Archive for ‘This Misery of Janie Jones’

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.

 

 

 

Advertisements
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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

January 13, 2016

*Sigh*

by Janie Jones

Winter break is officially over.  Spring semester begins today.

I don’t wanna go.

I only just started to feel human again.

But, Leif sent me this:dogjoke

So at least now I have a smile on my face.

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 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.