I Owe, I Owe…

It’s off to work I go! I promised a new and improved rant on the horrors of working and I got just the fodder for it last week. My lovely friend Michelle (of previous SoapBox fame) recommended that I go and talk to her recruitment firm, who shall remain nameless (damned lawyers!). So, since I am about to slack myself right out of my mind, I decided to go.

I made the trek to Midtown last Thursday, rather morosely, having been burned by recruiters before, doncha know. I do the 3 tons of crap paperwork that they sling at you when you walk in the door and wait for the chick to ‘interview’ me. While I’m still in the front area, some guy comes out and asks if I’m a Mac tech. I go in with Ms. Recruiter and she asks me about my skillset, yada yada yada. Then she introduces the guy from the lobby as her ‘associate’ and says that he has a Mac job that they couldn’t find anybody for. “Well, woohoo!” I think to myself.

The project is installing a network at this graphics company on Piedmont. Sounds interesting, but with no real info, it’s hard to tell. The guy gives me a diagram and a list of client concerns, tells me to park on the street and off I go.

I get there and the person I get hooked up with has NO IDEA what is going on. So, I proceed to diagnose the Mac that is really acting up and I discover that the hard drive is pretty much toast. I ask for software to a) fix the driver and b) reload the drive if I have to reformat it. Well, that is the end of the helpful employees. They are so freaked out that I asked for their software that they go and HIDE!!! Really!

I’m really put off now, but I realize that they are just users and they can’t help acting like old women, so I plod on, listing hardware, evaluating the network, etc. 5pm arrives, so I leave. No one even escorts me out. And companies wonder how stuff gets stolen??? Geez!

I get to my car to find a $25 parking ticket (from parking where Mr. Recruiter TOLD me to) and I’m totally OVER IT. It was an omen. But I do the proposal anyway.

I call Mr. Recruiter on Monday and he gives me the ole shuck and jive about whether or not the client is going to do the project or not. I figure that they are not, but he won’t say–and he gets real pissy about the paperwork that HE GAVE ME without copying for himself first and wants me to deliver it back to him (of course I’m not about to go back down there). Then I get spammed for a PC job that is ENTRY level AND he rags me about the damn paperwork again. ARRRRRGH!!!

When I call to find out what the hell is going on, he doesn’t return my call, so I sent him a flame of an email and BCC’d it to the original chick that sicked this guy on me. She called me back, apologized, and whined “We really are different than those other firms! Really! I don’t know what happened! He is one of the best account reps here!”

I’ll tell ya what happened: NOTHING UNUSUAL. Recruiters are the scourge of the computer industry and they should be banned. They have minimal knowledge, too many clients and treat us, their HOSTS, like pieces of meat. The little parasites have more important things to do than get us the info we need to do the job or FILTER their incessant spams. Oh, no, WE are supposed to find people for THEM and be happy that we are lucky enough to have them sucking the life out of us. I detest them all and I can’t believe I even talked to one again!

The only good thing is that I billed ’em for my time wasted AND the parking ticket. Cha-ching!

AAAAAAH, nothing like a good RANT to clear out all that resentment! :-D

Too Much Time on My Hands

And too much philosophical reading, I suppose. I’m reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance at the moment. Actually, I’m sort of reading it. I’ve been skimming through much of the hardcore philosophical rantings of the Author, since it makes my eyes glaze over and I’m too far into my own search for truth to really give a rat’s ass about his. These thoughts have pushed out all my previous angst about WORK stuff–but I’ll come back to it, as always. Just as a tongue goes back to that sore tooth again and again.

You see, my contract gig is over and in the space in between gigs I tend to really dig just vegging and contemplating my navel. I weed the garden, find new ways to prepare cucumbers [we have too many], talk to my cats and read. I do other stuff too, like this and the AMUG website, but mainly I read. My Significant Other (SO) was out of town for a week and I discovered that without his innate grounding presence, I really become an airhead! Anyway, I’m on a quest for enlightenment and certain books seem to stand out for me.

Conversations with God (Books One and Two) by Neale Walsch have been very instrumental for my personal path. Hmmm, I could go into a long diatribe about that, but I don’t want to reveal that much about myself to you, casual reader. Suffice it to say that these are life changing, attitude fixing, empowering books. Read them.

Yoga has been important, too, and the book AcuYoga is very good. The yoga techniques augmented with acupressure points are just fabulous! Oh, and I got ahold of Linda Goodman’s Relationship Signs, a posthumous work that is really great for doing astrological chart comparisons for couples. It seems that my feeling of never ‘getting rid of’ my SO is very logical, since we appear to be as integral to one another as an old sock and an old shoe… I’ve decided to stop fighting it and be happy that I am privileged to be living out my karmic wheel consciously.

I’ve read the fourth installation of the Gunslinger series, the Dark Tower, Wizard and Glass by my favourite author, Steve King. Thank you, Michelle, for letting me borrow it. I truly think that King will be acknowledged as a major late 20th century author when we are all dust in jars. His worlds are large. His characters are real. His stories overlap. His imagination is extraordinary. I have read everything he has written (good and not-so-good) and I feel even the marginal stuff has somehow enhanced the overall experience of his work. I see characters from one story inside other stories frequently. For instance, a King fan should be very familiar with the initials RF.

In a way, even my ‘for fun’ reading has been a part of my soul searching. Dark Tower just adds to my feeling of karmic energy and destiny. It’s called ka in the stories, but it is the same concept and it moves me.

A list of books or authors you must read:

– anything by Steve King, but absolutely The Stand and the Dark Tower series

– the Beauty trilogy by Anne Rampling [Rice]

– the Vampire AND the Witch tales by Anne Rice

– anything by Linda Goodman

– anything by Raymond Buckland

– The Spiral Dance

– Conversations with God books 1-3 by Walsch

– Utne Reader magazine

– Discovering the Enneagram by Rohr

– Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady by F. King (no relation to Steve)

– anything about religions other than your own

Well, that’s the Soapbox for today. Om Shanti.

Tales of a Mac Tech

Yes, it’s true. I am a female technician. Shocked?

You are thinking, well, NO, I’m not shocked by that, I know lots of women who work all day on computers. Let me ask you this: how many of those women are technicians? Not designers, not database designers, not web designers or hackers. Now add in “Macintosh Specialist”. Don’t be alarmed if you can’t think of anyone–neither can I!!

This, my first commentary, is about how I feel about being in my unique position as a female Mac tech in a male dominated, PC dominated world.

First off, let’s tackle the Mac issue. This is one irritating facet of my professional life. If I had a dollar for every comment that began “You know, if you’d learn Windoze, you’d make a LOT more money…” I could retire right this minute!! The fact of the matter is this: I LIKE what I do and I’m damned good at it! Why should I support a platform that I do not ‘get’ and I do not enjoy supporting? Oh, yes, I can do Windoze support, and I do occasionally if I must, but as a rule, I get no satisfaction from it.

The abuse we Mac people take from MicroSoft drones is really ridiculous. It seems that the millions of Mac users out there just don’t exist, according to the drones. The fact is that certain industries are almost 100% Mac, despite what the pimply faced teenaged salesman at Best Buy will try to tell you. You would not get your newspaper in the morning if Macs were not involved! Oh, and there is a ton of software for Mac, too. Don’t buy into the herd mentality!

I think of the whole computer industry as a yin-yang model. There are PC users (yang) and Mac users (Yin). As the yin-yang model goes, yang is male, aggressive, dominating and Yin is female, intuitive and accomodating. It is interestng to me that the users of these computers fall into similar categories. Both platforms have strengths and weaknesses and both are necessary to balance the other. All the stupid arguments about This is better than That are simply futile. If you really want a new and improved platform, then you need to look into Linux! But that would put you WAY outside the mainstream–kinda like being a Libertarian…

Now about gender bias. It seems as though I’m the only FEMALE Macintosh technician in Metro Atlanta. I know no other females who do support! I am a member of my local Mac User Group, AMUG, and I am the only female tech in the group [that has identified herself as such]. That wouldn’t be an irritation IF I was given equal billing as the male techs. But as it is, whenever there is some sort of technical discussion or Fix Your Mac day, I am not called upon for input. I was not even included in the Consultant listing, which was all male. This bothers me.

Of course, being in the South doesn’t help matters, either. Gender bias is an insidious problem and it is a very subtle kind of inequality that runs rampant in the o-so-conservative South. My last job is a prime example of being paid less than my male counterpart AND having NO seniority despite the fact that I had worked for the company for 9 months when he came aboard! My male boss claimed that there was not a problem!! The male support tech ordered me around, disparaged my work and even raised his voice with me. I took the matter to Human Resources (ha!) and was met with the same incomprehension.

Even the female designers were paid less than the males. Is it just me, or is this a total crock of shit?

I truly believe that if all salaries were made public this would no longer be an issue. Imagine the outrage if ALL salaries were listed publicly! Who, in her right mind, would knowingly and publicly work for 25% less just because she lacked a penis? Of course this begs the question: why do women do it now? We all know that there is a salary gap, but it is not spoken about in the name of privacy. Does it really make sense that salaries are not discussed due to bad taste? Puhleeze! They [and many other “taboo” subjects] are not discussed to keep the status quo.

This is one of the main reasons that I am self employed. I left that semi-corporate job because of the gender bias and I’ve never looked back. I left that job in the name of equality and honesty. I refuse to reinforce the notion that it is OK for me to be paid less and treated differently than ANYONE. If enough women refused, then there would be change. If enough people refused the status quo, this would be a different world, wouldn’t it?