Job Fair

I worked a job fair today. And my first interview was a real lulu. Very cute, very clueless straight boy. Excerpts:

Q: Define good customer service.

A: Well…maybe if there was a pretty girl behind the counter.

Q: Where do you see yourself in two years?

A: I was going to join the Air Force, but I have too many parking tickets. (I don’t think I want to know the connection.)

Q: Tell me about a time when you received good customer service.

A: Well…once when I was sitting around waiting for my friend to get off work at the store where he worked, all the employees were really nice to me.

Without a Plan

Upon my return to San Francisco from the Northwest tour, I realized that I was not terribly excited to be home. This is pretty major; I’ve always been amazed at how excited, even relieved, I was to see the SF skyline when returning from a trip. I’ve never felt that way about any other place I’ve lived. In Greensboro and Charlotte, my returns were always accompanied by a sense of sadness and dread.

Could this mean that my four-year love affair with San Francisco (the longest romantic entanglement of my life) is nearing an end? It’s been something I’ve been considering for several months.

I have no idea what I want to do for a living. I’m not sure I want to continue living in San Francisco. I’m not even real clear on what I want to spend a given evening doing lately. What’s up here?

Three and a half months of voluntary and planned unemployment have convinced me that I’m no closer to having a plan than I was in December when I quit my job. This is a little scary, because at some point the money will run out. My vision of a life which is not dominated by career only extends so far, and it does not include fasting, sleeping on the streets, or giving up cable TV.

Not that any of these things are a pressing danger, but they remind me that I need to decide what I want to be when I grow up pretty soon.

Writing would be a good choice, but I don’t see being able to support myself that way for about a decade (if ever). But suggestions are welcome.I’m starting to wonder if maybe I should just get a low-impact job which allows me to survive while doing what I want to do. It is a given that the new “low-impact” career will in NO WAY involve working with the public in a retail-type environment.

Reflections on Leaving Kinko’s

It’s all over: the party, the final day, everything. After seven years, four months (to the day, incidentally), I am no longer empoyed. It feels, I must say, really fucking strange. No more voice mail, no more stessed-out whiny yuppie babies, no more lines and corporate double-talk.

To its credit, I was always treated well. I never really felt “fucked over”, I advanced pretty far before complete burnout hit, and my last boss was great for letting me (a) do my job with minimal second-guessing and (b) supporting me in the pursuit my own interests. I’ve made friends from coast to coast.

Neither our regional manager nor our owner bothered to call me and wish me well after seven years of working together very closely. On the other hand, my Payroll administrator, who I’ve met one time and who I love, called the day before I left. Hooray for the rank and file!

Last Day at Kinko’s

On the coldest day of the year so far, I joined the ranks of the unemployed. Of course, there was no chance that it would be an easy day. Staffing was a tad short, due to vacations, training of the “replacement team”, etc., so I got a chance to alternate beteween moments of extreme stress and the perspective that — no matter what — this scene really had no further impact on my life. I closed out the voice mail, emptied out my folder on the network hard drive, and — as my last administrative duties — completed a review and promoted someone.

I did get the pleasure of one last run-in with an obnoxious yuppie shitbag. As I came into the confrontation, related to something which was about five minutes late, the rabid bitch was standing at the counter snapping her fingers yelling “Chop chop…let’s go. I want it now.” No matter what preceded it, this was tremendously inappropriate and unprofessional and I let her know that. Didn’t phase her or affect her exaggerated sense of self-importance, but it felt good…

There was a great cake and Sarah brought pastries. After about 2PM, I was essentially useless, except for Brendan’s review. Lots of last minute details and pass downs and quick hugs. I announced the promotion, started saying goodbye (a long process which began to get a bit teary), and by 4:15, it was all over. Rae and I punched out for the last time, and we were gone.

Once outside, it was so surreal. After all these years, I’m unemployed. All the stress was over and I wasn’t sure exactly where it went. The fact that we would no longer be seeing these people we both love dearly seemed very real. Rae and I just looked at each other with this sort of “what the fuck?” expression. I lit a cigarette. We went to the bank to get cash. We went straight to the corner bar. We began drinking. Things got better. Ray, Angela, and Mark eventually joined us. They felt better too.

Tomorrow is my first day of unemployment. I sense the unusual sensations are just beginning. If this is so strange, getting fired must be really weird…

Farewell Party

I think it was originally supposed to be a surprise party and was originally just for me, but neither component quite happened. I had to be informed (in order to get me there) and Rae’s announcement that she too was leaving added to the festivities. Appropriately enough, it was held at Harrington’s on Front Street, our offcial “what a crappy day” bar. I had a few big realizations. The first was that I’m really going to miss seeing all these people on a daily basis because I’ve developed some real friendships here. The second is that my camcorder is not great in low-light situations.

 

The loot: Rae got a “classic disco” CD, as well as her very own copy of the “Macarena”. In a big rash of appropriateness, I received “Television’s Greatest Hits” and “Tube Tunes”. There was much food, much beer (thanks again, Clinton) and hours of good Christian fellowship, despite the fact that a fair number of us were pretty damned hungover from the Christmas party the night before. It was a very good thing.

Random Updates

Just for today, I’m not going to rant or rave about much of anything! The only thing on the agenda is an update of what’s going on in my life at this point in time, in case anyone cares…

A few carefully lit fires — no pun intended — have started getting a bit of reaction out of my insurance company in relation to the pile of ashes which used to be my car. I’m expecting a settlement any day now. I think informing them that they’d be paying for a rental repalcement of my choosing until I have a check in hand may have helped a bit.

No job yet, but so far I’m pretty much convinced that giving Kinko’s the heave-ho was quite the right thing to do. Today was especially convincing; the yuppie slimebags were as annoying as usual. Yesterday I taught an Internet class at one of the outlying San Francisco stores. I was amazed at how different the neighborhood atmosphere was. People were actaully smiling and walking down the street at a normal pace. No one had the perpetually constipated look of the Financial Distrist corporate automatons. It was really nice. It’s a sad thing that so many people let work rule their lives to the point of making them such unbearable substitutes for human beings. Note to the Financial District crowd: take a Valium or at least take a break once in a while!

Side note: a rumor is floating about that Kinko’s is advertising on Pat Robertson’s Family Channel (formerly the Christian Broadcasting Network). I cannot confirm this rumor. Has anyone seen commercials on this highly offensive, rabidly anti-gay and pro-enforced childbirth network? If so, please let me know, and I’ll keep you informed of how my complaints are received.

Had dinner last night with my ex David at the new IHOP South of Market. It is, without question, the creepiest IHOP atmosphere I’ve ever seen. It’s in the basement of an old commercial building and is just too damned well-lit and pastel-tinted. It’s located next to Moscone Convention Center, but the crowd seems to be more “downtown drug dealer” than “conventioneer executive”, although one middle-class mother with teen-age son was inside and looked a little horrified when David and I began discussing watersports. Denny’s is scheduled to open a few doors down very soon. Should be fun to watch.

Ran into Ron, a guy I “went out” with a few times, at lunch today and found out that his band (which was one of two whose debuts I attended recently, the other being Lucifag) is fizzling. We did the “lost your number…give me a call” routine. I never know when that’s meant sincerely or not (sometimes I really DO mean it); we did have fun…

Speaking of bands, I’ll be seeing The Third Sex at Faster Pussycat tonight. It’ll be kinda cool seeing a band on the midwestern end of a tour and then at home on the same tour. Love them…they’re great. (Note: missed ’em…the show moved…found out too late…hate life…)

As for the weekend, I’m geeting back together with this guy named Rob who I recently met in a dark back corner somewhere. He’s terminally cute, fun, shares some of my perversions, and is a pretty danged OK kinda guy, despite being from L.A. He follows orders well, and he scores major points for suggesting — without prompting — Jack in the Box as a food stop on the way back to his apartment Sunday night. More points added for being suitably worshipful about Planet SOMA…I’ll work on pictures soon.

Mom and Dad’s anniversary yesterday. Forty-seven years. Scary. I somehow doubt I’ll have a relationship last quite that long.

Gotta run now…food calls.

Thanks for checking in…

I Quit

Work has been pretty exhausting, and my weekend started with an eleven hour sleep marathon last night. Serving the corporate clones is starting to drive me insane; one more run-in with a condescending stockbroker or lawyer is going to send me over the edge and it’ll be yuppie-kebobs for lunch. This week a customer threatened to sue us because he had to wait more than 2 minutes to pay. Another sleazoid got pissed because we wouldn’t spend fifteen bucks to messenger her ten dollar order to her. It’s a truly frightening thing that these stressed-out corporate stooges are pretty much in control of the country. Fortunately, I’m starting to have some nibbles on the new job search.

OK…enough on crappy customers. The purpose of this rant is to announce that after seven years and two months in my current job, I gave notice today. Granted, it was a long notice — over two months. And no, I don’t have another job lined up as yet. But there sometimes comes a point when you gotta get out, and that time has arrived for me. I really hate that I’ll no longer be seeing a group of people I really love on a daily basis; the people I work with are the absolute best. Hell, I even like my boss (imagine that…)

This is kinda big news; I have this tremendous fear of being unemployed and I’ve only had two full-time jobs in all of my adult life (I tend to hang on along time…) I think the company will survive without me and I’m pretty sure I’ll survive without the company. At any rate, I’ve developed a certain inner peace which is quite pleasing for me right now!

If you’re in need of a pretty nice guy who writes decent HTML and does OK with English too, let me know. I’m available soon.

I Hate My Job

Over seven years ago, I began my current career in cutomer service management (which followed my previous four-year career in customer service management). Things have gotten steadily worse over the years, especially now that I work in an atmosphere which caters to Financial District corporate slime.

I don’t understand these people. I don’t speak their language. I do not share their priorities. It has always been my belief that you get better results by being nice to people than by throwing attitude from your first encounter. I am completely unwilling to go out of my way for customers who are condescending and rude from the minute they walk in the door. Unfortunately, coprorate culture — especially in large cities — seems to have brainwashed its clones into beleiveing that rudeness is perveived as an efficient, assertive, and businesslike attitude. Rudeness gets results! Yeah, right…

Some recent highlights in my career: I’ve been called stupid by a for not having the psychic powers to decipher an order messengered to me with no instructions, told I was full of shit for following federal law, called sexist for waiting on a man who was in line in front of a woman, called racist for asking a gentleman who was not a customer but had been using the phone for an hour to let actual paying customers use it, and told to “fuck off” for not dropping all pending business to do the impossible immediately for a stockbroker swine.

Today, a woman threatened to sue me. This has happened before, when a job was not comlpleted on time for example. Lawyer-swine love to threaten “lowly” service employees with litigation, assuming we’re too damn stupid to know that (a) they have no case, and (b) our corporate lawyers can most likely kick their asses. This woman, however, threatened to sue me because I told her I’d call the police if she didn’t get out of my store and stop poking me in the face. Yuppies hate it when you remind them they’re breaking the law by physically assaulting you.

Maybe Some Day They’ll Call It a Blog

New feature…an online update if you will. It may last or it may not…ya just never know.

It’s been a marginally uneventful week. The Folsom Street Fair is Sunday, so this could be a really exciting — or really annoying — weekend, depending on how geeky the tourists are. At some point over the weekend, I’ll be meeting my cyber-pals Deon and David for the first time.

No news yet on the crispy crunchy car situation; my insurance agent and I have yet to stop playing phone tag. I’m getting used to SF transit, even though I’m still reeling from an incident a few weeks ago where I was “kidnapped” by a Muni driver who refused to let me off the bus at my stop and proceded to get on the freeway, dumping me five miles from home..When I complained on the way out, he flipped me off. So much for customer service.

Work has been pretty exhausting, and my weekend started with an eleven hour sleep marathon last night. Serving the corporate clones is starting to drive me insane; one more run-in with a condescending stockbroker or lawyer is going to send me over the edge and it’ll be yuppie-kebobs for lunch. This week a customer threatened to sue us because he had to wait more than two minutes to pay. Another sleazoid got pissed because we wouldn’t spend fifteen bucks to messenger her ten dollar order to her. It’s a truly frightening thing that these stressed-out corporate stooges are pretty much in control of the country. Fortunately, I’m starting to have some nibbles on the new job search.

A nameless friend with a growing speed problem is now apparently without a home. It’s becoming very difficult to watch an otherwise severely intelligent person destroy himself so efficiently. The job went first, then the flat, but he’s dealing and getting laid a lot. I guess that means he’s doing OK, right? One of my closest friends is becoming a stranger to me; I don’t even like being around him. But I’m sure he’s well-recieved at the EndUp.

All in all, I need a vacation, so on Friday, I’ll be leaving Planet SOMA to visit exciting Minnesota. Why Minnesota, you may ask? Well, there’s this boy… Actually, there are these two boys, Bil’s an “ex”, and Christopher’s a current obsession. Their band, Lucifag, will be doing its first show ever while I’m there. I’ve never been to Minnesota before; my almanac tells me the population is 94.4 per cent white. Should look just like the Financial District at lunchtime. I’ve only managed to find one all-purpose queer website there. Details as they occur; if I can find sufficient resources, I’ll be taking the Zip drive and Casio camera on the road with me for “on the spot” updates.

Off to Folsom Street now. See ya there…