The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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today in a life
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
Podfic!

I have never worked out if it is good form to rec podfic of your fic, but I finally had a chance to listen to some that I downloaded, and my God.

Fic: It's My Death, My Rhythm, My Arithmetic, AIRPS, Adam/Kris, AU
Podfic:It's My Death, My Rhythm, My Arithmetic by reena_jenkins - I rarely creep myself out during writing, but this one was an exception. Reena dialed it up to eleven in the reading. Just. Whoa.

Fic: Marked, Smallville, Clark/Lex
Podfic: Marked by reena_jenkins - I get weirdly self-conscious reading my own fic a lot, but listening seems to get it a remove from me enough to enjoy it. I so enjoyed this one. She also inspired me to add a few more fics to AO3 since this one wasn't up yet and I felt bad she couldn't link it properly.

Fic: The Tale of the Sea Serpent, Merlin, Merlin/Arthur
Podfic: The Tale of the Sea Serpent by eosrose - this was such a fun listen. I love her voice.

Happy.

Work

For some reason, Cisco VPN stopped working entirely yesterday and even after reinstall, I could not get it to run. It kept not starting and I have no idea why. So had to go into the office for validation in the evening, and did two hours of COLA validation in an empty building. Child bravely came along and was disappointed to realize how boring it was to go through dozens of cases to validate that everyone receiving RSDI/SSI got their COLA update.

It wasn't bad, per se, just repetitive; open case, check dates, get calculator and do rough math to make sure the amounts were correct. Considering the horror that will emerge after the new year in testing, I am taking repetitive and a little boring to the alternatives.



I'm appreciating the my lead on this more and more, as much for her patience and trust as for the fact she found out I was alone (with Child) and called the office during her own validations to check up on me and to remind me that when I was done with my part of the list to go home and no, nothing else was needed so don't stick around. She'd be such a fantastic manager, except she takes way too much work on herself even after she delegates. The thing is, she's an expert on our part of testing for one, and two, she's that type of person who likes what we do, and for all her management skills, I think she'd hate not being able to get into the guts of testing itself. And she's our best, to be honest; we'd need three people to replace her from what I've seen of her workload.

Hearing horror stories about supervisors and leads always makes me pathetically grateful for our manager and leads; I always take for granted that for the most part, I've either had fantastic supervisors and leads that I missed when I left, or ones I was very good at working with and avoiding when necessary (never would have survived casework otherwise).

It's odd; since my current manager took over and I joined this testing group in our unit, nothing has really changed in workload (since September last year, it's effectively doubled) but my job satisfaction even under stress (and this summer was bad) has gone up hugely. Both our manager and my lead are actually--and I say this without irony--inspirational for the unit. They acknowledge the insane workload and in a shocking turn of events, explain the reasons why and set out reasonable expectations. When the expectations aren't reasonable but we have to do it anyway, they acknowledge that too, and go out of their way to show their appreciation and gratitude. And both of them work as much as or more than we do; if we come in on weekends or work from home, they're doing the same thing and are a Groove message or email message away for questions or problems. And they regularly forward emails from higher-ups who say nice things about us or express gratitude for our work, which in previous management was pretty much unknown.

Previous, we were I think better organized in the micromanagement--there were a lot more hard deadlines and quotas and regimented--but we weren't nearly this productive and our numbers weren't this good, and we weren't nearly as likely to volunteer for weekend duty or extra work. The regimentation made a lot of our work very impersonal, like interchangeable members of a unit; with the more relaxed methods that are employed now, we're more likely not just to think of ourselves as a team working together, but feel like--and are treated--as invaluable individuals whose individual efforts are hugely important for themselves as well as members of a working team who works together to get everything done.

There was a few months where this change of style was causing problems--we were way too used to the equivalent of being treated as a human testing assembly line and it was confusing not to have daily deadlines in which we had to finish so many tests or there would be a talking to about our time management--but it changed during our first massive build nightmare last year where micromanagement and personal quotas would have pretty much wrecked the build entirely; shifting to a trust-based instead of a assembly-line based approach to work management gave everyone a sense not just of personal responsibility for our work, but personal accomplishment in doing it, in taking up the slack for others because they were doing the same for us. Some days, we couldn't do more than one test, and we didn't have to kill ourselves trying to desperately get to that arbitrary number because it was assumed we understood how many tests we had and we'd get them all done.

There's nothing like managers treating their employees like adults and valued employees to make you willing to live up to their expectations.



ETA: I forgot this earlier. Child's school introduced rugby to PE class. My child can play rugby. I can never send him to regular public school now.

...I am not knocking rugby, I'm just saying, that is not a sport I would have thought an American high school, even charter, would toss out there. For context, his school doesn't have organized team sports like regular public high schools; they have after school sports that competes--I think?--with other charter schools in our system. Soccer (yes, football, fine) makes sense since the founders are Turkish and a lot of the students are from immigrant families, some of whom have a colonial background* from Britain and other European nations, but I didn't see rugby coming. At all.

Also, he passed the semester with all A's and B's and kicked Algebra's ass, so for the record, my kid is deeply awesome and is currently glued to the X-Box engaging in parental-approved first-person shooter violence with friends on his headset. His kill ratios are superlative. I leave it to you to imagine my personal pride in his accomplishments.



* I do not have stats on this, more observation from gatherings with other parents and his group of friends, so I could be somewhat off in percentage. Though I am wondering if I can hunt down the demographics of his school when they do the next survey; it says something that there was a thing brought before the legislature that his school was (potentially) funding/sympathetic to terrorists. A school that was founded by Turkish immigrants and so made it comfortable and secure for Muslim students and not discriminate on religious or secular holidays of their student body but acknowledges them all must be doing something sketchy. Especially all those sketchy stats of academic excellence and the rate of college acceptance.

This has been a message from my shock when I heard about that. Just. No.



ETA 2: Fixed link to podfic for The Tale of the Sea Serpent.

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