Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The S#!^ List
The government is on my list, and the above sign just struck a cord with me today. Why is it that every government agency is so highly inefficient and incompetent? This is not a dig at specific employees, but rather just the agencies themselves. Hell, I've worked for government agencies in the past, and I know that the general consensus is that the workers are lazy and over paid for the jobs they do (sometimes even within those agencies). Recruiting for them was always a nightmare. I recall one job fair in southern California during which one woman, who I was beginning a chat with about our company, proceeded to tell me that she would NEVER work for a government agency because all of the people that work for them are lazy. Thanks, lady. Should I assume that I wasn't included on the list? Probably not. I'm sure she thought it was a vacation day for me to be in a giant stadium, standing for 12+ hours without a break, pitching to potential employees why they would want to work for us. Not exactly my idea of a great day "off," but I enjoyed what I did and actually getting to speak to people about our job openings really was kind of fun. Who wouldn't want to be out of the office and all of the politics that take place there? I suppose in a way it was a pseudo vacation, but regardless, I never let that encounter pass, taking it as a personal affront to who and what I am. Do I think I am the government (or was, I should say), no. Did I think the government was so great when I worked for them? Uh, no. But who doesn't hate something about their job, even if they absolutely love it? There are people who stay within the organization until they retire. Surely they must be on to something. Either that, or they really are all lazy, as the stadium lady would have me believe. I didn't make it to retirement. Honestly, I didn't even make it to my five year anniversary, but that's really due more to the idea that I am not very good at monotony, nor am I good at faking being happy at a job I'm really not enjoying. Once they stuck me in a cubicle and told me job fairs were useless, was there really any point in continuing on? I mean, really, there's only so much "recruiting" one can do from a desk, even with a computer and the internet.
I have so extremely digressed that I should quickly attempt to get myself back on track. So, where was I? Oh, yes. The government. My first complaint is really just something that I could likely easily resolve with a phone call, but I forget about it until I'm riding my bicycle and then it comes back to me: the signal, or more importantly, the crosswalk signal at County Road 3 1/2. Highway 119 is the major highway running from Interstate 25 through Longmont. It runs for several miles through town, and even curves out to the west side, taking car and bicycle travelers into Boulder. About four miles west of the I-25 junction, Highway 119 crosses CR 3.5. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times I have sat waiting at this signal to cross on my bicycle because the crosswalk signal doesn't work. I often wait 5 minutes or more until a car comes so that the signal will at least change so that I can cross the busy highway to get to the business park on the south side of the highway. My complaint is simply, why doesn't the crosswalk button work? It seems simple enough. Why put the button there to use if it's never going to actually do anything?
My second peeve at the moment is with US Dept of Education/colleges. The D.O.E. decided in the past year that it would be wise of them to take over all education loans (which was fine by me, as I really could care less who sends me the money for school), but in this process have set it up so that the funds aren't sent directly to me. Instead, they send the money to the college or university, and I am forced to wait for the refund while the college decides when and where I am able to be granted the privilege of obtaining the check (for which I am paying - interest and all) which will allow me to pay for my books, supplies and so on. I think, in a strange way, this is giving some administrative assistant entirely too much power over my ability to attend school with the proper supplies in a timely manner. The school repeatedly sends out e-mails to students stating that "funds will begin dispersing 10 days prior to the start of the semester." To which my reply is, "how the f&@$ is that really supposed to help me?" Really? Any time during that ten days? You don't know which day you're going to send out refunds? It's not as though you haven't had the money in your grubby little hands for weeks now.
But, they have found a solution (thank goodness). All I have to do is open a debit account with the bank THEY'VE selected for every student to use, and the school will automatically deposit the funds within 3 days (or so). Of course, you had to open the account months ago, not to mention that the bank isn't convenient for me, and it's tied to my student ID, so if my ID is stolen, so goes all of the money in my account. What a great plan! Why didn't I sign up for this years ago? Doesn't it seem simple enough to just do direct deposits to any bank account? It would save the hassle (and expense) of the mail, certainly, and would prevent any potential loss. This point, I'm afraid, brings me to my final bitching point for the day: the United States Postal Service.
Why does the USPS suck so much? Is it just an innate part of being the postal service? Is it that stadium lady's point - all government employees are lazy? Maybe it is something else entirely. While I have found ways around actually dealing with the employees at the post office, I have not yet remedied the problem with mail delivery. In our six years and three months living in our present house, there are constant problems with mail delivery. Mail is never delivered at the same time of day (which is the least of my worries, truly), and more importantly, there have been a multitude of occasions on which I do not even receive my mail. The fabulously brilliant USPS has decided with more recent home development to install cubes of mailboxes in a central area. Rather than the standard most of us grew up with in having a mailbox at our front yard, you now walk down the street to a little condo complex of mailboxes to retrieve your items. I don't have an issue with the walking down the street portion, but what I do take issue with is that at least once a week I have someone else's mail in my box. Again, it doesn't really worry me to get someone else's mail, as I can easily take it on my way back to the house and drop it off with them, but what does concern me is the fact that not all individuals are so neighborly. A few years ago a friend send a Christmas card that I never received. In February she called to ask if I was going to thank her for the gift card. I must've sounded perplexed because she continued to say that they had send a $100 gift card in our Christmas card to the house. Unfortunately, I know what happened. A neighbor didn't look at the envelope, opened the card, probably didn't recognize the "from" signature, and decided that they'd like to spend my Christmas present on themselves. It may have started as some sort of embarrassment with having opened a card without looking at it, but quite honestly, I still would've returned it and just explained that I hadn't looked at the outside before opening. But, I am an honest girl who believes that all things come back to us, and as my hubby reminds me, the rest of the world (apparently) doesn't necessarily hold the same to be true. I can only hope that the karmic chain of events following this heinous act was unspeakably horrible (I'm not feeling very Zen at the moment, so forgive this moment of hateful thinking), and that the universe will work this out, even if I never know who or how it happened. This, of course, would not even be an issue had the USPS deliverer just simply put the correct mail in the correct slot. It doesn't seem to be difficult, and while I realize that they are human and mistakes will be made, it happens far too often for me to believe that it is not secretly the mission of our rural route carrier to push me over the edge of insanity.
While I don't have an answer for most of it, I'm hoping that the therapy of venting it will help to at least get me through and back to a better, balanced state of mind.