About Work

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.

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Saying Something in April 2018

A goal is to try to say something once per month that posts to Planet Ubuntu. That can be a hard thing to do. We've been through an extremely rough time at work. During this season we have had a number of unprecedented things happen including an interruption in appropriations (legal authority to spend money), retroactive changes to the tax laws in the middle of the filing season, and the mainframe itself flaming out in a gigantic crash (metaphorically speaking) on the last day of the filing season. Our contingency plans are well-exercised.

Being able to bang on (that is to say, percussively test) Bionic Beaver has been a blast. I haven't done ISO testing this round. Instead, I've been using my Xubuntu desktop daily watching things break and have been watching apport file bugs. Doing so makes me realize that, frankly, I am not normal in terms of installed packages or workflow. I have quite a bit of LaTeX installed due to church work. I have many ham radio-related things installed. Audio production and video production packages are installed too. Yes, sometimes I break down and even use LibreOffice. I don't have the whole package archive installed but I have a visible chunk of it in place as I use many things in many ways.

I fired up a droplet on Digital Ocean. My production website lives again in a very stripped-down form at http://erielookingproductions.info. The original is kept in LaTeX and the website is produced using LaTeXML which is available in the package archive. That site exhibits probably one of the lesser-trod paths in terms of creating a static web page.

Are we going to have a Carnivorous Camel? Is it a Cautious Cat? What is the new codename?

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