Archive for ‘The Daily Grind, or Of Everything and Nothing’

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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May 14, 2018

Maybe I missed my calling

by Janie Jones

Perhaps I should have been an interior designer.  I really do love shopping for paint and wallpaper and furniture.

I don’t particularly like painting, hanging wallpaper and paying for furniture, but hell, if you’re an interior designer that’s what lackeys and clients are for, right?

Unfortunately, I’m my own interior designer, lackey and client.

I have spent the last several weeks chipping away at the living room reno.  I am getting close to being done.  The wallpaper went up this weekend.  It took waaaaaay longer than I anticipated and there was a lot more waste trying to match the pattern than I expected, so that was a little bit frustrating.  But, man.  I am getting really excited.  It is looking soooo awesome.

My house was built in 1919 and keeps whispering “Art Nouveau” to me.  Any design purists out there will probably roll over in their graves as I say this, but I have a hard time distinguishing the difference between art nouveau and art deco (which I guess came a little later than art nouveau and is more in keeping with the era my house was built), and both styles are really appealing to me lately.  So, I’m sort of mish-mashing them together and picking some things to give a nod to both design eras.

Case in point.  My wallpaper is an anaglypta style with a relief pattern very reminiscent of the swirls and lines of art nouveau/art deco.  I have picked out a semi-gloss, smokey grey-green to paint over it, which I see in a lot of period appropriate designs and I think will tie together nicely with my funny aquamarine/silver velvet drapes, grey patterned rugs and green-grey upholstered furniture.  I wanted to buy these really cool light switch and outlet covers that screamed art deco, but to outfit the house, which doesn’t really have all that many, would have cost several hundred dollars.  Eeek!  So, plain white it is.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances I think I will be finished by next Sunday.  The Spud returns for the summer on May 26, and I set myself the challenge to have the living room done before she comes.  So, nothing like finishing in the 11th hour.

 

January 7, 2016

Because I like to keep all ya’all in the loop…

by Janie Jones

…and because I can think of nothing else to blog today, I figured I’d inform you that I survived the 10 day old meatloaf consumption with nary a hitch.

meatloaf vs bbq chix

expecting meatloaf

January 4, 2016

I am still here…

by Janie Jones

Fall semester held me in it’s miserable thrall up to the last possible moment.  I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but all things considered I did pretty well.  As I look at my grades I had to laugh.  Apparently I wasn’t allowed to get the same grade in more than one class:

Genetics Lab: A

Virology: A-

Genetics Lecture: B+

Biochemistry Lecture: B

Biochemistry Lab: B-

 

If it wasn’t for that cursed Biochemistry Lab being twice the work of all my other classes combined it would have been a very different semester, I tell you.

But, it is over and now I have 72 more class days left in the spring semester to endure before graduation.

The holidays were fun, but busy.  The spud visited which was nice, but exhausting.  And, right after taking her back to the airport it was a mad dash to finish off the essays for my Graduate School application.

Oh, that was fun.  Man o man, have I stories I could tell, only I’m so ripped to shreds by the last 4 months that I have lost the will to bitch.

In any event, it has been submitted and application fees are paid so it is out of my hands now.  The decision on whether I am accepted will probably come sometime by the end of March. Depending on the outcome I may graduate in May and be done with the collegiate chapter of my life, or I may decide I haven’t been totally and utterly annihilated by the educational system yet and pick up another 4-6 years.

And in the Lyme Research Lab we have been out of media (read bacteria food) for over 2 months.  Apparently there is only one place in the United States that makes the precise formula these bacteria live on, and they are, I guess, back ordered for some unfathomable reason.

I managed to scrounge up a couple dozen mLs from another researcher who didn’t need it and have had my little buggers on short rations this whole time.  But I have about two more feedings left (about 2 weeks) and then they starve to death.

You might not think this is such a bad thing.  But in a research lab, if you have no subject to research, well, you don’t get much done.  And, in general you don’t get paid to do nothing.  I volunteer, so what does that say about me.  Should I be worried?  Well, I kinda wanted to do my graduate studies with this lab.

Well here’s hoping 2016 is a better year.

December 23, 2015

A little biochemistry on the brain

by Janie Jones

You know you’ve been studying a little too much when you start seeing obscure science-y stuff in every day life.

Take this advertisement for boots I got in my email:

WINTER AND SNOW BOOTS

 

I don’t know why the company calls itself UGG Australia.  But after 16 weeks of biochemistry, genetics and virology, when I see UGG my mind immediately goes to the DNA sequence abbreviation for Uracil, Guanine, Guanine which is the codon for the amino acid tryptophan.  But that’s just me.

16 weeks earlier, my mind would just have gone from UGG to ugg-ly.  And that context is perhaps more fitting.

 

December 9, 2015

The mastodon of doom

by Janie Jones

Sorry I have been a very lame blogger recently.

Sorry I missed Tuesday Titters!  I’ve been feeling quite, um, well, like this I guess:

Wooly mammoth squash comic

 

The semester is coming to an end and while there are moments when it feels like the mastodon of doom has been lifted from my shoulders the relief is but short lived before the pterodactyl of looming doom swoops in and carries me away to a new and equally soul crushing project.

Attack from the skies.

Hopefully I will be back soon.

 

 

November 22, 2015

Eeeewwww!

by Janie Jones

There is a message board by the door at the house where I am renting.  This morning the following was scrawled upon the board:

Please clean up pubes after grooming.

Thank the merciful heavens I have my own bathroom.