Friday, June 02, 2006

Wheels off

Everywhere I look - people are quitting their jobs.

Thought I'd look into it.

Donna Nabel, of Business Finance writes:

If as many employees leave their jobs in 2006 as recent surveys suggest, CFOs may find that hiring and retention in the near term looks like a game of musical chairs. Twenty-two percent of employees who participated in MetLife's 2005/06 Employee Benefits Trend Study said that they had changed jobs in the previous 18 months. And results of the annual Job Forecast survey conducted in late 2005 show that "nearly three in 10 workers say they plan to look for new opportunities in 2006, and 41 percent plan to leave the companies by the end of 2007," reports CEO Matt Ferguson.

Holy shit! Is this because gas has gone up?I remember one major gripe at my previous job was the Accounting department's refusal to raise the $0.37/mile reimbursement rate. Which is ironic, considering I now commute 5 times as far.

Has the essense of our job (or business or medicine or what have you) changed so much that we ourselves are seeking a redefinition?

What else makes people think it's so much better somewhere else? Are we all just sick of that one particular person at our office? Just so frigging sick of seeing them each morning that moving jobs - or even half way across the country, to a state so hot your hair sweats in April - seems like the only solution?

Are we greedy? Bored? Genuinely driven to do better? Curious? Yearning to learn new stuff? Desperate for real food in a real city with a sports team or three that makes it to the playoffs every few years?

Who knows. But I'll tell you this. I am happy. For the first time in a long time. I have a belly full of Thai noodles, a house with central air conditioning, coworkers I like, a son who uses the potty and a wife who hasn't called my name in alarm over the latest house catastrophe in months (Although, when she uses my first name, I still cringe, I'm so conditioned to expect the words which follow to be "why is this cracked/dripping/clogged/broken/leaking/peeling/not working/dead?")

To those of you who haven't switched jobs: Those of you who are contemplating sticking it out for another six weeks/ six months/ two years: Those of you who are waiting for the next Christmas bonus or your 401K to vest: Switching worked for me.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bling yo' Vizzle

First V70 that dies I replace with one of these.
I mean it.


I have a swallow infestation. Specifically a barn swallow infestation. Bird enthusiast the country wide hope this will happen to them. I, however, am no bird enthusiast. So I started doing some research on removing the nest under the eave of my back porch. Turns out that the little critters are A) protected and B) tenacious. Poisoning them is the only real means of ridding yourself of a family and the government frowns on that. My next most viable option is to take the nest down between egg-laying seasons and continue to keep them from building another one. So I tore down nest number one on Memorial Day. And wouldn't you know it, they are already constructing nest #2 on the site of the old nest (after hours of frantically searching for and and mourning over the loss of the first nest). I didn't know this but more than one barn swallow family will share the same nest - like a bird timeshare. Which means that technically I have a resort property on - if only there was a way of charging the little buggers rent.

As it is, I have to live with poop on the patio, birds divebombing the dog in the back yard, and a flurry of sqawking and threats when I try to fire up the grill. This shit will not do. There's an outfit which will humanely remove them from your house (but I'm sure they'll remember where they built their nest and return in a week.) There's another outfit that constructs little swallow condos so you can encourage them to nest at the far end of the yard, etc. Me? I just want 'em somewhere else.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

memorable me

My wife and I drove through my old neighborhood in Dallas yesterday. We enjoyed pointing out the houses that hadn't done a thing since we left, including a few that are still for sale, three years later. We speculated on the kind of people that must've moved into this house or that based on their landscaping or the addition of a particular cement lawn sculpture. As we neared our old house, I could make out my old neighbor, John, standing in the front yard watering his grass. John was a fixture in my neighborhood when I lived there. He stood in his yard with a garden hose for about 5 hours a day. He has the voice of Hank Hill and two enormous golden labs in his backyard that make the entire neighborhood smell like a kennel after a meal and a rainstorm. I pulled the car up , rolled down my window, and said hi. The look I got back was as blank as brick. "Hi" he said back like you might say to some guy in a Volvo who seems too friendly. "John, it's me. James. Your old neighbor. I used to live NEXT DOOR." Crickets. He shook his head. "Your wife Nancy?" "Susie" she corrected him, leaning over my lap. He looked even MORE perplexed. John? Three years ago? "I've gone to bed a couple times since then." he replied. Holy Fuck! Am I that easy to forget? I must've talked to that guy once a day for three years (usually about his lawn or my lawn or his fertilizer or my crabgrass or my sprinkler system, which he was always amused to see me fixing.) We drove off, laughing. But Damn! I'm freaked! It's like every trace of me from South Dallas is just gone! It's also amazing how much worth I put into the memory of a fat old man with a garden hose and a couple stinking dogs in his yard. But this stuff MATTERS to me. I need to be remembered by people like this. Still, I wonder if if my old neighbors from Harrisburg drove by my house and did the same thing, would I remember? Would I play dumb just to get them to leave me alone? Perhaps there's something in the Miller Lite down here that gives you a short memory and a strange love of St. Augustine.