Friday, December 07, 2007

Boredom, The Shuttle, and Another Weekend

First off, I know I owe you part 2 of the weekend in Mexico City and I swear by the Virgin of Guadalupe it is coming in the next day but I had to interrupt and fill you in on the past few weeks.

Back in late October, when I returned from spending almost the full month here (working very hard I might add) I knew I would be coming back for a full month for the specific purpose of relieving one of the staff who was going to Santiago to conduct training there in Spanish, a language I have barely 50 words in speaking but oddly I can understand one hell of a lot due to the years of French I had in school. For the next two weeks I worked very hard to get myself organized and get my own job responsibilities in a really good place so I could come here and take over this guy's position without feeling like I had to neglect it for my own responsibilities.

I arrived November 20 and the first couple of days I had a bit of orientation and training and then I was set loose. Since I know the system and have a basic knowledge of this position it was a fast train and I was comfortable immediately. And then I sat. And I sat. And I waited and I surfed the internet and one particular day when I was feeling quite frustrated and generally pissed I actually took out my knitting in the office!!

Let's just say that a few days I have worked less than an hour doing this work. There was one day (yesterday) when I actually spent almost 3 hours doing it but that was only because the system was running very slowly and it took twice as long to complete the work as it usually does. There have been many days when there was absolutely nothing for me to do and so I came up with busy work for myself and watched the clock. Which brings me to the next point. I get picked up by the General Manager at 8:15 every morning. We are in the office by 8:20. We do not leave until 6:15 (the earliest to date) or 8:45 (the latest to date) so basically I am spending 10 - 12 hours a day in the office with maybe 2 hours of work to do if I'm lucky. And I repeat, I am talking about the work I was sent here to do, not the sum total of work I have to do in a day.

At the beginning of my second week here I emailed Sam and told him when I went home for the weekend on November 30 I really felt there was no reason for me to come back. I outlined the reasons and told him there was absolutely no reason for the company - and me personally - to have the expense of me being here when I can do everything I am doing perfectly well and faster from Atlanta. After he knew I was safely on the plane that Friday he sent out a very strong email which was basically a cut and paste of my email to him with all the bad words taken out. All last weekend I waited for a response and there was none and when I spoke with Sam Sunday we decided I would return as planned and see what happened.

It is now Friday night and I spent a total of 42 hours in the office over the past 4 days and exactly 5 hours and 12 minutes of that time was spent doing the job I was sent here to do. Yes this week I kept anal retentive notes. Today I made one 3 minute phone call and that was it.

So anyway today we had a small conference call. My hopes were that I would come back to the hotel tonight, call the company travel people, and change my flight to Sunday (I need to shop tomorrow!). Unfortunately, although Sam was pushing for me to leave and do the work from Atlanta, the 2 Mexico head honchos decided since I was due to fly home next Friday it was only 4 more days (I think this is a good example of Mexican math and logic it being Friday and all and a week consisting of 7 days and all).

I am going to put the most positive slant I can on all of this. I will work to help the new GM get his shit together and lay out some action plans for him and do the work that comes in for me to do and make my shopping list for the candy I will make once I get home. I think this year it is all about candied citrus and ginger in pretty jars. I'm not up for the gingerbread cookies this year but I did find an awesome recipe for banana bread with chocolate chips and crystallized ginger so I will consider making some mini-loaves of that. Also I will make luminarias this year for my yard and I also found instructions for making a homemade pop-up Christmas tree card!!!

Oh my God I want to be home messing around in my kitchen and doing crafts instead of watching old Men in Trees episodes with Spanish subtitles.

Finally, tonight I realized if I didn't get the hell out of the office when everyone else left I would sit there for another 2 hours waiting for my ride to leave so I grabbed a ride to the airport and took the Ramada shuttle back to the hotel. On the shuttle was a family of 3 - husband, wife, and a maybe 5 year old boy. They got on speaking German, or maybe Swiss-German, but they spoke to me in English and on the ride over they were speaking to each other alternately in Spanish and German. American are mis-educated. So many Americans can't even speak English properly and so much of the rest of the world routinely have a minimum of 2 or 3 languages. If I had it to do all over again I would learn as many languages as possible. In this day I truly believe this is one of the most marketable talents.

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