The Beginning Of An Era

06/27/2004
This is an away message, Dignified, Simple, Concrete. Girls like humor more than lame ass sentiment and if she doesn’t like the Simpsons she isn’t worth dating anyway.
That's right, a cup of urine on page 3.
The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you're born, fresh from a Bible reading, skin burning and half-blind from that delousing s**t they throw on you... and when they put you in that cell, when those bars slam home, that's when you know it's for real.
Sooner or later I knew it had to happen. As of these words I have 2 days of summer vacation left, ever. Actually, I take that back, technically it’s past midnight so, besides the fact that my mogui will have to put the potato chips away, tomorrow marks my last twenty-four hours of responsibility free bliss. Granted I’ll have the weekend but only weekdays count as true vacation.

When Monday comes around I’m a working stiff and to say I’m less than enthused about that concept would be an understatement.

I’m disappointed with the pay for one thing, I won’t say what it is because it’s probably more than some page 3 readers make and most of the people who work at the same place, so to complain about it just makes me sound ungrateful, especially in this state of the economy of (Mercy, 4 years ago CS grads were having jobs thrown at them and it was a requirement that all CS students have an internship, then the economy tanked. Jobs were hard to come by and that requirement was dropped. Hmm, four years ago the economy was on fire then all of a sudden the jobs were gone. What happened four years ago to facilitate this erosion? Seems like I should have something more to say here but I think I’d just be adding to the noise. Sorry for the political side tracking, I just love to get under Matt and Jon’s skin. Ok, let that be enough back to innocence again.) the last few years.

To start with I was looking around and doing some estimations, I got a decent idea of what was “going rate” depending on the area. Some were salaries I could only hope for as I had no real chance at the job. (The old “if every employer wants experience before they’ll hire someone where does anyone get the experience” situation) Others were low, some were much lower, but what I make is under the floor amount of even what I figured as a worse case scenario. It’s also much less then my classmates make, so compared to them I have a right to complain. So back off. As far as non-monetary perks, I wasn’t exactly on the edge of my seat as she told them to me. I mean I wasn’t expecting a company car but something more would have been nice, maybe flex time, or monthly 3 day weekends would be more than fine with me. I guess the only mini perk is that there’s pretty much no dress code, as long as I leave my vast collection of “Big Johnson” shirts in storage I should be fine. Needless to say I was kind of depressed.

However, the evening after I was officially hired (like 2 months after the company made the initial contact, 5 interviews, an aptitude test, and a tour later, assuming I hadn’t had any poppy seed muffins recently*) I went to the kitchen to get something to drink and my mom was on the phone with my uncle who wanted to congratulate me. After I explained why I wasn’t too excited he told me his first job after his 2 year degree (He didn’t say on the phone but if memory serves me it was in Marketing) paid $3.25 an hour. We would be talking mid 80’s since he said he was married at the time. He then moved to Target for $4 and, to put it in perpsective timewise, I actually remember going to visit him there. Now I know inflation has happened in the last 20 years but come on, I don’t think a person was meant to live on that much. The conversation raised my spirit a bit, since I had been quite depressed. I guess that even though the pay was a letdown in a way it was a beautiful letdown, even though I didn’t get what I felt was “fair market value” like I said before I bet I make more than most of the people in the plants there without ever being there a day. Especially in comparison to what I’ve made in the past, between the higher pay and working full time living is simple on this amount of money.
*The drug test was an adventure in and of itself. I was handed a packet with directions to the place to get tested after my meeting with them Tuesday. It was like 11:30. The place closes in the middle of the day from 12-1:30. So I couldn’t go to the place right then, which was fine because I couldn’t have gone at the place right then anyway. So I went home and drank beverages like crazy to try and make it for the 4:30 close. Well I guess I couldn’t speed up my routine at all, so I had to wait for Wednesday. I usually sleep pretty late so I knew my only sure fire way to make it in there was to skip going first thing in the “morning”. Well long story short after lunch and what not postponing the routine by a few hours was taking it’s toll. By the time one rolled around I was busting. I went to leave only to find my tire flat. I searched the garage for an electric pump we have and can’t find it. I had used it semi-recently on the same tire (Which sears deemed ok) so I turn everything over in my Mountain-Dew-bottle-recycling-bin of a car and still can’t find it. I mean really, the pump gets used twice a year and somehow goes M.I.A. while I’m developing a severe case of Euromysitisis poisoning. So I take my parents van which unknown to me can only be placed into some pseudo gear where the needle is somewhere between neutral and drive and the van wont move til you get it up around 3000 rpms at which point it catches and launches forward. It would react so slowly it was like a mini stall followed by a high speed getaway. So I get there, get out of the van and don’t have to go at all anymore. I didn’t want to make the person wait for 3 hours while I struggled to go so I debated going to get a drink but decided to go in. I said hi as I handed her the testing packet that was given to me, I don’t think she answered. Then, obviously excited by the fact that she handled strangers’ piss for a living, she was quite annoyed that none of the paperwork was filled out. (I was just handed the packet and told where to go with it) Turns out that by “not filled out” she meant I didn’t put my name or SSID on it. (And they would need to see a photo ID anyway.) After her 6.8 seconds of paperwork she turned into a drill sergeant sans gun and ammunition clip, half shouting instructions,

“Hang your hat on the door. You’re going to take a kit like these…” she says while right next to them. Since she was basically holding one and didn’t give me one I assumed that was one waiting for me in the bathroom but she just stood there ‘til I walked behind the counter, to get one. She barked a few more instructions and then left me to do my thing. Now for those of you who have never had to pee under the pressure of this situation it’s like having to pee at the urinal when there’s a line times 10. Not only do you not want to keep the person waiting but you have to collect while peeing and you want to fill to the line, but you don’t want to hand them something spilling over either. Luckily my waiting so long paid off and I had no trouble going with plenty to spare to take periodic measurements. So I brought her the stuff and asked if she needed a hair sample, (I was told my workplace does random urine/hair/blood tests, and she made me take my hat off.) She looked at me like I just asked if I could score some heroine off her and said “No?” So I asked why I had to take my hat off and she said is was just an office rule, no hats allowed. I could have urine hidden anywhere else, or a bomb strapped to my chest for that matter, but at least she knew nothing was under my hat.

Forget it, you know what, in the realm of worldwide problems this has got to be the least important issue, maybe I should stop complaining now. Complaining about something so petty can’t exactly be a new way to be human of the year.

One more thing about this new “era” is that it’s really unnerving being done with school. We all complain to no end while we’re in school, and no one hated doing school work, especially reading or writing (no, the irony isn’t lost on me) more than me. However, there is something comforting about the schooling process. I can’t really explain it, I’ve erased about 7 attempts at explaining it that all seemed incomplete somehow, so you’ll just have to take my word on it. I guess the best it can be explained to those of you on the inside is to borrow a quote from a wise old man, “These walls are kind of funny. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them.”

Oodles of decisions, big and little, in such a short time period, are made that affect the rest of your life you always second guess yourself. I mean one wrong decision now and 50 years down the road you are stuck in the worst episode of “This is Your Life” ever. I know you aren’t necessarily stuck in the same city, or job, or what have you, forever. However, there really isn’t much of a chance of redemption, in a lot of ways you’re playing for keeps.

To demonstrate, I dare you to move to the other side of whatever city you live in. How big of an upgrade in living places would there have to be to make moving worth it? It’s really not as simple as just moving, especially moving to different cites/states, and especially once you and a spouse both have jobs. It really is quite hard to just pick up and set up camp elsewhere, so where you set up camp in the first place is where you will likely be for a long time. I mean how big of a raise would it take to have you go to a new job where you didn’t know anyone and had to “start over” in many ways. Even if that job allowed you to stay where you were already living it would need to be a fairly significant upgrade, how big of a raise would justify moving residences on top of that? How big of a raise for you or a spouse would there need to be to justify the other quitting and starting the whole job search process over on top of “starting over” and moving?

In other words if you choose to set up camp under the biggest evergreen tree don’t expect to end up too far away from that tree in 50 years.

And that to me is a tad unnerving.

A few work related thoughts.


1) Following graduation my brother was still in school. My workplace had contacted me before graduation and there were times that I was waiting for phone calls. Before High School’s summer vacation the phone rang very few times, so there was a good chance they were calls from the HR woman. Once summer vacation started for the High School students the phone rang pretty much non-stop to the point where I stopped checking if it was for me, or answering it all together if it was after 5. Then one time I got a call from her at nearly 7 p.m. so it turns out one of those calls might have been her after all.

2) Should I be upset that the only thing I’ll be doing is using a language I don’t know, which means they’ll spend a while training me.
2a) This means I wont get to do anything important for quite some time.
2b) Also, if I was going to go through a lengthy training process to do something I’ve never done before I could have been trained 4 years ago.

3) How many interviews are too many? Are more than 2 pushing it? I would’ve been fine with doing 5 if they weren’t essentially the same interview with 5 different people. Turns out they just had to draw out the process because they were interviewing like 700 people and wanted to add more. I guess I was the loser in that setup. Although since I got the job I must have nailed their questions, especially the one about houseboats.

4) I haven’t experienced a two hour mood turn around quite like taking that aptitude test. I went in all cocky expecting like an ACT style test and instead got this really weird, really hard, test.

5) It really hasn’t hit me yet that working is all I’m going to do from now on.

6) Soon after I was hired we visited Sarah’s friend Jamie who was working on chemistry homework when we got there. It brought back fond memories of 7th hour chem.
6a) It also reminded me that the “stock” page 3 photo of Jon was actually taken in that class, which makes it like 5+ years old.
6b) Jamie brought up the fact that she lost some points on her last test due to rounding mistakes which reminded me vaguely of a big debate we had with Stanley in that class about significant digits. I couldn’t remember what our specific beef was with it, maybe Jon or Micah does, I just remember there was one aspect that seemed backwards and that by the end of it Stanley thought we were right.

A few other things I’ve noticed lately.


1) My mom used to be (and might still be) a big Amy Grant fan. I remember getting our first cassette player (not too long before cd’s hit big, we just got an answering machine last year) At gift giving occasions we would always get my mom an Amy Grant tape. As such they were pretty much the only tapes in the house and ran 24/7. Then for what ever reason I never heard Amy Grant for years and years. Now all of a sudden I’ve heard her songs at pretty much every buisiness I’ve been at. You know Amy’s song that goes, “Stop for a minute
Baby, they're so glad you're mine, oh yeah
And ever since the day you put my heart in motion
Baby I realize that there's just no getting over you.”
It’s that one. If you know which one I’m talking about it’s stuck in your head right now. If you don’t recognize the lyrics consider yourselves lucky, but I know you’ve heard the song.

2) What the hell is with anyone younger than the Page 3 staffers and their ability to absolutely just pour their hearts out via their AIM profiles or Away messages? I mean seemingly very private stuff is just displayed for the whole world to see. Seemingly “cool” guys will leave lame sappy messages, usually God awful, homespun, poetry like:

Ode to Chin Chin my love:

I give you all my life and love and why is it love is the movement of my beating heart?
And why is every time I see you like learning to breathe all over again?
And don’t be there without me in my sea of love
But when I see you anywhere you already take me there, underwater, where I will love you always.


I mean they are always the kind of things that, if I were them, I would feel lame writing to give to just my girlfriend, let alone letting everyone I know see them (especially since any person younger than us staffers have roughly twelve thousand people on their buddy list.)

Real men use Simpsons quotes or obscure references to early 90’s pop culture, or obscure references to the Simpsons as away messages, or the source of all their humor in general.

3) Is there a lower life form on this planet, Al Qaeda excluded, than the poparazzi? Tune in to “Newlyweds” on MTV this week for what will apparently be an episode dedicated to Nick and Jessica’s harassment by the poparazzi. Previews of the episode include a scene where a guy in a SUV literally tries to run Jessica off the road. Apparently they weren’t happy with just killing Princess Di. The funny thing is that the poparazzi really have nothing to gain, and Jessica and Nick aren’t really losing anything. Their whole life is being filmed, so they aren’t losing any privacy and the poparazzi aren’t getting any thing “exclusive” but, the pop will never leave you alone. The really sad thing is that the people who usually feel strongest about the poparazzi are the people that buy those crappy tabloids and thus create the demand for the photos.

4) Lastly I just thought I’d let you all know that someone tried, unsuccessfully, to take out the Switchfoot rocket. The WB has a new show called “Pepsi Smash” which is a “battle of the bands” type of thing. It was apparently erroneously reported on the show that Switchfoot lost to their opponent Sugarcult. Luckily for Swichfoot the WB likes to declare the band that actually gets the most votes the winner. After an error was determined in the code used on the internet Switchfoot was allowed the encore on the following show. They played “Dare you To Move.” I forgot to watch both shows. Seriously though Switchfoot rules, get on the rocket.

-Jeremy Lindgren marvels at another literary masterpiece.
fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - Cube Phenomenoligist
06/27/2004 @ 02:46:26 AM
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It's my birthday today!
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matt.jpgMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
06/27/2004 @ 04:32:58 PM
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Mr. {Lindgren}, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
06/27/2004 @ 04:38:22 PM
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Exactly.

I've also recently used "Chlorophyll...more like Borophyll" and "He called the sh!t poop" as away messages.
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thumbnailCAW1I0O3.gifMatt - Washington Bureau Chief
06/27/2004 @ 04:49:15 PM
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Oh yeah..... Switchfoot sucks
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question_mark.gifAndrew (Guest)
06/27/2004 @ 05:51:35 PM
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Jobs will get you by the balls.
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2887.gificbizzle - Ignorance is bliss to those uneducated
06/27/2004 @ 09:00:27 PM
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Wow, I don't even know where to start with this one. Matt's comment is probably a pretty good spot.

First of all, that Amy Grant song is classic. It's much better than any Switchfoot song. My brother listens to that kind of crappy music. Lots of those bands are at Summerfest, including Switchfoot this Friday (just an fyi).

Secondly, Shawshak Redemption.

Thirdly, if you handn't lived at home until now you wouldn't be so worried about "growing up and getting a job". I done pretty much exactly what you are talking about. Graduated, left my home of 4 years (longer sort of with high school), moved to a city were the only people I know is my aunt & uncle who actually live 30 minutes away and my brother (roommate), started a new job where at least at the moment I'm using a language that I'd never seen before, and pretty much all I do during the week is work. It's definitely been an adjustment and I'm looking forward to visiting Eau Claire this weekend to see my friends, but all things considered there's no way I'd rather be facing another semester of school. Not that I'm especially fond of my job yet. But either I'll start to like it more or I'll stick it out for a year or two and have enough experience to get in somewhere better. The key is not to think of it as the end of school, but the beginning of something better. OK, that sentence was really lame, but the point is my goal during school was to graduate with decent grades and get a job. Check. Now I can start to think about doing things that I really want to do. If I want to move, I can go (granted I have a 1 year lease at the moment). If I want to find a different job I can. No more, you have to take "HNRS 301: Women's Studies so you can fulfill the requirement of 9 credits of 300 level GE's, two 300 level HNRS GE's, 9 credits of cultural bs, and 20 credits of GE section 4 with at least one class from 4 out of 7 categories." Oh yeah, and instead of paying a couple thousand a semester for those kinds of perks (and homework), I get paid to go to work 5 days a week for about 8 hours a day, then I go home and I'm a free man. Infinitely better then school.

Fourthly, the away message discussion reminded me of Tan and his Art of War quotes in his email signature.

Fifthly, I'll have to blog this too, but did I not predict the outcome of this weekend's series?

Sixthly, all you had to do was go pee in a cup. It's not that hard.

Seventhly, 5 interviews is pretty riduculous. You should demand to be paid backwages.
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2887.gificbizzle - I don't need to get steady I know just how I feel
06/27/2004 @ 09:34:22 PM
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I understand what you mean though. I've been thinking the same thing, but then I thought about my parents lives. From what I remember (will start around age 5), they moved across town once, my dad has changed jobs 4 or 5 times (not because he ever got fired), my mom has changed jobs quite a few times, but that was somewhat due to my brothers being born, since then only once. Now, they're not rich by any means, but they're doing ok and they seem to be pretty happy. Anyway, that's all been within the last 17 years. In 17 years I won't even be 40 yet. So I don't much agree with this, "Oodles of decisions, big and little, in such a short time period, are made that affect the rest of your life you always second guess yourself. I mean one wrong decision now and 50 years down the road you are stuck in the worst episode of This is Your Life ever. I know you arent necessarily stuck in the same city, or job, or what have you, forever. However, there really isnt much of a chance of redemption, in a lot of ways youre playing for keeps." The only time I bother to second guess myself is when I'm stuck somewhere boring and I want to daydream. I mean if you think about it, any second of your life could be the most important. All you can do is make the best decisions you can at the time and move on. The scrollbar keeps throwing my off at this point of a comment. I keep thinking the red part is the slidy part but it's actually the yellow part. However if really believe what you wrote, you've already been playing for keeps. The stakes are just a little higher now.
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jeremy.jpgJeremy - Broadcast in stunning 1080i
06/27/2004 @ 09:52:05 PM
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My point wasn't really that I want to go to more school, just that I've been "institutionalized" in a way, school is all I know. You are definitely right that a large part of my anxiety is from the fact that Ive lived at home throughout college, and probably will be until next year after the wedding. Some people just have the ability to switch jobs easier, and it is quite easy to switch jobs in the same area. I just meant that not many people buy their first house here and then end up in Maine somewhere 50 years later.

Ps I know the test shouldnt be a big deal, but the circumstances leading up to it and the womans surly nature were interesting.
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newalex.jpgicbizzle - Refactor Mercilessly
06/27/2004 @ 10:55:14 PM
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It depends if they really want to or not (end up in Maine).
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question_mark.gifAnon. Nut Can Fan (Guest)
06/30/2004 @ 11:30:55 PM
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did you ask permission to use Mr. Freeman's image from the cover of Shawshank Redemption? nooooOOOOOOOoooo!

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jeremy.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
06/30/2004 @ 11:57:18 PM
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I wanted to use some other pictures when I posted this article, but I did it on my pda at Sarahs Cabin and the other ones looked like crap and I was too lazy to look around. I didn't crop it out of the cover. One of these days ill change it.
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question_mark.gifBretx0r uses Mozilla (Guest)
07/05/2004 @ 07:55:03 PM
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I don't think I will stay in the same place for too long, especially if I have problems finding good friends (Wausau). I definitely would be having more fun in Eau Claire with all of my friends that are still attending school, (probably would be visiting the bars a bit too much now that I'm not in school) but who knows where all of them will be in a year. The hardest part in moving to a new area is meeting new people to hang out with I think. Beyond that, as long as you don't own a house I think it would be relatively easy to pack up and move to a new job. (As long as me or my wife has one to start after we move ;)

BTW - the Wausau fireworks kicked some major ass, I was really impressed!
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fry6beeu9.jpgJeremy - 8953 Posts
07/05/2004 @ 08:24:17 PM
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But don't you think it would be tough to pick up and move once you and Steph both have your jobs? Speaking of which has she quit yet?

I know you aren't stuck forever and ever, I'm just saying it would be a royal pain in the ass.
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question_mark.gifJenna (Guest)
07/11/2004 @ 03:55:04 PM
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Who here goes to Eau Claire? Talk about furthering your education. Im in my 3rd year there. I think you're referring to Water Street, am I right, when you speak of bars and such. Yea... I was of the opinion that Eau Claire sucked, until recently... when I had a change of heart. And has anyone figured out what exactly a Blugold is? I just assumed 2 colors brought together by drunken Greek society's too lazy to vote in a respectable mascot...
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question_mark.gifMoreThanFine (Guest)
07/12/2004 @ 07:32:54 AM
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Switchfoot ROCKS! The rest of you have been listening to too much Britney Spears. Grow up.
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2887.gificbizzle - 3618 Posts
07/12/2004 @ 09:29:33 PM
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What?
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question_mark.gifazariah (Guest)
07/14/2004 @ 12:21:07 PM
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sorry for telling u thet u suck. thought ur name was matt till i went back to the forums and re read the article.
SORRY!
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