My name is No

Jul. 25th, 2017 02:29 pm
[syndicated profile] asknicola_feed

Posted by Nicola Griffith

My inbox has reached epic proportions. Many of the emails are requests: Come to this conference, signal boost that worthy cause, judge our competition, visit my class, contribute to our anthology/video game/brainstorm/policy session about women/queer/disabled people. It’s lovely to be asked, but I have a novel (and other stuff) to write and I’m already scheduled for, and talking about, teaching and school visits. So for the majority of requests the answer will have to be No.

If I’ve already said Yes, or we’re talking about it, this is not aimed at you. But to those of you to whom I have not yet responded, I will. And if it’s for something between now and late spring (when I have a book coming out) it will probably be No (unless it’s very interesting…).

Here’s Meghan Trainor to help you understand:

My name is No.
My number is No.
My sign is No.
You need to let it go.
Nah to the ah to the no no no.

Hat tip to Angie Bennett, a medievalist.

spiralsheep: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (spiralsheep Ram Raider mpfc)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
- Mr Tummyness goes for a walk.

Mr Tummyness the Faun stumped by a wish tree

postable  Mr Tummyness the Faun with the skeletal petals of winter

- BBC News online feed pull quote, lol: "A 12ft-long python found on the Norfolk Broads has still not been found." Perhaps it's not a python but a news ouroboros? ;-)

- Small political victories making me happy right left now:

1. In the UK the inquest into the death of Sarah Reed #sayhername found that her death in custody was preventable and the result of systemic racism and disablism. The inquest explicitly stated that Sarah Reed should NOT have been in prison, in addition to listing many forms of abusive maltreatment Sarah Reed was subjected to including the deliberate withholding of medication by prison staff. It doesn't give Sarah Reed her life back but this accurate and comprehensive verdict will help her family, especially her mother, and might even ripple outwards to help every Black disabled woman currently being abused by systemic racism and disablism (including by disabled white racists who volubly deny racism exists, and play at respectability politics, while inflicting their racism and the deadly results on Black disabled people).

2. In Poland justice activist Zofia Romaszewska, and mass street protests by ordinary Polish people, persuaded President Andrzej Duda to veto an attempt by the (democratically elected) fascist government of Poland to take control of the judiciary. The EU also protested and threatened sanctions, which is important because that might slow the power grab by fascists in Hungary and the further spread of overt fascism in Europe (which still has too much power and influence over the rest of the world).

3. All those gifs of Sean Spicer stealing a mini-fridge from the White House were 'king lolarious and, no, it's not a *distraction* because people can have fun while simultaneously caring about the srs bznz of resisting fascism.

This is turning into an annual ritual

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:27 pm
highlyeccentric: Sign on Little Queen St - One Way both directions (Default)
[personal profile] highlyeccentric
Or more like every 10-11 months. Guess who just bought a new computer? It me!

This time I don't think the demise of the old one is my fault - the battery was behaving weirdly on Sunday, and then yesterday at 40% power it went zoooop and wouldn't turn on again. It's still in warranty, so is being shipped back to Lenovo. In the meantime I still have work to do, so bought an itsy-bitsy teeny weenie Lenovo YogaBook, which is proving very difficult to type with (keyless keypad!) but otherwise seems like a Friend.

Naturally I hadn't made a recent file backup on the old computer, but I'm fairly sure the HD will be okay, and all my work stuff is on dropbox.

(no subject)

Jul. 25th, 2017 09:27 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adair and [personal profile] owlfish!

A Hybrid Solar Eclipse over Kenya

Jul. 25th, 2017 04:45 am
[syndicated profile] apod_feed

Chasing solar eclipses can cause you to go to the most interesting places and meet the most interesting people. Chasing solar eclipses can cause you to go to the most interesting places and meet the most interesting people.

[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Someone anonymously left a self-help book on my desk

I got into work this morning to find a self-help book sitting on my desk (the “organize your life” kind). I asked my manager if she left a book on desk for me and she told me she didn’t leave it. I didn’t elaborate at all about what kind of book and she didn’t ask. The coworker who sits in the cube next to me didn’t notice anyone dropping it off, and I had a vacation day yesterday, which was visible on my Outlook calendar, so anyone could have known I’d be gone and dropped it off.

How should I handle this? I know my manager is happy with my performance and organization level (and I’ve actually done a lot of the organizing for our shared team materials and started our brand book). For now, I just set the book aside and am planning to ignore it (or leave it in the break room is someone else wants it?), but I’m also worried I missed something, because someone obviously must be concerned about my work or work ethic.

I wouldn’t assume that’s what it means! There are so many other possibilities here, like that the person who left it didn’t even intend to leave it there but put it down while doing something else and forgot to pick it back up … or that people know you’ve done a lot of organizing for your team and thought you’d enjoy the book … or someone came into possession of it thought “Jane does a lot of this kind of work so maybe she would find this useful” … or who knows what else.

Leaving you a book on organizing as a way to say “hey, you suck at being organized” would be so incredibly rude that I’d put that possibility pretty low down on the list of explanations — and especially since you aren’t someone with glaring problems being organized.

(For anyone wondering why this answer has a different tenor than my answer to the letter earlier this year from someone who anonymously received breath mints, in that case the letter-writer thought it was likely that she did indeed have bad breath.)

2. Requiring an employee to be in the office more

I manage a small IT team and I’m curious how you would approach a conversation with a direct report in this situation. Over a year ago, I needed support in my position as an IT project manager to have more thorough QA and analysis work. We found the right fit with a former customer care rep and as part of it, she negotiated working remotely.

She proved to be very effective and she ended up stepping into my role while I was on maternity leave. When I returned from leave, we were able to convert her role into a full-time salaried employee and my direct report. I mentioned at that point that as part of this role that she would need to be present in the office more, but this has proved a little difficult, because we are bursting at the seams and she doesn’t have anywhere to sit on a regular basis. She lives close to the office and does a good job at coming in for meetings or if I request her to/suggest that it would aid a project.

My own manager does not really approve of remote work. He’s old school in the sense that he thinks people are more productive and communicate better in the office and that increases in productivity working from home are exaggerated. I disagree, as I worked from home for six years in a previous job, but have decided that it’s not a “battle” I want to pick with him, as I currently am in a situation where I much prefer coming into the office and leaving my work there.

At the end of the summer, our office is expanding so we WILL have enough room for her to have a desk. My boss asked me if I’ll be having this employee come in regularly since we now have space for her. After thinking it through, I believe that I DO want her to be in the office on a regular basis. That said, I don’t need it to be full time. I should also mention that despite my manager wanting people in the office, he is very liberal about setting your own schedule and letting people step out for appointments. As long as work is getting done and you are in the office for a reasonable amount of time each day, he doesn’t ask questions. My dilemma is how to approach the conversation of being in the office more with my direct report, when I’m not really sure what it is I want. I’m considering saying that I’d like her to be in the office 30 out of 40 hours, because I think that would be enough face time for what I want to accomplish. I’m worried that my manager will perceive this as giving her a benefit that other employees (his team) doesn’t have. What are your thoughts?

First, figure out exactly what you do want her to do so that she’s not having to try to guess at what you’re asking for her for. It’s fine to come up with a range (like “I’d really like her to be in the office 3/4 of the time, but if it’s a sticking point for her, I could live with half-time”); you just need to be really clear in your own head so that you can convey it to her.

Second, once you’ve figured that out, talk to your boss before you talk to your employee. Explain to him that you understand his views on remote work, but that this employee negotiated remote work as part of her original offer and she’d done a great job, been highly productive, etc. (assuming that’s true). Say that you do agree that as part of her new role, you want her to be in the office more than before, but that you’ve given it a lot of thought and she can do what you need from her if she’s in the office X% of the time. Say you plan to arrange that with her, and want to make sure he’s comfortable with that before you do.

If it turns out that he’s not okay with that, you want to know that before you talk to your employee so that you’re not telling her one thing and then having to go back with a different message later.

3. A former coworker messaged me to say he applied for the job I just started

Over a year ago, I worked as an intern in an office with several professional staff members and other interns. A member of the professional staff frequently expressed unhappiness with his job to the interns.

I began a new professional position a couple of months ago, and recently received a LinkedIn request and message from the former coworker asking if my current coworkers or supervisor had told me that they also interviewed him for the role. They did not tell me, and the message took me by surprise. The message was friendly and also congratulated me on my new role, but am I wrong for thinking that it is inappropriate of him to have contacted me about this? I know that this individual was probably extremely disappointed because he has been “stuck” in his current role for a long while, but I would never even consider contacting anyone that was chosen for a position over me and cannot figure out what his motive may be.

I want to reply to acknowledge his message, but I am unsure of how to appropriately address the question of whether or not I knew that they had interviewed for my position. Do you have any suggestions on what an appropriate response may be, or if I should acknowledge the message at all?

That’s pretty much guaranteed to make you feel awkward. It’s possible that he meant it conversationally — like “this is an interesting piece of trivia!” — but it certainly doesn’t come across that way. And there’s an added layer of awkwardness around you being a former intern who beat him out for a job he wanted.

In any case, you’re not obligated to respond to that part of the message directly at all. You could simply say something vague like, “Great to hear from you and hope things are going well there. Thanks for the congratulations on the new job — I’m really excited about it.” Or, if you don’t care about preserving the relationship, you could even not respond at all. But I think a vague, perfunctorily friendly response that doesn’t answer his question is a good middle ground.

4. I accidentally emailed porn to myself at work

I have a big problem. I was using my mobile as scanner, then sent the scanned files from my personal email to my work email. By mistake, I attached a sexual video that was in my mobile with these attachments to my work email. When I saw it, I directly deleted the attachment and the email from everywhere.

I know that my boss has access to see our work mail. I am afraid I will be fired if my manager saw this video. How do I delete this video from everywhere? How do I know if my boss knows about this video? What should be my answer if he ask me why I sent it to my work computer and email?

It will probably be fine. The fact that your employer can access your email doesn’t mean that they’re looking at every message, and there’s a pretty good chance that this will pass unnoticed.

But if your boss does raise it with you, all you can do is explain that it was a mistake when you were pulling scanned files off of your phone, that you were mortified when you realized what happened, and that you immediately deleted it from everywhere you could find it. Stress that you’d never intentionally send files like that using work servers, and that you’re horrified by the mistake.

5. Someone put a very generous wedding gift on my desk and I don’t know who it’s from

In February, I became engaged. I am getting married in September and let only a few people know in the office. Of course, this spread like wildfire and I got many congratulations. Five months later, today, I come into work and see an envelope on my desk with my name typed on it. Inside the envelope was a typed note that said “For help with your wedding.” I looked in the envelope and saw $400 in cash. What is the best way to inquire about who did this? I don’t want it to get out again that someone gave me money, but this can’t go unacknowledged!

It’s more likely that it was a group gift than $400 from a single person. I’d just send an email out to your team or the people you work most closely with saying something like, “I’m not sure who’s responsible for the generous wedding gift I found on my desk today, so I wanted to send out a group thank-you. Thank you so much for thinking of me; it means a lot to me.”

If it turns out that it really was just one person, this is still a perfectly appropriate email to send — and it will be very understandable that you assumed it was from a group, since that’s how these things are usually done.

someone left a self-help book on my desk, requiring an employee to be in the office more, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Write Every Day! July - Day 24

Jul. 25th, 2017 12:54 am
esteliel: (Default)
[personal profile] esteliel
Today was a good day with about 1.3k on my slavefic, which finished the draft of my next chapter, yay! I even achieved actual talking, which was all I wanted this chapter to do. \o/ It's so good when characters cooperate. Onward to kissing and shenanigans!

Read more... )
Day 20 (LJ|DW): [personal profile] ysilme, [personal profile] sylvanwitch, [personal profile] navaan, [personal profile] miss_morland, [ profile] trobadora, [personal profile] auroracloud and me (6 out of 10)
Day 21 (LJ|DW): [personal profile] ysilme,[personal profile] navaan, [personal profile] miss_morland, [personal profile] sylvanwitch, [personal profile] iberiandoctor, [ profile] trobadora, [personal profile] auroracloud and me (5 out of 10)
Day 22 (LJ|DW): [personal profile] ysilme, [personal profile] sylvanwitch,[personal profile] navaan, [personal profile] miss_morland, [personal profile] shopfront, [ profile] trobadora, [personal profile] auroracloud and me (7 out of 10)
Day 23 (LJ|DW): [personal profile] sylvanwitch,[personal profile] navaan, [personal profile] miss_morland, [ profile] trobadora, [personal profile] auroracloud and me (6 out of 10)

Let me know if I missed you or you wrote something, but haven't checked-in yet! Likewise, feel free to join in at any time!


Jul. 24th, 2017 02:41 pm
onyxlynx: Blue bkgrd, large red 7th, words "decade of fabulous." (As in "I'm in my 7th decade of fabulousn)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 This morning's ghastly realization:  I am old enough to sort of remember pre-Interstate car travel.  (I bored an Irish-Canadian of approximately my own age talking about the journey between Buffalo and Niagara Falls [he escaped just before I started explaining about the ancient off-ramp just off the bridge to Grand Island northbound, which used to describe a tight circle, which was still visible though overgrown thirty years ago.  Having checked Apple Maps, there seem to be extra roads there now.  Ah, well.  The Thruway was built/extended in the late '50s.  Wow.].  It was a tedious trip.)

I get to chuckle at the irony that during rush hours, the highway is slower than city streets with the lights.  (Yes, destruction of neighborhoods, Robert Moses, Justin Herman, but divided highways were not really intended to be in cities; they were intended to bypass cities.)
[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I’m in education and transferring to a new state, Pennsylvania to Virginia. I’ve had five interviews that I have not heard any response from. One of the interviews was a dud and I knew I was not their candidate. However, the others were great from my view, and I felt like a legitimate candidate for the job. How long should I wait before reaching out to either HR or the interviewer? Is there a policy expectation I can refer to in future interviews?

It’s been years since I’ve done a post about following up after interviews. I did a zillion of them in the first few years of running the site and then took, like, seven years off from them, but it’s probably time for another.

So here’s the deal about following up:

1. There is a ton of advice out there that tells people to follow up after an interview so that you look interested and enthusiastic. This advice is terrible, and hiring managers will almost uniformly tell you to ignore it because it’s annoying and often pushy. Employers know that you’re interested because you took the time to interview and you sent a thank-you note afterward reiterating your interest. (Right? If you didn’t, start doing that.)

2. At the end of every interview, you should ask your interviewer this: “Can you tell me about your timeline for next steps and when you expect to be back in touch?” That way, you have an initial timeframe to work with.

3. You should take that timeframe with a massive grain of salt. Double it or triple it. If they say “by the end of the week,” assume it means “maybe in two weeks.” If they say “two weeks from now,” assume it means “hopefully three or four weeks.” Hiring nearly always takes longer than anyone expects it will, including employers. Delays inevitably come up — a decision maker is out of town, or higher priorities get in the way, or all sorts of other things. If they do contact you within their stated timeline, let that be a delightful surprise. But don’t count on it happening; you will be far happier if you assume from the start that it won’t.

4. Take the timeline they give you, add a week to it, and mark that date on your calendar. (If you didn’t ask for a timeline during the interview, then just mark two weeks from the date of the interview.) That’s the earliest date that you should follow up. Ideally you’d put the job entirely out of your mind until that point so that you’re not wondering and agonizing about it (if you’re the type to agonize). Try to forget about it, assume you didn’t get the job (which is better for your peace of mind), and don’t think about it again until that date pops up on your calendar.

5. When that date rolls around, you can send a follow-up email if you haven’t heard anything. It should say something like this: “I was hoping to check in with you about the llama wrangling job. I know you were hoping to be moving forward around now, and I wondered if you had an updated timeline you could share. I’m really interested in the role and would love to talk further with you about it at any time.”

6. If they’re courteous, they should get back to you. It might not be immediate, but they should respond at some point — say, within a week or so. But if they’re like a lot of employers, they won’t get back to you. That is rude, and it’s also really, really common. If that happens, don’t keep following up. At that point, their silence is their answer. It’s a rude answer, but it’s the answer nonetheless.

At least for now, anyway. It’s possible that they’ll come back to you in the future, but at this point the ball is in their court, and you should assume that if they want to talk to you, they’ll let you know. If they want to interview you again, they’ll tell you. If they want to offer you a job, they’ll tell you. They’re not going to not contact you just because you didn’t keep following up.

when should I follow up after a job interview? was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Hippo, Birdie, Two Ewes

Jul. 24th, 2017 11:02 am
onyxlynx: Festive pennants in blue & purple with word "Birthday" centered. (Birthday)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] beckyzoole !  May today be as un-Mondayish as possible!

So, anyway, excursion to Darmstadt

Jul. 24th, 2017 05:04 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

This involved a certain amount of faff and hassle about making sure we were buying the right kind of ticket for the train which would also give us free rides on public transport, ascertaining which platform the train in the right direction left from, etc etc. And then when we arrived a) finding the right stop for the tram b) missing the stop we wanted and being carried on to a point we didn't want.

Except it turned out to be right around the corner from Hundertwasser's Waldspirale apartment block, which was on the list of things to see.

After which we wandered down in the direction of the Schloss (which can only be seen by way of guided tours, we passed) and had what was a rather more leisurely lunch than we had intended at the Altes Rathaus before going to the Hessische Landesmuseum, based on the collections of the Grand Dukes, which has some nice stuff.

We then went out to Mathildenhöhe, which was where the artists of the Jugendstil Art Nouveau movement hung out. This includes a Russian Orthodox Church (not particularly Art Nouveau) and the Hochzeitsturm, Marriage Tower, which looks as if it might be the HQ of one of those somewhat spooky early C20th New Agey cults that crop up in mysteries of the period, and a rather small museum (but I think part of it was closed) of furniture and objects created by the artists of the colony.

And then back to Frankfurt, whence we flew home today.


And in other news, spotted this in today's Guardian: the strange world of book thefts:

“We caught a gent last Christmas with £400-worth of stolen books in his trousers and elsewhere.... As we showed him the door he told us: ‘I hope you’ll consider this in the Žižekian spirit, as a radical reappropriation of knowledge.’”
As an anarchist friend of a friend remarked when his car was nicked, 'Property is theft: but so is theft theft'.

[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

A reader writes:

I am writing to you as a last resort because my workplace has spiraled beyond dysfunctional and I don’t know what else to do.

I recently started my first full-time job. One of my coworkers, Marley, was assigned to be my mentor and train me on how to navigate the company software, which is very complex, and help me with my projects. Now, from what I understand, Marley does not get along well with our manager, Andi. There is some bad history there from before I started working there, but even I can tell from the snarky tones and general impoliteness that Marley uses to address Andi.

Recently, a new policy was introduced which would change the way we handle our workflow and the priority level of certain projects. Marley took personal offense to this, and some of our coworkers encouraged her to complain to Andi to “stick it to her” and “show her who’s boss.” I missed a day of work because a family member went to the hospital, but when I came back, I learned that Marley had essentially threatened to quit.

I was very shocked and worried, because there were many things I hadn’t been trained on and wouldn’t be able to complete without a mentor. The office environment also became very tense and toxic around this time. For whatever reason, even though Andi sent out an email saying that Marley would be leaving the company, a bunch of people are saying that Andi isn’t really going to fire her or that she “doesn’t have the guts.” Marley also keeps talking to me and working with me as though she has the upper hand and nothing is wrong. She seems really sure that once this is over, there’s going to be some kind of repercussion for Andi. Marley has been here for almost two weeks and there isn’t any official word on when she’s going to be gone.

Half of the office is really involved in the drama; they’re the ones actively taking sides and being really vocal about whether Marley is going to stay or not. The other half of the office is just keeping their heads down and not saying anything; that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks but it’s getting to me and I don’t know why management isn’t doing anything about this. I tried going to my HR rep, but so far the only response is that “the issue is being handled.” I just want to cry because it’s so obviously not and I feel like the office is three steps away from a mutiny.

I come into work feeling like it’s a battlefield. The politics are way over my head and I spend half of my day paralyzed with anxiety. I’m scared to ask questions when I need help because I don’t want to get entangled in one of Marley’s tirades, but there is also a sort of unofficial shaming if anyone looks like they’re taking the manager’s side. I just sit in my seat for 10 minutes planning out how to ask my question and then escape. I can’t eat lunch in the office anymore because I’m scared that Marley will try to talk to me about this. Because I’m the newest employee, everyone seems to think I’m neutral or won’t say anything and keep using me as a sounding board to have these types of conversations with. I’ve been looking for a new job but I’m scared because this is my first full-time job and I haven’t been here for a full year yet.

I just want to be able to do my work without feeling like I’m about to get drafted into a civil war.

Oh my goodness, none of this is your problem. None of it.

Some random pieces of information, and then some advice:

* I don’t know what’s gone on between Marley and Andi, but I can tell you that someone who thinks it’s okay to routinely use “snarky tones and general impoliteness” with her boss is someone with no idea how to handle workplace conflicts and isn’t someone you want to be aligned with. From what you’ve written, Marley is a serious problem, regardless of what Andi’s shortcomings might be.

* Coworkers encouraging Marley to “show Andi who’s boss” are overlooking the highly pertinent detail that Andi is the boss. Marley’s belief that she’ll cause some kind of repercussion for Andi is probably delusional. (Without knowing all the details, I can’t say for sure — but it’s pretty likely that Marley is being naive, which would make sense given what else we’ve seen from her.)

* If Andi has already sent out an email saying that Marley is leaving, Marley is probably leaving and either resigned or has already been told to leave. That could change, of course. If Andi is a weak manager — and it sounds like she is — Marley could try to rescind her resignation and Andi could allow it. That would be a huge mistake on Andi’s side, but there are plenty of bad managers out there.

* If Marley does leave, you will be assigned someone else to train you. If Andi doesn’t realize she needs to do that, you can ask for it to happen. But people leave jobs in the middle of training new staff members all the time, and life goes on. You will be fine.

* You say that when HR told you the issue was being handled, it was obviously not true … but you don’t actually know that. It’s certainly not being handled as swiftly as it should be — they should have shut this all down two weeks ago, if not longer — but that doesn’t mean they’re not handling it at all. Some companies move slowly on this kind of thing, but they do move; it just may take longer than you want it to (and longer than it should).

Okay, now some advice for you:

Most importantly, stop feeling like you have to be involved in this in any way. You don’t have to have any feelings about this other than irritation that it’s impacting your work environment. You don’t have to listen to people’s tirades, and you don’t need to stop asking work questions. If anyone talks to you about what’s going on, these are your new mantras:
* “It’s important to me to stay out of this. Sorry! But I did want to ask you about (work topic X).”
* “I’m way too new to understand any of this, and that’s probably for the best. But can I ask you about (work topic X)?”
* “I’m committed to staying neutral on this one. I’m just too new. So I’m going to bow out of this conversation!”
* “I don’t feel right hearing this, since I’m so new. Can we talk about something else?”

Second, consider talking to Andi and letting her know that the situation is making the environment untenable. She may not have any idea how much Marley is talking about this, and hearing that might give her some additional urgency in acting. I assume you’re worried that if you talk to Andi, you’ll be penalized by coworkers for taking sides, but Andi is your boss. The situation is impacting your ability to get your work done, and she needs to know that. When you talk to her, you can also mention that you’re worried you’ll face repercussions among your coworkers for speaking with her because (a) it’s important for her to know that you (and probably others) feel like that and (b) she needs to know about it in order to ensure it doesn’t actually happen. Now, if she’s a weak manager, she may not be too skillful at (b) — but this is still a reasonable conversation for you to have, and if your coworkers hear about it and don’t like it, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? You’re already miserable there. It makes sense to do the thing that might make things a bit better.

Third, give this a month to play out. A month from now, this may have reached some kind of resolution and things may feel quite different in your office. Of course, it’s also possible that that won’t happen, but right now you’re smack in the middle of it, and it doesn’t make sense to draw any conclusions until you’ve given it some time to play out.

there’s a civil war in my office and I don’t want to take sides was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

Music meme: day 15 of 30

Jul. 24th, 2017 03:31 pm
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] liv
A song that is a cover by another artist. I think this has to be Tori Amos' cover of I don't like Mondays, originally by the Boomtown Rats.

Tori Amos was I think the first musician I really got intensely into, beyond just enjoying the sound of somebody's music. The single Cornflake girl was on the radio a lot in the mid 90s, and I quite liked it but didn't have any context. Then I met MK when we were both up for Oxford interview, and became instant friends. He put a lot of effort into supporting me through a somewhat bumpy transition from sheltered child to independent person, including dealing with a bereavement that hit me really hard when I was 19. He's also responsible for introducing me to digital socializing (email, instant messenger, Usenet to an extent, and the wonderful world of peer-to-peer file sharing). And he played lots of Tori songs for me when I was sitting in the dark crying about letting go of childhood naive optimism. I bought Little earthquakes on CD, and had access to a lot of Tori's oeuvre for all of the 90s via not entirely licit digital copies. Not only Tori Amos, there was a lot of alt stuff especially goth that I picked up from [personal profile] doseybat, but Tori Amos was pretty much the soundtrack of inventing myself as an adult.

I don't like Mondays was almost a novelty thing in a way, recorded with a bunch of much less successful covers, of things like Smells like teen spirit which really doesn't work for Amos' musical style, most of which were never commercially released. This one did make it to Strange little girls, the concept album of gender-bent cover songs, which I was never fully convinced by. I haven't been strongly into Tori Amos' music since 2000, not that I think it's bad but it isn't part of my psyche in the way that the 90s material is. But anyway, it's a remix of a song written in response to a school shooting in the late 70s. The original is meant to be ironic, but it comes across as so inappropriately jolly that it often gets played on the radio as a joke song, here's one to cheer you up from your Monday commuting blues... Tori Amos' cover is a total reworking, without any irony at all, just sadness about a teenaged girl turning a gun on her schoolmates.

So it kind of epitomizes why Tori Amos meant a lot to me at that time in my life; she wrote and performed beautiful songs (she's a classically trained musician) about serious subjects which she took seriously. But that seriousness isn't about glorying in the violence and ugliness, it's about challenging it. video embed, audio only )

As a bonus, have kd lang's cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. It's a song that gets covered way too often, nearly always as a kind of soppy lovesong that really fails to do justice to the extremely powerful original. So basically I hate Hallelujah covers, except this one. Again, it's very different from Cohen's original, but it's an emotionally serious interpretation in its own right which doesn't cheapen its source material.

A piece of my heart

Jul. 24th, 2017 01:43 pm
[syndicated profile] asknicola_feed

Posted by Nicola Griffith

Image description: New international access icon. A white figure on square blue background with rounded edges representing a disabled person actively propelling their wheelchair.
Image credit: Sara Hendren & Brian Glenney
Image source:

Each of us knows we are not our friends’ and families’ number one priority. Important, yes. Top of the list, no. Most of us, though, don’t have to face the evidence of a loved one’s blatant disregard for our comfort, safety, and well-being every time we approach their home. As person who uses a wheelchair, I do.

Every time a friend or family member buys, builds, or rents a place I can’t enter, they cut out a piece of my heart. They add to the vast and escalating segregation of my life. I feel unseen, unimportant, and unwelcome. Every time it happens a less-than-lovely voice in my head whispers, Well, that’s not a very smart choice. Don’t you understand that as you age/have babies/grow your circle of friends, you and they will be grateful for universal design. Universal design works for everyone, in every stage of their life. That voice might be less than lovely, but it’s not wrong.

When you break a leg or have surgery on your knee, you’ll be glad you don’t have to try hop up those steps with no rail to hang onto. I’ll be glad, too. When your child brings their baby over, you’ll be glad neither of you has to haul that buggy up the steps. I’ll be glad, too. When it comes time to sell, and you have multiple bids because in addition to the usual real-estate hungry first-time buyers you’ll have all those whose choices are usually severely limited by the availability of accessible space—crips, old people, people with small children, and smart people with friends and relatives—you’ll be very, very glad. Supply and demand, baby. Universal design is a good investment.

Disabled people are 20% of the population. You know one of us whether you realise it or not. Why aren’t you paying attention? Why aren’t you being smart? Universal design is good for you, your friends, and your bank account. Also, it makes me glad; it heals my heart.

In which there is the June Book, 1976

Jul. 24th, 2017 09:49 am
spiralsheep: Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society (Sewing Circle Terrorist Society)
[personal profile] spiralsheep
60. June Book, 1976, annual, comic, girls own. (3/5)

• 2-8 & 25-31 Mam'selle X and Operation Danger comic: sabotage and steam engines in occupied France.

• 9-11 Strangest Stories Ever Told (aka The Storyteller &c.) comic: our heroine befriends a tree that is subsequently involved in a fatal accident, made into a sledge, before the sentient and now also mobile tree saves the girl's life, "It's made from Philippa, darling, that's why! Daddy was very clever and sawed strips of wood off her to make it." Randomly set in Canada. SO EXOTIC!

• 12-15 Lucky's Living Doll comic: there are two episodes of this long-running comedy in this annual. Tina, the "living doll", looks after a mum and her baby after they miss the last bus and decide to stay the night in the mysterious invisible stranger's house instead of walking and/or hitching which would be much safer in the real world!

• 16 Just Joking comic: a page of single panel cartoons. I'm planning to post this image whenever anyone mentions "white feminism" from now on. :-D

Is this an uninhabited island? From the June Book annual 1976

Contents and two more scans. )

(no subject)

Jul. 24th, 2017 07:42 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] heyokish!
[syndicated profile] askamanager_feed

Posted by Ask a Manager

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. My company wants to take over the phone number I’ve been using for personal calls

I was given a work phone when I started my job three years ago. As part of her pitch to have me accept, my manager at the time said, “I got rid of my personal phone and just use this one, so you can do the same – it’s a real perk.” I didn’t ever get rid of my personal phone, but my work phone did become my primary contact number for friends and family during the week.

I’m now leaving the company. I gave three months notice and my last day is this week. I have just had an email asking that I give my phone (and number) to my colleague first thing on Monday morning (less than one working day notice to give my number over). I am deeply uncomfortable with this. I don’t think it is appropriate at ALL that a stranger will be given the number that I have been using for three years, especially when i have been given so little time to notify all my contacts. Am I able to say anything / refuse?

This actually isn’t that unusual because they own that phone and that number. And they have a business interest in ensuring that a business number continues to be answered by someone who works for them.

They were wrong not to explain to you from the start that they’d be taking that number back at the end of your employment with them — but you also sort of overlooked that major detail when you started using the work number as your personal contact number.

However, you could certainly say, “I didn’t realize I’d be giving up this number, so I need a couple of days to transfer all my contacts to my personal number. Is it okay for me to do the transfer on the morning of my last day?”

2. Should I connect with my just-hired manager on LinkedIn … and tell him my concerns about the selection process?

I work in a small IT department (four people including the director). The director has been here nearly 30 years. Two of the staff (including me) have been here 19+ years. Our IT Director has announced his retirement effective the end of this year. Both the other long-time staff member and I have expressed interest in the position over our last several annual performance reviews. In May, we were each informed (separately) that management had decided to fill the position from the outside. Neither of us were given interviews, and were both told that no internal applications were to be accepted.

I was not involved in the first round of interviews. But once the field was narrowed to two, I was asked by my manager (retiring IT director) and his manager (CFO) to sit in on part of the second interviews. I was the only staff member of our department given this opportunity. I have been told which one of those two candidates will be given an offer. IMO, he is the better choice of the two.

Is it appropriate to send this person a LinkedIn connection request? If so, when? Before he gets the offer? After he gets the offer, but before he accepts? After he accepts, but before he starts? After his start date?

At some point, I will need to have a very frank discussion with this person about my own career plans, and my thoughts on this selection process. But I am not sure if this is an appropriate conversation to have before he becomes supervisor or after.

Definitely don’t do that before he starts! He’s not working there yet, he’s not your manager yet, and contacting him to complain about the selection process would come across really strangely, and would probably set him up to see you as A Problem before he even starts.

Once he starts, give it some time. After working with him a bit, it might become really clear why your company only wanted to consider outside candidates. It might become clear that they wanted to bring someone in to make changes that they didn’t think could be made as effectively by someone who’s been there two decades already, or it might become clear that he brings key skills that you and you coworker don’t have. Give it some time to play out and impact your thinking before you initiate any conversation about how the process was handled.

As for the LinkedIn request, you can send that any time you want. I’d probably wait until after he accepts the job, but it doesn’t really matter. There’s no urgency though.

3. Can I ask my boss to stop interrupting my presentations?

I’ve been in a new role for a bit more than a year now, and one of the areas I’ve been struggling a bit in is presentations (which come up semi-regularly in my role). The biggest issues are that a) I haven’t been able to do them very often, b) I don’t get to use our analysis tool very often, which means giving demos on it is harder as it’s not fresh in my mind, and c) they have been on topics I’m not very familiar with. All of these are fixable and I know how to work on them.

The biggest issue for me has been that whenever I’ve been giving a presentation, it’s been in front of my boss, who never hesitates to jump in if he feels you have missed something or if someone in the audience asks a question. This has happened a few times now, and just results in me being even more uncomfortable because I know at any time he’s going to interrupt me, which breaks my flow.

So my question: my boss is generally a decent and sane person (although a bit of a control freak). Should (and if so, how) can I tell him to please stop interrupting me during my presentations? I’m happy to receive feedback later, or even for him to let me finish and then go back to points I missed, but the in the moment interruptions really bug me!

“As you know, I’ve been working on strengthening my presentations. I’ve noticed that I’m more likely to get thrown off and therefore to struggle with the presentation if you jump in while I’m in the middle of them. I absolutely want your feedback, and of course I understand if you think it’s crucial to correct something in the moment for the audience, but I wonder if I can ask you to wait to give me feedback until after I’m done? Or, if you want to add something, to do it at the end? Especially while I’m actively working to improve these, I think that would be really helpful to me.”

It’s possible that he’ll tell you that part of giving good presentations is being able to go with the flow and deal with interruptions, but it’s a reasonable thing to ask for and see what he says.

4. What’s a “letter of intent”?

Recently out of work, I’ve noticed a trend of specific job listings asking for a “letter of interest” or “letter of intent” instead of a cover letter. What reasons would someone in a hiring position ask for this? At first I thought these listing were merely asking for a cover letter in an incorrect way in a misguided attempt to sound fancy. However, I’ve noticed it so. Many. Times. Could an employer have legal or other reasons to request this?

Nah, it’s the same thing as a cover letter, just with a different name. I’ve seen some people say that cover letters are for when you’re applying for specific jobs, while letters of intent are what you send when you’re expressing general interest, but that’s really splitting hairs — and clearly inaccurate in the cases you’re seeing, since you’re seeing the term in ads for specific jobs.

Assume the terms are interchangeable, and don’t read anything into it.

5. Asking to delay a start date when you’re in the middle of buying a new house

My fiance and I started a condo search a few months ago (around April). After a while of searching, we finally found a place we liked and had our bid accepted (mid-June). Due to several reasons, our process has taken a while to close and we are now looking at a August 11 closing date.

My fiance has been thinking about switching jobs and had a very passive job search, maybe one job application once a month or every two months. But recently she saw a job that would be a great fit for her and what she wants to do at a bigger organization with more room for upward mobility. She applied, was given a phone interview, and was called back for a two-hour group interview. They asked her permission to check her references, and she indeed heard back from some of them saying they have been contacted. They have stated they would prefer to have someone start sooner rather than later, around August 11. Our banker told us it not recommended to change jobs during closing process. It can be done, just adds extra layers of paperwork and perhaps drags the process out further.

Would it be out of line to ask for a start date that is three or four weeks out after the closing on the condo? If it is okay, should she explain it is due to the closing or just ask for extra time on the start date?

Yep, it’s totally fine to ask, and she can explain that she’s in the middle of closing on a condo and is wary about changing jobs right in the middle of that process. People will understand that.

And she may not even need that much extra time. If she gets a job offer at the end of this week, she’s already going to be exactly two weeks from your closing date.

company wants to take over my personal phone number, should I tell my just-hired manager my concerns about the hiring process, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.


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