Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Redacted.

Never mind. I found the post-its.

The Phantom Menace

Oh COME ON! First with the pens (which, by the way, are still being stolen like hotcakes), and now the post-its? Why? Why must you sneakily and silently steal my post-its?

The receptionist's desk is NOT the stock cupboard people!

Geez.

Taxes? Yes.

Dananananananananana TAX DAY!!!! (think of it like the Batman theme song)

The day is finally here! The day when taxes are due! The day when everyone scrambles to get their final papers together and submit them to (dum dum dummmmmmm) the government. Except for the fact that the deadline for e-filing is extended to May 6, so why don't you sit back and procrastinate a little longer?

Yes!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Karmakarmakarmakarma Chameleon...

The waste is astounding! Yesterday my boss, after I was gone, printed off some envelopes to send tax returns back to clients. After he printed them he realized that the clients' names were in a slightly larger font than the addresses. SO HE REPRINTED ALL THE ENVELOPES. Seriously? Does that matter that much? Sure, it might not look quite as good, but on our letterhead, as well as the address stamps we use, our name is in a bigger font than our address. So why on earth can't the clients?

As it turns out, however, environmental karma is (as they say) a bitch, because when he was reprinting them he accidentally addressed one of the envelopes wrong and so it got sent to the wrong person. They just called us about it. Gotta love that, sending confidential financial info to the wrong person, eek! Oh well, that's what you get for wasting envelopes, especially when you refuse to buy recycled paper because it's moderately more expensive!

Blank.

I'm sorry, I have nothing to say. I'm just so BORED! You'd think I'd be super busy, seeing as taxes are due tomorrow, but nope. Nothing to do for the receptionist.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Close Call

I realized pretty quick after starting here that offices pose a much greater threat to one's personal safety than I was initially aware of. I mean besides the carpal tunnel syndrome, eyestrain, and office-chair bum syndrome. I mean having hands covered in paper cuts so that you look like you've got a brand new kitten who doesn't know just how sharp its claws really are. I mean file-folder cuts, the nasty old, fat, bully cousin of paper cuts. Finally, I mean narrowly escaping a paper cut TO THE EYE! No one warned me of this! They always said "it's all fun and games until someone pokes an eye out", not "It's all boring filing until someone scratches their delicate cornea with a piece of paper, resulting in way more pain than physical damage and the possibility for slight problems with your vision, depending on where you got cut."

Of course, I did only almost give myself a paper-cut-to-the-eye, so I guess I can't complain too much.

A Pox on Alarm Clocks

For most 9-5ers, we are incredibly dependent on knowing what day of the week it is. Most of the time you just know, deep down inside what day it is. You can feel it. Of course, sometimes our feelings can be wrong. This can, of course, often lead to pleasant results. Feeling like it's a Monday and realizing it's Wednesday. Or better yet, going to bed feeling like it's Thursday night, and then realizing it's Friday night and you do not need to set that alarm. But then there's the cruel cruel irony of feeling all day like it's a Saturday and then having to remember that no, no it's a Sunday and you have to go to work in the morning. Boo!

Alarm setting, I believe, is one of the most unpleasant activities invented by the human race. Why? Why did we do it? Did no one realize that if we just stopped ourselves and held back on the alarm clock invention, we could always sleep as late as we wanted and no one could get mad at us for being late? *sigh* I suppose if I really wanted that I could just move to Brazil or Zambia or somewhere else where time is not of the essence.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Count it down

Only 20 sleeps until the next stat holiday!!!

Vindictive Pleasures

Does it make me a bad person that one of my favorite parts of putting together a tax return is filling in the little form required if the person owes money? What about the fact that I especially enjoy filling it in when the amount owed is more than $10,000? More than $50,000?

It probably does, doesn't it? Ah well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BIG news!

I got a new toy! It's a dispenser for "sign here" stickers and it sticks to my desk! But without adhesive! It's got this rubbery thing on the bottom and so it glides around on my desk but doesn't come off so I can pull stickers out with ease, and then amuse myself by sliding it around on my desk in slow, graceful, hypnotic movements. So cool!

This has improved my day remarkably, and it's kind of fun to put the "sign here' stickers on stuff now. Goes to show.

There aren't any songs about Thursdays.

While I was bussing into work this morning I was thinking about how Thursday is one of the best days in the workweek. Friday obviously wins by default, being that it's the last day, even though actually working all day Friday is usually one of the worst: it's often a much slower day, not so many phone calls or incoming work, so you're not busy enough for the day to go quickly and all you can think about is the fact that as soon as you get out of there you'll be free for an entire weekend. This is basically the equivalent of the last day of school with a teacher who decides not to have a party because you all need to finish up your projects on what your plans for summer would be if you lived on Mars in the colonial ages or whatever. So you just sit there and sort of pretend to work on your project because you don't care and the teacher's already made the report cards for the year all the while passing notes to your BFF 4EVA (folded in that special way your older sister taught you so that your teacher won't be able to figure out how to open it if she finds it) about how much you can't wait to be free for the summer and does she think that Brad Morelli actually likes you? (Whoa! I did not just use the real name of one of my real-life elementary school crushes! I totally just made that name up out of nowhere, I swear!)

Thursday on the other hand, is usually pretty darn good. You've made it over the hump of Wednesday, freedom is just around the corner, there's often enough work to at least pass half the day so time isn't crawling, and so as you step off the bus and walk into the office you think to yourself "I can do this! I am so close I am there."

Or at least that's what I was thinking while I was on the bus coming over. Turns out that Thursday is really really really boring.

Lame.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TV vs. Real Life (with accountants)

Sometimes I really do feel like I'm in an episode of The Office, only with less quirky and dynamic characters. And less talking. Yesterday I got in and the alarm was going off and we spent the next half and hour trying to make sure that the alarm company wouldn't call the police (or our boss) even though neither of us knew the passcode.

Today I get in and there's a very very rank odour through the whole office. I kind of decided to ignore it, but then my boss got in and couldn't handle it. He opened all the windows and all the doors to try to air the place out and proceeded to start hunting for the smell. If he were more charismatic in a socially-unaware and selfish kind of way he would be just like Michael Scott, I swear. So now I'm freezing my little patootie off because even though it's almost MAY and should be getting WARMER OUT it's freaking COLD outside, which is just wrong in SO MANY WAYS because it's really JUST PLAIN RIDICULOUS that I would even NEED to wear a COAT just because the doors and windows are open at THE END OF APRIL!!! *breathes* I think I have some anger issues with all this weather business.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make: can't you just see the clever writers of The Office taking this and making it last 22 minutes in a sometimes hilarious, sometimes awkward and not all that funny kind of way? Or at the very least using them in the teaser before the opening credits? I can, but maybe that's just because imagining I'm on a TV show that's pretending to be a documentary about a boring office that actually isn't boring at all instead of actually working in a boring office is one of the ways I get through my day.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Shorthand

Don't you just love it when your boss has his own shorthand that he doesn't explain to you but still expects you to know what it means?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another strike

My boss has completely destroyed my plan of getting up from my desk as much as possible to hole punch things. He bought me my own whole punch! Geez. I guess it's nice of him, but now what am I supposed to do? He is clearly and agent of the LoA (Lord of Accounting) and is trying to destroy my soul.

If Dove commercials can't get it done...

Then I guess lawmakers can. After a Brazilian model died of an anorexia-related infection (she was a "svelt" 88 pounds) several European countries, now including France have stepped up to keep the media accountable (sort of).

The law would make it illegal to incite people to "excessively" deprive themselves of food, and would apply to websites, magazines, and advertisements. Now obviously they're targeting those websites for "annies" and magazines/advertisers who use concentration-camp thin models and have articles about starving yourself. This is all excellent on the part of the models' health: if people aren't hiring models that have so few muscles they can't even hold themselves up because their bodies have consumed them in place of actual food, then the models will gain some weight and be less likely to starve themselves to death. This is also good for getting rid of those disgusting websites that help girls learn how to hide their anorexia and support eachother in it.

What this won't be so good for is helping normal-sized, non-anorexic girls have better body images (which apparently is part of the goal of the legislation). Obviously they aren't going to be slapping fines on Elle or Cosmo for having size 2 models, as it would be tricky to make the case that they are inciting people to try to be "excessively" thin. However, if you ask me, it's the size 2 models that are causing all the obsessive dieting and body-hating on the part of 95% of women. No one looks at a skin-and-bones model and says "man, why can't my body look like that?" (or at least very few people do). It's the thin-yet-evenly-proportioned-probably-has-at-least-some-food-in-the-very-flat-belly-could-seem-attainable-if-I-stopped-eating-chocolate-except-for-the-fact-that-it's-probably-all-genetic-and-I-was-cursed-from-birth-but-I-can-still-loath-myself-every-time-I-eat-junk-food-type models that destroy an average woman's self esteem and makes her obsess over calories and exercise and guilt when she's really quite beautiful already.

Can you imagine if they made a law where models actually had to be normal sized (and by that I mean at least a size 6, which is what models used to have to be only 5 years ago and THAT was considered a little overly thin)? I don't fully agree with measures like that, but just think about it....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Another way to resist

I have discovered another good way to beat the Lord of Accounting (or Law or Paper Manufacturing or wherever you may be). Get away from your desk as much as possible! I do this by keeping things like the 2-hole punch we use for filing on the counter behind my desk so I have to get up every time I need to hole punch something for filing. It may sound exhausting or annoying, but it really helps keep that Office Fatigue (read: the squishy mind and heavy limbed-feelings that come from sitting in one place staring at a screen for 8 hours) at boy.

Plus, it might help keep us all from getting "Office Chair Butt-Syndrom" (read: flat, squishy bums).

More on office equipment.

Staples are feeble creations, of both body and mind. Let us hope that the very fabric of our existence is not held in their puny, collective, grasp.

Time for some whine.

...

...

...
Friday.
Is.
Taking.
Forever.

This.
Is.
The.
Longest.
Morning

.....

When.
Will.
The.
Weekend.
Come?

*wimper*

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Notes on the importance of presentation

What the cotton-pickin'-dang-nabbit-hill-hole-Lord-of-Accounting are these guys trying to do?!? It's called AWOL, which stands for Alcohol Without Liquid. Ever heard of it? Me neither.

The deal is that they vaporize alcohol so that you inhale it instead of drinking it. Apparently the effects are much stronger and faster, even though you only absorb about 1/2 a shot's worth in 20 minutes (incidentally, two 20-minute doses is apparently all your body can handle in a 24 hour period, so it better be more potent otherwise I might ask what the point is). Apparently it's also a calorie-free way to enjoy alcohol without hangovers and with a slight "high".

Okay, well, whatever. It sounds kinda sketchy to me but no big deal, right? Wrong. Go to their website! If this product was any good, I believe their product would fulfill the following requirements:

-A website that has a better design than that "We're Obsessed and We're Not Afraid to Admit It!" fansite for Breaker High and Titanic I made with my BFF in grade 9. (Oops, did I say that out loud?)
-Complete and well written sentences.
-Proper grammar and use of punctuation. Two pieces of punctuation are not required to finish a sentence.! One will do the trick.
-Text that shows up as text and not random symbols.

Maybe I'm being shallow, but just look at this sentence I copied directly off the site:

"That why youe probably heard: ou smell like you've been drinking again?or lease exhale in this breathalyzer.?"

Enough said. Of course, their target market is "alcohol lovers", which sounds like a cheesy euphamism for alcoholics, so maybe their hoping their clientelle will be too smashed to even bother going to the website.

Oh, and apparently this product might not be all that safe, it's been banned in several states down South so far. No news yet on its level of infiltration in Canada.

Battle of the Dinosoars

I didn't know it was possible. I have just spent almost my entire morning standing over our photocopier. A very very old photocopier that is loud, squeaky, and slow. My brain is numb.

The sad part is, that this was not as bad as faxing a large document. Our fax machine is even slower than our photocopier (although thank the Lord of Accounting it's quieter), and it has trouble with its feeder. So I get to stand there and basically feed pages in one by one. I did a 28-page document yesterday and I swear it takes about a minute a page.

So let's have an Official Competition between these two unsightly beasts of office equipment. The categories are Speed, Grace, Noise, and Mental Distress of User.

Speed:
-Photocopier: very slow
-Fax: very very slow

Grace:
-Photocopier: a slight graceful quality to the way the sheets slide out of the machine, unless you're collating, then the trays jerk around like little spiders on crack.
-Fax: no grace, sheets are fed through in a very stilted, awkward manner

Noise:
-Photocopier: very very loud, sounds include squeaking with every sheet copied, clunking when printing on legal paper, trays jostling when collating, and general loud motor sounds
-Fax: pretty quiet overall, beeps to let you know it's done

Mental Distress of User:
-Photocopier: sometimes the feed misses pages and you never know when it will happen, sometimes jams and can ruin a document, less boredom due to the fact that user is actively assembling documents feeding them, taking staples out, etc etc and not just standing there waiting
-Fax: pure drudgery. Standing still and staring at pages slowly inch (nay, millimeter) their way through the machine, feeding them through so that they don't jam. You cannot leave or it will jam and you will have to start over. Also, it does not show reports on the screen so if you miss the "beep" notification you don't know if it went through.

Scoring:
-Speed: Fax wins!
-Grace: Fax wins!
-Noise: Photocopier wins!
-Mental Distress of User: Fax wins! (this was a close one, but boredom is a killer)

So there we have it, the fax has won. And by won I mean that it's the worst piece of equipment to use in this office. Hooray!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Moments to hold onto...

Sometimes when I answer the phone I suddenly forget what I'm supposed to say. I pick it up and feel a slight panic, knowing that soon I will be expected to speak and my mind is blank.

There's a slight awkward pause before my reflexes kick in and I am able to use the prescribed greeting.

Automated Humour

One thing that I find very entertaining: when we get spam-faxes that say things like "It's Tax Time! Need Help With Your Taxes! We'll Do Your Taxes Cheap!"

You know, I should probably start saving those ones, just in case any of the accountants in the office need help with their taxes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quality office equipment MATTERS people!

OKAY. What is the point in giving your accountant a bank statement if it is has been printed from a crappy printer and then faxed using some kind of old-school machine that has what appears to be misaligned printer heads and prints onto what is essentially huge rolls of receipt paper that is running out and thus has green lines all over it? Would you be able to read that and enter the amounts into the accounting software so that they balance? Would you? WELL?

Well I can't either.

It's a mad world

Waste in this office is astounding. Are all offices like this? I have worked in one other office recently, and my boss there didn't believe in global warming, yet I somehow managed to convince her to buy recycled paper. Here, however, it's pure virgin bleached paper for all! Only paper made from freshly cut trees is good enough for us! Huge documents get printed without a second thought and then often don't get fully used. I have to print documents three or four times for all the different places they need to be filed. Photocopying something that's two-sided just to make it one-sided? Sure, all the time! Lights on all night? Why not? Leaving the noisy, old fan running in the bathroom all day (along with the lights)? Definitely.

Some things aren't so bad. Although we print everything on one-sided paper, if it's not being sent to a client or the CRA we reuse the paper as scrap, and I print most documents bound for the filing cabinet on this paper. We've also got paper recycling in the form of a shredder (but no bottle recycling which will have me carrying home my daily cans of Coke Zero for recycling during the hot months this summer). I'm pretty sure the heat gets turned off at night, and all the computers but one get turned off at night (the one that gets left on accepts the faxes, so it needs to be running). Oh, and we don't use an old-school fax, all our faxes come in through my computer so that all those annoying spam-faxes don't get automatically printed.

But still, the paper waste is astounding. We probably go through at least a few thousand pages a week, and there's only 5 of us in the office.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Stranger than fiction...

Wow, this has not happened in... ever? At least not since I was being trained, and even then I remember lots of awkward sitting around time. That's the worst- you're new so people are constantly checking in on you, but when you have nothing to do you don't feel comfortable enough to blatantly waste time and you don't have the experience with wasting-time-while-looking-busy. So awkward.

But not today! Today I had so much to do today that I only now had time to visit you, my dear blog. Not, of course that I was working "non-stop", per se, this entire day. I have however been steadily plugging away at mail-outs, letters, faxes, and photocopies between email and facebook checkings all day. I mean, you can't get through a day without that, right?

You really realize how much your job truly is drudgery when you have to actually do it for 8 hours in a row.

Friday, April 11, 2008

China/Olympics Follow-Up

Okay, still bringing politics into the workplace, which is still unadvisable, but I've been coming across a lot of articles about the whole China/Human Rights/Olympics fiasco, and I feel like sharing.

A little while ago, I complained that everyone else was complaining about the Olympics going to China amidst some severe human rights violations without actually doing anything to motivate change.

Here's what's happening now:

-The IOC doesn't want to overstep it's bounds, so to speak, and do anything to force change, BUT...
-After IOC suggesting that censorship looks bad, certain newsy websites have been unblocked in China
-The Dalai Lama has expressed his support for the China Olympics and the right to peaceful protest
-In order to avoid violent protest (or at least the broadcast of violent protest) the Chinese government is likely going to ban broadcasters (read: NBC, CBC, etc) from Tiananmen Square, costing networks loads of cash, as well as their ability to claim they are "Broadcasting straight to you! Live! Exclusive! Right in the centre of everything! Which is way more than you can expect from other networks not rich enough to buy their way in here!"
-Many countries in Europe are considering boycotting the Opening Ceremonies, although good ol' Harper wasn't planning on going anyways because he's too cool(?).

And of course there have been loads of protests in pretty much every city the torch run has gone through.

So there you have it. Maybe people are starting to do something? Maybe there will be some change? Or maybe it's all just talk.

Reach for the stars!

Friday, Friday, Friday! Or, as I accidentally mistyped it, "Firday", which would be an odd kind of day if it happened once a week (gathering around your nearest Fir tree and singing Kumbaya perhaps?)

This morning I had the usual "Ugh, I don't want to get up... hey, but at least it's Friday!" sentiment, when it hit me: I still have to go back on Monday. I know this is actually a pretty well-known fact, but I mean that if Friday is the only silver-lining you've got, it doesn't last long. Unlike school, where there's an obvious end in sight, a goal, a light at the end of the tunnel, work just plods on forever like a string of marching ants that never, ever ends. You hit Friday and you've got two days of respite before you are thrown back into Monday, and then it's counting down to Friday once again.

Okay, before I get too down-in-the-depressing-ongoing-meaningless-working-life about all this, why don't we reframe? So with school you have a ready-made light at the end of the tunnel. It's just handed to you on a platter: finish all your papers and exams and you will get 4 months of freedom/be done forever (until you go to grad school) and have accomplished something! Work on the other hand, does not come with a light at the end of the tunnel, it says "spend the majority of your waking hours doing something you didn't go to school for and we'll reward you with evenings and weekends when you'll be too tired to do anything truly fulfilling!" (I think I heard the Lord of Accounting in there somewhere). Okay, so what this really means then is that when you work you have to create your own light to aim for. That's okay, I can do that. I think. Just please tell me this light can be more than just 2 weeks vacation a year.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Fine then.

I..... am..... a..... FREAKING.....

I can't even say it.

*sob*

Accountant.

I know. I know, it's terrible. It's depressing. It's something I never EVER wanted for myself. It was bad enough about a month after I started when one of the accountants made a joke that I was a "Juniour Accountant", apparently because I do most of the data entry around here and that's what those sad souls do. And now I am a sad soul! Even worse, a sad soul who just prepared someone's tax return.

Well, this is it for me. This is the end. I have no other choice but to follow this path for the rest of my life. Maybe this is how people become accountants in the first place? They start off trying to make ends meet between school and more school or between school and figuring out what to do with their lives and get jobs as receptionists in an accounting office. Then slowly more work and responsibility is given to them. First the phones, faxes, letters. Then assembling tax returns to be sent out. Then filling in the T7DR(A) (yes, it KILLS me that I know what that is) for the client. Then data entry. Then when things are really busy, helping out and doing one of the really easy tax returns, where all you have to do is fill in the blanks from the T4 (this is where I am now). Then slowly, slowly, more work is put on your desk. Returns that are slightly more complicated. That have one or two calculations necessary. Until YOU ARE ENROLLING IN AN ACCOUNTING COURSE SO THAT YOU CAN MOVE UP IN YOUR FIRM. (Dum dum DUMMMMMMMMM)

*wimper*

It's gone to another level

Last night I had a dream about work for the first time.

It's rather depressing.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The first day of the rest of my life.

Sometimes I imagine I am assembling the tax return of a huge celebrity.

Oh, it is ON!

OKAY PEOPLE! Just because I am merely a lowly receptionist does not mean you can steal my pens! Really! Just because my desk is in the front, open, "public" part of the office does not mean you can rifle through its contents and steal the only good pens!

*takes a deep breath*

Here's the thing, there is a limited supply of good pens in this office. Most of them are old crappy Bic pens that clog and don't write smoothly and got shoved in a box for us to use because my boss is cheap and won't buy new ones. But for some reason we have a few non-crappy (but still Bic) pens with these little finger-grippy things, that write like a dream. A DREAM! Someone is stealing this dream away from me. Often. Letting me keep the pen for a few days until I get lulled into a false sense of happy-dreaminess, and then they steal it. This results in me plotting secret, evil revenge. In the form of stealing pens back. The problem is that while I, like the almost useless lacky performing essentially mindless work that I am, actually leave my desk once an a while, you know, for lunch breaks and to go home at 5 (resist the Lord of Accounting!). Are they jealous of my freedom? Of my frequent contact with the outside world via telephone calls? Of my whitty banter and stunning good looks? Okay, so maybe that last one's a little off topic, but hey, you never know!

Now I must hunt for a new pen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Coupling and taxes

When I'm putting together tax returns I always feel kinda bad for the couples where one of them gets a refund and the other owes something ridiculous like $65K. Do you think there's any competition between these mega-rich pairs? They're all like "oooh, I win! Now you owe Stephen Harper a downpayment on a house and you have to buy me dinner too." Man, that would be brutal. Not only do you owe the government, but you lost a bet with your partner and have to buy them something too. Especially because you know these guys are going to restaurants that are at least $40 a plate. Really.

OH. And you know what I hate about putting together tax returns for couples? How it is ALWAYS filed under the man's name. Even if the woman kept her own name. Even if she is the primary client, comes in for all the meetings, and makes way more money than him and he's a luftmensch. Even if they are a rad partnership and do everything together and have equal incomes. The CRA requires there to be a "head of the household" for family/couple taxes. And it's always the man.

Sometimes I am subtly resistant by putting the woman's tax return on top of the man's when I mail them out, or by putting her name first on the address label.

Workers of the world, unite!

Upon further study and reflection I have discovered some of the key ways to resist the Lord of Accounting:

-when you run into a coworker, ask them how their weekend/evening was before. They may not talk about doing things and only how well they slept, but you will have put a small chip in the invisible barrier surrounding them.
-take your full lunch break, and leave the office to do so if at all possible. This is a key step in defeating its power!
-wear clothing with bright colours
-always leave the office promptly at 5pm
-do something besides eating and watching TV when you get home-- Read a book! See a friend! Talk on your phone (unless you've ripped out the wiring as a sacrifice to the Lord of Accounting)! Do something creative! Have a hobby!

Remember, the Lord of Accounting is not satisfied with keeping you dull and monotonous at work, it wants your entire life. It wants to keep you dull and monotonous all the time. Don't let it! Resist!

*Note: although the power of the Lord of Accounting is strongest with accountants and others who have chosen careers that involve little-to-no human interaction, it is not limited to these professions. Be vigilant! Don't let it get you too!

Monday, April 7, 2008

What really goes on in accountant's training programs

When I first started here, it seemed as though everyone else in the office had some kind of Lord of Accounting that they had to appease. Said Lord of Accounting put invisible force fields around everyone's desks, preventing any prolonged eye contact, or conversation that didn't relate directly to clients and their financial issues. Leaving the immediate area of one's desk was also prohibited with a few exceptions: going to the washroom, going to the boss' office to give him something/ask a question, or going to the printer or photocopier.

Naturally, the Lord of Accounting is partially omniscient. It cannot read your thoughts, but it can read your intentions, and if they planned on leaving their desks to do anything besides these specific things, they found themselves temporarily immobilized and had thoughts such as "only heathens want to chat about their weekend", "to work is to find happiness", and the Sesame Street Spanish number song. If they wanted to actually leave the office they had to submit written requests along with a sacrifice, appropriate sacrifices being things like the last chapter ripped out of an interesting novel they're in the middle of reading (reading for fun? No, only crunching numbers will enlighten your soul) or the SIM card for their cell phone (why do you need a personal number? Life is work). Only then may they leave for a predetermined amount of time to, say, pick up some lunch from the nearest restaurant and bring it back to eat at their desks while working.

After being here for almost 2 months I can say that the Lord of Accounting is definitely real. The odd thing is that lately people have been taking partial lunch breaks. They still aren't gone for the entire hour they could be entitled to, but there must have been some serious appeasing going on lately, because people are taking off for up to 45 minutes! Of course, they're also staying until who knows what time in the evening, so maybe there's been some even trades happening.

I think the Lord of Accounting also forces them all to wear bland clothing.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Fine then.

Scratch that. Just brutally lost my second game in the first couple of minutes. Honesty, you do nothing for me. I return to my previous ways of being honest only when I'm sick of trying to be dishonest.

Honesty in the workplace?

Some days there is just too little to do, even for your standard BOJ. So little that any pretense of pretending to work becomes ridiculous and pointless. I could minimize my Spider Solitaire game every time you walk by, but why? Why, when the boss is not in the office and EVERYONE KNOWS that you have no work. Why pretend? That is why today I stood up and I said "NO!" Okay, well not really. Really I sat silently at my desk and thought to myself "no, I will not carry on this charade of pretending to work. It is pointless, it is stupid, and it is dishonest in a way that benefits no one and only forces me to stare at the same spreadsheet every time someone walks behind me for no good reason at all!"

I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Unless you have a job that is actually engaging or is a SOJ and you have way too much work to do to fill a week. If that's you, you're probably looking at me and thinking that I'm lucky. That I get paid to sit around, goof off on my computer, and write blogs. Well I tell you: lucky I am not! I am a person who really loves multi-tasking. I enjoy having to keep track of one too many things. Basically, what I'm trying to say, is that I enjoy doing something as opposed to doing nothing. True, I would not take a 60 hour workweek if I could avoid it, but chances are I'd take your job over mine.

Anyways, back on track. I stood up for honesty today, because for once dishonesty was becoming tiresome and unhelpful, and I played that game of Spider Solitaire. Whenever someone walked behind me, I kept that window open and I kept playing. It was... kind of weird actually. But then I won! I won for the first time in ages, and I have accredited this to the gods smiling down on my honesty and rewarding me for it.

Maybe I'll try this again...

Wo is me on Friday morning

Why oh why do such terrible, torturous things happen to me. Listen to what's going through my head right now:

Hey (hey) You (you)!
I don't like your girlfriend
No way (no way)!
I think you need a new one
Hey (hey) You (you)!
I could be your girlfriend....

UGH! This is annoying and dumb! Songs like this have a limited number of specific situations in which their good. Situations like riding in the car with a bunch of friends and turning it up real loud and rolling down the windows and singing along. Or when you're hanging out late at night and this song comes on and you start dancing and singing all crazy like. Or in karaoke maybe. Notice the common thread of being able to sing and dance to it.

Right here, right now in my silent little office is not a situation where this song is good! I DON'T WANT TO BE ANYONE'S GIRLFRIEND AND I DON'T WANT TO SING ABOUT IT!!! Ummm... I mean... uh... no one's girlfriend except for the fantastic person who I'm the girlfriend of.... You see... uhhh... what I meant to say was that I don't want to be anyone NEW's girlfriend... That I don't want to steal someone away from their girlfriend?

I should just stop talking now.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

OH MY F'ING WORD!!!

BAI LING IS IN VANCOUVER!

PS: I only know who she is because of Go Fug Yourself, and thus I really REALLY want to see her wandering the streets of Vancouver in something like this, or this!

Live the dream.

Politiks Politiks

Okay, so I know the workplace is generally not the best place to discuss politics, but I came across this article on CBC and I just feel like sharing.

First off, HUGE PROPS to this fellow. He is awesome. He lives in a country that is heavily censored and controlled, and he started a blog to let everyone know of the human rights violations going on around him. He is very much an answer to Bonnie Tyler's cry for a hero! (Although not really because Bonnie was looking for more of a romantic-type hero, and he's more of a standing-up-against-injustice-and-protecting-the-innocent-type hero, so actually much better than that).

I noticed some interesting things in the article. First off, that his lawyer is relieved that he (Hu, the name of the man charged) wasn't charged with something worse. He was charged with subversion and given 3.5 years in prison. I really just find a statement of relief at this to be incredibly telling of the society and what is both accepted and expected.

Second of all, the freaking Olympics. These games are a total gong show anyways, spreading debt and relocation of the homeless and the cutting of valuable programs in their wake. But they are a gong show that most world leaders covet greatly, like they can't wait for their cities to be overrun and to build way-too-expensive housing to kick out all their poor. *breathes* Okay, anyways, China was given the Olympics despite these widely known human rights violations. Now everyone's using the Olympics as an excuse for China to clean up its act, saying things like that we're "watching closely" and asking for promises, but no one's actually doing anything to motivate the Chinese government to change. Maybe if they threatened to take the Games away if things don't improve. But the Chinese government clearly doesn't care if it looks bad to the rest of the world because the rest of the world isn't going to do anything to them except complain as they board their planes to China this August, stay in expensive hotels, spend loads of money in restaurants and on souvenires, and generally tell the Chinese government that as long as they're willing to put up with some whining, they can treat their citizens however they want and they will still get the "prestige" of the Olympic Games.

I'm more sagacious than you are...

I get Word of the Day emails. It's kind of awesome most of the time (except when it's a word I already know like fruition or vivacious), but most of the time the words are brand new and awesome. Like today's "omphalos", which means a central point, hub, or focus. I think that every day I might try to use my word of the day in a sentence on here. But it will come without warning, without hints or indicators! It will be like a game. An awesome, wordy game. Except today. Today it's not like a game because I already told you what my word is. But the omphalos of what I'm trying to do (HA! See what I did there? Brilliant!) is practice my new vocabulary so I can be really pompous and just start throwing words like pleiad around like rocks.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Tricksters of the Sea

Our squishy friends of the sea, the octopi, seem to be a little more saucy than we (or at least I) give them credit for. Sexual jealousy, murder, and a little cross-dressing (or maybe cross-swimming).

http://www.cbc.ca/cp/Oddities/080401/K040108AU.html

How to Look Busy

A few easy steps to looking busy at work when you're actually blogging/emailing/facebooking/playing spider solitaire/etc:

-If you use Windows, make sure you have enough programs running that your taskbar is full. This will squish everything together making it less obvious that you've got the internet or a game running.

-Open at least two windows of the internet so that when you minimize it it just says "Internet Explorer - 2" Instead of the name of whatever website you're at (like, say, The Receptionist), bringing more subtlety to the work.

-This is obvious, but make sure that at least one (but preferrably all, otherwise what's the point?) of the other programs you have running are legitimate work programs. Like a letter you should be editing, a spreadsheet you should be filling in with boring data (of course, have the papers with the actual data beside you as well, otherwise the illusion will be destroyed), or a fax you could be printing. That way when someone walks by you can quickly click onto the closest program and there you go! You're working.

-It can also be handy to have a pile of random papers that you can shuffle through as if you're trying to figure out what they are and where they need to be filed.

Things that could destroy this illusion:

-Slow reflexes. If you aren't able to sense someone's pending presence early enough they will see you do the switch-over, which is almost worse.

-Typing (or lack thereof). If the work-related "safe page" you've got is data entry and you're wasting time playing spider solitaire, it will be more obvious because of the staring and clicking vs. typing shift. Also if you're writing emails (or blogs) and then switching over to a page that would not involve typing, the abrupt stop to loud typing sounds is a bit of a dead giveaway.

-Progress. If you constantly go back to the same data-entry page whenever someone walks by you but you've never made any progress on it or just sit there and stare at it until they go by without actually doing anything, that may look fishy.

-Sudden action. When every time your boss walks out of his office he sees you spring to life and pick up the same piece of paper or suddenly start data-entering again, he may get suspicious of your work.

-Nervousness. If you get a jolt of nerves every time you have to hide what you're doing and sit up a little to straight or get that deer-in-the-office-caught-with-your-hand-in-the-blog look, you might be giving yourself away.

Of course, at the end of the day what's really going to destroy the illusion that you're getting work done is the fact that you're not and that it shouldn't take anyone an hour to change the address on a letter and print it out. Alas. Everyone knows you're not working, just accept it and move on.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Spice Up Your Life

Here are some ways I like to add spice to my day:

-Keep track of exactly what time it is so when I answer the phone I am painfully accurate in saying "Good Morning" or "Good Afternoon"

-Waiting as long as I possibly can to take my lunch so the afternoon is shorter

-Putting off my filing, forgetting about it until about 4:50 and then all of a sudden waking up out of my trying-to-hide-the-fact-that-I'm-not-doing-anything stupor and going "Crap! I have all this filing to do still! I must rush!" And then rushing to get it all done and realizing that it still only really takes about 4 minutes and still having time to spare before going home.

Hey look, it's almost time for that.

Words Cannot Express

Oh.... my.... WORD! I am ALONE IN THE OFFICE!!!! This is... I don't even know what it is. It's something, that's for sure. Something amazing. I feel like I really need to take advantage of this, but how?

Possibilities:

-blatantly look at my time-wasting websites without constantly listening for someone coming up behind me and minimizing the window?
-phoning people when I'm not even on my lunch yet?
-listening to music (scratch that, someone removed the speakers from my computer, rendering this impossible)?
-dancing and singing?
-running around?
-sitting in my boss' chair and making prank calls with a funny voice?
-reading my book openly?

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!

Although, let's just be honest here for a second. The possibilities may be endless, but chances are that I will sit here and think about all the amazing things I could be doing and not do any of them. Except likely #1, because that's just obvious. Maybe #2. Okay, okay, I'm doing them all right now!

Happy March April Fool's!

Big day today! Today's the day when every time I write a date on something I get to write it twice. Once as March 1 and then again as April 1. It's like the best April Fool's joke ever except that it happens 12 times a year!