Saturday, August 15, 2009

Magic bus

posted Fri, 02 Jul 2004

I love the Friday before a three-day weekend! I get to work and there are almost no cars in the parking lot. (It’s usually packed and I get to work at 7:30. In our NY office, they don’t get to work until 9:00 and then they leave at 4:30!! Yet they get paid for a full day. I haven’t figured that one out yet.)

The best thing, though, is that by noon, this building will be almost empty. The only ones who will still be here are the hourly folks who get to walk out every single day of the year at 5:00 even when us salaried folks are toiling until later.

A bakery in Boston.

Not that I have had to do much toiling until later lately, but trust me, I have paid my dues in that respect. I know that the lights go out automatically at the Ryder HQ in Miami at 10:00 p.m. and that you must call the guard downstairs to get them turned on again. I know because I have been the one to call the guard. So I don’t feel the least bit guilty for enjoying a job that allows me to leave before dark now.

Last year, my boss was new to the corporate office. He had just transferred from one of our factories, where he was the general manager. A few days before the 4th of July weekend, I warned him not to schedule any meetings for the day before the holiday – that everyone would be gone and that they would not be taking vacation days for the absence. He said that in the factory, they would work a full day. You’re in corporate now, I told him. Things are different. No one here gets overtime for working late or for the time spent in airports or hotels, but we do leave early on holiday weekends.

Where to go in Boston.

A year later, he is finally with the program on holidays, even though he thinks I don’t deserve a promotion and a raise because I already make more money than the production manager in his former factory. I have tried to explain that factory production managers are not my peer group and he can’t compare me to them, but he is unswayed. In the meantime, the woman who replaced me in my previous assignment is three levels higher than I am and making at least $20,000 a year more. Why doesn’t her boss think like mine?

I am dying to know who owns the bright yellow Hummer in the parking lot. That is one ugly vehicle. There are plenty of pickup trucks in the lot – only a few Mercedes, Jags and BMWs. My company is not that profitable. No one in this industry is. The thing about the heavy-duty equipment is that it is almost all fantasy transportation. Sure, there are a few folks who work here who live out in the country. One of my colleagues works just to support his horse habit and actually uses his pickup for its intended purpose: hauling stuff like hay and lumber and pulling horse trailers.

Another form of transportation.

But the rest of these truck owners? Cowboy wannabes. No other possible reason. The roads here are bad, but not that bad. I manage with a Corolla. And even if you had to leave the road – we’re in the Delta! Flatlands! They grow cotton and rice here, for crying out loud. Not a hill or boulder or even rocky area to be found for hundreds of miles.

Nope. No one needs these trucks for performance reasons. Like I said: cowboy wannabes. Let me get more specific. I was an English major. These vehicles are all phallic symbols. There. I said it. Sorry, mom. I know you won’t like this. But that’s what I spent four years (three and a half, actually) studying.

So if a regular pickup truck is a standard phallic symbol, then what is a Hummer?

Not a Hummer.

Like I said, I really want to see the guy who owns it.

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