Thursday, October 23, 2003

Three Days of No-Smoking!...

Who can guess where the name came from? (NOTE: I normally don't end my sentences with prepositions but in this case... hey, if you can rewrite it to something that sounds moderately pleasant without ending with a preposition, email me!)

Grrrrr.... Three days. This is the third day. My lungs are getting so clean, I can hardly breath! I woke up at 2:30 am this morning (from a dream in which Keith stopped by with his girlfriend and I had to make the place presentable), thinking about how nice it was to sit on the patio and smoke...

Statistically speaking, these next few days should be pretty horrible. I say "statistically speaking" taking Murphy's Law into consideration. I mean, as irritable as someone gets when they're stopping (not "quitting"), what better time for things to go wrong? It started yesterday, when I found out that my employer is changing our benefits. Actually, I wouldn't say they are "changing" the benefits. One of the (very) few good things about Linksys was that they paid for our benefits. Well, now, they've decided to stop that. So, they're not "changing" so much as "obliterating" our benefits. Now, it's going to come out of my paycheck. Great. As if it wasn't hard enough before to live from paycheck to paycheck. The beautiful thing about this "benefits" meeting was that Linksys will be paying 100% for new benefits... for employees who travel abroad... on business...

So, basically, they're stripping away all of our benefits to help pay for executive travel perks.

... I'd say that's fair.


That wasn't the worst of it, of course. Dealing with an environment straight out of high school does not help. I've never seen a place as "clique-y" as this place. On top of that, rather than get through this "benefits" meeting quickly and efficiently, several people had to ask questions as if they were back in high school, just to get a laugh. Do you remember those people? Well, these people are in their 40's and (probably in an attempt to show off for the girls in their 20's) would ask the dumbest questions and then laugh as if it was funny. (This being a meeting about health insurance, I'll leave it to your imagination.) The icing on the case, though, came with Tony. Tony is a guy who insults everyone, doesn't do his job, and gets away with it because he's friends with the ex-CEO. On top of that, our corporate environment says that we have to deal with problems ourselves and not get any supervisors or HR involved. With me so far? So, you put together a high school environment, a bully, and an employer who refused to deal with problems, and this is what you get: in the middle of the meeting, he poured half a bottle of water on my head - IN FRONT OF EVERYONE! I was first shocked. Then, I nearly decked him. But I realized the whole room (yep, a couple bosses, HR, the new head of the company) was laughing and if I hit him, I could be fired. How does one fight back against this?... Fire with fire, I'm thinking. And I'm in a pretty bad mood as it is. It just boggles my mind that an employer like Cisco would ignore problems such as this.

(Why don't Tony and I get along? Basically, he's another illiterate who thinks he can write. I'm a writer who knows he can't. He likes to change my documents when I'm not looking and I like to point out that he shouldn't be doing that... it's a long story.)

Anyway, I sat back down with a wet head and fumed. After, I went to HR and was told, "He was only kidding. You shouldn't take it so seriously." The funny thing is I figured that's exactly what they would say.

And that was my second day without a cigarette.

Last night, I returned to the gym. I ran 1.5 miles and biked 6 miles and did 90 sit ups. I figure I'll add a little each day until I'm up to an hour. Yesterday morning, I didn't feel anything but this morning, I'm achy. Well, I'm 38, after all.

Oh! One more thing before I go. After "Play it Again", I'd kind of got it in my head to grow my mustache. After it was grown in, and around my birthday, I'd then got it in my head to grow my beard. I was going to be heading to Oregon, after all. Last year, I'd started growing my beard when I headed up to Oregon - it would be like a tradition. Well, that tradition died an inglorious death this week when I shaved off the whole kit & kabooble! Do you know what it's like to have facial hair at the gym?! I needed a cool (and less sweaty feeling) face. So, I go up to Oregon clean shaven... I hope they recognize me!

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