Tag Archives: iPhone

Women, Blacks and Computer Programming

I wasn’t planning on writing another post on this blog, with the exception of my “Bye” post–and the only reason that hasn’t gone up yet is because I don’t know what to write (other than “bye”). But I want to write at least a little bit more than that for the, what, two readers I have.

Perhaps it is not so bad that “it’s so hard to say goodbye,” or else I wouldn’t be posting the following, which may be enlightening to some who are interested in the following topic. And here it is:

So, I haven’t written a lot about this while keeping this blog, but I am attempting to transition into a career as a programmer or software (or web) developer. I’ve taken a couple of online classes, but I am sick of the online route and feel that I need something that is faster and more structured, as well as more in depth. This has led me to do some research on what is out there that might fit me.

I ran across some bootcamp classes, which…bootcamp sounds great to me. Nobody I’ve talked to about it seems to like the idea of my going to bootcamp. In fact, some of them don’t like it for some of the reasons why I love it, i.e. you learn a lot in a short amount of time. And, obviously, there’s the cost of bootcamp.

Anyway…not the point. The thing about the bootcamps is every bootcamp pic is full of whites and Asians, most of them male. These bootcamps are always like, “Oh, 95% of our graduates get jobs as developers within a few months of completing bootcamp”…but…all of their grads lack melanin, which leaves me wondering whether or not I’d be able to get a job after bootcamp (if I actually went). It’s not like I’m just black or just a woman and have at least sex or at least race in my corner–I’m both. This led me to do some more research–this time about women and blacks in this field.

Every time I search on this topic, I find articles and blog posts that wonder why blacks aren’t attracted to programming or why women aren’t majoring in Computer Science anymore. And there’s a lot of discussion, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually seen a–for lack of a better word–“correct” answer. So, I’m going to cut the bullschitt and tell you my truth.

Why didn’t I study Comp. Sci, and why do I think blacks don’t become programmers or developers?

1) Frankly? Every time I think of all of those whites and Asians in those bootcamp pics, especially the guys you could tell are super geeky, I seriously ask myself if I want to spend entire workdays–or even bootcamp–surrounded by a bunch of geeky whites and Asians with whom I have nothing in common but this one interest.

For one thing, I am not a geek. I’m a nerd. There’s a difference. I think people who are attracted to stuff like programming tend to be geeks. Geeks and nerds usually have different personalities and different interests. I think nerds have more of a mainstream quality to them, to the point where sometimes you have to get to know someone before you realize he/she is a nerd. I’m incredibly capable of fitting in with “average” people and having conversations that don’t go above everyone’s head about everyday things. When I tell jokes, they’re actually funny to “average” people. Stuff like that.

I’ve seen definitions that basically switch the meaning of “geek” and “nerd,” but this is based on my daily observations–I think nerds are basically just more intellectual (in a broad range of subjects) and more quiet than everyone else, but geeks flatout don’t make sense to other people, tend to specialize in their knowledge and look odd, to boot. Think Jessie Spano (nerd) vs Screech Powers (geek) from “Saved By the Bell.”

Now, some of the “reasoning” and guessing I’ve seen as to why women, for example, don’t head towards programming involves the perception that it’s “uncool” or “uncool” people work in programming. This is not what I’m saying, so don’t get it confused. I’m not cool, not interested in it. I don’t particularly believe women are looking for cool careers/co-workers, but I do think a lot of women want to feel comfortable at work…and there are many things I can see with programming that can lead to some discomfort. This is doubly true if you’re a black woman. I’m not a teenager anymore. I’ve socialized for a long time, have worked for a long time, around all kinds of people. It’s way too complicated for a blog post, so all I can tell you is that 1) I know enough to know that dropping a fairly normal black–or even white or Asian (but especially a black)–female into a geeky white-guy space is going to be kind of awkward for everyone involved, and 2) you’re going to have a hard time finding a black person or a woman who is truly an all-out geek or even truly a full-fledged nerd, which further exacerbates what would surely be an issue of cultural fit in the workplace. Let’s face it–if you went out geek profilin’, you’d be looking for white or Asian guys. You profile black men in a different way. There are reasons for this.

The thing about it is, as I’ve written time and time again, cultural fit makes or breaks you on the job. Nobody’s going to convince me otherwise–I believe hard/good work and skill level have ridiculously little to do with advancing on the job or being treated well/fairly–and I think this is something most people understand on some level. It can keep you from getting your foot in the door, which is what led to my questioning whether or not bootcamp post-employment would work for me quite the same way it allegedly works for white guys and Asian guys and a few token non-black women. And other times, you can get through the door but get treated differently than everyone else once you’re inside.

This is not to say that my concern is discrimination, per se. It really is more so thinking about the kind of people by which I’d be surrounded and the awkwardness of it due to my lack of geekiness, my race and my sex vs the geekiness, race and sex of others. Discrimination is mainly an issue, for me, in terms of even being able to get hired in the first place.

2) Um…I’m almost 33 years old. So…when I was in high school deciding what I might want to major in during college–and then when I went to college–I don’t really remember much in the way of computer programming being offered. Now, that’s not to say there wasn’t anything. But…you’ve got to admit, that kind of thing has gotten more popular, more mainstream, and it’s all thanks to the tech explosion. So, you had an exposure problem back then that doesn’t exist to the same degree anymore. Now with cell phones and cell phone apps everywhere, how can studying Comp. Sci or wanting to find out how to develop programs not cross anyone’s mind? Frankly, if it weren’t for Androids and the iPhone, I don’t think I’d be looking into programming or development. It still never really would have crossed my mind.

So why is it that the number of women majoring in Comp. Sci has actually dropped now? Beats me. I’m surprised women ever were majoring in it…or anyone else, for that matter. But more so women…which leads me to my next point…

3) It strikes me that, back in the day, if you ended up in programming, there had to be a way for you to learn about that field’s existence. It wasn’t like law or medicine or teaching, i.e. something that’s very visible, sexy and/or overly-discussed. Something had to make those people say, “Hey, how do I get into this?”

I think little boys get into things that make them ask that question more than little girls do. The best example I can think of is video games. And I’m not saying little girls don’t play video games. I played them, and I still do. Still, I’ve never been a “gamer” by any stretch of the imagination (I play sports games predominantly, which most gamers do not play). And “gamers” almost always are guys. Again, it’s like being a geek–there are female geeks, but they almost never completely capture the essence of being a geek the way so many guys do. Gaming is the same way.

My point is, if you play video games all the time and you love them, it’s your passion…eventually, you’re going to wonder about how to create a video game. Therefore, more little boys are going to wonder about it at some point and proceed to investigate how you can “create” games, programs, software.

Now, I think with the tech explosion and kids way too young to be having cell phones still having them…it’s going to be more of an equalizer for women and minorities, i.e. we’ll see more and more girls and young minorities grow up surrounded by and doing things that plant the programming seed. But when I was growing up? I don’t think that was the case.

The one thing I do still see is minority households–particularly black and Latino–seem to be less likely to have technology such as computers or cell phones in the home than everyone else. My sister, for example, has never had a computer with high-speed internet access in any of her homes (um, apartments). This means she has a 19-year old daughter who has never had a computer or laptop. She has kids who are even younger than that who have never had a computer or laptop. It’s unthinkable to me and probably to a lot of people. I actually grew up with computers, for the most part, and I don’t think most people my age can say that (I’m talking elementary school, we had a computer in the living room). It’s probably one of the reasons why I have been able to break into IT without a related degree or any certifications and perform as well as people who have Comp. Sci/IT-related degrees and certs. But kids like my sister’s kids? There’s no way in the hell they’re going to become programmers or for programming as a career to seriously cross their minds. Heck, I grew up with computers, and it never crossed my mind until the last few years.

4) One thing I will say [write]–and it has been flowing through this post without directly stating it–is that one thing people have to get over if they’re seriously going to discuss the lack of women/blacks in IT, including in programming…is that women are different from men and blacks are different from whites (and then, to go even further, black women different from white women and so on). The…end. I saw a blog post within the last week where the comments just kind of…[sighs]…got out of hand with this, “Well, women don’t have the brains for this…” and the “OMG, that’s ridiculous…” kind of stuff. I mean…I’m not even talking about brain chemistry. I’m talking about being raised a certain way, probably more than anything else, and then societal expectations/steering to some degree. I don’t have all the answers with that. I just think it’s a complicated, hard-to-explain thing, but if you’re going to talk about it or write about it you can’t ignore that there are just differences there. And the differences don’t just boil down to discrimination or mental capacity. I have articulated several of them.

5) Finally, one thing that keeps a lot of people from pursuing anything tech-related is the perception that it’s too hard to learn and some people just have some innate ability to “get” these things. But I think the best-kept secret is that technology is nowhere near as complicated as people act like it is. The geeks keep you well-fooled. They had me fooled for a while. Now I know that you don’t have to be a tech geek in order to understand some of this stuff and to do it for a living. The only thing that keeps jobs in the IT industry and IT people employed is people refusing to believe that and running to the nearest perceived tech geek for every little thing instead of figuring it out. I was one of the few people who would actually sit and figure stuff out, and google whatever I couldn’t (still do), and now I work in IT with a BA in psychology and a law degree. Now, some people aren’t smart enough to figure out anything tech-related, and that’s fine. But anybody who is pretty intelligent and who has the interest can get this stuff.

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Tattle Tail Co-Workers

If you don’t read my blog regularly, I’m going to give you some relevant details about my job and then tell a tale about one of my co-workers who seems to have become a tattle tail. Here are the three things/people you need to know in order to understand the story:

-A lot of people at my job don’t actually work. They basically get paid to do nothing. The more money they make, the less work they do, as a general rule.

-There are two of us working tech support–me and this African guy who hasn’t been with the company very long but already is applying for and interviewing with other jobs because he wants off tech support (can’t blame him). The African guy has been at the company since maybe late March, so a little more than two months. Two months is not long enough to have a handle on working in tech support where I work, so there are still many problems with having to work with this guy–having to help him a lot, having to catch or correct a lot of his mistakes and having to deal with him not tackling issues because he doesn’t know how to handle them and doesn’t ask about how to handle them sometimes (i.e. he leaves more difficult issues for me to handle). These are the most significant issues with having to work with him.

-There is this geeky dude whom I call Wannabe Cool Tech (WCT) because he runs around trying to act cool all the time. He got off tech support not long before I was hired, and now part of his job is to train the newer tech support workers and be the go-to guy for any questions we have. From day one, I noticed this dude basically sits on his @ss in his cubicle, playing with his iPhone. He didn’t train us, per se. We have to seek him out and ask him questions, for the most part, and all of us were basically thrown into the fire. A lot of people at the company like this geek, probably because he’s very knowledgeable as far as handling tech issues goes, but I don’t. I felt early on that he was arrogant and doesn’t do enough work, although I don’t necessarily think he’s lazy. He certainly has way too much free time at work, though, and that’s partially because the position he has now seems to have been created for him as opposed to being anything that is really necessary to the company. I do think if he seriously was a tech support trainer he’d be more valuable and less sit-on-his-@ss-ish…but he’s not any of those things at this point and was surely far more valuable when he worked tech support.

This WCT fucker is who this post is about. Over the last few months, we have started having issues with fuckers tattle tailing at work, and he has just made my schitt list for such acts. Yes, a schitt list has developed. Up until now, it had primarily consisted of those fuckers who make more but do less. These are the people whom I’ve started saying “fuck it” and, despite their telling tech support that they want us to collect XYZ information before passing tickets on to them, I just fucking give them tickets anyways and try to make them do some digging. Now, WCT makes more, I presume, and does less, but these guys who had landed on my schitt list prior, I’m sure, make way more. Still, WCT is of more assistance to me than those other guys are, so even though I didn’t particularly care for him he had not found his way onto my schitt list.

Unfortunately, this past week at work the @sshole decided to fuck with me, and now it’s all over.

He had already started getting on my nerves, and I started to tell him in a nice way that this was the case but decided to leave it alone. He had been doing schitt like telling me schitt I already know as someone who has worked tech support at this company for over 6 months now–simple schitt that, of course, I know–“reminding” us that we need to be doing XYZ and sometimes tacking on complaints like, “Because you didn’t do this, I found this email from yesterday that no one had answered,” which probably meant he had to be torn away from texting on his iPhone to actually do some very simple work…and maybe even more annoying than that, he is very “I no longer work for tech support”-ish when people approach him for help and he will send them to me or forward emails over to me/tech support when we’re already flooded. True enough that he’s off tech support, but he’s sitting in his cubicle doing nothing while I’m drowning in work.

And yes, even though tech support consists of two of us, I’m the one drowning in work…correcting the new guy’s mistakes and doing schitt the new guy indirectly refuses to do and teaching him schitt. By the way, teaching the new guy schitt? That’s WCT’s job. Honestly, correcting the new guy’s mistakes probably ought to be WCT’s job, too.

On account of my doing at least 1 & 1/2 people’s job, schitt gets missed sometimes or not handled as fast as my employer would like. Now, one of WCT’s favorite things to say/write is “I’m not always checking the tech support inbox.” He says/writes this when he’s “reminding” us what we should be doing. Oh, but he still somehow manages to notice when one of us doesn’t answer an email correctly, quickly or at all…and, of course, he points this schitt out. The fucker is like Cinderella’s ugly stepsister, standing over you pointing out all the spots you missed while you’re the one on hands and knees doing all the waxing. But is that his job? After all, I have never been told that he is my supervisor or an assistant supervisor of any sort.

One day this past week, the fucker took it too far by emailing me and the new guy an email he copied my supervisor on, whining about how he had to answer an email that no one at tech support answered. My supervisor almost immediately responded, wanting to know why neither of us answered the email, “it doesn’t look good for tech support,” and saying he wants one of us to respond to him about why this email was not addressed.

I looked at my supervisor’s email like, “This dude is crazy”…because we were busy as hell on this particular day, with the phones ringing off the hook and emails pouring in. You’re whining about a company employee’s email not being answered, but you want one of us to take time away from a flooded inbox to answer your email about an email that WCT already answered. Straight up, I responded, “I will respond to you when I have time.” It was a nice way of saying, “I don’t have time for this overly-dramatic bullschitt.”

Mind you, this situation with that one email not being answered was another case of the new guy trying to leave something he’s clueless about to me instead of asking somebody. The email had first been ignored by him. I had just gotten to work, and then maybe 30 minutes-to-an hour later WCT started all this bullschitt. I get to work an hour and a half after the new guy does, so the email was ignored all that time prior to my arriving. You know what happened when I got to work? I found a flooded email inbox with more emails than just that one WCT whined about in it, and then the new guy turned his phone off and went and got himself breakfast from our on-site restaurant. There I was, fielding call after call by myself with all these emails staring me in the face while this @sshole was sitting on his side of the cubicle stuffing his face.

So, yeah, I jumped at the opportunity to respond to my supervisor’s email. The email consisted of much of what is written here that you’re reading, just in a far more professional tone. I explained the current work dynamic between me and the new guy and how the new guy leans on me rather than WCT, how he leaves work for me, how he runs off to take breaks as soon as I get to work even though that’s a busy time frame, etc. I explained that, if given time, I would have responded to the email, but I made it clear that the email had been overlooked long before I got to work and that it was obviously being left to me instead of WCT trying to figure out how to handle it.

But I also wrote, in a nicer way, “What the fuck does WCT actually do here? I know what he’s supposed to do…well, kinda…but…??? Seriously, man. When we’re busy, he needs to be trying to help–which is what I thought his job, in part, consisted of–instead of sitting there pointing out what’s being missed, what’s going wrong and whining about it all and copying our supervisor on emails about it.” Yes, sir, I did.

Did not get a response to that one, haha.

But…

My supervisor seemed understanding of everything else I wrote. I don’t know what’s going to come of it, though.

Things like this combine with my just being sick of dealing with people in a service capacity in making me want to get away from this company. Sometimes I think maybe I don’t really want to leave because the job has gotten more comfortable, I get tons of compliments, more people like me now and I like some of them…and, of course, there’s now the thing with Belinda, too, and just wanting to see what that’s all about. The biggest thing is just that the second I find that there are quality women where I live when, for years, I thought there weren’t and I am in the same place as those women, should I stay for that? I worry that leaving is like walking away from a huge opportunity to have more of a personal life (if I can find a way to navigate workplace relationships successfully) when I thought that wasn’t possible in this area. But I am probably on my way out the door, which is totally by my own volition–it has been made clear to me that my job is not in danger at all. Still, first and foremost is getting away from tech support, because I know there’s bullschitt–and certainly tattle tail co-workers–everywhere.

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How A Tech Geek Spends Money Frivously

So, I’m about to admit something that’s totally silly.

There’s one particular thing I’ve thought I’d do if I were rich. The average rich person always seems to have three or four houses and multiple expensive cars.

Me? I’d buy a bunch of cell phones.

This is particularly nonsensical, given that I barely talk on the phone. I’m not even into texting. Having minutes is a waste of money. I primarily use my iPhone for music and applications and the internet.

I tend not to be swayed by commercials, but there’s one type of commercial that always seems to get me interested in the advertised product–cell phone commercials. Being somewhat of a tech geek, I always wonder about the phone’s features and want to try them out.

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned that I’m really enjoying making more money. I might have also mentioned previously on this blog that I don’t really have a lot of self-control when it comes to having money. The more money I have, the more money I spend. I’m not a saver. Still, unlike a lot of people who are like me and don’t make a special amount of money, I do have a lot of money saved. It’s just that when I want something, I go ahead and buy it.

Yep–I broke down and bought another cell phone. Those Samsung commercials, in particular, were absolutely killing me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ordered a Samsung Galaxy S III. It arrived in the mail on Thursday, and I have been having an awesome time with it.

So, now I have two cell phones, and I’ll be keeping both. The iPhone is on a Sprint plan; the Samsung isn’t. So, aside from buying a few apps, the Samsung isn’t going to cost me more money per month, because I downloaded an app that will let me make and receive calls and texts as long as the Samsung is connected to wifi. But for the most part, I won’t be using the Samsung as a phone–it’ll be used for everything else, kind of like my iPhone is currently used.

Even though my fantasy has been to have a bunch of different phones, I’ll likely get rid of my iPhone eventually or get the Samsung activated with Sprint while deactivating my iPhone and leaving it to collect dust. See, anyone who loves the iPhone–and I have loved my iPhone–would probably love a Samsung Galaxy. They’re basically the same phone–except Samsung has taken the iPhone a step or two further. It’s better in most ways that I can think of, or at least most ways that matter to me. It’s the bigger, faster, less restricted, less block-y/bulky and seemingly less buggy iPhone. Almost every app I have problems with on the iPhone works a lot better on this Samsung, and I have yet to see an app open up and then just shut down in the middle of usage or almost immediately. It also has the best app I’ve found for making my music sound the way I want it to (Poweramp).

The only thing I’d hate about making the switch is that I rely pretty heavily on Smart Playlists that I create in iTunes and sync to my iPhone and iPod Touch. But I could probably live without them, seeing as how the reason I use them is to make sure I’m not hearing the same songs all the time…and I still somehow end up hearing a lot of the same songs often. Well, and one other thing–the app I probably use more than any other is not available on Androids (ooTunes, which has just about every radio station). I’m working on finding a satisfactory substitute app on Androids.

But doing this comparing and contrasting is why I’ve wanted to have different phones, so it’s cool to financially be in the position where I feel I can afford to buy and try two different phones. I guess I need to remember that when I wake up in the morning pouting about having to go to work?

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Talkin’ (Writin’) Bad About the Co-Workers

Well, I’ve been working at my new job for about three weeks now, which means it’s officially time to talk schitt about it.

First, a whole new co-worker breakdown:

Lazy Tech (LT, formerly known as the Lazy Afternoon Tech)

Really, I could also call him “Let You” Tech. I will say that he actually does do work on this job, unlike the job we had together before. But when he doesn’t want to handle an issue, he always tells me “I’m going to let you do that.” Yes, “let,” as if it’s a privilege to me. And sometimes he even explains it as a privilege to me while other, less frequent times he’ll admit he just doesn’t want to deal with something. But more often, he tells me it’s “because I need to learn how to do it.” Even as a teenager, I picked up on “let” phraseology. I used to make fun of my mother and my oldest sister for using “let” in ways that benefited them more than it benefited me.

Wannabe Cool Tech (WCT)

This is the the dude who is “training” me at work. He’s a nerdy white guy–looks the part and is short enough for one of my company’s employees to refer to him as “short” before any other identifying trait)–but I don’t think he wants to accept that. The guys at my last job were tech geeks, they more or less fit that profile in terms of behavior and interests, and they were cool with it. He knows his stuff tech-wise. But the dude struts around, talking about how he’s going to this basketball game or that football game because he somehow got the best seats through someone at our company for all the major sports teams in our home state.

Er, first of all–no one here likes baseball. Heck, no one anywhere really likes baseball anymore. It sucks, and there are way too many games. Second, no one on this side of our state likes our NFL football team–no one. Except him, apparently. Guess he hasn’t gotten the memo that everyone else here thinks it’s cool to be a Dallas Cowboys or Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So, talking about going to those baseball and NFL games does not make him cool. Now, there are people who act as if they like our NBA team, but I have a hard time believing it. I mean, doesn’t everyone just like the Lakers and the Heat, maybe the Celtics? I wonder what my city even is doing with an NBA team. So, again, how does telling everyone every time it’s game night that he’s heading to the NBA game after work make him cool?

The kid also runs around saying stuff that black guys invented but have neither used nor thought was cool in the last 10-20 years. And the dude is obviously born and raised here, a Southern area. So imagine this short, nerdy white guy taking stuff black guys made cool in, like, the late 80s, trying to use his little “hip” voice…but he has a Southern accent. Huh? For example, the kid calls every guy at work “my man,” like “What’s going on, my man?” But he says it in his little “cool” accent that is all messed up because he’s a nerdy, Southern white guy.

Now, you can get offended if you want to. I’m just sayin’…for one thing, he doesn’t sound natural trying to mimic black guys, as most white guys don’t (and isn’t it always white guys? I hardly ever hear white females using 80s and 90s black lingo in an effort to be cool). For another thing, I don’t know a black guy who addresses guy acquaintances as “my man” anymore. The closest you’d get to that is “my mans an dem,” as in “That’s my mans an dem.” And even that became popular around the late 90s. So, it’ll probably be another 10 or so years before WCT and other wannabe cool white guys move on to that one. White guys who try way too hard always use outdated “cool” terminology that was, by the way, never that cool anyway–at least if you value standard English.

Final way this dude gets on my nerves? He sits in his cubicle all day playing with his cell phone. Yeah, the dude who is supposed to be training me. He expects me to just come ask him stuff all day instead of actually being with me, doing some training. And when he does help me with tech phone calls, he always has to tell the person that he’s training me, which I can’t stand (think about it–if you go to someone for help and find out he/she is in training, how much confidence do you have 1) in the person to actually be able to help you and 2) to do it in a way that won’t take all damn day? My mother and I have both been in situations where the person behind the counter was in training, and we just kind of rolled our eyes at each other.) The kid does next to no work himself. His iPhone is always in his hands. I don’t understand it, especially with one so damn nerdy. Who the hell could he possibly be texting all day? What else can he find to do on his phone all day long?

I don’t get people who are like that, but I really scratch my head over how he can text all day. Could it be that other people don’t see how poser-ish this kid is and actually think he’s cool or likable? Yeah, probably. After all, it seems like his type is taking over the white male community. It’s a shame, not to mention goddamn annoying–white guys really used to be a lot better than this.

He just seems self-important. I think all the talk about going to see pro games is flossing, as are telling everyone that he’s the one who provides training and being all into his iPhone as if people need/want to communicate with him 24/7.

Stanky Breath Tech

He’s probably my favorite, particularly when he keeps a good distance from me. If I go to him with a question at work, he almost always just takes over the issue for me instead of forcing me to do it like the above two do. It’s not the best way to learn my job, even though usually he will explain it to me at some point. This is probably what I’d do if I were training or helping a tech with something, as well, because it just is more efficient for resolving issues. It doesn’t totally make sense to have me on the phone with someone at our company for 30 minutes, putting them on/off hold a bunch of times so I can find out how to resolve their issue, for something that could be resolved in 10 minutes.

I think he probably gets that the way I’m being “trained” is tough to take because he used to ask me every day when I first got there if I was going to show up for work the next day. I kind of told him to stop asking me that, haha, and he has. But he is the friendliest person I work with, and he’s as helpful as he can possibly be. Lazy Tech is cool, but I wouldn’t say LT is intrinsically friendly. He is more naturally an ass, but he knows that, admits it, accepts it. That’s what I like–know who and what you are and accept it. Why can’t WCT be more like that?

The only thing about this dude is his breath, really. Sometimes the guy is several feet away from me, and it’s like, “Whoa…is that really his breath?” It’s not like that every day, I don’t think, but it has been like that on more than one occasion.

The Supervisor

I like him. So far, he’s cool and supportive. I’ve heard stories about some of the people he fired before I got this position. One of the guys was fired after three days because he didn’t seem to be “getting” what he was being taught. So, apparently, I’m not doing that bad. He checks in with me to see how everything is going and seems pretty genuine.

So, that’s basically who I work with. All in all, I prefer my previous co-workers, with the obvious exception of the female tech I worked with at my last job. There are certainly other techs where I work, but they don’t really sit in our area. There is a female tech, but I don’t really work with her. She seems okay, but I must say that I’m glad I don’t work with any women on this job. I’m not sure I know how to explain why. I guess I am not surprised by what the guys are like. I’ve known LT most of the year, so I knew what to expect from him. And, as I mentioned above, white guys–generally white guys 35 and younger, but I know of some older ones, as well–just seem to be trending towards being a lot like WCT, so I am, unfortunately, pretty used to guys like him. I just feel like I know what to expect from guys and feel as if they won’t view me as competition. And LT really should view me as competition, in a way, because we have to bill our time and try to bill 8 hours of tech assistance a piece during the day, which is usually not easy to do. But neither of us is worried about it, in part because we’re both lazy but also in part because he feels confident that he’s still going to get paid for a full 40 hours a week.

The Customers

I guess they’re technically my co-workers, since most of them work for the same company I do. They are a lot better than the people I helped with technical issues on my last job. I don’t really hate dealing with them the way I hated dealing with people at my last job. Mainly, I just don’t like how I’m being trained, especially since this job is more difficult than my last one was.

Happiness?

I have noticed that, though I am frustrated at times every day at work, still dread going to work and hate to go to work in the mornings, it’s not like it was before. My job is similar in a lot of ways to my previous job, but I’m more accepting of some things than I was before. I am not sure if this is because I make more money now, because it’s still too early or because I just know this is how it is with these types of jobs now. Or a combination. I do think that if I could reach a point where I’m mainly comfortable with what I’m doing, I’d still hate the thought of going to work–because I’m lazy and would rather sit around focusing on sports–but I’d be a lot more content otherwise as far as working goes. I also have realized working 8:30am to 5:30pm is pretty good…and that I used to be tired for hours in the morning at work and then again just a couple of hours after getting home from work because I was having to get up unnaturally early for me (I am a night owl by nature, and it wouldn’t take me long at all to fall back into a pattern of staying up all night). So, I’m a lot happier with my shift than I thought I’d be.

I have been wondering lately, though, if making more money does make people happier with their jobs. I took this job, knowing it would be like the one I was leaving, because I figured that I could at least make more money while hating what I do. But so far I don’t feel anywhere near the same level of hatred. And another factor could be that I no longer have a co-worker who is as bad as FTG was. Anyway, the money = happiness part is interesting to me, and I will monitor my feelings in relation to that and write more about it in the near future.

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Money and the Lack of Self-Control

Ever since I found out I was getting a raise at work, I have been trying to figure out what to buy. Every time I get extra money, I feel the urge to spend some of it. This is no different. Usually, there is some tech gadget that makes it an easy decision for me as far as how to spend some money. But there’s not really anything that I want. I was kind of thinking of the Apple TV, but I was thinking about that before I got the raise. And it’s not that expensive. I’m usually not happy unless I can spend $300+ on some big thing.

I got paid Friday. I was told when I found out about the raise that it wouldn’t apply until the next pay period. But apparently, they actually applied it for the two weeks before I’d even been told about it because my paycheck included that raise.

Oh, not good. Now I really feel the urge to spend some money.

If I could take off work, I’d just go somewhere. I’d go to another city and have fun. But that’s pretty much out of the question right now.

It’s got to be something very satisfying for me. Something that won’t be a waste of money. I hate to say it, but the last time I felt the urge to have something and I bought it…well, that item has just been lying around. It was the iPad. I just have no use for an iPad. I have a laptop, and I have an iPhone. What to do with an iPad? It’s cool and everything, but there’s nothing to do with it that can’t be done with a laptop, especially since I’m not paying for 3G on it (wifi really only makes it good at home, because I don’t hang out at hotspots). And even so, the iPhone is more mobile because of its size.

So far, all I’ve been able to come up with is…clothes?

Yeah, not a big clothes person. But I’m definitely tired of wearing the same shit to work all the time. I already ordered a few things, but I don’t think I’ve even broken $100 yet. Like I’ve said, there’s got to be one big, immensely satisfying item to make me not spend money for a while.

All I have come up with is this cool jacket I found. Granted, it’s the coolest jacket I’ve ever seen. But $300 for a jacket? That’s not really me. Not sure I’d be properly satisfied. I also tend not to wear jackets. Look, I live in the South. The only seasons we truly have down here are warm, hot and booty burnin’ (it’s currently booty burnin’ season). And it rains, but it’s not like the damn jacket has a hood, even. If I moved back up to the Midwest, which I’d love to do, that might be one thing. But you’re talking about someone who sometimes wore flip flops in the snow and who had to lie to her mother when she asked if I was wearing the kind of crap she thought I should wear when it was, like, 7 degrees in Michigan and Illinois when I was living in those places (hats, hoods, gloves, scarves, a big coat…crap like that). Ironically, it was only when I had on shoes that were actually for inclement weather that I’d fall on my ass outside.

I keep looking at the jacket, saying “no no no.” But I don’t have a good feeling about that one. I just don’t really have self-control when it comes to buying stuff I want. That’s one reason I left Illinois–I was too poor there to hang. I kept having to look at stuff I wanted and actually leave it where it was. That wasn’t going to work. So, do I think I can or will resist here? Absolutely not. The only way I might not get it is if I can think of something better that is at least equally expensive.

Ideas?

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What Being Glued To the Cell Phone Means

Since this is a post about being glued to the cell phone, I felt it was only fitting to write it on my iPhone (or at least as much as possible). This is not easy for me, because I hardly text with people and I’m not good at it. I hate texting, actually, and I know several people who seem to insist on this method as a primary form of communication–and who get mad when they don’t get responses from people in a timely fashion over text.

I am, though, one of those people who can frequently be seen with a cell phone. I can certainly leave the house without it, especially since cell phones are not for calls–at least not in my world. They are for media. I am the kind of person who will pay $100/month for 200 talk minutes and unlimited data (internet, email, text), tv channels, music channels…really, 200 talk minutes is too much. So, it’s not essential to me to have my cell phone all the time.

Still, if I’m out and I’m fiddling with it constantly, there is one of three reasons–1) I’m bored, 2) I don’t want to look suspicious or lonely, or 3) I don’t want to talk to anyone.

Yes, I am saying that cell phones are not for talking to people, but for not talking to people!

A lot of people truly do prefer to text in order to communicate with others, and I suppose some people really are so important that they need to be one with their phone constantly. But I think the three reasons I just listed are the main reasons people play with their phones all the time or feel the need to have them near. I know some people really need to be in touch with someone, maybe a family member, and need to be easily accessible. But sometimes, you just need to not look as if you’re casing a joint–especially if you’re black, and especially if you’re a black male. I can’t just sit outside of an establishment and look around, you know? Cell phone time! Even though I know ain’t nobody emailed, called or texted me.

Not wanting to talk to people is huge, though, and not understood. One of the benefits of working with a bunch of white guys, as a black female, is that I’m fairly certain I won’t be getting hit on. I’m not saying white guys don’t like black women that way–just that the majority of them won’t hit on a black woman. Since I worked with a lot of blacks at my last job, I had to deal with a lot of black men. I’m not saying all of them were interested in me, but there is a lot wrapped up in what I am saying.

For one thing, I live in the South. My guess would be that black men expect black women to speak to them most places in the US just based on a shared racial identity, but I believe this is especially true in the South and that it’s especially in predominantly black environments. Southerners in general seem to believe in “speaking” and being friendly with random people in a way others don’t. It’s a good thing, but it can also be annoying–especially the expectation of speaking. I don’t have to deal with this with white people to the degree that I do with blacks because of race, but white Southerners definitely “speak.” People just “speak” more in the South than they do elsewhere.

Sometimes, though, a guy really is interested, and sometimes he’ll put you in awkward positions or will approach you in a disrespectful manner.

All of this is how my iPhone comes in handy.

[Switching to the laptop.]

See, at my last job, I couldn’t always avoid the expectation that I’d stop and either smile, return a greeting or engage in conversation. This almost exclusively was an issue with men. When guys clearly expect something from you or want your attention–especially when you notice this is happening with them and not with women–it’s hard not to get defensive and not want to show any signs of interest if you’re not interested. If this is going on with a number of guys, it’s hard not to get sick of it. If you’re someone like me who is naturally a loner, it’s hard not to just want people to leave you alone entirely.

That’s why on breaks, I’d immediately get “busy” with my iPhone. In fact, I’d take it a step farther than a lot of people do and shove earphones into my ears, whether I was listening to music or not. A lot of the time, though, I was. But usually what you see is people checking email, texting or finding someone to talk to on their phone (trust me, 90% of those calls are not essential). I strongly believe that, the majority of the time, these things are either a “don’t bother me” sign or an “I’m not a loser–I have a social life/I have imaginary business to take care of” sign if not just from flatout boredom.

Now, I’ve seen many an article lamenting how people can’t let their cell phones be. I, myself, used to complain about how people could barely see where they were going–uh, walking–for looking at their phones. I once had a guest check into the hotel where I used to work, and she would not stop looking at her phone the whole while. I think I had another one who wouldn’t get off his cell phone while he was trying to check in.

Are these things annoying? To me, not as much as they were about 2-3 years ago. I think now, after dealing with hiding from men and working jobs with tons of down time, I understand better why people are always staring at their phones.

The most interesting complaint I’ve seen, though, about cell phones is along the lines of how it’s ruining socialization and tearing people farther apart from each other. Basically, the complaint is that cell phones and mp3 players and phones with mp3 players are “don’t bother me” signs. But a lot of these articles and blogs have been written as if they don’t understand that this might be the point.

I’m telling you now–I think that’s the point. I know it is for me. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to make new friends, meet someone with whom I could fall in love–although, for me, that would be a woman, not a man–or just have a nice conversation with a stranger. But I think cell phones and mp3 players give us more power in terms of how¬†and when these things happen. In other words, if I don’t feel like talking to anybody (unless it’s someone I choose from my cell phone), I can use my cell phone as a way not to talk to anybody. If I don’t want to deal with the world, I can block out the world. I know I might be missing something that could be valuable along the way, but at least I made that choice. At least I’m not doing something I don’t feel like doing because it’s culturally expected of me.

And because most of us work or go to school, there will be plenty of times throughout the day when we just don’t have the choice–we simply have to deal with people, whether we feel like it or not. So, I’m fine when people take control of the times in their day when they do have the choice.

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