Daily Archives: 11/5/2002

And another thing.

This is why I need a blog, or something. The web page requires so much work to write twice in one day! I would get some kind of blog script going, but I have a very limited hosting plan…

I am so frustrated with work.

Honestly, I feel like I need a 12-step program to deal with El Bosso!

Here’s a constantly repeating scenario:

I’m on my way somewhere: the printer, the bathroom, obviously I’m GOING somewhere, b/c I’m walking pretty fast and purposefully. He’ll holler out of his office “Karina!” so I’ll stop by. He will be ON THE PHONE, with Someone, and will be talking about some aspect of the project that a task manager under him has directed this someone to work on. He will get upset, b/c he doesn’t know exactly what’s going on, and the task manager isn’t immediately reachable, and Someone has called El B with a question. He will start sighing loudly, sometimes pounding on his desk, and flipping furiously through the report in question. He will start making rhetorical statements about how x should have been done, and y should have been done, and everyone has known about this since z happened. He won’t listen to anything I or Someone has to say, because he’s too busy explaining how this is entirely Task Manager’s fault, because he (El B) was very explicit in his direction, and nothing has been done, or it’s all been done wrong, or it all seems to not be done or to have been done wrong. He will talk over us. He will roll his eyes. But it doesn’t help! It doesn’t help at all!

This makes me think a lot about my place in this workplace. I want to call Someone back, after all is said, and apologize for El B! But that’s not my job – I’m not paid enough to do that stuff. I worry that I’m being an enabler by allowing him to get away with this kind of reaction to a simple question. I worry that my own reputation is harmed by my non-action, by how I just stand by in the door jam of his office while he tirades. I am frustrated that he is not a professional person, and that he reacts more than he listens and thinks.

This is what I would like to happen:

I’ll be going somewhere. He’ll holler Karina. I’ll say “Sorry, El B, I’m on my way to the ladies room” and I’ll keep walking.

Or, if I stop, he’ll start with the rhetorical questions and I’ll say “I’m sorry, but I don’t really see how this is helping us to find a solution.” Or I’ll say “that may be so, but it’s not Someone’s fault, and it doesn’t answer Someone’s question.” Or “you don’t expect us to answer these questions, do you?” But these responses are not professional! I don’t feel they’re the right way to deal with a coworker! And it really frustrates me to question my own professionalism in these situations, and to worry about being brought down to his level.

I guess luckily for me, it’s not my job to teach him how to live. It’s not my job to teach him how to interact with his coworkers. It’s not my job to explain to him the precepts of good management. All I can do is my real job, picking up loose ends, answering questions, and formatting tables. And hope that he’s not the norm, and the next place I find myself spending the bulk of my waking-life at will be different.

My dad called just now, and I got to hash this all out with him. He’s very understanding, and helpful. But sadly, he wasn’t able to assure me that this is an unusual El B situation. Ugh. I just wish El B was a vicious, nasty person with an obvious agenda. That would be so much easier for me to deal with.

Voting and a Very Special Birthday.

Happy Birthday Mariss!

I have no idea if he looks at my web page, but I’m immortalizing now, in the interweb and in the G00gle cache, how freakin’ spectacular a guy Mr. Mariss is.

I wish I was there to make you elaborate and wonderful birthday cupcakes, but I’m not. Maybe next year?

Happy Happy Birthday!

Voting day today – I’m very lucky where I live – it is very easy for me to vote. The polling location is down the block and across the street from my apartment, right on the way to the subway station. I go in, there are nice people to help me remember my district number and to chat with me as I’m waiting, and it’s very exciting to work the election booth. I remember being little and going into the booth with my parents (either one, at different times). I always wanted to work the switches or levers, but they usually didn’t let me.

Today, however, it wasn’t so easy to vote. One of my building neighbors was voting when I got there, and there was something wrong with the voting booth. One of the lines was broken – the state senate. So you could vote for everything else, but not state senator. The election people were walking around, trying to figure out what to do. The line started to grow behind me. Two election guys got into the booth with my neighbor (which I wasn’t very uncomfortable with, personally, but she seemed to hold her own) and tried to force the booth to work. It didn’t work. They decided the problem was that the state senator was running on both the republican and the democrat ticket (all tickets, actually, except for the working families party). “You can’t split parties� one man kept saying, but you can, because there were at least 10 other people on the ballot who were running as both republican and democrat. That wasn’t the problem. A person in line before me left and lost her vote (she’d already signed the book), because she was late to work. Finally the site supervisor came back (from phoning headquarters, I assume) and said we could fill out paper ballots if we wanted to vote for state senator, and do all votes on the ballot, or we could vote from the machine, and not vote for the state senator. But my neighbor couldn’t vote in two places, so she lost her chance to vote for the state senate candidate.

So I decided to use the paper ballot. I waited for my turn. I was thanked for my patience. I got a standup piece of cardboard, a number two pencil, and a ballot. And I voted. As I made sure the circles on the ballot were filled in completely and darkly, I thought to myself “democracy is hard!� and then I realized, no, American democracy? That’s easy. Hard is worrying about vote fixing. Hard is dodging bullets on the way to the polls. Hard is to vote while thugs stand outside of the voting booth, in silent reminder to vote for the strongest candidate. Hard is walking for miles and miles and miles to stand up and be counted. Hard is voting, and knowing that no matter what you vote, and what your family votes, and what the country votes, the vote will always count up to 100% for the guy in power currently.

But still, I feel a little disenfranchised. We’re supposedly the “IT� democracy in the whole world. And in Spanish Harlem, at least two women lost their votes because of a poorly functioning voting booth, and a society that feels voting should be squeezed into a normal work day, and is something people get around to doing, and not a civic right and responsibility to be exercised freely and proudly.

I guess what I’m saying is, go vote!