Archive for ‘I Owe My Soul to the Company Store’

June 23, 2018

Lowest bidder, or a very bitter monologue

by Janie Jones

I did not go into science with the expectation of becoming rich, however, I thought a highly skilled education would at least make me eligible for jobs with salaries sufficient enough that I wouldn’t have to worry about wasting a teaspoon of ketchup.

Apparently, a BS in cell and molecular biology and a BA in biochemistry is only worth $3 more per hour than working the night shift at the local McDonald’s.

Being sick to death of mouse model research, I decided that a year and a half post baccalaureate job experience was sufficient time to begin looking elsewhere.  I applied for a job in a substance addiction study.  The job was full time and required a bachelor’s degree in science or psychology.  Duties would include recruiting human participants, informing them of their rights as study subjects, taking blood and tissue samples and interviewing them regularly for progress through the study.  There would also be data accession and record keeping duties.

I received an email asking to schedule a preliminary phone meeting to discuss the position and eagerly accepted.  The interviewer outlined the job duties and, as if being timed, quickly spit out the starting salary and rushed on, “So we would like to know if you are still interested in the position.”

I mentioned I was, however, the starting salary was well below my current rate of pay, so I would hope there was room to negotiate.  I was well qualified for the position having at least 1 year or more experience with every requirement except venipuncture on humans.

She commented that she was not involved in salary negotiations and could not make any comments on the possibility of bargaining for a higher wage.  I mentioned that I would definitely accept an offer if they were willing to come up on the salary.  She said that they were assembling a pool of applicants that they were interested in interviewing and if I made the cut I’d hear more from them soon.

Apparently they wanted to low ball their salary budget and battle it out for good employees with McDonald’s night shift instead of paying for a well qualified, hard working and experienced employee.  They re-posted the position a week later.

If I could actually stay awake past 9pm, at this point I would seriously consider McDonalds.  At least there I wouldn’t have to poke and dissect mice.  Poor innocent little mice.  At least the Gen Pop are so stupid I wouldn’t feel sorry for them if I “accidentally” slipped an obnoxious customer a little listeria.

I am seriously frustrated.  How the hell does anyone make ends meet these days?  My internet bill just went up $20 a month.  From 49 to 69 dollars.  I am not getting any new benefits.  As far as I know they haven’t upgraded anything.  So, in my book, a $20 increase seems a bit steep and uncalled for.

Oh, and my property taxes went up this year too.  The county, in all it’s wisdom, whoops I meant greed, just decided that everything across the board was going to be worth more.  My house, which no one even came around to assess jumped in “value” buy $12K.  Now it would be nice if that meant the sale price I could realistically get would jump that much, but those of us who live in the real world know that’s not going to happen.

I might, just might, be lucky enough to get a 2% raise this year.  The civil service committee, or whatever it’s called, determines each year what an appropriate raise level is, but then the individual departments get to assess what their budgets can bear and their employees deserve.  It’s arbitrary and has absolutely nothing to do with merit.  So the boob who never shows up to work or botches everything and is carried by others gets the same raise as everyone else.  Because you know, Equality, man!  Everyone should be treated the same.

Right, and the way everyone should be treated is like a pauper.

I’m beginning to feel like we need to go pitch a boat load of tea into the harbor of some government and human resource offices.

If something doesn’t change soon, well, I don’ t know what will happen.  But I’m telling you, I have always felt that if I worked hard I’d get somewhere.  I don’t have unrealistic hopes, I don’t want to live some high end lifestyle.  I just want to be able to go buy new clothes or shoes when I need them, I’m not even talking high end clothing labels or Monolo Blahniks or who every the haute shoe designer is these days.   I want to go to the grocery store and not worry if I have money for everything on my list and still be able to buy the organic stuff that isn’t pumped with pesticides and genetically manipulated.  I want to be able to finish remodeling my home and put in a little garden.  And, here’s a real crazy dream:  I would like to have the ability to put a little money aside after all the bills are paid.  I do not see how this is asking too much.

But, despite every sacrifice and all the hard work, apparently I still have no skills any employer actually wants to pay a comfortable living wage for.  And, to add insult to injury, by the time taxes, mandatory retirement money and insurance is taken off my paycheck, I lose about 30%.  Then they take more away from me after payroll taxes for the “privilege” of owning a house, a car, buying furniture, buying cleaning supplies, buying gas, even my utilities are taxed!  I very seldom travel these days because the taxes on hotels, restaurants and other transportation fees scare me.  About the only thing I buy that I don’t get taxed for is food, clothing and some medical expenses.  And, I know from other places I’ve lived that a lot of states even charge those items.

So, I’m asking an extremely rhetorical question here.  Where the fuck does all that tax money go?

I don’t live a bad life, but there is always this pressure that there’s just not quite enough money.  If something breaks or wears out with my house or car, I’m screwed.  If there’s an emergency, I’m screwed.  I cringe when my daughter doesn’t finish the milk in her cereal bowl; hard earned money spent on milk dumped down the drain.  I chastise myself for buying all that veg and forgetting to make salads before it goes rotten, or get frustrated when the Spud eats half of her dinner and “saves” the rest only to go moldy in the back of the fridge because she’d rather eat ramen than reheat quality food.  I had some friends over for brunch last weekend and one of them dumped about half a bottle of ketchup on his eggs and hashbrowns, ate two bites and the rest went in the trash.  It is absolutely painful to work so hard and watch the pennies add up so slowly then get spent and wasted in a heartbeat.  I think I will throttle the next septuagenarian who says, “I deserve a discount, after all, I live on a fixed income.”  Like I can just will money into my bank account because I’m not retired yet.

I have a tiny little bit of money I managed to save after buying my house, but I don’t make enough to add to it, much less replenish it if I spend it, so, I’m stuck.  It’s an emergency fund I live in fear of spending.  Despite going back to school for an education, I am no better off than I was before, possibly worse, because now I owe all kinds of student loan debt.  So, barring a miracle, I will live with the stress of balancing on the brink of financial disaster until I die.  There is little hope for a comfortable retirement, as I don’t even live a particularly comfortable life of employment.

I am beginning to understand the multi-generational welfare abusers.  Why bother working hard when you are never, ever going to get anywhere.

Well, that’s communism and socialism for you.  Make everyone equal so no one goes without.

Yup.  No one goes without being miserable.

 

 

 

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June 20, 2018

Thanks, but no thanks

by Janie Jones

So they had an employee appreciation day at Stickittoyou U recently.  All employees were given $25 gift cards to a big box department store.  Very nice.  Thanks!

Then week or so later I got my paycheck.  It was smaller.  Not a bank breaking amount, about the amount it would cost to buy lunch at the average sit down restaurant, but enough less that I was a little concerned about where that money went.

So I pulled up my check stub, and what, What, WHAT?  They taxed the gift card.  Because they added it to my “net salary” by the time taxes were applied I actually lost money.  They taxed, as income, a gift card.  Which was not like a prepaid Visa or something.  I can’t use the gift card to pay bills, but yet it is considered income I have to pay taxes on, and then when I use it the store will charge me taxes on what I buy.

Thanks, but if given the option, I’d have passed on a gift that would ultimately cost me more money than it was worth.

Employee appreciation my ass.  I suppose it was well meaning, but it’s kind of hard to feel grateful when I make less than industry standard, less than I made before I spent 50K on an education, and the “appreciation” gift requires me to give up money out of my already puny paycheck.

And, when I went to complain to the HR person, I found out that the new Dean, who made the decision to bestow these “gifts” was warned that they would cause the recipients to be taxed, but in her wisdom still seemed to think people would prefer to be awarded a gift that caused a deduction in pay.

Thanks new Dean.  I hope you made lots of devoted fans out of your employees.  I know I am just pleased as punch.  I will think of you oh so fondly and be oh so grateful for my job when I can’t afford to buy lunch this week.

April 10, 2018

Bit on the ass by the cold, dark side of practicality

by Janie Jones

First the apology.  This is where I bitch about my life.  I figure I haven’t’ done that much lately, so you might have forgotten who the real Janie Jones is.

I really don’t want to go to work today.  I’d much rather stay home and make cheesecake or paint my living room.

Instead I have to go give diabetic drugs to mice and take photos of their nests.  Which, I admit, is better than the days when I have to overdose them on morphine and poke them in their feet, or harvest their organs.  But, in any event, it’s not at all the kind of thing one gets a spring in their step over.

I knew there was a reason I spent 5 years of my life and an obscene amount of money on going to college to get a science degree: to still not like to get up and go to work while only barely make enough to live on.

The other day I was watching Flea Market Flip on Hulu.  I watched someone spend $825 on an old wrought iron sewing machine stand painted orange and turned into a table with 4 rickety-ass looking orange chairs.  Who makes this kind of money where they can buy over-priced shit like this and not bat an eye?  What do they do for a living?  Seriously, I need to know what kind of soul crushing job I need to get so I can have that kind of disposable cash.  I mean, I already have a soul crushing job, I at least could get paid stupid amounts of money if I’m going to feel miserable every day anyway.

Let’s just say this.  I do understand that animal models are the most significant and accurate way to test some stuff that will truly better our medical knowledge and I do like having drugs and medical procedures that are vastly improved this past few decades.  However, as hypocritical as it may sound, I personally did not want to be the person in the trenches.  So while logically I accept the dark necessity, I am not handling it well emotionally.

Add to that the frustration of poor health and getting up every day to go to work is a challenge.

Add to that the challenge of knowing that I can’t just quit because decent paying jobs are very hard to come by, and as morally and emotionally wearing as my job is, I have no where else to go that will be enough to pay my bills.  One wants to be grateful for what one has, but damn, sometimes it’s tough.

I have been thinking a lot about getting my master’s degree so hopefully I can get out of the mouse lab.  But, my original plan hit a financial snag.  If I don’t come up with a new way to fund my degree I don’t know if I will be able to make a go of it.  What ever I do, I have to be very careful not to sink more money I don’t have into another degree that might end me up no better than I am now.

I kinda hate to be that person that says I told you so, but this is exactly the reason why I didn’t do traditional college when I was a traditional college age person.  High risk and low reward.  At least for people like me, college doesn’t pay.  I’m smart enough to aspire but not cleverly genius or curiously driven enough to really excel.

And you know what really sucks?  I finally am in a home I like and living in a town I like and have good friends.  But 5/7ths of my week is becoming so miserable I can’t enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Dammit.  I better get my ass moving or I’ll be late.

 

 

 

 

November 10, 2015

Just need to blow off a little steam…

by Janie Jones

My biochemistry lab is a total clusterf*%k.

In 12 weeks of class I have gotten out on time three times.  THREE TIMES.  And one of those three was technically 10 minutes late, but that’s not too bad.  Mostly I get out half hour to 40 minutes late.  My lab partner has a class right after so when things aren’t done, as they usually aren’t, I have to stay and finish by myself.  That doesn’t so much bother me as much as the general attitude of the teaching staff that it’s my duty to never have any other conflicts with staying late or coming back outside of scheduled class time.  They can’t be troubled to run the class in a do-able manner, but despite the fact they choose to run it in such an asinine way that no class ever is expected to be done on time, week after week, semester after semester, year after year, it’s apparently okay for me to be troubled to accept the impingement on my personal time.  It’s just run this way.  And the teaching staff doesn’t seem to give a damn.

My beef is that it’s not professional and down right disrespectful to expect us to drop everything else in our lives to make extra time for this work.  And, on top of it, we have a huge number of time sucking homework assignments for this class each week.  So not only do we have to make extra time for the classroom stuff that is impossible to finish, but we have to spend hours and hours and hours outside of class doing the bidding of the teaching staff.

I am especially ranty on this subject today because I had to stay an extra hour and 40 minutes today.  Plus I was given a take home test that needs to be done by 5pm tomorrow.  Like I had absolutely nothing else to fill  my time between now and then and now, on top of it, I have an hour and 40 minutes less than I expected to do the homework already on my to do list.  It’s like pouring salt into my wounded respect for you as a professional.  Would you, as a teacher, be willing to drop everything to spend an extra hour and 40 minutes plus God only knows how long this take home test will take, to do some thing someone told you to do at the last minute?  I seriously doubt it.

Here’s something to chew on jackass:

youre not the only teacher

Should I take the red pill and do the homework, or the blue pill and have a life.

93 days until graduation.

I’m applying to grad school why exactly?!?

October 26, 2015

I found a new love

by Janie Jones

yardley aa big

I’ve been poor for so long I don’t usually mess around with “luxury” products like fancy-shmancy soap.  However, the company that makes the cheap aloe glycerine soap that you buy in bulk packs for about $0.33 cents a bar stopped making the aloe variety.  I don’t want to smell like peaches or white tea, so I bought some bargain deodorant soap, which I’ve used in the past, and is comparably cheap.  But, as we enter the alligator season (the time of year when humidity levels fall to minus 50%) my skin, though tending toward oily, is getting too old to handle the harsh deodorant soaps it used to laugh at and just produce a ton more oil.  I have been feeling quite tight, itchy and dry of late.  And, as it is hard to lotion one’s own back, I decided to live life high on the ol’ hog and try, *GASP* an expensive moisturizing soap.

I bought one bar at the drugstore for $1.69 and felt like I was just flushing cash down the toilet.  But, you know what?  I really like it.  I’ve used it for over two weeks now and decided that it was much better for my skin, plus it smells really nice.  Clean.  Not fru-fru-y perfume like, but just nice, fresh and clean.  Still, $1.69 a bar.  I’m pretty poor.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to that kind of monthly expense.  Then, I Googled it.

Good gravy.  What did we ever do before Google?

Well I found this online drugstore called Pharmapacks.  You can get it through them for less than a dollar a bar and if you buy in bulk you get free shipping.  Still pricey.  But hey, I’m worth it.

I did a little more digging and found out that Pharmapacks also carries many other personal hygiene products I have trouble finding elsewhere.  So, double score.

September 11, 2015

Like I didn’t already have enough to worry about, THIS might end my long suffering college career 72 days early.

by Janie Jones

This is the new deal:

So, I wake up this morning and there’s an URGENT notice in my email from Stickittoyou financial aid.  I got a notice on Tuesday that there were updates to my FAFSA, but I was too busy to think much of it yet.  So I skimmed this morning’s Stickittoyou notice and, lo and behold: someone, and I don’t know who yet, but my money is on the Stickittoyou computer platform update, the same one that couldn’t calculate my financial aid package until the Saturday before summer class started, allowed me to over borrow by $500.

I am in my 5th year, so I knew I was getting close to maxing my federal loan money.  However, I generally keep in close communication with the financial aid office, and I as I did have a considerable amount of grants and loans this year, I thought we figured I’d be okay.  When my fall financial aid packet came through, I was offered $1961.00 in loans.  I suppose ultimately it’s my fault for accepting what they offer, but, silly me, I expect that when I’m offered something I should actually be eligible for it, so I took the max of what they offered, and they paid it to me two weeks ago.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but apparently it is $500 too much.

But as that maximum offer was wrong I’ve now been paid money that I technically wasn’t allowed to have and they have frozen my entire financial aid account, not just my loans.  Furthermore, it kind of sounds like that is including my workstudy job money, as my job is funded by federal financial aid workstudy dollars.  It seems as though I have to go to the financial aid office this morning and find out whether or not I can still get paid at my job until I pay back that $500.

The simple solution would be to give back the extra $500, but if I do then that creates the problem of how will I pay my January 1 rent, as all the remaining money that didn’t go to books, other school supplies, keeping my car running and paying a few summer bills is earmarked for rent for this semester.  But at least I guess that will push the problem down the road a bit.

Even if I find one way or another to pay back that money, as I’ve apparently maxed out my undergraduate borrowing dollars it still doesn’t solve the problem of how I will pay the extra expenses that aren’t covered by my scholarships and grants for my last semester, but once again I guess I will just have to kick that problem down the road apiece.

Well, I guess it’s time to merrily schlepp my butt on down to Stickittoyou U for another exhilarating day of learning.
August 20, 2015

Well I am just so screwed

by Janie Jones

Some of my teachers for this fall have sent the course syllabus out already.  All of my classes are morning classes and my latest one runs from 11-2pm.  I specifically avoid late afternoon and night classes.  I had a 3 pm class last year.  I did not perform well.

Why?  I am most definitely a morning person.  My brain works better in the morning, and if I have to do afternoon/evening stuff, I have to sleep in and go fresh to what ever I have to do in the afternoon/evening.  It is just the way I work.  And, the older I get the more morning based I’m becoming.  I pretty sure that my radiation also has played a role in the loss of my mental flexibility.  During the school/work week I am pretty much useless after 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  So I get up early, at usually 4 am, and study.  It sticks better.  I tend to go to bed by 7:30 pm sometimes earlier.  And being up until 8 is a wild late night for me.

I have absolutely no idea how I used to function as a high school/college student 20-25 years ago getting up sometimes as early at 3:30 am and doing homework, going to class, going to work, doing more homework and maybe getting to bed at 10 pm.  I can only assume I had more stamina and mental flexibility then.

So needless to say, I was very, very pleased that the courses I must take for my degree were all early in the day.  I deliberately avoided some classes I was interested in as electives because they were later in the day.

I’ve told you all this so you will understand the significance of what I’m about to say.  To sum up, finally, my Genetics teacher, whose class is at 9 am has made three tests mandatory night exams running from 6 pm to 8 pm.  That means by the time I am expected to sit this exam, even if I take the day off from work, it will still be after a full day where I’ve been awake for 14 hours, sat through his class lecture, another class lecture and a 4 hour lab.  I was pretty much planning to be in my pj’s and ready for bed by the time he wants the test to start.

I have long been anticipating this course because I think genetics is way cool, and now I am completely distraught and dreading this class.  If I could possibly drop it and wait to take it from a different instructor and still graduate on time I so totally would.  This situation is setting me up for disaster and there is almost no possible way for me to do well on night tests at this stage in my life.  I think it pretty much sucks that a teacher is able to require such a thing.  My only hope is that I can work out some special arrangement.

God Dammit!  I am so sick of teachers thinking they can rule your life.