On the rare occasion that I answer an email, my “about” fields indicate that I am Brown Ajah, of the Salidar faction. In recent weeks I have come to realize that I may have jumped the gun on my designation. Salidar I may be, but as yet I think Accepted is a more accurate term.

One of the women whose work I handle has made an annoying habit of checking up on what I’m doing (and not doing) on a very regular basis. Like every time I’m not at my desk. I understand that she has a professional stake in what I get done, but there’s a practical limit to the amount of work you can require of someone and expect them to complete it when you want it and how you want it. If you have a standard way in which things are done, that’s good. If you trust the person to do things in that way, that’s even better. Unfortunately, any time there’s any deviation from the standard, I have to get confirmation that what I’m doing is appropriate. Which, when she’s not here, is a bitch.

However big a bitch this job can be, it’s infinitely better than the job I had that gave me damane syndrome. Everything had to be done exactly the same way every time, not because of any legal requirements I could ascertain but because my supervisor found it easier to nitpick that way. I was supposed to proofread, but I wasn’t allowed to correct about half of the mistakes that were the most common. I was pressured to go faster, but if a report came back to me more than once, she’d say, “You know, you can take your time.” If something I’d done was returned to her for further correction by her superior, she’d make a production of it and have me change it just to make her point, and blame me if it didn’t get done on time. And perfect wasn’t good enough. If I went more than a few days with no mistakes, she’d find something I “really had to watch” and explain for five minutes why it was vitally important that I always do it, apparently not realizing that the world had failed to end in the last few weeks that I hadn’t known to do it. In the three months I worked there, I had maybe five days that I didn’t get criticized, and received maybe three positive comments on my work, two of those on the first day. I know there had to be three because about a month and a half in, she said something positive and I caught myself being unreasonably happy to have earned her favor. It was pretty chilling to realize that she was training me in more ways than one.

Here, on the other hand, they pay for me to go to class, like the food I bring, let me wear jeans on Fridays and carry my Swiss Army knife, and appreciate things like henna, magnetic poetry, Dilbert, and paper laundry. And they pay better. So nyah to the cube-kennels.

And I’m asking for a Great Serpent ring for my birthday.

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