No, not dressing up and we haven’t hosted neighborhood trick or treaters for years.  son unit, even though there are small children around his place, will also not be hosting trick or treaters.

Not to spoil what is a small time for a break from the mundane aspects of life for a bit of fun & joy, but this in the WSJ isn’t all that divorced from reality I believe.

It used to be so different once.

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Me and Another Person’s Big Mouth

Have Have discovered a shared data package of 4GB for our smart phones is not enough…. we’ve used up all our monthly data allowable data as of yesterday afternoon. Am told 4GB for 3 people is far too small………

At the job I am at all sit pretty much cheek & jowl at our review “suites” and can be privy  whether we want to or not, to conversation of others as well as others to mine.

Now. directly in front of myself and a woman who sits next to me, are 3 women, supposedly attorneys, one in particularity chatters for pretty much the entire time she is at her work station, and when she isn’t she has been taking/making phone calls at the work station, which is expressly forbidden, or she disappears for extended periods of time (in Japanese, there is a word for this, 給料泥棒: lit: salary thief) . This has been going on from pretty much the beginning of the review in early September.

On Tuesday morning, after this person had chatted pretty much non-stop on non work related matters for about an hour, the  woman & I had had enough, went to one of  the supervising project managers to complain.  The response was a general e-mail to all reminding all of office etiquette and that use of phone inside the review area is not allowed.

Now do I do similar?  No.  I generally keep quite but when I do have a sidebar, I keep my voice down and limit the talk to a just a few minutes.

These 3 took it personally,  guessed who complained and spent yesterday I am told, while on the clock, putting together papers for some undefined legal action against somone.  This too was brought to the attention of those who supervise (not by me) and yet they still have their jobs???

Concerned? No, as I have done nothing wrong and my work is well-thought of by the attorneys of the law firm for which we are contracted to.  If one of those 3 can have my job over that…they can have it.

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The Price You Pay

There’s a new face on the review, a Japanese woman from Texas who turns out worked for an American who used to work at my OEM employer in Japan, who shepherded me through its version of boot camp (工場自習) way, way, back.  Turns out he too is divorced,  from his Japanese wife (who we met once) .  Funny (not really) how corporate devotion tends be be toxic for family life- another American/ex-Japanese OEM I know,also totally devoted to our mutual Japanese employer, saw his family life go to tatters.

Both men have had very successful professional careers, but what a price.

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A Good Day to Hate Life in DC

I like Fridays as 1., it is the end of the work week, and 2nd, I max out at 50 hours at 4:30, meaning at least for now, I can go home while there is still sunshine.

This afternoon however, get to Metro Center station and see a lager than usual crowd of people on the platform and no trains coming. Wait more while the platform continues to fill with people to the point that it is getting a bit dangerous, meanwhile no trains nor more important any information broadcast as to if there is a problem or what it is (which wound not happen in Japan).

Star thinking of workarounds, but that means throwing away the amount deducted from my electronic pass.

Finally, a train comes, crowded, but I get on and  to the station where I keep the car, which shows me again the wisdom of not leaving the car at the station nearest home.

Go on my way home, knowing traffic will not be good, but it was far worse than imagined; a 13 mile drive home with the gas gage uncomfortably near empty (moral- don’t leave home  for a commute on a quarter tank or less) takes an hour an a half.

But I am lucky- I live fairly close in and not out  where the commuting time would have trebled.

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Wrong Me, Wrong Century?

I had a debate with the woman who sits next to me at the document review, who has some pathological need to have the last word.  The subject was every morning that I choose to walk from Virginia into DC,  I, either before I cross the Key Bridge, while I am on it, or starting to walk on M Street, invariably pass a late 20ish woman, the same woman going the other way.

Being that this has happened so many times now, I would think a brief ‘good morning’ or a nod, would be in order, just as a matter of human courtesy.  And I am told I belong in the 19th Century.

Can’t see very well from my perch at the Penn Ave Peet’s as its still dark (Daylight Savings Time is far too long!), but it looks as though Penn Ave. is still open to pedestrian traffic, even after last night’s “festivities” (another person eluded the Secret Service and jumped the WH fence- but didn’t make it very far) Believe I may have mentioned somewhere is a past post I read about WH access back in the day of Truman; that during the summer, people would run to take refuge under the North Portico during summer thunderstorms.

Ah how times are different.

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Salaries & Japanese Companies

At least in the United Sates, Japanese companies are not known for their generosity in employee compensation.  Sure there are things, like working for a Japanese OEM, perks like car leasing on very generous terms, but still on the while,  salaries fall behind what U.S. companies offer.

As it was with the person I mentioned in my last post.  she was offered a $2,000 a month salary, which when you do the math comes to 24k a year, which BTW, is only a couple of thousand dollars above the official poverty line for a family of 2 and certainly not enough to make a go of it here, even if one was young and single.

For her part, she has told them the offer is inadequate and what she wants/needs for compensation.

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The Exit Door is Open

Not for me unfortunately, but for the Japanese woman who sits next to me, the now single mother, has been offered an admin job at One of the Japanese companies here and she’s balking.  The money won’t be that good, and Japanese companies are notoriously stingy with salaries for locals. What we make per hour here on these review projects, if extrapolated over a 1920 hour work year would = a good 6-figure income, BUT very few of these projects last beyond 4 months (the Toyota Project was an exception) and then its out on the streets and who knows how many weeks/months before another project comes along?

Told her she’ll have a steady income, a 401k, health insurance, paid leave- what on earth is there to dither about?  I look at all these offices in town and wonder why there isn’t one I can fill…   I’d leave this all behind in a heartbeat for full-tie employment.

For  moment last night, I thought I’s also be walking back to Rosslyn as there were ten or so fire trucks around Metro Center Station, hoses unraveled and said to myself, ‘This is not good’  Walked to McPherson to find the trains to VA still running and got back home without too much loss of time.

Have quite the drizzly nose this morning, an artifact of the morning walk, which at first the body & mind balks at, but once across the Key Bridge and past Wisconsin ave, the adrenaline pump kicks in I suppose,….

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