Monthly Archives: September 2009

Work Diary, Sept. 30, 2009: The Daily (Bump And) Grind

24, female, Midtown Manhattan, working in corporate finance.  She often wonders if she peaked already, and is now just racing downhill in a speedboat full of misplaced ambition, yuppie angst, and terribly bad work habits.

8:15 AM – Rough Morning

I wake up feeling like there’s a small Mexican toddler in my belly.  That’s what a night of fajitas, rice, and sangria will do: impregnate you.

hpotter11:05 AM – He’s Actually a 12-Year Old Boy

I have a meeting with an IT guy who has action figures on his desk.  There is a GI Joe next to the family photo of his three kids.  I’m not judging… but, he also has a WWE folding chair.  I sit on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s face as he (the IT guy) explains the statistical properties of data matching.

11:45 AM – My Office Romance

Like many companies, we have to touch our ID card against a scanner to get into the office.  I have become so lazy that I’ve taken to hipchecking the scanner, because it’s too much work to pull out the ID from my pocket.  And when I have my ID in my back pocket, it’s like having a little bump and grind with the scanner: turn around, love tap, access granted, feeling good! 

…Of course, I only do this when I’m by myself.  Or else it would just be embarrassing.  

12:01 PM – Why I Haven’t Left Finance Yet

great-depression-soup-lineI walk outside to go to lunch and there is a huge line stretching the entire length of the street.  People are filling out job applications while they wait.  It harkens back to a Depression-era bread line, reminding me once again that jobs = food.  And even though I may dislike my job, I love food. 

12:40 PM – My Work Oasis in the Elevator

Back from lunch.  I love when I get into an elevator alone.  Usually I do some stretching.  Sometimes I sing.  “I Will Survive” is a favorite, especially given how rickety and slow the elevators are.  And because there are no (visible) security cameras in here, I feel completely justified in my elevator activities: everyone needs an outlet.

TOTALS: One hour of data mining, two work projects completed, six elevator rides, one elevator ride alone (“I’ve got all my life to live, I’ve got all my love to give”), and three love taps, with one interrupted by a co-worker who I can no longer look in the eye.


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Work Diary, Monday Sept. 28, 2009: Going to Hell With Angelina

9:15 AM – I Hate Tim Tebow

timtebowA few co-workers are talking about Tim Tebow and his concussion.  I chime in, saying that I have an irrational hatred for Tim Tebow.  They ask me why.  Well, it’s irrational; therefore, I can’t explain it.  (I also hate Tobey Maguire, but I have no good reason for that one either.)

One of my co-workers says, “He does all of this charitable work outside of football.  How can you hate the guy?”  I respond facetiously, “Maybe I just hate altruistic people.”  They look at me like I just punched a baby. Facetiousness doesn’t translate in the office.

I try to dig myself out of Satan’s hole by telling them that I like Angelina Jolie for her charity work.  Well, they hate Angelina because she’s a homewrecker.  Just can’t win.

10:00 AM – My Future

This morning, my manager asks me what my work plans are for January, after my program ends.  Well, officially, I will be working on “blank stare.”

12:30 PM – You Wanna Start Somethin’?

onionringsI have lunch with a couple of friends from college.  We’re talking about entrepreneurship: if other people can come up with stupidly simple ideas (eg. Snuggie, ShamWow), why can’t we?  I share with them my vision of opening a restaurant that serves chicken rings and onion fingers.  No one’s biting.  But in case it blows up, you heard it here first.

2:24 PM – Don’t Read If Eating

olestra-pringlesWhile on Sametime (our company’s instant messaging system), my co-worker mentions that her new favorite word is “fecalexplosion.”  I’m not sure where to take this.  It reminds me of the FDA putting “anal leakage” warnings on cans of Pringles.  I use the word “fecal” about six times throughout the remainder of our conversation, partly to test whether our Sametime messages are being monitored.  Haven’t been flagged yet!

TOTALS: One official ticket stamped to hell, about 20 awkward pauses during my “career/life” conversation with the boss, 10+ references to bodily waste, and one billion-dollar idea that is all dependent on processing chicken to form concentric circles.  It was a slow day.

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Trying to Find People Who Look Like Me in Network Television

In February, I wrote a post about the lack of diversity on TV: Do We Still Need a Color Television?

Here is my assessment of this fall’s new TV lineup.  It looks like we’ve made some improvements over the winter season (although I slightly altered my methodology as well).

Below is a chart of all the primetime offerings on the five major networks, for every day except for Saturday.  I excluded all news, reality, and variety shows.  A few shows have not aired, so I used the highly scientific approach of racial profiling on their websites.

Here are my findings:

  • brothersfox68% of all primetime network TV programming is scripted.
  • Of the scripted shows, 75% have at least one minority character in the cast.
  • However, only 4 shows had minority leads: Trauma, Ugly Betty, Brothers, and The Cleveland Show (which is a cartoon).   Only one of these four (Trauma) is on during the “prime” week, Monday to Thursday.
  • There were three cop shows with a minority co-lead (all African-American): CSI, Law & Order, and NCIS: Los Angeles.  And there were just two ensemble casts which featured more than 3 minorities as significant supporting characters: Heroes and Grey’s Anatomy.  All of these shows are highlighted in dark orange below.
  • how-i-met-your-motherThere were several shows which featured no minority presence at all, including popular hits like How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, and Brothers and Sisters.
  • Of all the days of the week, Thursday had the most minority characters featured on television (on 91% of all shows).
  • Out of all the networks, NBC had the most diverse casts (100%), followed by CBS (75%), Fox (72%), ABC (71%), and the CW (63%).  (Of course, now that NBC has Jay Leno on at 10, it has fewer hours to fill with original programming.)
  • Just 58% of all shows have a “significant minority presence,” with more than two minority cast members – these shows are highlighted in orange and dark orange below.


Of course, you don’t need diversity in your cast to have a good show.  Friends, Seinfeld, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and The Cosby Show are all examples… But, it is interesting how we haven’t seen a successful show featuring only minority characters since Fresh Prince.  And it’s also interesting how it seems that minority lead characters are either paired up in buddy roles, or simply relegated to Friday and Sunday nights.  I’m sure cable has something to do with it… but then, that begs the question: is network TV “too white”, or is it just mirroring its audience?  Are minority audiences going to niche channels (like BET) instead?

Network TV won’t be able to capture every demo… but the implications of a television whiteout could have an impact on how it’s viewed in the years to come.


Note: I don’t watch all of the shows, so please let me know if you think I’ve overlooked any characters.  And yes — there are some shows like Glee, which have minority characters, although I don’t consider them “significant” supporting cast members.  But if you beg to differ, please share your thoughts below.


Filed under Arts and Entertainment, News

Work Diary, Sept. 24, 2009: Babies and Marriage

Female, 24, Midtown Manhattan, working in corporate finance.  Just a note: I include “waking up” and “getting dressed” as part of my work day, because if I were unemployed, I would do neither of these things.  Well, I might wake up, but definitely not at 7:30 AM.

7:30 AM – Fired Up to Start the Day. This morning, I awake to a marriage proposal on the radio.  This is pretty much how it went:

Man: “Will you marry me?”

Woman (matter-of-factly): “Yes.” (Silence)…

Radio show hosts: “What?!?” and then proceed to berate the woman for her lack of emotion.

“I just woke up,” she insists, saying “I’m excited…” with all the conviction of a death row inmate heading to the chair.

But girlfriend, I’m with you.  If my hypothetical boyfriend asked me to marry him on a radio show, I would say “Yes” as icily as possible, if at all.  A marriage proposal by radio is almost as insulting as proposal by email or proposal by ballpark jumbotron.

duanereade8:15 AM – I Definitely Have to Do Laundry Tonight. I’m down to my last pair of underwear.  (Sorry if this is TMI.)  I briefly consider buying underwear just to delay the laundry…  However, I immediately scrap that idea, since there are no clothing stores on my direct route to work.  (I must admit I contemplated going to Duane Reade.)  I still have swimsuit bottoms though, so I might make it to the weekend.

9:35 AM – First Thought of the Day on Leaving Finance. My co-worker sends me a WSJ article about a Wall Street trader-turned-waiter.  He and I talk about career issues all the time… We’re like third-graders: “How cool would it be if people could fly?? How cool would it be if people actually liked their jobs??”

drawings11:12 AM – Clock-Watching. Today is just crawling.  Our internet is down, so I take my allotted “online browsing” time to doodle and to eavesdrop on my co-workers’ conversations instead. 

1:30 PM – I’m Thinking About Weight Watchers. I meet the President of Ad Sales at a diversity fair, which I attend because there is free food.  I shake his hand while trying to balance my heaping plate of pizza, pasta, salad, and fudge brownies.  I hope that my firm handshake will distract him from my pile of brownies, inadvertently drizzled with Caesar dressing.

2:07 PM – We’re No Longer Friends… One of my best friends sends me a message over Gchat: “Something for you to write about that annoys me: co-workers responding to e-mails and ending them with ellipses. WTF.”  I realize I do this all the time…

 4:46 PM – Not a Fan of Office Baptism. Maybe it’s just me, but I always feel really awkward when someone I don’t know brings a baby into the office.  Showing off a baby at the office has become a sacred ritual.  Everyone gathers around the baby, as if it’s the second (or third?) coming of Jesus.  They all coo over the baby, and tell the parent how beautiful the baby is, even if it looks like a wrinkly prune.

officeToday, one of the salesmen brings in his baby.  I hear the festivities in the hall, with the usual “Oh my God!  He’s so big!” comments.  But since I don’t know the proud papa, I feel strange about joining the crowd.  At the same time, it seems sacrilegious to avoid baby Jesus.

So, I play it by the same rule that I employ when I meet people at bars: if he doesn’t come over to me, then he doesn’t exist.  As the baby never made his way over to my desk today, he didn’t get the pleasure of my company.  Take that, baby.  (I’m going to end up old and alone, with cats, aren’t I?)

6:36 – I May Be Out of a Job Soon.

Right before I’m about to head out, my redheaded Irish co-worker pings me on our company instant messaging system:

giantbabyJM: this will be your child [he sends over a link to this picture]

Me: thanks honey

Me: but won’t my baby have red hair?

And with that, I sign off.  I love sexually harassing co-workers at the end of the day.

TOTALS: Two non-encounters with babies (one imagined, one real), three Facebook Scrabble games finished, four brownies guiltily consumed, two inappropriate messages to co-workers, one possible case of sexual harassment, and the omnipresent gnawing feeling that I’m going to end up old and alone with cats, unless I say “yes” to marriage on the radio.

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Work Diary, Sept. 22, 2009: Old School Pants Day

Female, 24, Midtown Manhattan, working in corporate finance.  Career schizophrenic, occasional train wreck, and solicitor of any advice that convinces her to leave finance.

8:15 AM – I wake up late to a John Mayer interview on the radio. I can tell this day is going to be terrible already.

pants8:45 AM – I still haven’t done laundry, so I’m forced to wear a pair of black pants that I’ve probably had since high school.   The pants are made of a lovely rayon/polyester fabric, and they’re from Old Navy.  The bottom hem is completely worn off, but I’m not going to spend more money on a tailor than I spent on the pants.  So, my solution has been to staple the hem together.  Today, I check the pants to make sure the staples are still in (they are!), and I’m good to go.  I always manage to pull off that classy work chic look.

9:00 AM – While I’m walking to work, I often check myself out in the windows that I pass by.  I don’t really know why I do this at all.  I mean, I just saw myself in a full-length mirror 2 minutes ago, when I left my apartment.  Nothing has happened since then.  And it’s not like I’m going to see my reflection in the window of Bagel Stix, become startled at the look of my makeshift stapled pants, and then turn back home to change.  It’s not gonna happen, even if it should.

Chitty9:30 AM – At work today, I have to train a group of IT folks on one of the weekly reports I put together.  When I was in LA, I had to train two Indian gentlemen on how to run expense reports.  It was going fine… until one of them told me that he used to go online and pretend to be a 15-year old girl.  It was hard to concentrate on T&L after that.  So needless to say, I’m pretty wary when training people.  However, no one seems all that creepy today, even though there is one guy whose last name is Bang.  I wonder if he’d ever name his child something like “Big” or “Chitty Chitty.”

healthychoice4:15 PM – I miss a meeting to discuss the company’s changing healthcare plan.  But apparently, the new benefits plan is called “Health Choice.”  Is it just me, or did we get lazy when naming this new plan?  Will we be getting medical advice from Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her Tomato Chicken Café Steamers?

5:12 PM – My co-worker informs me that it’s my turn on Facebook Scrabble.  I have six vowels and an G.  Could this day get any worse?

6:49 PM – Before I leave, I forward along two resumes to my HR rep.  Misery loves company.

TOTAL: Six IT professionals trained, three incidents of near violence due to work frustration, one sweet respite thanks to Facebook Scrabble, one old healthcare plan replaced, one new Healthy Choice plan gained, and zero staples lost, all in a day’s work.


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Top 10 Signs You Should Get a New Job… Top 10 Pickup Lines For Accountants

I had to write some Top 10 jokes for a project I’m working on (entitled, “leaving finance”), so here they are!  Also, a reader asked for more accounting jokes, so I included my Top 10 accountant pickup lines as well.  Please let me know if you attempt them, as I would like to chart out the success rate in a spreadsheet.  I’m forecasting zeros, but you never know.


Top 10 Signs You Should Get a New Job

10. Your boss calls you “Employee #243.”

chainedpen9. When you finally leave at 9PM after twelve hours in the office, your co-worker asks, “Taking a half day?”

8. Bonuses are taxed at 40% and paid out in Venezuelan bolivars.

7. All your office supplies are chained to the desk.

witchdoctor6. The CEO makes decisions about layoffs with a Ouija board and a Magic 8 ball.

5. Employees have the option of trading in company shares for a bag of Skittles.

4. The healthcare plan only covers visits to witch doctors and accredited shamans.

3. Company memos include the following disclaimer: “We are not responsible for asbestos-related illnesses.”

2. Your office is in Pittsfield, MA.

1. The 20-year anniversary gift is a shotgun.


Top 10 Pickup Lines Used By Accountants

10. Your body is like the perfect balance sheet, except that you have no

9. You’re just like revenue… I don’t want to defer you any longer.

8. If I could rearrange the alphabet, I would put U and I near Enron, so we could take it down together.

sales7. My job is to tell clients that they can’t spend money.  Lucky for you, I don’t work for myself.

6. Hey baby… Did you know that consolidated entities get significant tax breaks?

5. I’ll work you over like the buttons on my calculator.  I hit ‘em hard and  I hit ’em quick, and I always get the right answer.

4. I don’t care if you’re rich or poor, because I will make your cash flow.

3. I have incredibly liquid assets right now, and they’re dying to get a good return.

2. Want to come back to my place and work on Sexcel?

1. Sales aren’t the only thing rising today.


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I Hate Superficiality… But Please, Tell Me How Pretty I Look Today

The nice thing about living in New York City is that, no matter what you look like, every single woman will get catcalled at least once.  You could be wearing sweats and shoveling an empanada into your face.  You could be toting around your five kids and ten grandkids.  You could be heinously unattractive.  It doesn’t matter.  If you are a woman in New York City, you will get hooted at, hollered at, and hit on.  Even that girl in the photo below will get catcalled in NYC.  The creepy men of New York are wonderfully indiscriminate.

You could look like this, and still get hit on in NYC.

And no matter how much we disdain such boorish behavior, secretly, it’s rather flattering.  Every woman likes to get complimented, even if the source is a lazy-eyed homeless man with a pet rat and a neck tattoo.  We can rail all we want against the superficiality of the world, but there’s a glimmer of satisfaction when we’re the momentary center of some crazy man’s attention.  It’s that same esteem-boosting feeling you might get if you were asked to pose for Playboy:

Playboy Executive: “Hey, we want you to pose nude in Playboy for our ‘Professional Women of New York’ special.”

Me: “Excuse me? I am insulted!” [Translation: “Hell yeah! Still got it!”]

Playboy Executive: “Why not?  Don’t you know our clientele?  This is a great opportunity for you to get your next job in hedge funds, private equity, or Congressional politics.”

Me: “I can’t believe you have the gall to say that to me.  Unlike those skanks who pose for Playboy, I actually have some dignity and self-respect.  I don’t need to pose nude to rise up the corporate ladder.”  [Translation: “I would look good in Playboy. Oh yeah!  Your balance sheet can’t handle my assets… ass-ets.”]

Playboy Executive: “Come on.  It’s not like we’re Penthouse.”

angrywomanMe: “You disgust me.  Your entire existence is demeaning to women, and the bimbos you select as your centerfolds are putting feminism to shame.  I don’t know how you can sleep at night.  I just pray, pray, that one day you’ll have a daughter, and you will have to explain to her what you do for a living.  And if you have any semblance of a soul, you will feel the deepest and darkest regret in knowing that her future has been tainted by your pathetic, tasteless publication.  You want me to pose nude?  I’ll pose nude the day that you tell your daughter that you exploit women, you sick bastard.” [Translation: “I love being able to riff on this guy.  Not only do I feel super sexy, but I feel so righteous as well! R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”]

Playboy Executive: “Well… let me know if you ever change your mind.”

Me: “Not in a million years, buster.” [Translation: “Unless I’m single and jobless when I’m 35…”]

[A few minutes later]

My Facebook Status: “Just got asked to pose nude in Playboy.  Haha!  I said no, of course!”

My Twitter: “Playboy wanted me to pose nude, lol.  How gross!  I said no… Woman power!”

My BBM Away Message: “Crazy day! Was asked to pose nude for Playboy.  They are such scumbags!”

…And so on.  Because everyone ought to know how hot and virtuous I am.

Isn’t superficiality great, especially when it goes your way?  Even women without daddy issues want attention now and then.

So, the next time I am fortunate enough to be hooted at in New York, I will politely thank the greasy creep who complimented me.  Then, I’ll return the favor: I’m sure every guy wants to feel good about his cardboard home or his delivery bike.  And then he can log onto Twitter and let all his friends know that he’s still got it too.

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