duck-shaped pain


9 August 2001
Essentially, Exchanging Several Books For One New Book

My money from last month got credited to my account, so I went on a mini spending spree today. I ordered a shirt (the red one) and the guidebook to Thailand that I wanted to get in the first place.

I saw it in a bookstore in Denver a few months back, but didn't buy it, since I wasn't sure if I was actually going to go there or not. Then, when I decided to go, I looked for it at Amazon and found that it was out of print but that a shiny brand new edition was going to be published this month. Which makes it about the most up-to-date guidebook I can get, I believe. Which is a good thing.

I just got some mail detailing my guidebook order. Tacked on the end was one of those "recommendations" sections, you know, the whole "People who enjoyed this book also enjoyed…" The company I keep as far as people who ordered the same book as me is sort of interesting. I was recommended Vaccinating Your Child and The Topping Book. [1]

Work today was terrible. I nearly lost it, thought seriously about quitting, reached for the beer within three seconds of returning home, things like that.

Looking back, it was nothing special that triggered it, just the usual intense drama about things that don't matter and documents no one is ever going to read. But during the middle of it all, The Employer asked me to update the phone list. Namely, to keep it exactly the same except for one thing -- I needed to take E.'s name off of it.

Like this is memorable to anyone but me, but E. is my now not-pregnant coworker who is out on maternity leave. I am doing her job, which was okay at first, when we thought she would only be out a month. And then two. Now we’re on month five, and it's becoming apparent that the reason there is no E. in the E.-shaped slot by the phone is that The Employer is too cheap to hire her back, rather than her continuing desire to stay home.

The reasons here are simple. We are basically interchangeable cogs, except that she enjoys bringing in Andean folk music CDs and I try to bring in the exact opposite. We both edit things and enter data and selectively ignore The Employer when it suits us to do. Except she makes more than what I do an hour. So here I am, doing the exact same work for about half price -- something which just sort of occurred to me. [2]

Man, I am such a sucker. All this time, thinking that I was being a good sport, pitching in when help was needed, and now I think this was his plan all along. The Employer is possibly one of the cheapest people I've ever met when it comes to some things -- employees being one of them.

So, when he asked me to take E. off the list -- and believe me, it takes a lot of doing to come off the list. There are people on there I've never met or even heard of -- it was more like an acknowledgement that yes, he's not going to hire her back. Which pisses me off. Because not only am I getting more hours and more stress than I want to, I'm not even benefiting financially here. Plus, I like E. and miss having her around to talk to.

I could ask for a raise, but the way things are going at the office right now, I'm afraid I'd just get fired. Or whatever the term is when you're a contractor and not a real employee. "Services no longer needed" or something like that.

All I have to do is make it until October, and then I can decide what to do when I come back.

[1] Could be some interesting encounters over there.[2] I know, I'm slow.

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