Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reviews and Employment

I had my annual performance review today. The good news is: I'm not fired. Hey, in this uncertain economy AND uncertain merger with the much larger company (who has made it very clear that "merger" really means we're buying you and making unpleasant changes)...well, let's just say I wasn't positive I was safe. In all fairness, I'm still not sure I'm safe for this year, simply because said monster company hasn't decided what to do with my department yet. But for now, performance wise, I'm good.

Except I apparently didn't do all the extra credit last year I was supposed to. Corporate jobs are all about managing expectations...and I guess I didn't manage my supervisor's supervisor's expectations of me well. I kicked ASS last year at work, but all she talked about was my stupid developmental know, stuff like attending additional training or reading books specific to my line of work...etc etc etc. For the first time I came away from a performance review feeling like I truly lacked, even though I EXCEEDED all of the actual work-related goals for the year.

Of course that was followed by "we all need to work harder with less" and no raises this year (for the second year in a row) but the goals for 2009 should be "stretch" goals. I'd like to see where the hell they think the incentive is for that, plus 100 extra hours of client-facing time, plus 10+ hours of "development" or training.

Seriously, why am I still there?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Whale Watching

All right, now that's just cool...and probably nothing I'll ever see in person, as I detest the cold and can't imagine visiting the Arctic Circle anytime soon.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Monster Monday: Man-Eating Snakes

What is it about snakes that scare the bejesus out of most people? There some deep-seated horror in the subconscious that spawns horror movies like Anaconda. Every few months an email goes around the internet with those pictures of a man's legs and lower torso sticking out of the burst belly of a giant snake. Rumors and urban legends about people-swallowing snakes are so popular even the new Discovery channel show Monsterquest covered it, sending investigative teams to the Everglades and the Amazon to look for uber-snakes.

For me, the idea of being swallowed whole is even more horrifying than the idea of being killed by a wild animal. I think it's because ignorance is bliss: I don't have a big sentimental attachment to my body after I die. Donate it to science, bury it, burn it, leave it for the wild animals as nourishment: I won't be using it anymore, and one way or another Nature will take care of recycling it for something else's use. However, I do NOT relish the idea of somebody or something else making use of MY body before I'm done with it. Add to that the speed with which constrictors eat their prey, the "eww" factor of saliva and presumed crushed bones, and the prospect of being swallowed alive and whole is just not a good way to go.

So, is this some throwback to our cave-man memories in the lizard part of our brain, some deep subconscious memory of the fear our ancestors felt while walking the jungles and grasslands? Is it memory from even before Homo-Erectus...maybe a fear from the evolutionary brain dating back to our primate days? Or, is it because we HAVE had to contend with monster snakes that could swallow a human being, a cow, a horse, with no difficulty?

This article just serves as a reminder to skeptics out there: just because we don't see evidence of a monster in plain sight doesn't mean it never existed. The world was about 10 degrees warmer year round when this snake lived. Now THAT's enough to make a girl worry about global warming...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

On Fairytales

I wonder what would happen if little girls weren't raised on a constant diet of damsels-in-distress, of princesses who only become truly happy when they're finally married off and in a position (presumably) without any work? Look at Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty: NONE of them are happy until they've met Prince Charming in one of his many incarnations. Perhaps more disturbingly, none are happy until they're married to a man wealthy enough to 1) take care of them and 2) save them from any sort of labor.

Granted, cartoons have become a lot more progressive since then: look at Mulan, the girl who became a soldier...who again was happiest at the end when she'd found a man. Is society a reflection of the crap we watch, or is what we watch a reflection of society? Are women only truly happy when they're in a romantic relationship, or are we just bred to think that way? I think it's really interesting that statistically it's MEN who report being happier, more content, and are longer lived when they're married. So who perpetuates the idea that women are happy married: women, or the men who want to marry them?

I won't lie: I do wonder now and again what it would be like to be single, to be responsible for only my own feelings/goals/dreams/household/job etc. Who wouldn't think about it now and again? I don't generally feel guilty about it either: it's not a wish to be single, it's an idle wondering. After being through all ups and downs in my relationship over the past seven years (good GOD, seven years) I honestly think I'm happier overall being married than I would be single.

I was reading that blog again today: the one written by an young woman (maybe mid 20's) who's been cheating on her husband the entire time they've been married. With several different men. Reading it always leaves a really bad taste in my mouth, as I'm particularly offended by any type of betrayal, but most especially betrayal of the S.O. kind. It's just part of my makeup: honesty is #1 for me, even if honesty hurts I'd rather that than the lie. Anyway, while today is no different, I found myself wondering why an adulturous woman is called a homewrecker when an adulturous man isn't? Don't they wreck the respective home(s) together?

Is the Jezabel label another product of the fairy tales we teach little girls...that only bad women sleep with men outside of marriage? Only sluts and bitches fall in love with people they shouldn't? But why is behavior often percieved as a "weakness a wife should forgive" in a man percieved as "evil homewrecking slut" in a woman? And more interestingly, why when there's infidelity in the marriage does the spouse blame the OTHER person, not the offending spouse?

I don't have the answers, but I think this'll roll around in the brainpan for a little while. Maybe it's the product of American Puritanism. Maybe it's based on biological impulses to compete for genetic dominance. Maybe it's all a load of crap and people need to just rediscover honor.

Monday, February 02, 2009


I'd like to say I'm fast on my mental feet, so to speak. Unfortunately I can't often say that: I'm the girl that comes up with the snappy comeback to a nasty comment about three hours after the fact. The girl who thinks up the perfect joke after already making an ass of herself at a party. Yeah. I'm not that girl. I'd be kicked out of the comedy olympics with a dirt medal: dead last. For some reason almost all my wit comes out in writing, not in speech.

As it turns out, I'm even clumsier at dance improv as I am at the vocal variety. Give me a choreographed piece and I'll learn it and be able to make changes from there. Turn on a piece of music I've never heard before and, while the rest of the class makes up moves and dances all around me, I'm the girl-in-the-headlights. I can't move, I can't think: seriously, I could get hit by a bus. And usually I'd prefer it to improvising dance to something I've never heard.

Yet that's how many of my BD classes seem to end lately. I know I'm supposed to get better at it with practice, but the fact is, after 5 years of bellydance classes, the last 2 in advanced classes, I'm still no better doing improv than a beginner whose never done the moves at all. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a dance disability I've given myself somehow, or if my brainpan just can't function in that situation.

For the record, I have a crappy time dancing at clubs and such if I don't know the music, also.