Tag Archives: awesome job

Step 1, Find Wings. Step 2, FLY!!

28 Jan

I can’t remember really hating winter until recently, but at the present moment I am sick of it, fed up, through, soooo over it (omg, sooo sorry to go “valley girl” on you guys!). It probably has something to do with the fact that last winter was the snowiest one we’ve had on the east coast (USA) in several years and this winter itself has (probably) broken some records — not to mention the fact that the majority of the winters in my life were spent as a schoolboy, who reveled in the wonder of a snowy forest behind my house and the joy of a day off school (Virginia schools are pretty notorious for shutting down if there’s snow accumulation of more than 1/8″) — but I won’t bore you guys with my ranting and complaining about forces beyond my control BECAUSE:

I have great news for our readers that will warm you right up! (1) I am headed places warm and wonderful in the very near future, and (2) I am about to regain my title as World Traveler Extraordinaire. I’m sure it’s well-known by now that anyone bearing  a World Traveler title must leave his homeland at regular intervals to maintain it, and for an Extraordinaire-level traveler, this obligation must be fulfilled at least once a year (OK, that sounds dumb, but hopefully in an entertaining kind of way?). I almost didn’t make it last year — and my brief, business-related trip to Toronto in the autumn only barely counted as international travel (don’t get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED the city — but I was only there two days, and there wasn’t much of a cultural contrast or linguistic challenge for me).

So, without further ado (adue, adieu? These “set phrases” are annoying; if I were a more dedicated linguist I would probably do the research and find out where that even comes from…), sans further delay, I shall unveil my plans:

Paso uno: Mini-vacation in West Palm Beach, mid-February. I’m just taking a few days off to chill by the water, hang out with a really good friend who’s working at a baseball stadium down there, and maybe even scuba dive (no steps have yet been taken to ascertain whether this third pursuit is even remotely possible in the month of February — don’t all the cool-looking fish migrate to the Caribbean, or hibernate in an abyss somewhere during winter? — but it definitely sounds cool and tropical to mention (and might make a few of you envious?). Yet while therapeutic and relaxing and extremely awesome, this trip, of course, does nothing to further my reputation as a World Traveler, which is why I just recently decided to take:

Passo dois (lit. paso dos, “step two”. Guess the language, and you’ll have narrowed down the places I might be going to two — or three if you’re informed enough to know the official language of Angola): 10-day vacation to the great city of Rio de Janeiro! I have a good friend there who’s been inviting me to come visit for a couple years now, and I actually had it in the back of my mind that this would be the year — if I could find the right price, of course. Well, I was talking to my amigo Marcos on Tuesday night — remembering our adventures together in Europe, catching up on recent happenings in our lives, comparing how miserable the weather is here and how absolutely gorgeous it is there, etc. — and I started thinking about how much I really want to go visit, and how I’d hate to look back in a few years and wonder why I let silly things like money and time be used as excuses for never taking the adventure — and, prob. more than anything, I was thinking about what an absolute blast Marcos and I used to have together when we were studying in Madrid, whether it was touring Andalucía, booking a last-minute trip to Brussels for a day because the price was right, or playing soccer in a Metro station where I kicked the ball into a lamp, which sent us into a frantic flight to the other side of the city to avoid transportation authorities [Author’s Note: Yes, I realize what an incredibly ridiculous run-on sentence this is, but I hope it’s serving its purpose in conveying my building excitement] — and so I took another look at flights for the end of March, using all the cheesy travel discount websites that are out there, and I found a round-trip flight that would be covered by the tax refund I’ll be receiving later this month [I wish I could insert a <hyperlink> here to a blog entry about filing my taxes this year…], so I made sure Marcos was going to be in town that week and bought it within the hour!

After making the purchase, I must admit that I had a little “Oh no, what have I done??!!!” moment — Was this an impulse buy? Had I really considered fully the risks of traveling to such a crime-ridden city as a white American tourist with little knowledge of the Portuguese language? Who does something like this, and is there a reason that most people don’t? Why hadn’t I researched the requirements for visiting the country before buying the ticket? (I found out later that night that US citizens are required to have a Tourist Visa to even enter Brazil, which I should have expected… But it should be no biggie if I get started on the application process this weekend, because I can get it within a month, and the price will almost be covered by the dinero I’ll be getting back from my state taxes…) — but then I realized that I was being smarter than I realized: I had made sure I had the money for it first, I had paid a little extra for a light travel insurance plan to cover me if I get stranded in an airport on one of my connecting flights or lose my job right before the trip and need to cancel it last-minute, and I have a really great friend waiting for me there who “has my back”, and it sounds like his family won’t let me starve, with the feast they’re already planning in my honor!

Really, I think it’s just the kind of adventure I need, after a year landlocked in central VA and tied down to a full time job. I’m looking forward to good times, learning a lot of Portuguese, enjoying new foods and drinks, hearing some authentic Bossa Nova, Samba and Choro played by Brazilians… I may decide not to come back! (Except for the fact that the only way I can take this trip in the first place is because of this full-time job that’s tying me down… A job which I really do enjoy most days!)

OK, so now we’re reaching the end of the post, and you’re probably asking yourself, why did he say this is “good news” for me the reader? Simply put, you benefit because you will be the ones that will be able to read the awesome posts about my trips — perhaps even while they’re going on, depending on internet availability — without ever having to leave your house! FOR FREE! What’s not to like? 😉

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“E-mails are Forever!!” – Wise Words from HR

26 Jun

Just wanted to share some wisdom from a recent “business integrity” training session at work. As our readers may or may not know, my awesome company is currently undergoing a merger (no big deal, we were just bought for over $800 million recently but are all guaranteed our current positions and salaries for at least the next year), so on Friday some human resources representatives from the larger company that purchased us, whose name I will not be revealing here to avoid any future complications, came to give us training on how to behave as employees. Basically they just wasted a couple hours of our day telling us common sense stuff, like don’t talk about new developments at the company before they’re released publicly, don’t engage in martha-stuart trading, talk to your supervisor if you have a problem instead of Rolling Stone magazine, etc etc, but the real kicker was the fact that we now have to be careful about what we say in e-mails (say what?!). They spent a good portion of the presentation explaining how any e-mail we send can be connected to us and used for or against us; we should avoid using words and phrases like “stupid”, “idiot”, “top secret”, and “don’t share this with anyone”; and that an e-mail can’t be made to just disappear because it can be easily read and saved by others, printed, archived, and/or forwarded.  The woman even made the statement “Remember: E-mails are FOREVER.” Really?  How is this not common sense in the twenty-first century workplace? But then again, looking at cases like Stuart’s, McCrystal’s, and the Facebook fiasco at Intern Joe’s law school (“Those Internets are Dangerous, https://constitutionalpheasant.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/those-internets-are-dangerous/&#8221;), it seems common sense is just plain hard to come by in today’s world.

Oh, and another highlight of the morning was the revelation that, in keeping with their “Just Do the Right Thing” mantra, I shouldn’t pay or accept bribes for the company unless someone demands one while holding a gun to my head in a foreign country where corruption is acceptable, in which case I should “if at all possible,” Miss H.R. stated matter-of-factly, “ask for a receipt — for accounting purposes.”

Paid for 48 Hours of Chilling at the Beach: This Is Why I Went to College

15 Jun

Wait, did you read that right? Over a full week’s pay for NOT working? Ohhh yes, it’s all true: I have just returned from my very first PAID vacation. I left town–the state, in fact–for six days, abandoning all work-related responsibilities, and returned to receive a full paycheck from the company for which I did nothing during that time. Pretty sweet, no? And the consequences of my absence from the office weren’t nearly as bad as I expected; less than 30 e-mails and one lone “missed call” awaited me at my desk, and I’ve been crossing stuff off my weekly checklist at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, everyone else at the office seems very relieved and appreciative to have me back–perhaps another unintended benefit of my trip.

After 5 months as International Graphic Designer extraordinaire, the benefits of my relatively new degree are continually revealing themselves–especially now that my kid sister has returned from college for the summer and is getting paid minimum wage to be on her feet all day, dealing with annoying customers from all walks of life, having to carefully coordinate potty breaks, enjoying neither the guarantee of free weekends nor payment for holidays or vacation days when she doesn’t work… Reminds me a lot of myself at a certain home improvement store throughout my college years! I’m probably jinxing myself by expressing my delight with my awesome job, private restroom and paid beach trips, but it’s just so refreshing to see some of the fruit of my labor. Now if I could just get the hang of relating effectively to my co-workers and make a few friends, I’d be set. But that’s a topic for another entry. Adjusting to 8-hour days after a week off is exhausting, so I need to get myself to bed ASAP. Next time I’ll try to have a more entertaining and exotic post to share, but hey, a short, self-exaltant entry is better than no post at all!