moldybluecheesecurds 2

Monday, July 25, 2005

Luck of the Irish?

I went in for an interview for a research job today and I discovered that it wasn't really an interview. Instead of asking about my work style, how I problem solve, or what my experience was, I was confronted with a generous pay rate and an offer to "start immediately." When my previous job vanished on July 1, this was not what I expected...

My previous employment vanished when I told my employer in June that I planned to take two weeks (unpaid) vacation at the beginning of July. Since they had hinted since my hiring six months previous that I wasn't the person they were looking for full-time, I wasn't particularly surprised to find that I'd be unemployed upon my return from vacation. So it meant a plung back into unemployment, my second in a year.

Surprisingly, this span was as short as the first. Last time I finished a contract job (January), I got a call the end of my first week of unemployment giving me a great analyst position. This time, I went on vacation, got engaged, and returned to a phone call about a job opportunity in research. To top it off, it pays better, has more flexible hours, and even greater responsibility.

For the agnostic reader, there's your proof. God is good.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Beautiful exhaustion

Four frisbee games, a thunderstorm, and a visit to the Pizza Ranch. It pretty much sums up a great day with K. We're playing in a two day tournament and finished day one 0-4 but with a lot of fun and energy.

I also took some time to shoot the breeze about politics, which I feel distant from since forgoing my desk job three weeks ago. In fact, I often check my email only twice a day now - *gasp*

Anyway, I took some time to discuss the latest political weaseling with friend Josh. Is there any reason why Americans should have to accept a farce of justice at our highest levels of government? If I stole a $5 video from Target I'd pay a fine or do some time. But when a politician or top bureaucrat discloses top secret information for political gain (e.g. Karl Rove), everything changes. The President, who famously said that we are with him or the terrorists, decides he can afford one traitor in the government. The press lets the issue slide for two years because they decide that being a watchdog is one thing, pressing for justice is quite another. And then "the people" just seem to accept it as the cost of doing business. Or worse, just take sides every time, making the actual actors look like patriots for leading their head-butting herds.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Service with a smile

Vacation was a blast. We went east, driving through Illinois to Detroit, through New York and to Acadia National Park. We also hit my family reunion in New Hampshire and K and I got engaged! Not a bad trip! As a bonus, we also received a hotel room upgrade in Sault Ste. Marie on the way home, getting an in-suite jacuzzi for the price of a regular room! Now that's service. Contrast that with an experience at Don Pablo's this evening...

Our waitress comes by quickly to bring us the requisite chips and salsa. Good. Then she assumes that since we've cracked the menus we are ready to order. After placing a drink order (prices not marked in the menu...), we politely ask for a couple more minutes. Now I am known to complain that the extra minute you ask for often means five, but I also like more than 20 seconds to peruse the menu. What's the hurry, anyway, we sat down to eat at 8:30pm!

She gets our food order and then disappears into the ethers. Drinks are emptied, chips are depleted. We see her once, with fresh chips and salsa, but she doesn't hang around long enough to see beverages running low. That requires a flag down, at which point we tried to ask for waters as well as refills. Except that she takes off like the starter's gun just fired. She comes back next with the bill. "I'm not trying to rush you," despite the fact she never asked how the food was and didn't ask if we wanted take-home boxes despite rather full plates.

So we tipped low. K, having worked as a waitress, also left a note on the receipt about poor service so our waitress doesn't mistake a low tip for service for "low tippers."

Not the worst service I've received, but it's never good when the wait staff makes you feel like it's problematic to ask them for something.

I'll just reminisce about that Days Inn back in Michigan...

Friday, July 01, 2005

The end of drift

It’s my last day at my job and I leave tomorrow on a badly needed vacation. In some sense, though, it’s not a vacation from work that I need, but a vacation from my nebulous work circumstances. I haven’t had an open-ended job since May of 2003. I had a great research position I took at that time but that had a limited timeframe. And then I took this job as a temporary thing that kept being extended. But there’s something frustrating and ultimately un-engaging about knowing that you’re leaving. I think human nature is to become emotionally connected to our life experiences and having so many jobs that are fleeting works against that.

I’m thankful that my personal life is becoming steadily more stable and glad that it’s acting as a strong counter-balance to the challenges of work and school. Now if it could just get a little less busy :-)

Anyway, my faithful readers (both of you), I’m off to the East Coast for vacation starting tomorrow until July 13th, so don’t expect any posts. I’m going to be “car camping” (a term I didn’t know existed until two weeks ago having done it all my life and having called it just “camping”) so I don’t plan to post to the blog. But I’m sure you’ll find something else good to read in the meantime.