Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I’ve gotten confirmed to work for the next operation of the U.S. Census.  I have get to do another background check, but that won’t be a problem.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Downton Abbey film when I saw it with my mother last week. it was entertaining and a film you can see with people of all generations without cringing at language or subject matter. There was a trailer for a new film on the life of Harriet Tubman, which looks promising. It looks like they’ve added steroids to history, but Harriet could be good.

I am disappointed that I haven’t found any time to write. I’ve missed polishing my stories and would like to start a new play. This week, I vow to correct that.

Finally, my former employer from my teaching job in China has agreed to reimburse me for the costs incurred when I had to return to China to get my belongings after they decided not to have me return. I learned that a male colleague in essentially the same situation was reimbursed. It took a while for me to come up with the needed receipts. Now the problem is that they’ve sent me a W2 form, an I-9 and other new hire documents. I mentioned that I’m not being hired and that signing these forms is dishonest. I wasn’t sure what they were doing and still am not. Then a new girl in HR replied that they weren’t responsible for withholding taxes. What?! Withholding on a reimbursement? I’m not getting wages, I’m getting reimbursed for airfare, hotel, etc. Those expenses aren’t taxed. These people should know this. Clark University continues to vex me.

I returned to volunteering in the Maskerspace at my hometown library. It was loads of fun. It’s interesting to see how each space differs. In the 7 weeks I’d been gone two of their full timers have left. One got a new job and the other a promotion. They’ll leave a hole in the team even though the others are good.

No word from the two jobs I’d interviewed for. One wanted their new employee to start today. I’m guessing they have offered the job to someone else.

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Sepia Saturday

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This week Sepia Saturday bloggers are transported back to the Gilded Age, to the mills.

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Saw mill, Ireland, 1901

I wouldn’t want to work here.

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Richmond Spring Mills, Tennessee, 1910

How old do you think that young, barefoot mill worker is?

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Weaving Silk in China

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France 18th Century weaving

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I had a great weekend working. Well, sort of great. I did hear this horrible information about how cold heartedly my coworker whose mother died has been treated. Yet, because I worked with good teammates the time flew by and everyone pulled together that made things fun.

I had a good birthday with dinner at my aunt and uncle’s new condo that overlooks a small lake. They moved from the home they’ve lived in probably since the 70s, but the stairs were too much for my aunt. We had a great night with lots of laughs.

I started reading a mystery called The Beautiful Blue Death. Set in Victorian London, it reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories.

I started a gofundme campaign to help defray the costs of my doctor’s visit given that my employer’s error got me kicked off my insurance.

Next Monday is my last day at this library. I’d go back if there was a new Director. This woman is pernicious and inefficient. It’s hard to believe she was ever hired or that she’s kept her job.

I began watching Buster Keaton in Saphead, a sweet comedy with less slapstick than I expected.

Just Awful

I can’t believe that the management of Winnetka-Northfield Library is still treating people so poorly in light of the two news stories in the local papers this week. (Here’s one from the Winnetka Talk.*)

You’d think the managers would shape up, but no.

I just learned that when a colleague, who’s part time, was on vacation learned her mother died. Due to her vacation she had to switch a lot of shifts. Then to attend her mother’s memorial she had to take off a weekend. The management required that she make up her hours and get a replacement. Not one manager expressed any sympathy towards her. So she will go to her mother’s memorial but then she’ll have to work 12 days in a row to get that “favor.”

*Note: in the article it states that 88 people have left. In the last couple weeks 6 more have done so. The total is now 94 out of 43.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If I were having coffee with you this weekend, I would tell you that I finished reading the book, rather I finish listening to the book, Getting to Yes by Robert Fisher. Is not a new book but this book about negotiation is still is relevant.

Rather than teaching people how to beat the party they’re trying to negotiate with and just teaching you to be a Better horse trader Getting to Yes offers more positive solutions.

On Saturday I had lunch with four former colleagues it’s been our tradition to meet once in the winter and once in summer however since one of our group job to full-time we never got together in winter. So we have a lot to catch up on. My colleague with the new job has changed from advertising to healthcare. Her title is Engagement Coach for local hospital System. She coaches nurses and doctors on their communication skills by evaluating talk and how the patient reports how well the Conversation went. Then she coaches to health care givers on how to improve.  It’s cool that the hospitals are systematically working to improve communication.

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Manet. Still life

After lunch, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago for its final weekend for an exhibit on Manet’s paintings. Usually I take a lot of my own photos, but with one arm I didn’t bother. I did get the audio tour and that was worth every penny. The only downside was it was extremely crowded so I didn’t see every piece. 

I’d tell you that I enjoyed the Japanese movie I am Waiting, a noir gem.

I’d tell you it’s getting cooler and a few trees’ leaves have begun to turn. I’m still not ready for fall.

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I’d tell you that it’s been hard continuing to work at the library with one arm. They aren’t legally bound to make accommodations for people so the choice is either do all the same tasks go home and recover. I have been juggling answering the phone while using a computer with one hand. The patrons are quite sympathetic and patient. The higher ups don’t give it much thought and actually see my injury as their inconvenience. 

On Wednesday a nearby library hosted a training session on customer service. To evaluate how you’re doing, however a lot of what we learned I’ve learned other positions. Also half day program tried to pack a full day into a morning. So the last hour was quite rushed. Given that they charge $316 per person, I love to start my own business in this field. 

I’m continuing with my census work and am grateful for my wonderful team. I got a couple blocks done yesterday myself enjoyed exploring neighborhoods I never gave a second glance.

Two more people have decided to quit the library. That’s now 16 for the year from a staff of 43.

Poem of the Week

What Work Is

By Philip Levine
We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is—if you’re
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it’s someone else’s brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours of wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, “No,
we’re not hiring today,” for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who’s not beside you or behind or
ahead because he’s home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You’ve never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you’re too young or too dumb,
not because you’re jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don’t know what work is.

Weekend Coffee Share

wordswag_15073188796611453091488Weekend Coffee Share is a time for us to take a break out of our lives and enjoy some time catching up with friends (old and new)!

If we were having coffee I tell you that it’s been rather tough figuring out how to manage in a sling. Needless to say getting dressed, cooking, bathing, writing, working, and even reading a book is a whole new ballgame.

I did go to work on Friday and was able to catch up with email and do a few tasks. There was a second news report in the local paper about the state of the library. We also learned that the director has consulted a lawyer to help her deny people Freedom of Information Act request for documents. Other libraries have provided these documents on the same day as they were requested. The library where I work doesn’t want anyone to read these documents. 

I had a good long talk with my mentor who profusely apologized because she felt guilty that she knew this library with the toxic work environment but she also knew I wanted a job so she refrained from telling me how bad it was. Again and again she suggested I get out of here as soon as possible. I do still think there’s hope and I’m not ready to quit yet. Since I’m just part-time I don’t see the full abuse that others have seen. I do pray things improve.

Thursday I had a meeting with some of my census team members. I’m really happy about the people were working with me. They’re interesting and dedicated. There’s a ton of addresses to verify and good people are on this job which can be challenging in many different ways.

And Friday since I can’t type quickly rather than discuss The Age of Innocence via email with my friend Bill, we arrange to Skype. I worked with Bill in Korea and for the last few years we selected a novel read it via email. Skype with a great way to go because the back-and-forth was immediate. I think we both learned new ways to look at Edith Wharton’s novel.

Today is Labor Day and we’ve gotten one of those beautiful late-summer days. It’s not too hot; the sun is shining and the sky the brilliant blue. Mainly, the day has been filled with work by choice. This morning I met one of my listers for the census and we tried to troubleshoot his computer problem. Unfortunately, I had no solutions and the IT department was closed. Then I tried to make progress on a huge block that I have to canvass. I thought it only consisted of a senior living development, but when I finish that complex, I realized it includes the entire street to the east of that complex plus for at least two cul-de-sacs. It could take another two days to do this since I can only work a couple hours at a time due to this broken wrist.

I’ve been boning up on negotiation skills. Right now I’ve been listening to the audiobook of Getting to Yes. Although the books a bit old, the approach still seems relevant. And there’s lots of specific examples to guide you through the process. I like how the authors suggest methods that aren’t confrontational but rather ways to work together without resentment and bad feelings. I hope to be ready to go to discuss salary with my current job get up there salary. Wish me luck.

On my way to the massive block I stopped for gas. Somehow I locked the keys in the car along with my eyeglasses and phone. I wound up having to walk home about an mile and a half, call my father who’s in Utah, find out the code to open the door, call my neighbor, get a ride back to the gas station, unlock the car and proceed to canvass. I didn’t want to court more bad luck so after canvassing, I had lunch with a friend and canceled any other errands for the day.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be an easier day.