I’m back, and I’m mad

I’m back and I’m mad.

I hate that feeling when I stop and censor myself and only post something to friends instead of public, because I’m afraid of someone from work facebook creeping my public profile and it affecting my job security, because I work in a conservative state for conservative clients and… Argh.

There’s a thing on Facebook where people are mass checking in at Standing Rock to ruin it being used by police against DAPL protestors, and I wanted to participate. Doesn’t seem like it’d be a bit deal, right? But Oklahoma is where oil is King, and being associated with that might not be a wise choice, you know? I mean, it’s probably not a big deal, but then I go thinking about how we can’t afford for me to lose my job, that I have a family I have to provide for, and I feel guilty because safeguarding my ability to provide for my family is more important to me than my activism and I feel like I’m part of the problem rather than the solution but that doesn’t change my decision because I DO know which is more important to me.

Then I get angry because we live in a world where there are basically zero legal barriers to firing me for my politics, and little enough safety net to catch us if I did get fired for it until I found a new job.

So I wanted to vent. Not that I have time, which is why I stopped in the first place, but I’m going to give this blog another shot and use this instead. For whatever that’s worth.

-VoG

Things you shouldn’t have to celebrate

I really like my job. I’m pretty damn good at it, I get paid a reasonable salary, and my coworkers are usually tolerable and occasionally genuinely quite likable, and the work varies from tolerable to genuinely challenging and satisfying. Oh, and free lunch which is frequently edible!

It has a few really obnoxious elements, though, and that’s part of why I made this blog. I want to be able to talk about them, without fear of retaliation. Usually this is in the nature of ‘Coworkers who have really horrible opinions that I wish I didn’t know they held’.

Sometimes it’s just really questionable shit that I don’t understand why we do as a company given the dubious ethical nature of the decisions and the lack of any logical reason for doing so.

Employees who are hourly-wage contractors for personnel agencies working a few months on a probationary basis before we hire them on permanently, being told not to put a mandatory department meeting that occurs outside their regular shift and in excess of their scheduled 40 hours being a great example.

Well, I get to celebrate that no longer being the case. They are, finally, being allowed to leave a little early one day within a few days of the meeting so they only work 40 hours.

Previously they were told, when asked how to handle it on their time sheets, not to put it on them, that it’s kind of a show of dedication thing. This both by our department head and occasionally by their liaison at the personnel agency.

It took more than a year and the entire department, including supervisors, everyone but the department head, thinking it was ridiculous (let them go home early. Pay 2 hours of overtime a month. Pick one!) and knowing it was a violation of Fair Labor Standards Act (yeah, half the department ended up researching that after a fiasco involving sick days that ended up getting reversed by HR two weeks later.), but it’s no longer the case.

I’d liked to have suggested to every new contract employee for the last year or so that they should ask about the issue with their personnel agency liaison in written form, and I’d liked to have informed them that it isn’t legal for their employer to require them to do that, and that they can file a complaint with the Department of Labor about it to address the issue if they don’t get the problem resolved. I’d like to have done those things. But I can’t.

-VoG

Changing tastes

Re-reading authors you’ve liked for a long time can be weird when they’re kind of political writers. Reading some of John Ringo’s arguably less political writing, the ‘Troy Rising’ series, for, oh, the…seventh time, I think, and some of the subtler political barbs are bugging me more. John Ringo confuses me sometimes. Military fiction and military sci-fi, a certain degree of pro-military/hawkish politics is probably inevitable, or at least difficult to avoid. You write a scenario wherein military action is justified, unless you’re telling a very specific kind of story.

Ringo confuses me because he’s clearly conservative, but he’s difficult to peg as a conservative. He doesn’t seem to be extremely socially conservative (I can’t really call him socially progressive. He seems apathetic about gay people, for the most part, not hostile, but certainly not terribly concerned about justice for them, either.), but while economically conservative, he seems to be more comfortable with things like taxation and compassion than you usually see from more hardcore economic conservatives. Yet at times he’s been rabidly anti-liberal in his writing, so I’m not sure I buy that he’s just adopting the native clothing among Baen’s fairly heavily conservative reader base. The problem is his criticisms of liberals tend to be stereotypical, unsupported, and very, very non-specific.

It comes across like the unquestioned belief accepted from one’s rearing and peers that the ‘other’ is bad, even though that doesn’t mesh with your own views. It just feels unexamined and that makes me a little sad.

David Weber can be a little problematic in similar respects but honestly rarely bothers me to the same degree. The People’s Republic of Haven comes to mind, but as a portrayal of a welfare state run amok it really comes across almost as parody to my mind, more a device created to fill a need plausibly than a statement that this is the inevitable fate of any attempt at social welfare.

-VoG