And Yo Mama Too!

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Last week I was presented with a large amount of challenges in my young and budding career with The New Employer.

Things have gone pretty well so far, and I’ve been able to tuck a few successes under my belt. My boss seems reasonably happy with my work. I’ve even gotten a few kudos from other teams.

I’d say I’ve been doing a decent job, still learning, still growing. All in all, I’d give my performance over the past eight months a solid B. Maybe even as much as a B+

Enter the events of last week. I’ll spare you the details, but I came up against a very volatile and angry person at one of our offices in an undisclosed Asian country. I’ll be a bit dodgy about details as that seems to make best sense in this public forum.

I have to admit, honestly, I have now encountered one of the biggest bullies I’ve ever run across in my little life.

And by “biggest” I don’t mean in physical stature.

I can remember only once during my schooldays where I was bullied. A girl who was my friend in elementary school fell in with a bad crowd in mid-school. She started making threatening calls to the house. She promised to beat me up if I didn’t stop looking at her funny. (has she met me? I always look funny! I was born that way, waka-waka…thanks folks I’ll be here all week…tip your waitress…)

On one of these awful calls with me crying and my former friend acting hateful, my mom pulled the phone out of my hand and had a good solid conversation with the girl. As soon as my mom interceded, the bullying ceased.

Honestly, that’s about the worst I’ve ever had to deal with. Until now.

Who could imagine that my worst bully would arise when I’m in my forties? I sure didn’t. I thought I was past all of that B.S. once I hit adulthood.

Nope.

This gent is an angry, unreasonable man. I try to be open and work with him, and he says really awful things in return. Long hateful emails in which he calls into question me, my management abilities, the capabilities of my team, and perhaps whether I’m best suited for the role in which my employer hired me.

And every time he sends a vitriol filled note, he copies a higher level of my management team in on the action. By way of the dreaded cc field, he’s making a case to those who control my destiny that I’m a complete idiot.

Karen bashing! Yay!……. /sarcasm

Today I was looking in the company directory to get this guy’s contact information. I agreed with my boss earlier today that I’m going to call him directly to try to sort this out. The best way to deal with a bully is to face them head on, and I’m gonna do so.

I happened to notice that not only does this fine fellow live in the same country as my hardworking ex-pat big brother, he even works in the same large office towers.

So here’s the question: Am I too old to ask my big brother go beat someone up?





C’mon, how great was that movie “My Bodyguard“? Loved that movie. Just noticed on IMDB that it came out in 1980. Damn I’m old.


In case you were wondering, my boss is awesome and has been very supportive through all of this. I know that the real bodyguard lies within my boss and my amazing management team. I’ve watched my VP smack someone down before. It was brutal and final, so I’m certain she won’t let this mess go on much further.


You Do What, Now?

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My very truly honestly global job certainly keeps me on my toes from one day to the next, calculating time zones with ease and panache.

The laws that govern each country are different and there are nuances in languages that keep my brain working overtime.

This is never more apparent than in the weekly catch up meetings I have with my boss, who is located in London.

My boss has a sense of humor about to the level of mine, so lately we have this ongoing riff.

It goes something like this:

Boss: “So, what is this, um, let’s see what do they call it…yes, this day of groundhog you people celebrate in the US?”

Me: “What, they don’t have this holiday in the UK?”

Boss: “I don’t think so, what is this all about?”

Me: “So, wait, you’re telling me that in the UK they don’t pull rodents out of the ground in order to determine the extent of winter?”

Boss: “Not as such, no.”

Our conversation usually revolves around some odd thing that “you people do in your country.”

To be fair, I catch the brunt of this. You never know how weird you are until you see your own culture through another’s eyes.

Things like:

Boss: “So I’m going to be in the US the week of March 14th. I understand I’ll be able to participate in what you Americans refer to as St. Patrick’s Day.”

Me: “Oh c’mon, any holiday that involves drinking a lot of beer can’t be so bad.”

Boss: “Well, true.”

Or

Boss: “Did you watch this thing you Americans call the ‘Super Bowl’ this weekend?”

Me: “Yes, I did.”

Boss: “So, did the team you were rooting for win?”

Me: “Well, I wasn’t really rooting for one of the teams, so it didn’t matter.”

Boss: “Oh…so what did you do then? Did you attend a party?

Me: “Yes, I went to a friend’s house. We did what we Americans are fond of doing, we ate a lot.”

Boss: “Your people seem to like that.” (<- my boss attended his first American Thanksgiving meal this year and was horrified by how much food was presented.) My return vollies tend to be more along the lines of his use of language. Me: "So if we can crack on, is it possible to crack off?" Boss: --silence-- "I've never really thought about that." Or Me: "So you need to know when you say 'creating an implementation scheme', that the word scheme has a bit of a negative connotation for Americans." Boss: "How do you mean?" Me: "Well, setting up a scheme usually involves something illegal or at least questionable." Boss: "Oh! My. Well we won't use that anymore will we?" Or Me: "When you told me to revert on your email, I have no idea what you mean." Boss: "You mean my question?" Me: "No, I mean...the word revert means going back to a previous version. I don't understand how I can go back to a previous version of an email you wrote. It makes no sense!" Boss: --sigh-- "You click reply and answer my question!" Me: "Oh. I get it. That's a weird use of the word revert." Or, my personal favorite... Boss: "So to let you know, the UK office will be on holiday Monday." Me: "What!? Another holiday?" Boss: "Yes, this is a Bank Holiday and all will have the day." Me: "Don’t you get like five weeks vacation, too?" Boss: "Yes." Me: "When do you people find any time to work over there! Geez!" So yeah, US and UK relations continue to involve a lot of sarcasm. Good thing I'm good at that. Though the best part is when we have to chat about our counterparts in Canada, because that's when we're on the same side. We can both usually find some good reason to pick on the Canadians. (Aw Canada, ya know I love ya! You're like that pesky yet precocious kid brother who says adorable things like "aboot".)






Photo by Scott Duhamel and found on Flickr.

Physics by way of the cable company

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From a whipping-up-anxiety article in Time magazine titled “Will the Earth Have Two Suns by 2012?

Regarding Betelgeuse, a rapidly collapsing red super-giant star:


“It goes bang, it explodes, it lights up,” Carter said. “We’ll have incredible brightness for a brief period of time…and then over the coming months it begins to fade and then eventually it will be very hard to see at all.”

And while the celestial event could take place before the end of 2012, it may not occur for a million years.


Emphasis added by me.

Sooo, it could happen in a year or a million years. Trifle hard to plan provisions for that million year stretch. What’s the half-life on my water container?

It’s only January of 2011 and I’m seriously DONE with the doomsday predictions.

Meanwhile, a star that explodes and lights up the Earth for a few weeks then fades away? That’s pretty damn cool. I kind of hope it happens by 2012.



Source.

I’ll Use My Powers for Good and Not Evil

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For reasons I could explain, but are banal and long winded, I’ll just cut to the chase and tell you that I’ve been thinking a lot about superheroes lately.

Good superheroes. Dark superheroes. Flawed superheroes. Just…superheroes and their super powers.

Which got me to thinking today, as I waited in the lunch line, what sort of superpowers would I like to have if I got to choose?

I think things like seeing through buildings, swinging from webs or having adamantium claws are all well and good, but realistically, are they useful?

Flashy yes, but wouldn’t something a little more down to earth be more desirable?

Here are a couple ideas on the sorts of superpowers I’d lean toward:

The ability to eat whatever I want and not gain weight

Imagine it! I could save the world from illness and obesity by eating up all the snack foods!

Mayors could simply project a cookie in the sky and I’d come a’runnin’!

“Step aside small child, let me save you from that cotton candy.”

Or how about…

The ability to sleep for only two hours but feels like I slept eight

Can you *imagine* all the good I could do for the world if I only slept a few hours but felt fully rested! I could move mountains! I could persuade world leaders! I could travel long distances and not feel sleepy!

Yeess!

Ok, maybe that’s a lame one.

So let’s try:

The ability to read small print without squinting

Zap! Pow! Ka-zam!

I shall help out senior centers by announcing, “Bring me that medicine bottle! I will read every ingredient printed in a half-point font!”

Menus will hold no sway over me!

My Kindle can be set to the smallest font available!

My browser window can be reduced back to normal size!

I can save the world, or just myself, really, from the scourge of crow’s feet!

Oh, no, ok, I got it!

The ability to endure small people with a single sigh

It’s the key to world peace, truly.

(and I don’t mean short people….)

Now…I need a cape! Time to shop!

The Final Tally

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Yesterday, while in the course of doing my job, I had occasion to personally speak with:

1 Romanian
1 Swede
2 Spaniards
3 Brits
1 Australian
1 Italian
Numerous Americans
And 1 former NFL football player (Packers and Redskins)

All of this happened before lunchtime.

Gee. This job is kind of fun!

(The long distance bill from my desk phone will be quite something to behold)