Okay, this is getting to be a bit insane. When I have octogenarians yelling at me about how they don't have time to read correspondence from my employer and yet want me to fix stupid things they did contrary to instructions in said correspondence...why am I still trying to save them? My job description is a bit more narrow than "superhero".
My job is turning into a national reading comprehension exam. The problem is that too many people are failing that exam. The concepts in the letters have been simplified as much as possible. Unfortunately I have people calling who are literally illiterate and need me to read the letter to them because they don't know how to read. I'm not allowed to suggest Adult Basic Literacy Education to any caller but some of them need it. I cannot fix that problem over the course of a single phone call no matter how hard I want to help.
The fraud problems are getting worse. While NTA keeps saying that we have a massive false positive rate, I am just shocked that that many employers could screw up that many information returns on that many employees. We should be nickling and diming those employers with the relevant fines for failing to file proper information reports. That is a $500 fine per person per report.
The last doctor visit wasn't a positive one. She wants me out of the job. The local hiring market isn't bristling with jobs. Ashtabula County has an unemployment rate higher than the state average but at least we aren't in the dire straits of Monroe County with 8.5% unemployment. Anything on offer in Ashtabula County either has minimum requirements that I don't meet (i.e. medical degree, five to ten years experience in welding, experience as a head waiter, experience as a vintner) or requires me to take an over 60% cut in hourly pay.
That I need help is probably an understatement. All of us in my cubicle row said roughly the same thing at different points today: "I'm going to hell for this." There simply comes a point where things break. Unfortunately the entire 25 site enterprise of call sites is straining hard to hit a very hard performance measure and may miss it yet.
I'm still doing what church work I can. Sacerdotal functions are being performed a minimum of twice per month as part of the Domestic Mission Field Activity at West Avenue Church of Christ. People wondering about the corporate existence of said church can check its Ohio registration with the Secretary of State at https://www5.sos.state.oh.us/ords/f?p=100:7:::NO:7:P7_CHARTER_NUM:209029. The pro-rated buyout amount to have me work full-time for the church is apparently $2,125 per month based upon the congregation's basic ministerial pay that hasn't varied in years.
While I am trying to hang on, I am getting sick from work. Psychosomatic symptoms are unfortunately very real when you can't handle the overload of emotion flooding at you from so many angry and upset people. In these times of Resistance the knob has been turned to 11 compared to how things were prior to President Trump's inauguration even though nothing's really changed with how taxes are administered.
If you've read this, I offer thanks. Sadly the story isn't changing. If you want to help it change, contact Elmer Ford at West Avenue to see about raising tax-deductible funds putting me on full-time for a couple months for domestic missions work. If you want to help it change, please help me find a way to break out of the rut I'm in with this employer. If you want to help it change, please help me rearrange things for the better in this corner I've seemingly painted myself into.more ...
While I feel for people who are suffering there is also the problem of expectations. When a disaster strikes, things don't immediately go back to normal. For the pictures leaking out of Puerto Rico, seeing people holding signs calling the response "inept" is flabbergasting. When the roads are destroyed, there are still flooded areas, no telecomms, no power...this is a logistical nightmare on par with an army invading a jungle. That federal response has moved as fast as it has actually has been better than expected. Department of Defense photography of their response actions so that they can build unit histories is available here: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/FSPRVI
A partially annotated look at links in unordered bibliography form:
Klein, B., & Liptak, K. (2017, September 29). Trump: US “will not rest” until Puerto Ricans are safe. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/29/politics/trump-puerto-rico-federal-response/index.html
President Trump brought up the island's debt. That is important. Most authorities under the Stafford Act only allow loans for rebuilding. Puerto Rico is already in the hole for $76 billion. The power company is in the hole for $6 billion by itself. Both are seeking protection from creditors. If the current creditors cannot be paid, who is going to accept money from another loan to rebuild the power system? Is the federal government going to have to step in to write off the island's debt that it ran up on its own so that it can make a fresh start with a new power grid? In that second instance, there will need to be an Act of Congress appropriating that money and it will probably have to be taken away from somewhere else in the budget pie.
Statt, N. (2017, September 29). Alphabet’s Project Loon may deliver internet to Puerto Rico with hot air balloons. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/29/16388104/alphabet-x-project-loon-puerto-rico-air-balloon-internet-connectivity
What good is Internet access for people who have no power, no food, and barely have shelter? Look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Internet is a nice goal at the top of the hierarchy. Things at the foundation level, which truly does not include Internet access, are barely even being handled at the moment.
“No good news in Puerto Rico” says mayor. (2017, September 29). BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41447187
While perspective matters, this is an awesome mobilization. I've got a book on the shelf about the mobilization responding to Sandy in the New York City area. That was a mess and was of smaller scale than this. Lessons were learned and seem to be applied.
Becker, R. (2017, September 29). Trying to communicate after the hurricane: “It’s as if Puerto Rico doesn’t exist.” Retrieved September 29, 2017, from https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/29/16372048/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-2017-electricity-water-food-communications-phone-internet-recovery
Again, there is a hierarchy of needs. Ham radio operators are passing shelter lists via radioteletype on high frequency radio to a central American Red Cross collection point so the names can be collated and determinations can be made as to who is where. 50 people volunteered within 24 hours of American Red Cross making the request of the American Radio Relay League. Although I have a high-enough class license, I don't have enough experience operating radioteletype.
McCarthy, K. (2017, September 28). At last, someone’s taking Apple to task for, uh, not turning on iPhone FM radio chips. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/09/28/fcc_chair_on_iphone_fm_chips/
And the response to the FCC was that any FM radio chips in the iPhone just happened to not be connected to anything. They wouldn't work even with a firware change. No FM chips in the iPhone 7 or later.
Panzarino, M. (2017, September 28). Apple would like to remind the FCC that it can’t activate imaginary FM radios that iPhones don’t have. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from http://social.techcrunch.com/2017/09/28/whose-fcc-is-this/
I tried this on my own Android phone and it isn't really that great. Whatever happened to having an actual radio that tunes the AM/FM dial?
Respaut, R., & Graham, D. (2017, September 28). With cell service crippled, Puerto Ricans look skyward for a signal. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico-communication/with-cell-service-crippled-puerto-ricans-look-skyward-for-a-signal-idUSKCN1C30FA
People are lining up to make 30 second calls to the mainland. Why? There are higher priorities at hand.
Puerto Rico seeks extension in key deadlines in bankruptcy case after Maria. (2017, September 26). Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-storm-maria-puertorico-extension/puerto-rico-seeks-extension-in-key-deadlines-in-bankruptcy-case-after-maria-idUSKCN1C101G
Again, most disaster response authorities consolidated under the Stafford Act are loans. Puerto Rico is in the hole for $76 billion already. Action by the Congress would be required to have the federal government directly pay for a new power grid. Puerto Rico being bailed out financially would be unthinkable as the consequence would potentially be the loss of the current form of local government and the imposition of a revised form of governance.
No, FEMA Isn't Santa Claus by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://identi.ca/alpacaherder/note/nmhtz6-BSFaLwM9cyiwSBg. more ...