Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Alive!

Alright, I'm sure I am now down to two readers, but that's what I get for being MIA for a month, right? Oh well. I was thinking about making this blog public again, anyway.

Let me try and summarize the last month:

My new job, like all jobs, has its good things and its bad things. I like my boss and the girl who works for me a LOT. They rock, actually. A lot of my coworkers are cool, too. Like everywhere, though, I have to deal with a couple of douchebags, like this one lazy guy who balks at helping anyone else out and Miss Passive Aggressive, who loves to come down to my office and imply that I am incompetent and/or inflexible with the schedule (this is because I will not make everyone else work around her schedule). Of course, she does this under the guise of being "concerned". Argh. If there is one type of person I don't get along with, it's passive aggressive types. That kind of behavior irks the crap out of me.

My department, which was at 75% capacity, has recently been reduced to 50% capacity with the resignation of this one girl who worked for me. I tell you what, though, she was good riddance. She did nothing but create more work for me an the other girl in my department. But her leaving means she and I have to do a LOT more work, so I will be slammed at work until further notice: working extra nights, extra Sundays, teaching extra classes....oh well. Hopefully we will find a replacement soon.

But that's all well and good. Normal stuff that is to be expected. What is really bizarre is how uber-controlling this school is. Maybe it's because I am used to working in the public sector, but I feel like I am a member of the Savannah Mafia or something. Actually, it's more like a Nazi regime. My first realization came when I had to deal with the Communications Dept. Now, I understand that the school wants to have an "image" and I completely grasp and support the notion of "branding". But to tell me that I cannot print out a flyer that would -- gasp! -- help students find something in the library because that's not the "look" they want in the library is pretty ridiculous. Last time I checked, it's pretty difficult to operate a library without any frigging signs or information for its users.

Now, this goes for everything. Signs, handouts, flyers, bookmarks we make -- everything has to get "approval" from about 3 people. Then it has to be designed by someone else (who has no idea how I need it to look in order for it to work). This process takes three weeks. If I'm lucky.

This is the same department who printed up my business cards and told me I had to pick them up at their office. The stupid part is that they are open the same times I am at work. So that meant I had to go pick them up on my lunch break. Fine. Whatever. Screw interoffice mail, right? So I spend half my lunch break walking over there, only to be informed that they have sent the cards to the library already, via interoffice mail. "Well, don't you think that as the Communications Department, you should have communicated that to me before I spent my lunch break walking all the way over here?" I said. The girl just stared back at me and blinked. I turned and walked out.

The IT department is just as bad. I am not allowed to download so much as a plugin on my computer without -- again -- getting approval and submitting forms. Heck, I can't even pick my own desktop background or screensaver. I have to use theirs. If I want Microsoft 2007 installed on my computer, I have to submit an approval form, get approved, then attend a mandatory 3 hour training session, and then they would install it on my computer. Are. You. Kidding. Me.

It took me 3 weeks to get a key to my office. Three weeks! It was just sitting around somewhere. All I had to do was sign for it. Sounds simple, right? Not really. It was held in a building so far away that I had to drive to it. And, as usual, the building was only open during the same times I have to be at work. So I had to scramble over there, the whole time wondering, "Why don't they just keep the library keys in the library, since that's where they are just going to be going to anyway??" I tell ya, the state agency I used to work for aint' got shit on the major inefficiencies going on at this private school.

I still haven't gotten my code for the photocopier (each person gets a personal code, which is odd to me, as it seems a departmental code would be sufficient) or my code for dialing long distance on my desk phone. This also is odd to me, as it's the type of phone which operates over an internet connection, so there is no such thing as a long distance number. I soon realized that this is because they want to know what numbers I am calling. Whoa.

But Big Brother goes far, far beyond my little long distance code. If you are a new employee, you are often put in touch with a particular real estate company -- they have some sort of a deal worked out. This seems like a potential conflict of interest to me. I have heard that they also have their fingers in other pies: with the police force, with city concil...

If you do a google search for my school, you will find absolutely nothing negative about it. Not a blog, not a news article, not a press release. Everything out there is positive. Don't you think that is kind of odd? Especially when the girl who had my job before me sued the school for firing her improperly? (I have yet to find out why this woman was fired. No one is giving me a legitimate answer. It sounds very fishy to me.) And the guy who used to have my boss's job was fired for stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from the library? Or that last week the president's husband, who is the CEO or something for the college, was brought up on embezzlement charges or something? And that there was a group of students who sued the school, too? How the hell is this stuff not reaching the press???

The only thing I have found that even hints at being negative is an interview between the local paper and the president of the school a couple years back. The reporter asks if she thinks the school has moved past all its problems in the early '90s. She doesn't want to talk about it. She just says she wants to focus on the future. I have no idea what all these problems were in the early '90s. Neither does anyone else -- almost everyone at my library is new. Apparently, when the last director was busted for stealing a bunch of shit, a lot of people went down with him. They bascially cleaned house. Only a couple of people made it out of the fray -- and one of them was demoted in the process. And of course, the old timers aren't saying a word about what really went down. So to say there's been a lot of turnover is putting it lightly. (And as you can imagine, makes everything that much more difficult for the new people -- we are all trying to fix departments that have been screwed up for some time.)

Anyway, that's a glimpse into the type of work environment I am dealing with. I'm sure there will be more. I will share with you then.

Let's talk about the rest of things in my life. I havent' been blogging, because I can't afford to have internet at my place, and let's face it: I would be pretty stupid to blog from work in this job. But CN is moving in very soon (the 2nd week of April!!), so we will get it then. Yay!

As far as my apartment sucks. I have very little storage and a lot of wasted square footage. Since the house is old, it doesn't heat or cool evenly, leaving me shivering on the couch most of the time. (MJ got me a snuggie, which rocks for this particular problem!) And since the windows are old, any noise made outside sounds like it is actually inside.

Which brings me to my neighborhood. Thus far, I have had to deal with the college kids next door who like to throw parties in their backyard. This would be totally fine with me if their backyard was not underneath my bedroom window and if they threw their parties on nights when I didn't have to go to work the next day. The morning of St. Patrick's Day (my only day off from work until further notice), I was awoken at 6:50am by firecrackers just outside my bedroom window. WTF. I got up, jerked up my window blinds, and scared the crap out of the college kid next door. I yelled, "Can you please stop that?!!!" He gave me a deer-in-headlights look and apologized profusely and then went inside. (Yes, I heard what he said. That's how much I can hear through these old windows.) He's lucky I didn't kick his ass for throwing a kegger in his backyard only 2 nights previously. On a Sunday night. I ended up sleeping in my bathroom that night -- it's the only quiet room in my place.

But this is child's play compared to the other stuff I have had to deal with. There have been fist fights in the street, drunk people yelling at all hours of the night, domestic violence disputes, all kinds of crazy and loud noises, lots and lots of sirens, a car chase, trash thrown in my yard and my own personal favorite: the gunshots in my backyard the other night. Yeah, my neighborhood is super fun.

I have to say, though, that the cops have a really great response time. It's impressive, actually. I know, because I peek out of my window blinds when stuff happens, and I dont' stop looking until a cop shows up. And when the cops arrive, it's not just one car. It's like, four. So that does make me feel a little bit better. But not much.

I do not go outside when the sun goes down. I might go to Target or something, but never late. and I definitely can't take walks or anything like that after it gets dark. That would be a really bad idea. Have you ever had to live like that? Let me tell you what, you feel like a prisoner. For the most part, I get home from work and do not go back outside until I leave for work the next day. It is stressful and boring and frustrating.

I know it all sounds negative, but I do love seeing all the beautiful buildings and I love walking to/from work. During the daytime, it's totally safe, even in my neighborhood. And most of my problems with my neighborhood have more to do with noise than safety. I am getting used to the noise, and the sound machine CN got me helps, too.

As soon as either CN or I can find a renter for our house(s), we are moving to a safer and quieter neighborhood. A house with enough room for both of us and storage for our stuff. And electrical outlets. (I have one outlet in my living room. It is a royal pain in the ass.) And a backyard, rather than an alley full of dirt and overflowing trashcans.

It is probably no surprise to you that I have been wondering if I made the right decision. But I think I will end up really liking my job and liking Savannah. I think that like some first dates, you just get off on the wrong foot. I've gotta give it a second chance. And that will take some time.

Thanks for reading, guys. I will hopefully be back to blogging on a more regular basis soon.