necessarily what they’re used for).

Of course, HR lady and I talked about this and she agrees with me: it’s because inventory manager is a kiss-up. Obviously he’s power hungry too as he chose to leave behind a wife and young kid (now divorced and to my knowledge he let his now ex-wife have full custody) to pursue power within this company. Just goes to show what his priorities are. I hate working for our current branch manager bad enough, this guy who is actually much younger and stupider than me would be a nightmare to work for.

Again, luckily nothing here will come to fruition until I’m long gone but it just goes to show that kissing up is what gets you moved up; not job performance, not knowledge or anything like that. I also suspect there was some disability discrimination going on when they passed over me (let’s face it: we autists always get the short end of the stick in this arena). Though I would not have accepted the position if offered, for them to gloss over me is a slap in my face and I did find it very hurtful.

Anyway, just more corporate assfuckery I guess. I don’t see how anyone makes an entire life of it. It’s so soul-draining. I will not miss it when I leave, even though I will likely take a substantial pay cut when I do. Alas, money ain’t everything.

Advertisements

Tattoo Topic Tuesday – Tattoos in the Workplace

Today’s Tattoo Topic Tuesday is one I am glad to see changing attitudes on, but we’ve still got progress and to me the ultimate solution has not yet been arrived at yet (though I wouldn’t be surprised if we arrive at it sometime in my lifetime).

At one point tattoos in the workplace were a huge no-no. They were never accepted and more often than not those with tattoos in highly visible and/or impossible to conceal locations have faced serious employment discrimination over the years. Further, I do not know of a high-profile politician who has a tattoo (though I’m sure there are some Democrats/Liberals who do) and you know as well as I do an ultra-conservative politician would use a tattoo as an attack against his/her opponent.

Whereas visible tattoos, body piercings and other modifications might be a death knell in some organizations, luckily we are seeing a pretty big shift in attitudes and acceptance of them. The company I work for has no restrictions on visible tattoos, body piercings or anything of the sort so long as such things do not create a workplace hazard (as body jewelry sometimes can). I’ve seen visibly tattooed people in all sorts of professional and private settings nowadays. I imagine acceptance will continue to grow as more and more people are sporting tattoos than ever and as the crusty conservative baby boomers start dying off (currently about 14% of all American adults has at least one tattoo and that jumps to about 38% among American adults aged 18-40*).

Alas, there are still those few holdouts. I interviewed for a position with a telecommunications company about a year ago and one of the things I asked about was their policy on visible tattoos and lo and behold they don’t allow them. Sorry, I’m not about to wear long sleeves in the intense Texas summers for the sole purpose of covering my tattoos. It’s just not going to happen. Not to mention should I ever get tattoos in non-concealable places (as I probably will at some point if my hair loss gets any worse) that just takes me out of the running for a lot of things. I guess it’s the price I pay but I imagine in another 10 years or so it won’t be hardly any issue and of course if I ever get to launch my own business I won’t have to worry about it at all.

Of course, I think the correct approach is to legally protect body modifications and people with them from hiring, firing, dress code, etc. discrimination. If the tattoos would not be covered with the normal work uniform I do not think employers should be legally able to make its employees go out of their way to cover their ink, remove body piercings (especially fresh ones!), etc.; I’ve offered a defense of this position in a previous blog post.

So I think the takeaway from this is go ahead and get that tattoo, but until we are legally protected exercise some caution and realize that there is still some stigma attached to it. Though not a total death knell, it still might cause you some problems in certain professions. Chances are you’ll be OK though.

*Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/tattoo-statistics

Players Only Love You When They’re Playing

OK, I know that song is about something totally different than what I’m about to post, but I think that one particular lyric taken out of context and left open ended is very applicable to the way I’ve been treated the past two years. The boss who puts on a charade of a loving, caring, crucifix-wearing Catholic but is a real player and snake underneath fits that song lyric perfectly.

With as much shit has come to light recently with the division I work in, I can’t help but have flashbacks to The Flintstones movie (if you’ve never seen it you should – the critics hated it but it is a really good movie). I feel like Fred Flintstone and my boss is Cliff Vandercave and that I’ve been nothing but played the past couple of years.

Going to the part of the movie where things really start heating up, we go to this scene with CV and the secretary Sharon Stone (note, all excerpts might be slightly paraphrased because I don’t recall the exact lines, but they go something like this):

SS: Well the test results are in.
CV: And our unsuspecting dupe is?
SS: Actually the person who scored the highest was Fred Flinstone (note: after Barney switched tests with Fred as repayment for his kind deed at the beginning of the film).
CV: That big ape?
SS: No, the big ape got a 65.
CV: Flintsone? He must have cheated. This can’t be right! He’s dense, he’s witless…
SS:…he’s PERFECT.

As Miss Stone points out, a dense, witless candidate was the perfect choice for their master plan to swindle Slate and Co. out of their massive fortunes, regardless of the circumstances of him being at the top of the list. However, as the movie progresses, the two realize that Fred is much smarter than they initially thought and is starting to come onto their master plan. As such, they tweak their game a bit and are once again able to get Fred to comply with their shady and even illegal activities. Of course, eventually all this comes to light and luckily Fred has a way to prove his innocence within all of this (note: Miss Stone switched allegiances at the end of the film after learning Cliff was going to scam her too).

I write this because I just have this sick feeling I was initially selected for my position back in August 2015 because my boss (who was a relatively new hire at the company) saw me as dense, witless and naive because of the fact that I’m autistic (let’s face it – that’s what the mainstream media loves to portray us as). People like Cliff Vandercave and my boss love to prey upon people with various disabilities because they see us as easy targets and when the shit finally hits the fan they plant us as their fall people thinking we are weak and we won’t stand up against them.

Well, my boss preyed upon the wrong person for sure. One of these days he will be exposed for the shady (and maybe even illegal!!!) practices he has his little minions do for him, and when he is I won’t take the fall for it. I just refuse. I’m much smarter than that. Cutting back to the movie for a second:

CV: Flintsone! I heard you were in the file room earlier. Find anything interesting?
FF: Yeah, I’m on to your little scam! Installing faulty equipment, firing everyone and keeping the fortune for yourself. I’m going to Mr. Slate.
CV: Good! Coming forward might buy you a little leniency.
………………
FF: The equipment was YOUR idea!
CV: True, but I graciously decided to give you all the credit since it was your name on the requisition forms.
FF: I’m innocent!
CV: Oh boo-hoo-hoo! Miss Stone, call security. Tell them we’ve uncovered an embezzler.
FF: Miss Stone, you’ll back me up on this, right?
SS: You better run while you still can.
FF: You’ll never get away with this!
CV: I already have.

Of course, it all comes out in the end thanks to a piece of office equipment known as the Dictabird and Fred is cleared of any wrongdoing but still. This is exactly the situation I feel like I’m in and I can only hope that when all the bullshit surfaces (and it will, the truth will make its way out into the open eventually!) I’ve documented the goings on well enough that I can stay out of trouble.

Whatever you corporate slaves do, keep record of everything. Forward anything that might incriminate you for illegal or shady activity to your personal email for future reference. Document it all. It might just keep you out of jail sometime. This goes for everyone but especially individuals who the corporate sharks see as easy prey.

Tread with caution and be careful who you work for.

Friday Ponderings…

As I sit here at my desk on an uneventful Friday drafting my resignation letter (yes, it’s time – the company has crossed a line it can’t un-cross with me and I see no way forward; I’m at a point of either resigning or I’m going to flip out and be terminated) and pondering my next temporary career move (yes, only temporary – whatever job I take on until L&B is launched is only temporary anyway) it occurred to me a pervasive recurring pattern in my life and it’s really bothering me and has me scared in a way.

I’ve noticed that in my life, two years is when no matter what I get myself into comes to a close or winds up eventually failing. It’s like a ticking time bomb almost. I’ll have been with this company for almost exactly two years come my last official day of employment here. As far as my endeavors prior to that I spent two years in graduate school with the intention of pursing a PhD in applied mathematics, but due to whatever reason going into semester 4 of my graduate program things took a turn for the worst, my grades slipped and I wound up leaving with just a Master’s. Prior to grad school I was a high school teacher for, you guessed it, two years before I became a victim of a mass teacher layoff in the state of Texas (thousands of teachers were laid off around 2010).

Whatever the case, it really does bother me that I go in cycles like this. It makes me wonder if it’s purely external factors or is there something else at play internally like another as-of-yet uncovered mental health issue that runs comorbid with autism spectrum disorder? Further, what does this mean is in store for my future? Will the next job I have fail after two years? That wouldn’t be a big deal because you see, my medically-caused bankruptcy falls off my record in July 2019 and then all roads lead to me moving some place that fits my lifestyle and launching L&B. However, that leads to the next question: will history repeat itself yet again and lead to the failure of L&B after two years? Then what the fuck am I going to do?

Forgive me for being incredibly bleak and negative here, but I truly am worried. I can’t help but wonder if reincarnation is true and if so what the fuck did I do in a past life that I’m being punished so harshly for it in this one? It’s hard to keep a smile on your face and stay upbeat when shit like this happens again and again. I really don’t know what to do anymore.

I’ve fallen into that void of silence where I cry without sound, where tears rolls down…

To Go or Not to Go?

So the end of my first week at my new office in Kaufman came to a close yesterday. I’ve not officially moved yet – I lived in a hotel all week last week, which wasn’t so bad as I was going to go up there Tuesday for the concert anyway so working the week there would have been more convenient for me.

Nonetheless, I felt absolutely horrible all week last week. Days just drug by in the office and the building itself is rather crowded so I have almost no privacy. My office doesn’t have a window and there are doors to both the conference room and the hallway. Above all, I was away from friends and family (who all live in Abilene) and I missed them all terribly.

I know transfers are part of corporate life (yet another reason I have no desire to be a corporate slave for my whole life) but what bugs me the most is this transfer wasn’t one of necessity or even a point of the reorganization. It was about the convenience of upper-level management. They got sick of driving out to Abilene for periodic visits (note: you can fly to Abilene but it’s ridiculously expensive being a regional airport) so in their mind they were being mildly inconvenienced so they just chose to majorly inconvenience the rest of us by transferring us to DFW to be closer to the airport. Of course, in the world of corporate sharks the upper level management always gets their way and the slaves (let’s face it – those of us who work at the bottom level of corporate America are just that) get fucked up the ass. That’s just how it works.

So given being away from home AND the fact they could have just as easily left us in Abilene but decided to move the crawler crane operations (that’s what our division is) office just so they wouldn’t have to drive out from time to time (which I don’t get because in this business upper level management has to travel everywhere anyway) just leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Now I know why from the time I started working for this company, I’m the last one left. All the other employees that were there from the time I started have either been terminated or quit and I don’t blame any of the ones who quit and the ones who were terminated were probably done a favor.

Luckily I’ll still be hotel-ing it for a couple of more weeks before I sign on the dotted line for a place to live up there but if I keep getting a bad feeling about it one Friday at the end of the day I’m going up to the HR office, turning in my company cell and CC and calling it quits.

Such probably would not be the end of the world as I’m sure I could still make a case for unemployment benefits given that transferring just really doesn’t seem to be an option right now and if the choice becomes transfer or leave then leaving is the only real option.

I don’t know. I just don’t know. I used to be proud to work for the company but not really anymore. As the corruption in upper-level management has started to really take its toll (which happened quickly as they became more directly involved when branch/division managers were all fired off; and I imagine for made-up bullshit reasons) and workplace morale is at an all-time low. Nobody really wants to be there. Who knows, maybe we should all just mass resign on the same day as a big “fuck you!” sentiment.

Yeah well, I know that wouldn’t happen. At the very least our technologically illiterate redneck logistics/transportation coordinator would stay because he’s work for the director of crawler operations in the past and they’re pretty much joined at the fucking hip. Everyone else I don’t know for sure where exactly their loyalties lie but I can assure you I trust all of them about as far as I can throw them.

I don’t know, I just see this whole thing as a no-win situation no matter what I choose. It’s a matter of which is less of a loss. I go back up there Monday morning to stay another week but if this week sucks as badly as last week then it’s probably time for me to go.

As I’ve said from the get-go, corporate life just isn’t for me. It’s probably a totally toxic environment for people on the autism spectrum. I know it drains my soul and depresses me. My coworkers are all highly extraverted and neurotypical and don’t really know how to deal with me. A noisy corporate office is just the opposite of what people like me need to function. I just can’t do it.

As my vision for what I really want to do comes forth, the stronger my desire is to embark on this journey. Again, I imagine I’m still a couple of years out but having something tolerable in the meantime is going to be critical. Should I maybe renew my teaching credentials and go back to teaching for a couple of years? At the very least I was less miserable doing that than I am being a corporate slave.

I don’t know yet. I just feel things kind of crashing down in front of me right now. This world sucks and this life sucks, and it seems most people don’t realize how badly this world and their lives really do suck. This bullshit just reinforces why I have chosen to never have children

“Each one of us was harmed by being brought into existence. That harm is not negligible, because the quality of even the best lives is very bad – and considerably worse than most people recognize it to be.” – Prof. David Benatar; Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming into Existence.

Beer/Cigar Review – Sockdolager Bea-3 and Padron 1964 #4 Natural

18425209_1252411838191560_294945297017751772_n

After the bullshit I’ve been through recently last night I just needed some decompression time. I could feel a meltdown coming on (one of the things that really sucks about being on the autism spectrum) so I figured it was time for me to just chill and unwind to prevent it from happening.

Alas,  I did just that by chilling at a new local brewery. Luckily they have tables outside on the lawn so I could bring a great cigar along as well to puff on while enjoying a lovely spring night in Abilene (and it was lovely too – upper 70s). Nothing (except for getting tattooed) calms and centers me quite like a drink and a smoke. As such, before heading over to the brewery I stopped by my local tobacconist and picked up a rather tasty treat that I figured would go great with my favorite Sockdolager beer and boy was I right.

Sockdolager Brewing Company is a relatively new brewery in my hometown of Abilene, Texas. I’m a big believer in supporting local businesses (after all, small local businesses are the bread and butter of the economy, contrary to what the big corporations want you to believe) so I was dying to try this place out when it opened. Though the tasting room is only open on Saturdays, I can always rely on this place when I just need to unwind and have a few.

So first, about the beer. Bea-3 is an American Oatmeal Stout. It features a rich dark reddish-brown pour with a tan head that retains nicely. Despite its low ABV (sub-5%) it’s still packed with delicious flavors of oats (predictably), roasted malt, chocolate and coffee with a delicate hop finish. Medium in body and in carbonation so it drinks super smooth. An excellent session stout in every respect in that it has a lot of flavor but won’t weigh you down so you can kill several and still drive home afterward. Rating – 4.5/5.

As far as the cigar, well, it’s a Padron. It needs no introduction. This natural stick comes in at 6.5″ x 60RG so it’s definitely a large one (which I was wanting for a nice long smoke).  Great construction (with the exception of that silly single cap; but I’ve never had one unravel on me when cut with the Cuban Crafters Perfect Cutter), good burn line for a 60 requiring only one small touch-up entering the final third. Plentiful rich, medium-full bodied smoke featuring hints of cocoa, sweet cream and a smooth, earthy finish. The last third brings in a hint of a light roast coffee and ramps up the nicotine strength to a medium. An hour and a half burn time to the band where the smoke went too warm for my liking. Rating – 4.5/5.

The beer and the cigar paired beautifully together as I was hoping they would. Neither overwhelmed the other and the flavor profiles complemented each other unbelievably well. This is definitely a pairing I’ll be keeping for future.

Again, just another reminder to support your local businesses. It’s good for the economy, good for them and good for you. As a future local small business owner, right now I’m making sure to pay it forward because I know how important it is.

My Business Concept – Leaf & Barrel Cigars & Whiskey

The other day I sat around and wrote this as a note on my Facebook page. I think I might be onto something here. Maybe I’m just kind of crazy for thinking this is legitimate but maybe someone else might have some input? By all means I’m open to suggestions for improvement as I won’t be in a position to launch this for some time yet.

——————————————–

If I were to be totally honest with myself, comparing where I’m at now to two years ago not much has changed other than I actually have money on account of actually having a decent paying job. Yeah, it was a stroke of luck that I got in where I’m at now (even despite the fact that the people who got me in were terminated shortly after) but I’m still as miserable as ever. Even with looking at a potential transfer and major pay increase, well you know what they say about money and its ability to buy relief from suffering (or lack thereof).

In course of my time at the company, though the money has been a huge blessing in its own way (life has definitely been easier not being flat broke all the time, even if I am still miserable), I’ve come to realize that I will never be happy working for or under someone else. Being told what to do, how to dress, to cover my tattoos and/or remove my piercings, etc. just does not fly with me. I’m too much of a free and independent spirit to be boxed in that way. I’m sick of it all. I really am.

With this realization I got to thinking how I could break out of all that bullshit and do my own thing. I’ve tried doing horology but there’s just not enough market for it anymore for it to be a sustainable business so that’s not really an option. So as the wheels got turning one night and I was indulging in my nightly ritual of a cigar and a Scotch it just dawned on me – I love cigars, I love whiskey, let’s marry the two concepts together into one! You have cigar bars and whiskey bars but I don’t know as though I’ve ever seen the two in the same setting. That was the tiny spark of a big idea that set the concept of Leaf & Barrel in motion.

Leaf & Barrel (name suggested by a very good Canadian friend of mine as not only a descriptor of the business model but also a play on my initials) would take my love of fine cigars and whiskeys and bring them together. The business would consist of two elements – a brick and mortar retail store and a bar/lounge.

The retail store would focus on fine cigars and various types of whiskies and would feature a large climate controlled room with ready-to-smoke cigars to be sold by singles or in bundles as well as a variety of Scotches, Bourbons, Irish Whiskeys, Canadian Whiskeys, etc. to suit all palates and price points. It would also feature as side items such things as microbrew beers and fine wines as well as pipe tobaccos and smoking accessories. The non-alcohol drinkers would not be left out and would have a selection of coffees and teas to choose from.

The bar/lounge side of things would be a relaxed, casual kind of speakeasy atmosphere. The room would have state-of-the-art ventillation so that cigars and pipe tobaccos purchased from the retail store would be allowed to be smoked (no cigarettes or outside tobacco though) as well as any beverages purchased from the retail section (no outside alcohol/coffee/tea). For those unsure of what they want drink-wise, we’d offer single shots of our whiskeys and tasters of our wines/beers at a reasonable cost (not the exorbitant amount charged by most bars) as well as bottomless ready-made coffee/tea for reasonable cost. No food would be served but outside food would be allowed in.

There will be no TVs or anything of the sort and I’m still debating on having Wi-Fi or not (though online music/video streamers would be relegated to earbuds). Maybe just some easy-listening background music. We’d have tables for people to play cards, maybe a checker/chess table or two and a pool table or two. The goal would be to unplug from the demands of everyday life and just chill for awhile and get back to being human and friends again. We’d be all inclusive and welcome everyone, regardless of race, sex, religion, origin, sexual orientation, gender identity (and that includes the right to use the bathroom that aligns with your gender identity!), neurotype, disability, social status or anything else and any offender to that inclusivity policy would be immediately dealt with and removed.

Ideally I’m thinking for a location have a ground level, a loft and maybe a basement. Of course, the loft would be the bar/lounge section as smoke could waft up and out and then ground level the retail store. A basement would be nice so I could live where I work (being single and no kids and that never changing, that would be the best possible situation for me).

Of course, Abilene is not the place that would support such a concept or my inclusivity policy. I’d have to find some place else a little more progressive and open-minded but I think I’m onto a winning idea here. It’s just finding out where and how to get this going. I’m still a couple of years away from even being able to think about getting this together as I still have a bankruptcy on my record and good luck getting a business loan but I can start assembling my vision now I think. This is why I’m writing this down so I can revisit and make slight modifications as necessary.

I realize this would be purely a labor of love. I’d be leaving behind a good-paying drafting career for being a broke-ass hippy but that’s OK. You can’t put a price on contentment and satisfaction and money is just an empty promise – it’s not going to bring that. I know I will never be happy as happiness is not an emotion I’m capable of feeling, but all I seek is relief from suffering and when I’m indulging in my vices is when I’m most at peace (well, either that or when I’m being tattooed but I can’t do that all the time).

Whatever the case, I know I’m dreaming at least for the time being. But maybe someday this dream will become a reality. If I can’t fly for a living as per my true dream, well, the least I can ask for is to be paid to indulge in my vices, right?