Category Archives: smart

Why Standing Up To Your Boss Works

Below is an email exchange between my girlfriend and her boss. She works an internship at a magazine twice a week for 5 hours each time, writes for her campus newspaper, works this job (that sucks and pays her meagerly) and is taking a full time, three class load. Her boss had the nerve to send her the following letter:

On 4/11/07, H.W.(the boss) wrote: Hi N.,

As you are now working split shifts of two- and three-hour intervals, it is not appropriate to eat lunch during that time. California law provides that employees must receive a 30-minute meal break if they work in excess of five hours.

It’s fine if you’d like to stay for a few minutes after you finish work at noon, or come in early before you resume working at 2 p.m.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions.

Best, H.

My girlfriend, being the extremely intelligent and no-bullshit person that she is, promptly responded. She had been wanting to quit this job for months as the work was tough and her new boss was especially crabby. Instead of apologizing for eating her lunch at work, she responded with the following:

—–Original Message—–
From: N.E.

Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 8:00 AM

To: H.W., K.N., A.K.
Subject: Re: Work Thursday

Hi H.,

I appreciate your concern. I do have my own to contribute.

When I leave after my two hour shift, I go to class. I don’t have time to eat. On those days when my professor ends the class early, I will, for now on, take those minutes to eat lunch.

On the other hand, on those days when my professor doesn’t end the class early, it doesn’t take me more than ten minutes to eat lunch, and I usually can do it while I’m working. I do not think it interferes with my work or dampens my overall productivity. Furthermore, I think that an atmosphere where an activity like eating is not strictly monitored would allow for a more positive work environment simply because it gives me, or whoever is working, a sense of autonomy.

I understand that my past with !@#$% has been checkered. I’ve had quarters with frequent absences, I usually eat while I’m working, and I sometimes check my email a little too frequently. While interning for !@#$% has taught me a lot about marketing and publicity, I also feel over the past two quarters, I’ve stopped enjoying it as much. For that reason, I would like to resign.

Please inform me of how you would prefer I do it. I understand this resignation is mid-quarter and I would like to accommodate the two departments as much as possible. Thank you for listening,

N.

This was the response she got not long afterwards:

From: H. (the boss)
Date: Apr 12, 2007 12:07 PM
Subject: RE: Work Thursday
To: N.E.,
K.N., A.K.

Hi N.,

Thanks for your message and for helping us understand your feelings.

First, I’d like to apologize for my message regarding eating while on the job. It’s was unfair on my part, and I’m very sorry. We want you to enjoy your time with us and be comfortable having lunch, as well as taking personal calls and emails.

We’d very much like to work out something that might be agreeable to you within the dual aspects of the position. As I mentioned yesterday, our press mailings for the 06-07 season are complete and – thanks to your help – the clippings are, too. We really appreciate all that you contribute and for looking at the “bigger picture” while helping us with work that may not be as challenging for you.

Perhaps you might consider staying on to help Marketing? A.’s looking very much forward to speaking with you.

Kind regards, H.


This just goes to show that if you are being mistreated at work and believe yourself to be important to the company its your prerogative to stand up for yourself when threatened by your superiors. My guess is that when her other bosses saw the letter of resignation they made HW apologize for her letter. That’s why I love you, baby.

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Filed under abuse, barn, barn stormer, barnstormer, boss, clever, cool, dignity, employee, fight back, indie, r'speck, respeck, respect, smart, stand up, stormer, witty

Britt Daniel – The Most Underrated Songwriter Around

by anti-folk hero

“Its so easy to say you don’t care, its so easy to say you don’t need it,” says Britt Daniel, lead singer of Spoon, but I would have to say that you all should care about Britt. He and his band Spoon have been putting out some of the most exciting rock music in the past 10 years and yet just about nobody has ever even heard of Spoon. Well, I for one am sick of that. This band can knock down and kick the shit out of your average indie band, though I think they’d be too modest to say that themselves.

Spoon 1

I remember my first Spoon show. I was obsessed with “Girls Can Tell,” their third release. It was my second year in college. I got out of class at 6:30; I went to school in Santa Cruz and the show was in San Francisco, an hour and a half away, and I had no one to go with. Over the phone, I convinced my friend Kevin to come with me. We showed up at a little bar called Slim’s, where I used my fake ID (I was 20) that said my name was “Richard D. James” to get in. We drank Pabst on tap and then fought our way to the front of the crowd to see Spoon perform. They were ON that night, as they electrified a packed house through most of “Girls Can Tell” and a good deal of “A Series of Sneaks.” For an encore, Britt Daniel even came out with an acoustic guitar and played “The Agony of Lafitte,” a song which he wrote as a gypsy curse for an evil record executive he once knew. The whole evening was so fun and exciting that Spoon immediately moved into my own personal hall of fame. Since then, I’ve seen them at the “All Tomorrow’s Parties” concert, where they played on the stationary cruise ship slash hotel, the Queen Mary. I’ve seen them headline at the Wiltern in LA and even up at the Fillmore in San Francisco.

So you’re probably saying, so what, why should I care? Well, listen to this song and see what you think.

JONATHON FISK

maybe you remember maybe you’re locked away
maybe we’ll meet again some better day some better life

mmmm Jonathon Fisk speaks with his fists
can’t let me walk home on my own
and just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set me right

it’s such a long way home
it’s how the story goes
and it’s like atom bombs and blunt razors
atom bomb sand blunt razors

Jonathon then says it’s a sin
but he don’t think twice cause to him
religion don’t mean a thing
it’s just another way to be right wring
just like a knife down on my life
so many ways to set it right
that’s how it goes that’s how the story goes

it’s such a long way home
you’re too hold to understand
cause I just want to get home now
I just want to get home now

Jonathon’s right down on my life
so many ways to set me right
on the long walk home
that’s how the story goes
and Jonathon Fish always a risk
tells me he counts my teeth every night
I want to get them all back now
I want to get them all back now
and I want to turn him around

This song is Britt singing about a bully he knew in high school (or some kind of school). I read in an interview with Britt that Jonathan Fisk comes to their shows now. What a way to win over your enemies!

Britt recently worked on the soundtrack for the movie “Stranger than Fiction” with Brian Reitzell. Several classic Spoon songs were used and the soundtrack even included a new spoon song, “The Book I Write,” which I haven’t been able to get out of my head for days now. Spoon’s music really connected with me when I was first exploring indie rock music. Girls Can Tell became a soundtrack for my early college days and we spent many evenings listening to Spoon and Yo La Tengo records in the dorms. While my fellow Santa Cruz buddies were jamming to Zeppelin, I was figuring out how to play both the piano and guitar part of “Anything You Want” simultaneously on guitar. I even have a picture I snapped of myself with Britt Daniel from “All Tomorrow’s Parties.” He didn’t seem that thrilled to meet me. That’s ok. I still think he’s a legend.

Spoon 2

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I’ll lose some sales and my boss won’t be happy but I can’t stop listening to the sound…

by anti-folk hero

The Kings of Convenience are one of the most relaxed bands that have ever floated through my consciousness. Their music is breezy and laid back but still complex and interesting. Their songs are based on the harmonies of two guitars and two voices. The Norwegian duo consists of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe, a couple of dudes who used to jam together and finally decided to write some songs. They only have two albums out at the moment and Erlend is already in another band, but their second release transcends cultural barriers and resonates perfectly as an album without pretensions or self-consciousness.

Riot

“Riot on an Empty Street” plays like a lost Nick Drake album (if he’d been accompanied by John Denver) or an English language João Gilberto record. But the key here are the harmonies; the record is propelled to greatness by the intricacy of the singing and guitar playing. The two sing and play complicated arrangements as casually as if they’d been born to play them. The nylon string guitars are also a nice touch; having grown up playing both nylon and steel stringed acoustic guitars myself, I appreciate a record that makes use of the softer, more percussive sound of a nylon string guitar. Let’s take a look at Cayman Islands, a track from “Riot on an Empty Street.”

Here are the lyrics.

Kings of Convenience – Cayman Islands

Through the alleyways to cool off in the shadows
Then into the street following the water

  • This reminds me so much of Venice. We were there in late July and it was hot as all hell, and we literally walked through the alleyways to cool off in the shadows. This couplet is my experience of Venice, perfectly captured.

There’s a bearded man paddling in his canoe
Looks as if he has come all the way from the Cayman Islands

These canals, it seems, they all go in circles
Places look the same, and we’re the only difference
The wind is in your hair, it’s covering my view
I’m holding on to you, on a bike we’ve hired until tomorrow

  • Now this has me thinking of Amsterdam on a quiet street off of the main drag. The lyrics evoke the reflection of a person who is just visiting, though looking around passively on the back of a bike. The lines about the wind and the bike bring you out of your reflective state and back in the moment, a good moment I’d assume, to remember the beauty and happiness you’re feeling at that point in time.

If only they could see, if only they had been here
They would understand, how someone could have chosen
To go the length I’ve gone, to spend just one day riding
Holding on to you, I never thought it would be this clear

Kings of C

These lyrics are relaxing, refreshing and enjoyable. Having just backpacked my way through Europe last summer, the lines in this song bring back memories of walking around in Venice and Amsterdam. Its not often that modern music is used to relax, soothe, or alleviate the tensions in our lives. Most often, with music like punk or pop, what we get is something that emulates the tension we feel. While this can help us feel connected to a greater mass of stressed out people, the Kings of Convenience have used their songwriting skills to create something that allows you to sit back and dream. Who else can you say that about these days?

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