Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Empire Strikes Back!

Welcome to the darkside!

When I left The Fund last year, I thought finding a job would be a piece of cake. After all, I worked there over five years and I figured that would look extra impressive on my resume.

As Biggie would say, "You're dead wrong!"

It was over two months before I found a job and when I did, I thought all my problems would be resolved …

Once again, Biggie said, "You're dead wrong!"

Since I probably signed some type of confidentiality agreement somewhere during my orientation, I probably shouldn't reveal what company it is so I don't get slammed with a lawsuit so I'll just assign this dreadful place the moniker of The Empire. However, The Empire performs laboratory testing and they're international so you have some idea of what this place is about.

Well, the past few months here (can you believe I'm nearly at 7 months?) have been both fraught with good and bad. The good? Well, it's full-time, the pay is slightly better than my last job, I've got my own parking space, I'm alone for 4-5 hours before my co-workers come in and the benefits are nice. That latter part is extremely important since here in Taxachusetts Massachusetts they enacted a law that requires all residents to possess health insurance which at the time I thought was great until I was without a job. It is deducted from your tax return for each month you're without it. Needless to say, I only received a lousy $18.00 back from the state! The Empire does provide fun events from time to time and this past holiday season, I won about 7-8 Visa gift cards worth about $50 each.

Moreover, the bad is far more plentiful. I dislike the hours (6 PM - 2 AM) although it beats some of my other co-workers, who by the way, also irritate the heck out of me. We have to use a time clock (ugh!), requesting time off is a pain in the a**, we had to work Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve (DOUBLE UGH!), I get a lousy half hour for break (last time I checked, isn’t it 2009?) and overall, I really don't like the work; it's far too simple.

The biggest irritants so far are my co-workers. There are only five individuals in our department, one of which is our supervisor/lead. We'll assign them alias: The Hedgehog, Mumbles (aka Sleepy Gonzalez), Lady Lazy and Chuckles.

Mumbles is my supervisor, a Hispanic guy around my age, so named because of his super-annoying habit of mumbling everything thus leading to a constant chorus of "what?" heard throughout the night.

The Hedgehog is a short, stumpy Asian (who thinks he’s black) guy who can be found continuously nodding off at his desk nearly every night. He's into reggaeton, deludes us with club remixes every Friday and tortures me with his ratings who’s hot and not at the job. He's constantly late (by an hour or two per night) and while I thought he was the most cultured of the group, I've come to despise him as much as the rest.

Next up is Lady Lazy who gave her two week notice last week. She's a complicated one simply because while she's the only one I've revealed my orientation to, I've also gained my very own fag hag in the process. Since I opened up to her, she comes to me with every little issue regarding her relationship and to be honest, I really just don’t care. When I was annexed by The Empire, I vowed to not become close to anyone and so far it’s worked, at least up until now.

Initially, I thought she was slow because of the way she spoke but came to find out she's got a brain up there … she just doesn't use it. She's been dating a guy she met online about the same time as I met The Voice and she's about to move down to his state to be with him. Problem is, she's got no money saved, she’s in debt, she's not planning to get a job and she seems to have this idea that he's her knight in shining armor that will save her from her family, debt, loneliness, insane asylum and the myriad of issues she’s got. While most of the men I've dated I met online, I still think it's rather sudden to be making such a huge move with someone she has only met twice. However, she's seriously caught up in love ... I tend to think of it more like fatal attraction since I asked about the possibility of a break up and she responded: "oh no, there will be no divorce or break ups!" Did I mention the deranged twinkle in her eye when she said it?

Lastly, we have Chuckles who is the oldest guy in our department, not to mention the lone white guy. He’s an extremely easy-going person but has a serious flatulence problem not to mention that he looks a bit creepy and says the same phrases continuously. Despite all that, I’ve learned he’s a veteran, takes cruises regularly with his wife (yeah, I was shocked by that too!) and speaks several languages fluently. Furthermore, his wife is a friend of The Pit, a former co-worker back at The Fund. Small world, eh?

Overall, I've had no problems with The Empire but I've come to feel I'm treated as nothing more than a number, a cog in the machine. The Logistics department (couriers) shares space with our department and I’ve been fairly cordial toward some of the drivers. Nevertheless, it’s a two way street as I’ve overheard conversations among the drivers regarding dissatisfaction with The Empire as a whole. Many things within The Empire are tightly regulated perhaps because of the medical nature of the job. I’m required to wear a lab coat and latex gloves throughout most of the night and frequently come in contact with blood, tissue and urine samples. Still, the medical field is the best place to be in this crummy economy.

Consequently, this segues into my first major issue with The Empire. The Voice and his roommates are moving this coming Friday. I have offered to help out and I requested that day off back in March. My manager doesn’t usually get in until 10:30 so I slipped the form under her door. Well, a whole month passed and when I spoke to her last week, she claims that she never received a form from me. So I checked my records at home but couldn’t find it. So I was left in a precarious position. I appeared to be negligent and unorganized while it was really her who didn’t have it together. I couldn’t prove anything so I resubmitted the form and luckily got the day off. Still, I prefer to request days off with as much advance notice as possible but this incident made me look desperate.

I suppose I'm spoiled and enjoyed the luxury of taking time off when I wanted at The Fund and now have to adjust to this system. While their system is archaic and flawed, I’ve decided to work within it to protect myself. I’m going to submit the form in person, check up on it within a week, and keep copies. I’m not blaming her since she may never have received it and I should have checked up on it sooner, but trust, this won’t happen again.

I guess I got lucky since the night I requested it, The Hedgehog arrived late (typical) and asked if any of us had Friday off. Then he asked if anyone had Thursday and Mumbles said he was out.
Needless to say I got the evil eye all night …

“One more year, one more year, one more year, one more year!”

1 comment:

BPS 4.0 : Soul Exposure said...

I know too well your troubles. I used to be a Lab Tech (ASCP Certified MT). But I knew the job was not my career but merely a stepping stone to the next level. I am so happy to be out of the lab though I still do things like health fairs. But the character names are funny as hell.