The Most Evil Boss Ever


Friday, September 30, 2016

Ticket to Work and the CSU System

After a little research, Michelle and I found a college extension training program that was short-term and didn't cost much ($1200).  A new program at the Dominguez Hills campus was called Convergence Media (now Social Media Marketing).  In short, there were a couple of concerns in regard to books but as long as the state took care of my transportation, I would pay out of pocket.

I should've known the class was BS when the instructor bragged about Hackathon, her 1980s sitcom writing credits, and just her...period.  To her credit, I did learn some things about creative writing and she wasn't a mean person...just different. I'd taken a copywriting class just weeks earlier at UCLA Extension and it was like comparing a capon to Church's chicken.  Being that Michelle was hearing impaired and her translator seemed to look less than happy anytime I'd visited, I just finished the 9-week class and got a certificate

So, I signed up in March '15, started the class in August and finished in early November.  The instructor gave me her sinusitis, which made me feel bad but I was determined to not make disability a lifestyle.  So I played ball by going to all the little requirements that Dept of Rehab needed.  By this time, I managed to get a rapport going with Michelle's translator so it can only get better, right?

Nope...not at all!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Training With Ticket to Work, Part 3 of 6

Once my paperwork was approved, it was my job to come in and discuss an action plan.  At the time, things were in limbo because though I scheduled to get my AS in June, I had yet to satisfy my math requirement.  I'd gotten a tutor but while going to school I also had an internship, after school credit and still did small writing jobs for clients.  So I was a little burned out on continuing my education further though I'd gotten pre-acceptance from the state university.

However, according to Michelle, this was the best course of action since she said most jobs through the program barely paid more than minimum wage.  There was no more discussion about NTI or any similar Ticket to Work program but the first order of business was a skills assessment.  This was held in Long Beach and every action - including how early I arrived would be monitored - for an entire week.

I was scheduled to start this process right after the graduation ceremony and it was really shameful that the state has to pay money for this waste of time.  I mean, if my work history reflects clerical work, I'm a business major, and have experience running a small business, why do I have to spend hours demonstrating assembly tasks and basic skills. 

It's not like I went to ICDC or ITT Tech Institute...dammit!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Californian and Ticket to Work

***This is the second in a six-part series about what really happens to those who sign up for Ticket to Work (TTW).***

The day I arrived to meet my new caseworker, the first thing I noticed was that she was really late.  By almost half an hour.  I noted this with the receptionist, who called the caseworker's cell because she was Iout to lunch.  Just as I'm about to leave for the day, two women enter the office while chatting.

"Are you my 1:30?", the shorter of the two asked me

"If you're Michelle*, yes."

"Okay, come with me." And she runs to the back office, with no apologies or the asking if I'm alright since my post-chemo fatigue has kicked by now.  She abruptly introduces her interpreter, Ms. Saldana* and she goes into the normal TTW pitch but those assigned a ticket after the verification process can opt to continue their education or return to work.

Firstly, I had no idea she was hearing impaired, not that I thought any differently since she owed me an apology for holding me up for nearly 45 minutes.  The education part sounded nice but I was burning out over my math requirement to get my associates'.  Everything else was easy-peasy but I fired back with my first question about working at home.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Ticket to Work Journey as a California Resident

***This is the first in a six-part series about what really happens to those who sign up for Ticket to Work (TTW).***
For the past three years, I have been dealing with reproductive cancer.  Thanks to super-strong chemo, I've been in remission for more than two years.  However, the after-effects have left me drained and with the hysterectomy the good ol' docs chose for me as the first step in removing the cells, sometimes I wake up fatigued.

But I wanted to resume life ASAP and this means going back to work. Before, my freelance gigs took care of the basics but a serious health matter will change anyone's mindset about going to work for the man.  School financial aid helped out with the incidentals.

So I get a call from a toll-free number one Sunday evening and the recording states I should call another number to speak with someone about going back to work while receiving SSDI.  No obligation.  The next day, I reached someone who said they would send a list of prospects that cover my area and feel free to call if I have any questions or concerns.

A week or so later, I get a huge book in the mail.  I go with people that are local (Los Angeles) to me and it does not go well.  The first person I contact sounds okay but when I ask exactly where his Carson (the nearest to me) office is, he says that he can't give me the cross-streets, but Google can. thanks!

The other places, like Goodwill, no longer participate in the program or, when I leave a voicemail message, I don't get a call back.  However, there is a little light around the corner...

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Would You Take a Business Class That's

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Call her crazy but she got attention...which is good for most brands
..... taught by a celebrity? Yesterday, Yahoo News reported that TV mogul and entrepreneur Tyra Banks will be an Asst. Professor at Stanford U's business school.  It's an elective course about branding and I'd like to be a fly on the wall when classes are in session.

On the blogs were debates about Banks' credentials (high school graduate with a Harvard Extension took her 9 weeks to get the latter), how education in general has gone down the tubes, and what the hiring personnel at Stanford could have been thinking about.

One point that was brought up was real-life experience over what is taught in textbooks.  While some that walk the catwalk may not have much business acumen, the former supermodel made many strong alliances with people behind the scenes and used her noggin to move beyond being a live clothes hanger.

This is what led to her creating the (your country here) Next Model TV franchise, followed by her self-named talk show which ran more than a couple of years.  If you say that anyone can be on reality TV or push a microphone in guests' faces, peep her resume and you'll see she's accomplished a lot in 25 years.

 My thoughts went back to the 1986 movie Back to School where the late Rodney Dangerfield plays a wealthy father looking to bond with his college-age son by enrolling at the same university.  One pivotal moment of the film was Dangerfield sitting in a business class lecture and the very-rigid professor goes into the usual terminology mostly heard in upper management biz conversations.  Rolling his large eyeballs, Dangerfield's character rudely interrupts and gives what schools do not teach (bribery, negotiations, etc.).

In my business management class from a couple of years ago, I had a similar experience.  Though the government paid for me to go to school, it would've been worth it to have someone with hands-on experience verses fancy theories.  Especially the only jobs we would have been eligible for were hospitality or retail, assuming we were starting in a new industry.  Oh yeah, the instructor didn't like it when I spoke out on real world stuff either.

So, I know Stanford costs a pretty penny but it may be exciting for students to learn about what really goes on in the business world.  When it comes to media (which many brands are dependent on), her contribution should be priceless.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Boss From Hell

  Out of the 7 Bad Habits named in the video, I've had to deal with 6 of one fiscal year!  Sad but true and let's note that this video was made by a group of people known for their low-context demeanor and being innovative in the fields of technology and other consumer goods.  There are so many Americans who see these habits as normal and later wonder why they were laid off.  Oh well, enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fast Food/Retail Work in Hell

 My heart goes out to anyone who can have a real career in hospitality or service industry.  Even though it seems to have growth now that many chains are getting on the "healthy"side of eating, some jobs may not be worth it.  Especially when having to deal with customers that have been drinking or had an exceptionally bad day and choose to take it out on the person that's most vulnerable.

Courtesy of Bossip, one Taco Bell worker got so unhinged that he decided to rip the skin off a customer with allegedly obnoxious behavior.

Back when Broadway was converting to Macy's on the West Coast, my play aunt had a hard time dealing.  Her store at the time was located in one of the worst malls in Southern California (Hawthorne Plaza has since closed down) and it was so bad that they pretty much let go of much-needed security.  The mall was practically vacant except for the Payless Shoes and Broadway, which was marking their goods 75-90% off.

My play aunt had a mouth and attitude to match so when a young lady decided to get sassy, she read her to her face.  Not nice but if you're a sales clerk about to be laid off with no other prospects, you might come undone too.

So tomorrow's a new day, right?  Nope.  This little skank had to take things to a whole new level.  Calling my aunt not only on the job but at her home with constant threats.  Now you know that's no way for an elderly woman to live.

All I can is that say is even if the future looks bleak, once you clear your sinuses of greasy food or that weird smell all Subways have, you'll smell the rainbow. #notskittles

Monday, May 16, 2016

Is Being Overdressed at Work that Bad?

Better than underdressed, right?

Over the weekend, I took a glance at my local A.M. news and noticed that the weather girl on KTLA was either just leaving, or on her way to the club.  She didn't look bad but the sequined little black dress seemed out of place.  She was later given a sweater that looked itchy and until she worked some kind of magic, seemed shapeless.  This story has spread worldwide because this "drama" allegedly played out on the air, including encouraging her to put on a sweater. Courtesy of Bossip.

Now, I've been in situations where I didn't have the right clothes for the office.  Most common is not only working long hours but a noticeable distance from home and not having the energy to wash or pick up my dry cleaning.  One situation also included having new neighbors that tied up the machines until late.  By the time I considered getting a compact washing machine for the service porch, they moved out.

Once a good acquaintance applied for a customer service job at DirecTV in the late 90s and wore a cocktail dress to the panel interview.  Now if she had a straight, simple sleeveless thing like Liberte Chan, it might have been okay but her ruffled, satiny thing only screamed prom throwback.

The only thing I can recommend for someone short on cash is to visit their local Dress for Success facility.  I interned at the L.A. location last year and there are many offerings.  Now most who qualify for free work clothes must be referred by an agency but a few times a year, they have sales to the public where no item is more than $20.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Content Writing Company Tea

Over the weekend, I got a very interesting email from Express Writers.  I applied once and really don't remember whether I was accepted because I never get work offers but I get plenty of solicitations for service.  Back then, it was nothing for me to not note why I didn't get accepted or receive work but the following may give past applicants or contractors some insight -
Hi clients and friends,

Express Writers has been around since early 2011, and in the past three years we relied on two people we came to believe were of the highest quality and work ethic: Annie and Alecs Ianko, our Content Manager and Accounts Manager.

Turns out, they're not.

We had to terminate them last night after a company audit revealed they were notating fake work amounts for more than a year, and stealing untold amounts of dollars. For instance, in one day Annie recorded that she'd edited 30,000 words when she actually edited a 400-word piece; this turned into weeks and weeks of fake records of work. She was paid for all these inflated numbers for more than a year. Besides this, she's been responsible for hiring editors that were purposefully placing typos within content (and being paid). Who knows what inspired those negative actions. Annie and Alecs Ianko are thieves, and should be avoided at all costs; they are running a scam.

We're going to take legal action, but for now, we need to make sure we focus on the problem at hand. We are hiring and training an experienced replacement today (Mother's Day weekend currently on hold), and we're reaching out to all of you because Annie has already mass emailed several people with false information. I want you to know the truth from me.

If you've seen any kind of poor content delivered to you by our team at Express Writers in the past month or two, I personally apologize and ask that you reply, let me know what the quality issue was, and we'll give you a coupon for your next order. Just hit reply; it'll go straight to me.

All in all, this discovery, although hard, is an extremely good thing; we'll be able to have a much better eye on our quality and enforce great writing standards. This comes on the heels of our upcoming major re-launch, where we pay writers nearly double and have a custom built ordering system that answers most of the frustrations we've heard from you in the past year.

Enjoy your weekend, and rest assured that Express Writers has the quality of your content at heart! We're inspired to work harder than ever now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Prince Taught Us About Having a USP

A unique selling proposition is something that can dog the person looking to work a simple 9-5 so that bills can be paid on time but it’s necessary to survive in entertainment.  The legendary musician obviously did more than survive for nearly 40 years in an industry that is equally temperamental and chaotic.  The new entrepreneur can have the best of both worlds if they care careful about one thing besides keeping up with output…the right visuals.

This isn’t to imply that someone put on a pair of fancy heels and play the guitar better than Slash but in the ultra-competitive world of e-commerce, learning how to re-invent and shine is imperative.  It’s about taking a true look at self, then the competition, and taking inventory of what not to do.  The fun part is you may get the attention you weren’t expecting but staying true to your talents is what will get people buzzing.

A long time ago, in the early days of internet, I was playing around with some ways to advertise my services.  This was back in the days of PageMaker and I thought my creations were beyond outstanding.  One promotion intended for direct mail went something like “Don’t be a Chicken with Your Design” in the headline.  Sure enough, a pasted clip art of a rooster served as a logo with below text highlighting what I could do in terms of desktop publishing and copywriting.

Not only was it corny and imperfect and didn't get me any jobs but it did what memes do today.  It made people laugh (the only thing I liked about working in an office with a bunch of women) and it got their attention. It turned out to be a cheap and cheesy form of network marketing. Prince opening for the Rolling Stones in 1981 may not have been one of his better moments (I often compare it to Hendrix opening for the Monkees back in the 60s but a little violent) but it got his name known outside of those who mostly listened to R&B music back then.

So there’s nothing wrong with integrating self-expression with your true feelings in promotions, as long as it’s relatable to your audience….not everyone.  Had Prince copied Michael Jackson’s early boy-next-door image and seemingly timid mannerisms, celebrations of his life would not go beyond his hometown of Minneapolis.  Heck, he may have been out of show business by now and forced to do something work a 9-5.

By keeping it fresh, consistent and believable, they will come back for an encore performance!