27 June 2007


Chicago Transit Authority Help Desk: Hi, this is L., how can I help you?

Me: Yeah, hi, when I got on the bus today, the driver told me my card had been reported as stolen?? I did request a replacement card, but I haven't received it yet.

CTA: Can I have the serial number on your card?

Me: Sure, 00035blahblahblah

CTA: Oh, you requested a replacement on Monday.

Me: Yes.

CTA: Your card gets deactivated 24 hours after you request a replacement.

Me: But I don't have a new one yet!

CTA: Well, that's because you chose to get it in the mail. You could have come to pick it up at headquarters the next day.

Me: I didn't realize the card would be deactivated so quickly, probably because it didn't say that on the form. When will my new card arrive in the mail?

CTA: 5-7 business days.

Me: Wait. So, my card was deactivated after 24 hours, but my new card won't arrive for 5-7 days?

CTA: Exactly.

20 June 2007

The Rat Race...Maybe?

Excluding the new job, the biggest group I've ever worked with was 20 people. My last job was just me and my boss. The new company has nearly one thousand spread over five floors of cubicles. At least three times a day, I walk to the bathroom past probably one hundred people I will never meet. Makes for a very different environment, to say the least.

And it's an interesting small-town-type microcosm of human behavior. I'm continually amazed by the inability of most people to understand that they can control the awkwardness of a situation. If you simply pretend (and act like) it isn't awkward, it suddenly isn't! Say, "it's cozy in here" when the twelve of us are currently crammed in a elevator by virtue of nothing other than our common start date instead of staring awkwardly at your feet. (Or laugh politely when someone else says it, thankyouverymuch) Tell the new employee it's nice to meet her and ask her what her last job was or if she's heard about bagel Wednesday when you meet me instead of stammering out your name and staring intently at the introducer for an incredibly awkward 45 seconds. I wouldn't call myself incredibly outgoing, but it's just not that hard! Know when you hold the cards in any given interaction (i.e. you're the one who's obviously more comfortable in a situation because you know either the people or the surroundings better) and then make it work!

Working for a big company has its pluses and minuses. After orientation Monday morning,:

-my ID picture came out as a bright yellow silhouette
-my keycard didn't work
-the computer wasn't hooked up to the monitor
- I didn't have access to the databases, which made it impossible for me to do anything remotely helpful (apparently, two more new people will be joining my team, so most of my for-real training will be next week)
-the people on my team kept standing up and saying things to each other like, "did you change the functionality on the S&P interface to user admin before or after the migration?"
-I had no chair

On the plus side, all but one of these problems were fixed by the next morning. And today featured bagel day in the Coyote Cafe and an Ice Cream Social (complete with a clown on stilts!) in the lobby. And I think there's a patio party tomorrow afternoon! Now, if I only understood what my job was going to be...

17 June 2007


I was watching the Food Network today. Nigella was expounding on desserts, and sorbet smoothies in particular, when she uttered the following tidbit:
"I find that the freezer is a very useful repository for time-saving deliciousness"
Ridiculous as it is, anyone who can say *that* with a straight face is sort of my hero. She didn't even blink.

15 June 2007

On The Horse Again

New jobs are almost like going to college. You get to start over, to be whomever you choose with a whole new group of people and a whole new set of possibilities. And there's a sense of standing on the edge of something important. Like everything before it was a prelude, perhaps even leading directly to it. I realize that it generally only lasts a few weeks, but I'm drawn in every time.

I've been off work for a month, and it's not nearly as enjoyable as I might have guessed. Relaxing very quickly gives way to lack of stimulation (and lack of thoughts that translate into blog posts). Apparently, years of school and 40-hour workweeks have rendered me incapable of amusing myself for longer than a few hours at a time. Thank goodness for baseball. Otherwise, I would have had to take up knitting or something...

But it's back at it next week. As of Monday, I'll have to find a time outside of business hours to run errands and watch X-Files reruns. And the cat will (gratefully, I think) go back to having the apartment to herself during the day.

07 June 2007

A Whole Lot Of Nothing

I'm not really one of those people who always needs to be doing something. I can sit on the couch for the better part of a day and not feel pressure to do much of anything at all. Or I can follow the cat's lead and take a nap because I can't come up with anything better to do and not feel particularly guilty about it. Hey, sleep is an accomplishment.

It turns out, though, that having structured activities (i.e. work) the rest of the time is a big part of that free lethargy. I'm on week three of a month off between jobs and it's absolutely incredible how easy it is to do nothing. I never fancied myself much of a putterer, but I just realized that I've now spent the better part of three days doing a couple hours worth of cleaning. There were some minor breaks (I went to the gym, watched a Sox game, cat was dragged kicking and screaming to the vet), but nothing that could account for that kind of lost time. I'm simply astounded by my ability to accomplish essentially nothing. Better at home than at work, I guess.

And now it's after midnight and I'm planning to count this (totally lame) post as an accomplishment on yesterday's list AND today's.