I have been posts in my Facebook feed about the treatment of an Australian children's author by the TSA in LAX. She was accused of having an incorrect visa for her trip. Shockingly, the TSA officials were wrong. However, she was still held in a TSA holding room and grilled by overzealous agents for two hours. They apparently thought that this 70 year old author was up to some nefarious plan instead of treating it like the minor paperwork it should have been. And again, they (the TSA) were in the wrong.
So what might rub me wrong about people showing righteous indignation over this in my Facebook feed? As Bobcat Goldthwait once said, "Learn to hate correctly". You see, all of these people are all blaming our new president and his immigration directives. You know, the same ones that were issued by his predecessor and by his presidential opponent's husband while that man was in office. To quote Uncle Al, an "Inconvenient Truth". (disclaimer: Trump was not my candidate. Nor was Clinton. I disliked the both for office. The election happened and we have to live with the outcome)
Unfortunately, this is not really where the blame should lie. You see, the TSA has been a giant ball of suck and fail since it's inception, and blaming him for the continuing failures of that organization is like blaming Ronald McDonald when you get a bad cheeseburger. Researching this will show many occasions where TSA agents went about an overzealous and incorrect detention and questioning, not to mention the invasive and embarrassing searches.
So, if you want to bitch about it, go ahead. Just make sure you are blaming the correct people.
Friday, February 24, 2017
After my last post, things changed. Literally the following day I got a call telling me I had a new job. No interview, just welcome to the company. Same pay as my previous job. 22 mile commute. Actually in the exact type of company that I was looking for. Smaller, medical industry, part of a team. The technology was right in my wheelhouse and they needed to start working on upgrading the environment. They were also just expanding into officially supporting Apple products in the environment. Sweet.
The timing was excellent. I managed to keep afloat, pay rent and utilities and survive. Things looked good. I was low man on the totem pole, and I was still a contractor with no health insurance, but otherwise good.
About three months in the commute started to really grind. Mass transit would cost more than driving, so drive it was. I had to leave an hour and a half driving time for the morning commute. The evening averaged two hours. Still, it was a job, things at work were looking good, I enjoyed my co-workers and was learning new skills. I got a very nice email from the CIO complementing my work, my attitude and the opinion of me by others at the company
Then I got sideswiped by my co-worker on one of my cases.
Due to the nature of the environment, and the total lack of documentation, I asked for help on something and he put me off for a day. That turned into a week and it came due for completion. I got it done, with his help, at the last minute. I accepted that I let it slide and that it was my fault that we had to rush. I vowed to not let that happen again.
A month later, I got another case for something that we had no documentation for. I dislike randomly changing settings on servers and applications without knowing what those changes will do, so I again requested assistance. The due date was two weeks out, so the answer was "Yes, we'll work on it Thursday." Ok. Thursday, rolls around and He delays to Friday. Then Monday. Then Wednesday. Then Thursday. Thursday I get no reply and he is out of the office all day. Friday morning I send yet another email with the reminder that this is due on Monday. I get an email at 3pm asking if it was completed.
At this point I am annoyed and reply faster than I should have, sharply reminding him that we were supposed to work on it together and that he had delayed. His reply was that it was my fault for not making sure that he had made time in his day to address the issue. I was dumbfounded. I did not reply. Words escaped me. Shortly after he called and was very apologetic, working with me to complete the task just after 5:30. Still, once is an accident, twice is coincidence. I was not interested in the third time.
Before I left I packed all of my personal tools, equipment and personal effects and put them in my car. I then backed up all of my data. I had been very thorough in my case notes, including his emails requesting delay, but I felt as a contractor that my job could be undone by this person without my knowledge. So I played it safe.
Things went quiet for a while. Money was still tight, but I was saving money and was just about to bring everything current. I was playing the game of keeping on bill a month behind, and I was just about to bring everything current. Then my car got vandalized. Twice in the same week. Two tires and a new passenger window later I am down over $500. I am steamed at this point.
Coincidentally as I am waiting on a tow, I get a phone call from my in-laws to tell me about the house they just bought. The still plan to live in their motor home, but they now have a home base. I was not in a good mood and spent several minutes raving about my hatred of the bay area. At that point they asked, "Would you be willing to move if we paid for it?"
Leave California and everything I know? I asked if I could have time to talk to my daughter. Her answer was "YES!" before I even finished the question. The following Wednesday I gave notice. Two weeks later I was unemployed and furiously packing and getting rid of stuff. I was unsuccessful on both cases despite some very generous help from friends. I gave my truck away to some friends who needed it. We ended up having to pay for the moving company to pack stuff and I still ended up abandoning stuff. I can still hear to ghost of my wife screaming at me for that. I wrote off the deposit on the apartment, since we rolled out 45 minutes after the moving truck.