31 July 2010

Work Ethic

[Before I begin, I feel obliged to note that I've just published a few posts that were sitting, unpublished but 99% finished, in my Blogspot queue. These are all post-dated, so I'm going to link them here in case anyone feels the need to have read each and every one of my beautiful pieces of prose:

- On Bullying
And now, back to our regularly scheduled post.]

Work has been insanely busy as of late. I'm currently working as an office manager in an apartment complex near NC State, which means that the summer is on the whole the busiest time of year: students move out, students look for new housing, students move in. Unfortunately for us, each week has been busier than the one proceeding it, and will continue to do so until school starts on 18 August. That disclaimer being noted, things definitely hit a new high yesterday. Over 60 apartments were scheduled to be moved into either the 30th (Friday), the 31st (Saturday), or the 1st of August (Sunday); as the office is not open on weekends, I and my two fellows had to get leases signed, keys cut and allotted, and parking passes assigned to all of those people. Though we did manage to survive, we're not out of the clear yet: an insane number of people will be moving out over the weekend, as it is the 31st, so we can count on having a lot of paperwork to process on Monday as well.

All of this stress and hard work has been altering my personal life, as my post-work life seems to have been taken over by the strains. A lot of this is because I am, on the whole, of worrying stock - it's hard for me to let go of the things I have to do just because the office door is locked behind me. Another aspect of it is that I fall on the introverted side of the personality scale: I need time alone to recharge and, with a strong and consistent strain, the time necessary to reset my personality grows exponentially. Add to that a heavy dose of personal pride in the work I produce, and thereby a need for it to be right, and you have a pretty strong concoction of Leslie-Going-Crazy.

That being said, Stephen pointed out something that I find intriguing, even though I don't necessarily agree with it. An employer, he said, would naturally value any employee who put a lot of personal pride and effort in to their work, as it would ensure not only quality work but an employee who would diligently work long hours providing it was for the good of the work produced. However, when it comes to the employee, it is not necessarily a good trait: for me, someone who does not plan to make a career of this job/in this field, it seems that I'm putting myself through an unhealthy amount of strain and punishment for the same rewards I would receive were I not so stressed and caught up in my work.

While I understand the point he makes, it still seems to me that I am reaping benefits above and beyond what I would were I not so concerned. Practice makes perfect: will I be able to put in effort when it was important if I did not practice such behavior now? There's also the matter of references: what if a glowing recommendation from my current employer gets me that career-worthy job? Nevertheless, I don't like that I have been for several weeks now too stressed to socialize well. The past three or four days were particularly bad; I created a deeply rutted path from work to my apartment because I declined invitations to deviate from that route - I went to work, came home, spent a few hours gathering myself before passing out at 10:30, and then went to work again the next day and repeated the cycle once more. Though I can tell myself that this is just a bad stretch, that after school starts it won't be like this in the office again until next summer, I cannot fully disregard the point that Stephen makes.

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts? Where should one's priorities lie?

21 July 2010

Read on, true believers!

The past seven weeks have been successful ones in so far as my goals of socializing are concerned. I've had dinner with my Gymboree comrades, attended two book club meetings, witnessed a matrimonial union, and have on the whole been quite the social creature.

The biggest triumph of my social life as of late was being partner/host-in-crime with Stephen in the holding of a 4th of July party. We held it in honor of the death of Jubilee, the most worthless X-men ever.

Jubilation Lee, codename Jubilee, was made prominent in the 90's cartoon version of the X-Men. Her power: shooting weak sparks from her fingers. (I feel obliged to note that whining and running away from home whenever possible, while not normally super powers, were certainly possessed to a super-strength degree when it came to Jubilee). After a few episodes it becomes clear that her only use is as mutant bait: whenever the X-men needed a distraction, Jubilee runs out and sparklers anyone within sight, distracting them from the mutant of worth who was sneaking up from behind to incapacitate them.

Though our hatred of Jubilee was inspired by many an episode of X-men, her death itself arose from one particular episode: an alternate future wherein mutants are put in concentration camps and all of the original X-men team are dead but one, Wolverine. As Wolverine is being brought into the mutant prison, a panning shot of the courtyard shows tombstones as its only decor. The familiar names of the X-men team adorn many of these, and there, standing out in glory for all to see, is one graced with two blessed words: "JUBILEE d.2010" (3:45 to 3:50 on the linked video).

Here it was, 2010: the year of Jubilee's death. Celebration was in order! And what better day to celebrate the death of a glorified sparkler than the 4th of July?

There were three essential aspects to the party:
1. Fireworks. We celebrated in the parking lot with a 50-count box of sparklers and a firework-stuffed effigy. As is tradition, I did my mother's Sparkler Dance.
2. X-men. We played the cartoon series as well as the movies throughout the night.
3. And, of course, drinks. What would an adult-themed party of nostalgia be without them? An extensive menu of 13 different drinks was created by myself, Stephen, and fellow nerd Brent; each drink was named for a character from the show and somehow connected to them. Though some things could be figured out (the "Mystique" drink was sure to involve blue curacao, for example), none of our party-goers were apprised of the contents before their drink was ordered.

(Pictures of the menu to follow...)

In addition to having a variety of drinks on the menu, we had three achievements for the night: The Apocalypse (drinking all 3 villain drinks), the Professor X (drinking all 7 X-men drinks), and the Nightcrawler (accomplishing the Apocalypse and the Professor X, upon which, we surmised, one would be inclined to black out in one place and wake up in another. [If you're a nerd, you'll find this hilarious.])

A not-so-essential aspect to the party, but great nevertheless: our party favors rocked! While supplies lasted, each of our party attendants was given a glass with the X-men logo etched on it and "Jubilee Dies 2010" written underneath the logo. (The glasses were the result of my recently having bought a lifetime supply of glass-etching paste and having not nearly enough glass upon which to exercise my newfound skill.) In addition, anyone who accomplished an achievement received a "WINNER" medal, officially making the medals both the cheapest and worthiest favor of the night.

I think it's easy to say that the party was a raging success. We had at least 20 party-goers stop by throughout the night, and though the party lasted for 6 hours, no one was sick and the apartment was relatively clean when we shut the place down at 2 am. The only downside of having such an epic shindig is that it is now the new standard we must meet or surpass with any future parties. I think Stephen and I are up to the challenge, however, so should you ever be in town for one of our party nights, be sure to stop by!