Weird, work-related dreams

Sep. 15th, 2017 10:09 am
plonq: (Usual Silly Mood)
[personal profile] plonq
I had a weird, work-related dream last night.

At the start of the dream I wasn't actually working, rather I was just out with my younger brother and we happened to be down by the tracks watching them move cars. In this case, the cars were being moved by somebody who was obviously a contractor, because rather than a locomotive, he was driving a Semi that had been modified to run on rails. He was tied onto about a dozen cars, and was trying to back them around a fairly tight bend into what I assumed was a storage siding. The guy was having trouble getting the cars to move, and finally he floored it and they started to move. I remembered part of my training about the dangers of applying too much throttle when pushing around a corner, and even as I thought that, one of the cars in the middle of the cut jumped the rail with its trailing set of trucks and began bouncing along the ties.

I hopped of the car and ran toward the guy, frantically waving a stop signal at him with both arms. He stared at me for quite awhile, pushing this derailed car up the rails before he finally stopped. When he stopped, the slack ran out and the car hopped back onto the rails. Naturally he did not believe me about the derailment, even when I pointed to the trail of broken ties. He yelled at me about how I was killing his productivity, hopped back into his truck, and floored it again.

This time he managed to jackknife and derail the whole track; cars went everywhere.

He was livid. He started screaming at me about how this was all my fault for putting him behind, and how he was going to kill me and my brother. By this time I was back in the car (because he had at least cleared the crossing) and we both agreed that we should probably report this incident - not the least reason being that he was threatening our lives.

The dream transitioned to the office, where I was looking for somebody who might care about a contractor who had derailed a dozen cars and threatened to kill an employee and his family member. The office was mysteriously empty, but I finally managed to track everybody down in one of the large meeting rooms. One of our project leads was out from the head office, giving a talk about swearing in the workplace. The focus of the talk was not what I'd have expected though, focusing on how swearing has been shown to be good stress-reliever, and is a valuable tool when employed respectfully. She illustrated a respectful use of swearing.

"Our new director is a cunt."

Everybody applauded - well, in fairness I did not. I was a bit appalled, thinking, "That's not really very respectful at all, even if she used a fake Aussie accent when saying it. Our new director is actually very nice."

It was about this time that I began to suspect that it was a dream, and I woke shortly after.

Ergonomics

Sep. 11th, 2017 10:09 am
plonq: (Somewhat Pleased Mood)
[personal profile] plonq
We bought a new microwave oven on the weekend to replace the one that died on Friday. On my list of exciting things to do, buying a microwave oven rates pretty low down the list. A microwave oven is not one of those fun appliances that you stand around and try different things with. Not any more. We all know what happens when you put an egg, grape, puppy (etc) in the microwave oven; it does not end well.

The old one was getting on 30 years old, but it was actually pretty fancy for its time. Many of the ones available at the time still had dials, but mine had push buttons, and pre-sets, and even a meat probe that I never got around to using. It also had a couple of clever ergonomic touches that I have always thought should be standard in every microwave oven.

We did a bit of research before both of us decided that a microwave oven does not require the same level of careful selection as a camera, or a car, or something else that is actually fun to buy. We drove up to Canadian Tire and picked up a free one using our accumulated points there. Our two main criteria was that it should be at least 1000 watts, and large enough to be useful, but small enough to fit the existing microwave stand. It's effectively the same brand as our old one (Panasonic versus Sanyo), so I hoped that some of the features of the old one would carry over.

My favourite feature did not.

The turntable in our old microwave oven always stopped in the same position as it started. If I put a cup of coffee in the oven and hit any amount of time, when I opened the door at the end, the turntable would have completed its rotation so that the handle was facing exactly where I had left it. This new oven behaves like all of the ones in our office (they have 3 different brands strewn about in the break room). When the cooking stops, the turntable stops.

I am left wondering if this was some patented action that Sanyo licensed very briefly and then stopped using it, or if I just happened to buy an oven that was designed by forward-thinking engineers who said, "This would be a really nice little ergonomic touch..." It was just one of those nice little things that one takes for granted until it is gone.

--- The original of this is posted at https://plonq.dreamwidth.org/
plonq: (Please Sir May I have Some More)
[personal profile] plonq
We had a very modest dinner this evening (a small, frozen pizza split between us) and I was in the mood for dessert. I suggested walking up to the corner shop for sundaes, but the other half of "we" in the equation was not interested.

I considered moping about it for awhile, but decided to be more productive and make myself a dessert instead. I've made those microwaved, coffee mug brownies in the past with good success, and that seemed like just the right amount to sate my dessert cravings.

It was a smashing success, right up to the point where the microwave oven died about 1/4 of a second after I hit the power button. At first I assumed I had blown the breaker, but further investigation narrows it down to the microwave oven itself.

I've had this oven for almost thirty years, so it really doesn't owe me anything. I guess we'll be shopping around for a new one this weekend (unless we discover that it's just a blown fuse in the microwave itself - we'll pull it out for a look on the weekend before we start spending money on a new one).

I never did get around to using the meat probe that came with it, though I will admit that the thought of cooking a roast in the microwave oven never crossed my mind in all this time.

In work-related news, my company released a notice to the press that they have signed a one-year contract with the T&E and Teamsters that will take them through to the end of 2018. The plus side for me is that it relieves a bit of the pressure off the company to cram as many people through their awful management conductor/engineer training program to have them in place for strike work next year.

This does not mean that I won't get forced into the program again once my ankle is finally fixed, but it increases the odds that by the time they push me back into it, I'll be so close to retirement as to make it pointless for both of us.

I was chatting with a co-worker last week who is in the management conductor pool, and he mentioned a curiosity that he has noticed on the list of people on call for it. He said, "It's weird, but for all the people the are cramming through the program, the number of people in the call pool is not getting any larger."

Actually, it's not that weird at all. Most of the people they are forcing into the program are older employees who they consider less of a flight risk; that is, people who have enough time invested in their career that they will deal with the hardship rather than throw away 20+ years of pensionable service. The problem is that these are mostly people like me, who have been working sedentary desk jobs for decades. Also, the way they treat qualified people in these positions is abominable, often sending them off to remote locations on same-day notice.

"Hey, pack your bags and fly out tonight for ten days in Cousinlove Saskatchewan, where you get to work in a stressful situation with people who resent you."

"Sure thing. The dog and kids can take care of themselves."

Anyway, it turns out that for everyone who qualifies, another one either gets injured, gets medically disqualified (arthritis flared up, heart condition, bad back - you know, the kinds of things that can happen to older, sedentary people who are suddenly thrust into outdoor manual labour around heavy equipment), goes on stress leave because of the awful conditions, retires, or quits.

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