Tag Archives: work

They took our jobs!

See this:

That’s the face of someone who took your job. Assuming you’re English, of course. This weekend I passed my Life in the UK test, which is one requirement of my giant application to continue working in England.

Before we talk about me, let’s sit down together and watch this clip from South Park. It’s hilarious, and sadly true.

Well, only watch about 20 seconds of it because the rest is just a repeat. The episode is funnier.

When I went to take my test Saturday there was a group of about 10 white people from Zimbabwe also applying for a visa, and it made me think of the scene in Mean Girls where Karen asks Cady why she’s white if she’s from Africa. Skip to second 25 to see that scene, and then directly after is another one of my favorite scenes where Damien says, “Oh my god, Danny Devito! I love your work!”

They definitely don’t make the immigration process easy. It’s SO EXPENSIVE. To be a legal worker in the UK you first have to pay around $1,500 for a visa for two years, and submit a giant package full of bank statements, letters between you and your partner, pictures of you together, and a bunch of other stuff. Then after two years you have to do the same thing all over again and pay another $1,500 for another visa to keep working, but you still can’t be a citizen and if you leave the country for more than two years you lose your right to come back and work. After three years I can apply for citizenship, and I’m certain the Brits will try to charge me another $1,000 for the privilege of having them spend a whole 5 minutes looking at my application that took me days to compile.

Oh, here’s a tip if you are an international couple like us. YOU CAN STAND IN THE SAME LINE AT IMMIGRATION. I was seriously angry after Adrian spent more than an hour in line at US immigration while I breezed through, then I spent about an hour at UK immigration while he breezed through. The lady took one look at my visa and said, “Oh, if you’re with your husband you can always go through the same lines since you’re a family.” WTF?? Everywhere??? Yep!

I don’t actually have my visa yet, but hopefully they’ll return it soon!




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I’m going from desk to 5K!

Here’s a picture of me at my job, and chances are this is what you look like too.

No offence to my job, it’s a good job. But any job where you spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen will lend itself to physical atrophy. After my first full year of life in the real world I didn’t feel the excitement I thought I’d feel. For making it through the year I was awarded a very nice pen with my initials engraved on it, but all I could think was, “This is all I have to show for a year post-college? A pen?” Sure, the pen is nice and it’s great to be recognized. But my problem isn’t with the pen. The pen was just a reminder of the fact that I spent the whole year learning nothing on my own.

The workforce is full of people who graduate, start working, and then just let life happen to them for the rest of their career. You see people who have been working for 20 years and they are completely dead inside. I always said that was NOT going to be me, so I worked really hard and enthusiastically last year. I did the best I could do and I ended up being the top performer for the year, but I was still really disappointed and I couldn’t figure out why. Now I know it’s because I worked really hard for the company but I didn’t do one thing to better myself.

In addition to still trying my best at work I’ve been involved with several objectives for self-betterment:

1) I’ve been teaching myself HTML and CSS, and I finally learned how to change the CSS (colors, fonts, etc.) on my blog. There will be changes happening in the next few months! I have a cool new blog name and have purchased the URL, so I just need to wait until I’m confident enough in my skills to possibly self-host my blog and get a new theme which I can CSS the heck out of.

2) I bought Adobe CS5, and I believe this will go hand-in-hand with my developing Web skills because I’ll be using Photoshop, Dreamweaver and eventually learning Flash. I also recently got a new camera, so now I’ll be able to edit my photos!

3) My body was wasting away so I’ve decided to try the Couch to 5K program. I prefer to call it the Desk to 5K program, because most of my time is spent at my desk at work rather than on my comfy couch playing Fable II. Basically the Couch to 5K program slowly but surely builds you up to being able to run a 5K, which I plan to do this summer. I’m on week 2, woo hoo! I’ll let you all know how it works out, but so far I’m really happy with it.

4) I’ve worked hard at changing my diet so I’ll feel better, and it’s working!  I’m eating almost no processed foods or meat now. For example, there is a trend going around of making “green monster” smoothies, so today I decided to make a green monster salad.

I’ll sign off with pictures of the fresh organic spinach salad with avocado, sauteed asparagus and a light lemon/olive oil dressing. The warm asparagus tasted so nice on top of the cool avocado and spinach. Yum!


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I turned one this week!

On March 22, 2010 I was birthed into the world of money making and careering.

On March 22, 2011, behold! Career woman!

It was rough going through seven months of job searching and then finally getting hired because I couldn’t believe the search was over. Wild fears of mistaken identity or revoked new-hire budgets plagued me and kept me awake at night in the weeks leading up to my first day.

“Are they sure they’ve hired the right person? Surely after seeing so many people there is bound to a mistaken identity every now and then.”

Even when my manager came upstairs to collect me I still wasn’t 100% convinced that I was truly the one. I hadn’t met him before because he wasn’t in my interviews, so I was like, “For all this guy knows I’m some bum off the street who happened to wander in here in need of a comfy couch.”

When he showed me around and no one seemed to object, I only had to worry about the budget being revoked and being immediately fired. First in, first out. I don’t like that saying. Well, I started liking it a lot more once I was fourth in line from the firing squad. Yeah, now I kind of like it.

Anyway, my blog also turned one! Technically that was at the end of February, but happy birthday, blog!


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My stupid false dichotomy.

Hi, remember me?

I haven’t been blogging lately because I’ve been focusing to the max on learning HTML and CSS. I figured if I was on the Internet I should be studying. I also cut out Twitter. I couldn’t cut out Facebook (impossible) but I cut my miscellaneous Internet usage by about 75% and turned it into studying. I like percentages.

The point is, I’m almost back to being a blogger. I just wanted to let my tens of fans know that I’ll be back soon. I also had some quick thoughts I wanted to share but I didn’t know where to write them, so I think a Dear Diary post would help best.

Dear Diary,

I have a problem with perfection. I accidentally made a dumb mistake at work today, as any normal person does, but this kind of thing deeply upsets me to the point where it ruins my day, and possibly my weekend or next week.

I feel like if you aren’t going to work with excellence in mind, don’t bother. It’s either be the best you can be, or take it easy and skate through life. Mediocrity sucks, and here’s why.

If you go to work every day trying your very best and striving for excellence you’ll be rewarded. You know you are achieving the greatest and in my experience hard work always pays off. If you do the bare minimum you have the benefit of having an easy life, with little to no levels of stress. But to go to work and do an average job? That absolutely doesn’t make sense to me. You aren’t going to get rewarded because all the people who are working hard will be rewarded. You aren’t going to have low stress because you’ll be working in an average manner. So, what are you trying for?

I don’t even know when I started thinking like this. I just sort of arrived at this conclusion and I’d like to unarrive.

When I found out about my error at work today my first thought was, “What’s the point now? My goal of 2011 record of perfection is tarnished in month two. Month two!” That’s dumb, and I know that. So why does it upset me so much? It’s not like I’d quit trying anyway, so why is that thought even there?

When other people in life (not just at work, this is a general thing) find out they have made a mistake it’s like water off a duck’s back. I don’t even care if that’s an overused expression. I like it because I love imagining little water droplets rolling down a duck’s back. I never get tired of it.

(Image Source)

I’m worried that if I start accepting mistakes more will come. And more. And more. Before I know it I’ll be average, and once I realize I’m not doing either well or poorly, I’ll sink down into the poor category. That’s why I always expect the best, from myself and from other people.

If you can be bothered, let me know what your expectations are so I can know if I’m normal or just a plain freak.

Oh yeah, and to make matters worse, I kind of have a couple friends now. That sucks because I can no longer make jokes and wild complaints about how nobody on the entire continent of Europe wants to hang out with me.*

Yours truly,

Debbie D.

*I am actually glad to have friends.


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A Typical London Morning Commute

That’s me in the back row, third from the left, getting ready to head into the office. Press releases won’t edit themselves, you know.

I’m an idiot.

In reality the morning commute looks like this:

I spent like 10 minutes drawing that picture, so you better enjoy it. Notice how I put dirt marks on the carriage and added little green stench waves. Realism.

In the summer it’s so hot you sometimes worry about suffocating when you get stuck in a tunnel for half an hour with no air conditioning, no air flow, and you are squashed in the middle of the carriage as the above picture illustrates.

If you are lucky enough to get a seat you won’t have to stand in anyone’s armpit, but you’ll still have to smell the fumes of nail polish as the girl next to you decides a busy tube is the right time to paint her nails. You’ll still have to breathe in the cough of the guy next to you, and watch as spittle flies out of his mouth and lands on your coat because he was too busy reading his Metro to cover his mouth. 

Even if you are lucky enough to get a seat, by the end of the commute you probably won’t still have that seat because all the people sitting in the disabled/pregnant lady seats refuse to give up their seat for people who are actually pregnant or disabled, so you will give up your seat to the 8-month pregnant lady or the elderly man who can hardly stand and has had to walk to the end of the carriage before anyone would kindly offer a seat.

Before you get on the train you might get punched in the head so hard you have a headache for two hours. The commuter may or may not notice he’s hit you as hard as he can in his rush to get to work.

This isn’t even taking into account the insane people who sometimes find their way into the London Underground. We’re talking about the people who growl like a tiger and stare at random people, the people who stare at £10 notes and continually punch themselves in the face, the people who sit there and cackle at nothing, the people who light up a cig and start cussing to no one.

I’m making the work commute sound bad. You don’t always sit by people like these. I like to think of these people as wild cards. There’s four in a deck, so you’re bound to draw one every few cards.

The worst time was when I saw a woman who looked like that fat zombie in the wheelbarrow in Dawn of the Dead:

Seriously. I’m not lying. She was that scary, and I was worried she’d turn into a zombie at any moment. She kept growling,  had cuts and scabs all over her body and had no clue what was going on.

As long as you avoid rush hour or traveling in Central London on the weekend, you’ll be fine.

Don’t let this scare you out of coming to visit me. Please visit me. I like visitors.


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“Don’t touch me. You’re unsanitary.”

Sometimes I question the effectiveness of washing my hands after I go to the bathroom. A lot of times there aren’t paper towels so I’m forced to touch a variety of unsanitary things before I even get back to my desk at work.

I still wash my hands, though, and I try to do the awkward open-the-door-with-the-bottom-of-your-palm thing. Other times I try to stick my whole hand through the handle and open the door with my wrist, but this makes me worry that someone will force the door open at the same time, thereby breaking my wrist.

When I see an open door handle I have to make a decision: risk touching a door handle encrusted with fecal molecules, or risk a broken wrist.

Sometimes I use my scarf as a barrier to the handle, but this really bothers me because later in the day I’ll be sitting somewhere and randomly think, “There are microscopic chunks of feces and urine on my scarf. Right now.” Then I frown.

This serious concern about other people’s bodily germs led me to request from the office manager my own personal bottle of hand sanitizer.

Then I started wondering: Is hand sanitizer effective? A cursory Google search told me that if your hands are dry after a few rubs you have not put on enough sanitizer. The article said you should be rubbing your hands for at least 10 seconds with sanitizer comprised of at least 60% alcohol.

About two seconds before I was introduced to one of our company’s affiliates the other day I had put a generous palm full of hand sanitizer on my hand.

He held out his hand for a good ol’ shakin’, and instead of shaking I apologetically said something like, “Sorry, I can’t shake your hand. I’ve just put sanitizer on it.”

I may have inadvertently insulted him and insinuated that he was unclean, but what I really meant was that I didn’t want to get his hands wet from the sanitizer. I’m almost certain he heard me say as such, and if he didn’t see my hands vigorously rubbing together then … hm.

All of this wouldn’t be a problem if everyone would start washing their hands after they do anything in the bathroom. Anything. Unfortunately it appears that most people don’t wash their  hands properly.

Walking up to the sink and sticking your hands under water for literally one second does not constitute any kind of a proper wash.

It’s behavior like this that leads the rest of us to bear fecal scarves or become deathly ill from E. coli.


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Things High School Gym Class Didn’t Prepare Me For

1 – Extensive finger movement.

2 –  Extensive movement of multiple fingers.

Please forgive the anomaly which has caused me to turn into a lefty as well given me the ability to type with one hand. If you can get your mind around that, I think you’ll find that you are able to relate to me sitting at my desk.

Honestly, that is my face and my fingers day in and day out. I still love my job and I’m so happy to be working, but coming out of high school I was not prepared to have to sit and stare a screen 8 hours a day. Which brings me to my next point:

3 – Preventing DVT due to inactivity.

Say what you want about getting up and walking around every hour. If you are up walking around the office for the suggested five minutes every hour people will think you are a slacker. That being said, I’m scrunching up and stretching out in my chair all the time because all the extra energy causes my muscles to really hurt. People must think I’m a freak.

4 –  Everything mentioned above and everything else in the world that ever was. Every gym teacher I’ve had was a total joke because it’s a joke, waster class that no one ever cared about.

We would have been better off taking another health class and learning how to deal with the harsh realities of life post college, like staring at your screen and knowing that you are going to be staring at that screen or a different screen every day for the next 40  years and nothing will ever change except more responsibility and more pressure.

Or that you will be in the work kitchen every morning for the next 40 years enthusiastically replying, “Oh, I’m fine, but how are you today?” to the same people who don’t know you and don’t care to know you, but feel obligated to question your existence due to some social norm and because the silence makes them feel awkward.

That sounds mean, but the thing is I really would like to know about people’s lives. I just don’t care how random people are doing, especially as the only acceptable answer is “fine,” or “great, thanks,” and then they turn around and leave.

I’d rather get on with some enlightening conversation or else make my coffee in silence. I don’t like being fake.


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I Want a Sleep Switch

Life would be much improved by a switch we could flip or a button we could press on our bodies that would make us go to sleep instantly, although thinking about the actual mechanics of this really grosses me out.

Millions of years of evolution (or extremely faulty creationism) and this is what we get? Awake at night, day-dreaming [at night?] about a fantasy life filled with piles of good food and money, a life devoid of minor annoyances, like trying to put on a pair of pants and not having to thrash them around violently because they have somehow gotten tangled inside the leg and even your fist punching them can’t undo the tangle.

Sometimes I think about sleeping. I’m trying to sleep and I’m thinking about sleeping so my mind will remember how earlier in the day it didn’t want to wake up and got extremely angry at the 4 am alarm clock. This works better than counting sheep, which I’m not sure anyone actually does. When I think about sheep or when I try to count backwards from 100 I become restless and filled with boredom instead of ZZzZzzzZs.

What usually works best is pretending I am in outerspace, minus the exploding body. I just float around and try to imagine what it would feel like to have no weight pulling me down and making me tired.

The point is, I’m on a 5 am shift today and can’t stop thinking about how my life would be a whole lot better if I had been able to get to sleep at 8:30 last night like I planned, because I was exhausted but my mind wouldn’t be quiet.

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An Evening at the Mitchell Residence

On a typical day we get home from work around 6 and then we have to cook dinner. After that we are tired, but we still have to go to the gym. Usually we’ll sit around for a while until we finally decide to go.

Last week we were sitting on the couch when Adrian makes me a lucrative proposition:

“I’ll give you £10 if you let me stick my finger in your belly button, but you can’t move around while I’m doing it.”

I really hate fingers in my belly button because it’s very uncomfortable and it makes my insides have a weird feeling.

Naturally I didn’t believe him at first. But he was really genuine. He knew that it would be so terrible for me that he’d have to give me £10 in order for this to happen.

When  he was wiggling his finger in there (I hate it so much that it is making me sick recollecting the feeling)  he starts saying, “This is how a prostitute feels the first time she sells her body to a man. I hope you feel good about yourself.”

Finally he finished and I told him I wanted my money immediately. He laughed in my face and said he wasn’t going to give me £10 just because I let him make my belly button extremely uncomfortable.

Now, this may seem like a joke to you, but it is upsetting. I really wanted that £10 and I had every reason to believe I was going to receive it.

Then he started saying “OK, OK, if you let me stick my finger in your belly button AND nose, I swear I’ll give you the £10 this time.”

Like I would be stupid enough to believe him again.

But he begged and apologized and apologized and swore he would give me the £10. I still said no, but finally I thought maybe there was a chance he would give me the money.  Also, I just happened to have my camera by the couch so I took a picture of his evil face while he was doing this:

I didn’t get the money.

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