Hell in a handbasket

Not long after I posted my last post, my boss suddenly had a bevy of harried questions for me, not all of which made complete sense. She scheduled two meetings in which I showed her and other employees (some of whom were perfectly capable, others not so much) how to run a simple script. Anyone at even the lowest pay grade in the room should have been able to figure out how to run it without a handheld tutorial, but, you know, here we are.

These meetings also included me bringing up some very serious concerns I’ve had for a while. My boss snapped at me, “Why didn’t you ever bring this up?”

The great thing about quitting is I can retort with things like, “I have, repeatedly, and at length,” and when she asks, “Why haven’t you documented this anywhere?” I can cut her off and say “Didn’t you read the agenda I sent out prior to this meeting with documentation I’ve been working on? It’s point #3.” And what’s she going to do, fire me for snark?

Anyway, after this I get to go on a road trip. I only have to come back in next Friday for some cursory stuff and an exit interview. Things are not in a great state, but they’re certainly no worse than I inherited them, and that’s at least something.

So long suckers.

Last day in the office

Not technically my last day on the job. I’ll be available for questions and calls as necessary while I’m at PyCon, but this is functionally my last day. I’ve been trying for nearly a week now to shore things up and to get people to ask me questions as they have them. I’ve been almost entirely left to my own devices, with any updates or concerns I have falling on deaf ears.

I can’t believe my boss insisted I wasn’t giving her enough time with the notice I gave her. She didn’t even use the time she had.

I’m not going to miss these people at all.

Review: The Merry Spinster

4/5 stars

As with most short story collections, there are a couple I really loved and a couple I could have done without. That’s just the nature of the format, I think.

Ortberg’s strength in all of his writing, both here and online, is his unique talent for creating distinct, believable, voices. Whether it’s the cheeky, omnipotent narrator in “The Daughter Cells” or the un-self-aware self-righteousness in “Cast your Bread upon the Waters,” he does a fantastic job of giving each character a rich texture and inner life that can be difficult to achieve in short fiction.

“The Wedding Party” did the least for me; I wasn’t really familiar with the source material for that story and the meandering conversation left me cold.

“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” absolutely broke my heart. I’ve been in that friendship. It absolutely rips you apart, and you can’t even see it happening.

I probably wouldn’t recommend this as the first of Ortberg’s works for someone to read. Start with Texts from Jane Eyre, then read some Objectivist Harry Potter. You’ll know by then whether Ortberg’s work is for you.

The Minorest of Gripes

The beginning of a Slack correspondence does not need to start with “Good Morning” or “Hi jess” or “Hello, can I ask you a question?”

Slack is an informal medium with immediate feedback mechanisms. When I see someone start a conversation with “Good Morning” followed by a solid two minutes of typing indicators, I don’t come away thinking “Oh how polite!”

I sit there thinking “Jesus fuck what did I do this time? What am I going to get chewed out about? It’s probably nothing, right? But then why is it taking them so long to spit out what they want?” And it’s usually nothing serious, but I’ve had terrible experiences in offices before, where every communication devolved into (often gendered) admonishment. So I have some precedent indicating that I should dread typing indicators.

I wish people would just say what they mean, and say it quickly. My manager at my previous job used to tell me “jess, you’re a straight shooter,” and he would laugh, but it was clear that it wasn’t a compliment. It’s possible I’m just missing a fundamental trait that would just make me better at office relations.

Getting the hell out

I gave my notice. It went fine at first. My boss was super gracious and I wondered if she’d been body snatched.

Then, of course, 10 minutes later she pulls me into a conference room to ask if my timeline is firm. I don’t fault her for asking once. But I re-explained to her that I had already accepted another offer, and that my last day would be May 10. She then proceeded to repeatedly state how stretched thin everyone is, and ignore the fact that I gave her a firm deadline. She asked if I could stay a month so that they could find and train my replacement.

I kept trying to say no and she kept cutting me off and instructing me to “think about it” and that I didn’t “have to answer now.”

I responded by emailing HR with my official timeline.

Of course, I know that the team is stretched thin. I also know that it’s stretched thin because many of the team’s resources are devoted to working on bullshit. It’s part of the reason I’m leaving. It doesn’t matter whether I give them one week’s notice or five. They’re not going to be ready for me leaving either way.

Also, Illinois is an at-will state. That goes both ways. The fact that I’m giving them anything is a courtesy and it’s one that they wouldn’t give me were they the ones to terminate our employment contract.

Babby’s first python package


It’s finally live! I detached the fork and decided to take on this project as my own a little over a month ago, and I’ve finally done enough to feel like I can release a beta version of it.

There’s still a lot of work to go before I’m ready for a 1.0.0 release, but I’m so pleased to have completed a side project that’s out there for public consumption. AND someone who is not my IRL friend has starred the repo. It’s very exciting.

Now that I’ve taken this little detour it’s time to get back to Bookpinions, which is the reason I took on the BetterReads library in the first place.

Morning invocation

A friend of mine has given me a prayer/mantra/wish to get me through these last few standups.

Please grant these men the strength to not say every dumb fucking thing that pops into their heads.

Business days since one of them made tasteless sexual harassment joke: 11

My intention for the day is to shore up a couple things that are at high risk of failure when I’m no longer around to maintain them. I will endeavor not to get distracted by how much I don’t really care.

Wish me luck.

Death in the Afternoon

Purportedly a creation of Hemingway’s.

  • Pour 1.5 oz of Absinthe into a coupe glass.
  • Top with 4.5 oz of Champagne.

Or that’s how it’s supposed to be served, anyway. If I were to make it, I’d probably chill the glass with ice and soda water first, and I’d swirl the Absinthe to produce a nice wash effect around the inside of the glass before adding the Champagne.

The devs on the other side of the office last Friday poured Absinthe and cheap Prosecco over ice into those little plastic wine glasses, and invited me over to join in on this ritual of bastardizing a classic American cocktail. I told them I didn’t like Champagne, but thanks for the offer. They laughed a little too hard at the notion that it was the Champagne I objected to, as if liking Absinthe is in any way edgy or unusual in this, the year of our lord two thousand and nineteen.

One of the promises I made to myself when I first started this job was that I wouldn’t drink with my coworkers for the first month. I didn’t like how much my ability to bond with previous coworkers was reliant on an altered state. It proved to be pretty easy since I had a massive health issue two weeks in that prevented me from drinking at all for several weeks.

During my recovery period, people around the office constantly kept tabs on me to see if and when I could drink again. I felt monitored and exposed. People kept inviting me to events where the only activity was getting drunk and were constantly surprised when I said no, even though they so generously pointed out that they wouldn’t be offended if I hung out with them sober. It never seemed to occur to them to engage in an activity which didn’t require being sloshed. As a consequence, I didn’t really make friends here the way I had previous jobs.

By the time I could drink consistently again, I’d developed a deep ambivalence to ever becoming friendly with these people.

I got a verbal job offer roughly two hours before Olivia tried to get me to have a Death in the Afternoon. I’d checked out of work and was playing with glitch art by then anyhow, and I almost went over and joined them. After all, my days here are numbered so nothing I do or say really matters from here on out. But I decided against it. Even after they offered to give me a full glass of Absinthe instead.

Some people just can’t stand to see other people not drink.

For an altogether more pleasant, more sophisticated, and less pretentious cocktail I recommend a Sazerac.

  • Rinse a chilled rocks glass with 0.5 oz of Absinthe. Discard any excess that lingers at the bottom of the glass
  • In a separate glass, muddle together 3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, 2 dashes of Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube, and 1/2 tsp of water
  • Add 1.25 oz of Rye Whiskey and 1.25 oz of Cognac into the glass with the sugar mixture. Fill with ice. Stir until sugar is incorporated and liquor is well-chilled.
  • Strain the drink into the glass prepared with Absinthe. Twist a lemon peel slice above the surface and swipe it around the mouth of the glass to express the oils. Discard the lemon peel.

I am being personally called out

A day off meant we could do things we’d always meant to do. Like go to the Botanical Garden, the Frick Collection, or something. Read some fiction. Leisure, the problem with the modern condition was the dearth of leisure. And finally, it took a force of nature to interrupt our routines. We just wanted to hit the reset button. We wanted to feel flush with the time to do things of no quantifiable value, or hopeful side pursuits like writing or drawing or something, something other than what we did for money. Like learn to be a better photographer. And even if we didn’t get around to it on that day, our free day, maybe it was enough just to feel the possibility that we could if we wanted to, which is another way of saying that we wanted to feel young, though many of us were that if nothing else.

Severance, page 199
Ling Ma

This paragraph should just @ me next time. Rude.

Kind of gets at why this whole personal blog/web1.0 throwback experiment is appealing though. I am giving myself space to engage in something that I will not be able to monetize. A piece of myself I am not leasing to a centralized social media giant in exchange for the hope of more social capital. It feels strange and uncomfortable, but also like I’m working to gain something back.

Why are Easter buffets so sad?

It’s become something of a tradition for me, my aunt, and my uncle to attempt brunch on Easter. The cocktails are uniformly great. This is, after all, Chicago. But the food is reminiscent of a Holiday Inn Express continental breakfast. Sufficient, I guess, but not worth the $50 they squeeze out of you for it.

Spent a large chunk of the afternoon entering books into a catalog on Inventaire. Because if there’s one thing I love it’s doing data entry about books, and the correcting inconsistencies in the database.

This blog is now a part of a webring.

Going to try to finish Severance by Ling Ma today. March and April have not been particularly good reading months for me.

Also going to try to release betterreads v0.4.0, a Python library for interfacing with the public Goodreads API, sometime this week. I’ve been dragging my heels on the authentication based integration tests and updating the documentation.