As anyone who knows me is well aware, I get confused very easily. So the other afternoon when I was using the drive-up ATM near my favorite grocery store, I somehow managed to make a wrong turn, thereby exiting the parking lot through an entrance lane. Before I could drive off, a woman in a […]
A beautiful expression by another blogger, “Another Old Guy”, of what Mother’s Day can mean to us middle-aged people going through the normal, but challenging, transitions of this stage of life:
A tribute to my Mom, as she deals with the impending death of Dad.
Another aspect of middle age is explored by writer and blogger Joan Gage, at her blog “A Rolling Crone.” (I just love that title).
Source: The Invisible (Old) Woman
This is a hilarious account of misplaced middle-aged rage, prompted by a scarcity of snowdrop tour tickets!
I have spent the last 5 years working in the health and social care sector, during which time I’ve met people living in the most challenging of circumstances, dealing with money worries, illness, disability, loneliness, addiction, depression and myriad other issues. Despite their situations I have been impressed with the resilience and optimism many of these families display and have met some amazing people who have taught me a great deal. Better still, I have never been harangued or threatened by any of them, which is in marked contrast to my time spent working for the National Trust, which you would expect to offer an altogether more civilised perspective on the world.
The reason this is on my mind is down to the time of year. As I drove to work the other morning my eye was drawn to the drifts of snowdrops blanketing the grounds as I left the estate. It was impossible…
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I have been somewhat AWOL in recent weeks partly because I am in the process of losing my surviving parent. And I am sad. But this is a beautiful piece, so I’m sharing it.
Or at least I was when I washed and hung shower curtains three weeks ago. How do I know? The bloomin’ things are backwards! The ruffle is on the inside, not the out. Just noticed it this morning. You know the sad thing? Either no one else here noticed, or they just didn’t give a hoot! (Or, and this is Fim whispering in my ear, they just didn’t want to embarrass you… But if THAT’S the case, Fim, why didn’t they fix the cotton pickin’ things? ❓ ) (These are exactly like mine, different color. But now that I see the green… hm…)
Well I didn’t drop what I was doing (folding towels) and fix them right then. So maybe I’m still pooped out enough to not give a hoot either! And I think that must be the case because I followed a reblog on Quantum Hermit this morning and…
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For those of you who may not read The New York Times, here’s a sobering piece of news: Death Rates Rising for Middle-Aged White Americans. Basically, so many white Americans with less than a college education are dying prematurely from things like suicide and substance abuse that they are causing a statistical anomaly. This came to researchers’ attention when they realized that “unlike every other age group, unlike every other racial and ethnic group, unlike their counterparts in other rich countries, death rates in this group have been rising, not falling.” So they started digging into the details of that data. ” [P]oorly educated American whites … are dying at such a high rate that they are increasing the death rate for the entire group of middle-aged white Americans, Dr. Deaton and Dr. Case found.” Dr. Angus Deaton, by the way, is a 2015 Nobel Prize winner in Economics.
Furthermore, the impact of this sudden increase in death rates in a specific age group is so dramatic, “Dr. Deaton had but one parallel. ‘Only H.I.V./AIDS in contemporary times has done anything like this,’ he said.” Continue reading
Usually I save my weekly vents until the weekend, when I can process the outrages of the previous seven days, including an entire work week. However, this week merits its very own, special, midweek Weekly Vent. Yes, today was my office’s semi-regular, offsite, daylong, management retreat. Shoot me now.
I like my job. Just spare me the management retreat and let me DO my job. Trapped in a room for seven straight hours. The platitudes. The hypocrisy. The blatant falsehoods. The false friendliness. The colleagues texting and reading email while their unfortunate peers make forced presentations. The plans that will gather dust until the next offsite retreat. The collecting of ammunition to be used later to stab
rivals colleagues in the back. Here’s why they call these “retreats” — because work has become a battlefield, if not a war of attrition. Only Dilbert can adequately express the pain.
Cartoon: copyright Scott Adams
So, so funny! And so, so true.
I thought my own workplace was pretty dysfunctional and toxic — and some days it really is. Then I read today about what it’s like to work at Amazon: Inside Amazon. Here’s one passage:
“Ms. Willet’s co-workers strafed her through the Anytime Feedback Tool, the widget in the company directory that allows employees to send praise or criticism about colleagues to management. (While bosses know who sends the comments, their identities are not typically shared with the subjects of the remarks.) Because team members are ranked, and those at the bottom eliminated every year, it is in everyone’s interest to outperform everyone else.
Craig Berman, an Amazon spokesman, said the tool was just another way to provide feedback, like sending an email or walking into a manager’s office. Most comments, he said, are positive.
However, many workers called it a river of intrigue and scheming. They described making quiet pacts with colleagues to bury the same person at once, or to praise one another lavishly. Many others, along with Ms. Willet, described feeling sabotaged by negative comments from unidentified colleagues with whom they could not argue.”
This is the Lord of the Flies, but at work, in real life, with people’s careers and livelihoods at stake. How many guesses as to who mostly gets sabotaged by colleagues who gang up on them through anonymous feedback? I’m betting they are mostly non-white, non-straight, non-males. The longer I work in organizations, the more I realize how many men are truly socialized to form gangs that then exclude or drive off others. You’re part of the in-crowd — or you’re completely out. It has nothing to do with the good of the organization, or the quality of your work, it’s all about the in-gang grabbing power and wealth for itself. Ugh. And why do the managers believe the comments that are made? Do they even look into them, or hold accountable workers who lie?
The rest of the article describes workers who never take a day off; answer emails all night; are pushed out when they have health or family issues; feel they cannot spend time with their families. Meanwhile, Jeff Bezos is one of the richest men on the planet, with a stay-at-home author wife and four children. I used to think he was brilliant. Now I think he’s a sociopath. And he’s trying to export his way of doing business to other workplaces, claiming that his way is the model of the future. I was glad to read several comments by recruiters for other companies who say they won’t hire anyone who has been at Amazon long enough to have been brainwashed into thinking this is the right way to interact at work.
I am shaking my head. This seems like the ultimate example of treating human beings like cogs in a machine. I will never willingly or knowingly work for such a cruel organization. I am seriously considering where I can cut back my purchases from Amazon. Bezos’ way seems to work well to enrich him beyond even the wildest plutocratic dreams. What is it doing for anyone else? Why do the rest of us put up with these Gilded Age antics? Why do we send our children to fight these plutocrats’ wars and protect their wealth? Why do we allow the schools, transportation systems, public services, lands and facilities we all need and use to fall into disrepair, while these greedy lunatics manipulate our financial systems and hog more and more of our productivity? Why?