Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Panda Bear on the Existential Question and the People’s Uprising

The Panda Bear Blog is about a lowly Panda Bear who works full-time an office and dislikes the fast pace of modern life.   The Panda Bear Blog is a blog being part of the lower percent.

This time of year with the days short becoming short and the end of the year approaching, the Panda Bear muses on the meaning of life.   The end of the year signifies the time signifies the time that the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda work on home repairs something that which Panda Bear detests.     Mr. Panda has more vacation time towards the end of the year so they have more available to work on repairs.   So far they have had some electric work done on their apartment and have had their heating unit fixed.   Now they must work on getting their bathroom floor fixed so the wood underneath does not rot.

The Panda Bear tries to congratulate herself on getting these jobs done.    However, positive thinking only goes so far.   The Panda Bear feels there must be more to life than consumerism.   She feels the powers that be have put her on a capitalist treadmill of working long and hard so that she can buy the consumer goods and pay for home repairs which keep the economy growing.   The Panda Bear feels there must be more to life than producing and consuming.  

The one good piece of news for the Panda Bear is that she posted her resume online and some recruiters have contacted her.   Readers of the Panda Bear Blog know that the Panda Bear has gotten bored with her dead-end job where she works in the less important section of the office.   The workload has increased because of some additional work being taken on by her section.   For the upper management this extra work means a promotion and title change while for the workers these additional duties are covered under that catchall section of job descriptions (other responsibilities as needed) The Panda Bear thinks it may be a long job hunt but at least people are reading her resume.   She knows in some ways she should be glad she is working but recently she moved to a small office and she is tired sitting at the same desk all day and seeing the same faces all the time.   America the land of the longest work hours in the world-is it treason to say one wants to do more with one’s life than sit  at a desk and work on a computer all day?  Of course if you are like the Panda Bear you will spend a lot of your free time looking at the computer but it is a completely different matter because it is voluntary.

The Panda Bear wants to join the people’s protest.   Though she is terrified of home contractors she is not afraid to take on the powers that be and tell them that they mistreat the masses.   The Panda Bear wants to be a nineteen sixties rebel.   She thinks the average people need to confront those in power.     The Panda Bear wants to be a modern hippie.  Only she does not know where to go or what to do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Panda Bear on Home Chores, Short Daylights and the Lonely Office.

The Panda Bear is a humble office worker who lives in the Boston area;   she is the voice of those who want more from life than work and household chores.
The end of the year is when the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda focus on household repairs because at the end of the year Mr. Panda can take more time off from  his work to have people come in to do household repairs. .   After some very intense negotiations between the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda, the Pandas finally hired an electrician who changed some fixtures and replaced the outlets.   Tomorrow, someone will come in to fix their heater.   The Pandas will also be getting some estimates on some repairs to the bathroom and some furniture.    Though the Panda Bear is glad people will be coming in to do some estimates she is also in a panic about getting the apartment in order for the repair people.

While some people say the American dream is to own one’s own home, the Panda Bear’s dream is to be free of all home responsibilities.     She finds home chores very stressful.  The Panda Bear feels home repairs an unwanted intrusion into her free time.    When the Panda Bear bought her condo it was a big surprise and disappointment to find out how much more time consuming owning was than renting.   Sometimes several of Panda Bear’s limited vacation days in a year had to be spent on home repairs that were needed to be done because of home ownership.   

The Panda Bear feels very fortunate that Mr.  Panda has more vacation time available to him and he can take off time for repairs.   The Panda Bear would find it very hard to be single, work and own property because of the maintenance time demands.   
The US government has pushed homeownership on its citizens which has contributed to the US housing bubble.      The Panda Bear feels it is wrong for the US government to push homeownership for these reasons:

1.       The decision to own versus to rent is a personal decision.   The US government should not get involved in its citizen’s personal decisions.

2.       The US government encouraging people to buy housing (or other products) increases the price of the product because of the increased demand.   The US government  playing in encouraging people to go college is playing a similar role in driving up the cost of higher education.

3.       They are probably many busy working people who don’t have the time available for home maintenance.   For some people who are very busy with work, there probably are advantages to having a landlord who handles repairs.

The short days are depressing the Panda Bear.    When she goes to work it is dark and when she leaves work it is dark.  She feels that between home repairs and work she is not getting much recreation.    While the Panda Bear and Mr.  Pandas are getting some needed repairs done, it is at the expense of some social activity.
The Panda Bear has noticed that she is feeling more isolated at work.   About a year ago, the Panda Bear moved to a smaller office.   Right now even though the Panda Bear works for a large organization, it feels to the Panda Bear as though it is a very small organization.   Her social interaction is really limited to about three or four people a day.    The Panda Bear thinks that probably many people who work for organization nowadays may feel l that modern organizations offer very little social benefit and support.

The Panda Bear is looking forward to the end of home repair seasoning ending and being able to socialize more with her friends.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Panda Bear on Home Repairs and the Ecologicial Superiority of Cats

Above is a picture of the Panda Bear's cat Suzie.    She was recruited a year ago on the Panda Bear's War on Mice and Clutter(WOMAC).   WOMAC has been a success in that the Panda Bear has seen no mice since the Panda Bear adopted her cat from a shelter. .  Furthermore, it just seems that Suzie's presence in the apartment scared the mice away;  WOMAC appears to have had no mouse casualties.    Would all wars have such a bloodless victory.   The Panda Bear thinks the mice were smart enough to leave the apartment when the Panda Bear got the cat ( mice are much smarter then most people think in avoiding getting caught).

The Panda Bear has been stressed out about home repairs.   She and Mr. Panda are having an electrician come over tomorrow which involved intense negotiations between the Panda Bear, Mr. Panda and the electrician(subject for future posts).   The Panda Bear tells her cat Suzie how lucky she is that she does not have to do home repairs; the cat gets someone else to do it.   At work, the Panda Bear told her coworkers she wants to be reincarnated as a cat in the next life.

Perhaps, the Panda Bear has been reading to many books about cats who think they are superior to humans.   However, the Panda Bear thinks cats are ecologically superior than humans in terms of their impact on the environment.    Even for some very basic animal functions, humans are much more resource demanding in comparison to cats.

Granted, the Panda Bear thinks that cats do like having the shelter, food and medical  care that humans provide cats.   However, if humans used enough just enough resources take care of cats there would be significantly fewer environmental problems.

For example, cats don't need to bath; cats can groom themselves.   If you look closely at the picture, you can see that Suzie's hair is very neatly combed.   She does this herself using cat spit,   While it does look funny to see cats groom the private parts, it does not seem to harm the cat and the cats are clean.   Suzie's behind is always very clean and she does not smell.

In contrast humans need to bath in order not to smell which gets more water dirty and requires creating an infrastructure to obtain water; humans needs to bath creates a demand for plumbers.   Furthermore, humans need clothes which also need to be washed which causes more water to become dirty.

The cats' fur provide adequate warmth and decoration for them and they don't need to take some of the earth's resources to cover themselves.   Just think of all the materials, time and effort even the most primitive people's clothes require.   The Panda Bear thinks the cat's way of grooming and clothing is much dimplier, less stressful and more ecological than human personal care.

Cats have good night vision.   Just think how much energy human consume because they have poor night vision.   If humans could see at night they would not need artificial lighting.  Humans pride themselves on all their inventions but the reason humans need all these inventions is because they are physically inferior to cats.   Humans need tools to hunt, while cats are excellent hunters without tools.

Thus, for even their most basic needs such as grooming, hunting and seeing at night humans are physically inferior to cats and put more strain on the environment.      Humans are forced to create social institutions to meet these needs because of their poor physical design.   Humans put strain on the environment because of their poor ability to take care of their basic needs.

In terms of their amusements, cats are much more environmentally friendly than humans.   The Panda Bear's cat Suzie for fun likes such low carbon footprint and ecological activities such as looking out the window, sitting on a perch,  and swatting at sticks and at other things humans regard as trash.     In contrast think how much of the earth's resources are used in human recreation.   Most cats don't like to travel for fun; humans do which uses the earth's  resources.

Thus cats are indeed superior to humans in terms of the impact to the environment in terms of their basic survival needs and in terms of their recreational wants.   As Mark Twain said  " If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.".  Certainally this is true when it comes when when compares humans to cats in regards to their impact on the environment.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Panda Bear on the Efficiency Cycle and the Popularity of Children’s/Young Adult Fiction for Adults.

The Panda Bear took the afternoon off from work to celebrate her birthday. The Panda Bear likes taking afternoons off. It gives her time to think, relax and organize herself. In today’s world, time to think can be a luxury; in a rich country like the United States time to relax should not be such a rarity.

The Panda Bear went to the library. She has noticed with her eReader she does not need to take time off to browse through books (something she liked to do). The Panda Bear is not discussing the intrinsic value of the paper book versus the eBook. Part of the appeal of the eBook is that it saves time in this time starved world of ours. However, there is an efficiency cycle when new technologies become are introduced. Working people like a new technology because it makes life easier for them. The technology then becomes widely used and becomes a practical necessity. Then the powers that be decide workers no longer “need” so much free time and make everyone work harder. Therefore, a technology that is supposed to save labor can really be making people work harder in the long run. Someday the Panda Bear thinks that in the not so distant future the powers will increase the school and work week because people will no longer “need” the time to access paper books, magazines or newspapers. However, for now the Panda Bear enjoys the time savings of her eReader.

Since it is her day off, the Panda Bear has decided to devote herself to a light post. It has been widely commented recently how popular Children’s/Young Adult fiction is for mature adults. Series such as Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games appeal to both the young and old. The Panda Bear confesses she has sometimes gone to the teen section for her reading materials and has read books for written children as an adult. The Panda Bear thinks these are some of the reasons that children’s/young adult fiction is popular with adults.

  1. “Family” and “child” friendly books always have to have some appeal to adults. Adults are the people who buy children these books and read it to them. As more of the adult population does not live with children/teens, adults are simply enjoying “family” pleasures without the children. 
  2. Adults now like stories of the supernatural, witches and vampires.
  3. The plot line in Children’s/Young adult fiction is stronger than in much contemporary adult fiction.
  4. Children’s/Young Adult Fiction has a larger potential readership than adult only fiction. 5. The language is simpler in Children’s/Young Adult fiction. Actually some of the simple language of the books makes the Panda Bear worry about the reading level of some teenagers. The Panda Bear and her friends were reading at adult reading levels in high school. For the Hunger Games series, the Panda Bear thought teenagers should be at a higher reading level.
  5. Children’s/Young Adult’s books have a “moral” to them. The Panda Bear was attracted to the Hunger Games series because it had a social message. Modern adult fiction is for the most part amoral. Adults enjoy reading stories with a moral to them.
  6.  Related to the above issue, Children’s/Young Adult fiction has less sex and violence then adult fiction. Adults may be embarrassed to admit it but they make like “cleaner” fiction. 
Though, it has nothing directly to do with Children’s/Young Adult fiction, the Panda Bear recently read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s book “Flappers and Philosophers”, a collection of short stories that Fitzgerald must have written as a young adult. The stories are very good and quite easy to read. The Panda Bear highly enjoyed this book.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Panda Bear on Simplicity, Blogging and Home Repairs

The Panda Bear believes there is much stress in life. Some of this stress comes from things we need to do to survive. Sources of stress can be illness of us or family members, money, and jobs. For the Panda Bear a necessary source of anxiety will be working with Mr. Panda on home repairs. The Panda Bear finds home projects stressful and working with Mr. Panda compounds these problems as he is a perfectionist in dealing with home repair people so much so the Panda Bear worries that nothing will get done.

However, we should not be stressing out about things that are supposed to give us pleasure (at least not stresses out too much). These things are friends, hobbies, parties, entertainment and relaxation. If these things stress us out too much, one has to ask oneself if they are worth doing. If we decide to do these things, we must do them and approach them in a way that gives pleasure to ourselves. Often simplifying the activity and cutting out certain things will make the activity less stressful

An example of an activity that exists for pleasure but can give the Panda Bear stress is blogging. In this busy world of ours she must make time for blogging. Her mind goes in a blogging mode-something will happen to the Panda Bear and she thinks would this make an interesting blog post? Sometimes the Panda Bear will have to take a break from posting to get of out this should-she-blog-about-this subject- mental looping. She needs to do things that are totally relaxing for her. The Panda Bear plans to refrain from some political blog posts (though it has helped the blog in some blog rankings) because everyone is feeling some political/election fatigue.

Instead her future posts will be about her and Mr. Panda’s blundering attempts at home repairs and improvements. Winter is always an intense time of home activity for the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda because there are a lot of winter holidays. This winter they will begin an intense program of home improvements.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Panda Bear on Thanksgiving, Father Panda, and Improving Working Conditions

The Panda Bear wants to thank all her readers for giving her a purpose in life and lifting her spirits. The Panda Bear Blog is an international blog with subscribers in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. It is about the life of one ordinary, salt of the earth, Panda Bear as she deals with the complexities of life.

The Panda Bear was going to blog about the problems of US workers whose jobs have gotten stale but because of the poor economy are unable to find new jobs. She thought because it was the day before Thanksgiving the company might let her go and hour and a half early so she can relax and enjoy the afternoon. However, the company only let her go ONE HALF HOUR early.

What it made it more unfair to the Panda Bear is that they gave everyone the same leaving time regardless of when workers started their work day. Thus some people got effectively two and a half hours off because they start work later than the Panda Bear. It made the Panda Bear very upset at work to think that even on Thanksgiving the company the Panda Bear works for could not give her more time off. Probably the company the Panda Bear works for would have gotten more work out of the Panda Bear if they had given her that hour and a half off. The Panda Bear is still very upset. The Panda Bear knows it is Thanksgiving and she is supposed to be grateful but all the Panda Bear feels is sad that she works for a major organization that is so stingy in giving the Panda Bear time off. She used to do some work extra sometimes on her own time. Now no more!!! She will only do what is required of her in terms of work time. Somehow, the Panda Bear has all these fantasies of making her organization regret the way the treated her.Readers, please note the Panda Bear started her work life very much as a company person Now she dreams of working for herself.

Of course this is a difficult time for the Panda Bear which may be way the Panda Bear is some upset at her employer. It is the time of year people are supposed to be happy and grateful which always make the Panda Bear feel sad and discontent. It is also the first holiday season without Father Panda (the Panda Bear’s father) who died in the summer of 2012. The Panda Bear has heard the first holidays after deaths are hard. However, the Panda Bear feels there is no vehicle of average workers to express their concerns about working conditions. It seems all books on managing and business are written from the manager’s not worker’s perspective. The influence of organized labor is in decline.   Employees are afraid to speak up . Recently a lot has been written how politicians live in bubbles and see only what they what to see. The Panda Bear thinks the heads industry and large nonprofits are probably surrounded by an even larger group of people who are afraid to tell them the truth.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Panda Bear on Election Fatigue and Household Chores

During the past couple of weeks the Panda Bear had a stress out-the first one she had in a long time.    Her day job was very busy and the Panda Bear worked some extra hours.   A friend came unexpectedly out of town for a visit.    There was a family event in Philadelphia November 3 which there was some confusion about whether it would occur and whether the Panda Bear, Mr. Panda and Mother Panda would be able to get there because of Hurricane Sandy(FYI, the event went off as planned and all the pandas were able to get there).   

Still, the event that made the Panda Bear most stressed out was the US election.   She is very relieved that they are over.   The Panda Bear finds it interesting that she found the elections so intense since she is not a politician and had nothing directly at stake in the elections.   Obviously as a concerned US citizen and as a blogger the US elections effect the Panda Bear.    However, the Panda Bear is not a politician so why did the elections effect her so much?

The Panda Bear thinks the constant barrage of information about the elections (which the Panda Bear acknowledges she has been a part of both in her blog and with her personal facebook account) was overwhelming.   The television, radio and internet were constantly having political shows and political advertisements.    The political campaigns were continually calling people to ask for their vote.   The Panda Bear and Mr. Panda were getting advertisements from the political campaigns almost on a daily basis.
Furthermore, there were the television debates to watch.    There were two close elections in the Panda Bear’s district for which the Panda Bear felt she needed more information on the candidates to make an informed choice.   Thus, the Panda Bear had to spend some evenings in her already busy schedule to watch television debates.

The Panda Bear gladly accepts the stress, information obtaining requirements, and work involved in having a participatory democracy.   However, the Panda Bear is frustrated with both the low level and at times poorly informed political debate that is occurring in the US.   Though the Panda Bear considers herself to be slightly left of center, she thinks liberal establishment in Massachusetts has become extremely closed, intolerant and monopolistic.    She dislikes both the Democrats and Republicans and thinks Americans should be more open to third party candidates.   For all the time, effort and money that gets put into US elections, the Panda Bear feels she should have better choices in candidates.   Indeed, in Massachusetts the Panda Bear often has no choice in candidates since it is essentially a one party (Democratic) state.

The good news is that with the elections being over, the Panda Bear can devote herself to her dreaded household chores.   As readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, the thing that the Panda Bear hates most is household chores.  The Panda Bear regrets taking so much time off from work in the summer because it was too hot to do much work in her apartment.   The whole apartment needs to be cleaned and reorganized.   The Panda Bear has resolved now that the weather is cooler and the elections are over she can quit procrastinating over her home chores.    It will be an exercise in self discipline to devote her to hateful home improvements.  

On to home chores for Panda Bear!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Panda Bear on Third Parties, George McGovern and Party Line Democrates

The Panda Bear wants to encourage her reader to listed to the debate of the third party candidates for US President  at 8:55 pm EST on October 23 at Free and Equal.   The Panda Bear is very angry at the two party system which arbitrarily shuts out other parties.   She may end up voting for a third party candidate just to keep other political parties active in Massachusetts(according to Massachusetts state law third parties have to receive a certain number of votes in a presidential election to retain party status).

In this busy election season, the Panda Bear would like to pay her respects to George McGovern.   Per the previous link, he was greatly responsible for starting the modern primary system of elections, something which the Panda Bear did not know until now.   She remembered him as a peace advocate both during the Vietnam war and in our present times.

The Panda Bear remembers when he ran for president in 1972.   The Panda Bear was too young to vote.    Father Panda and Mother Panda were one of the few people in the Panda Bear's social circle who voted for Richard Nixon; they saw McGovern as being too soft on national defense; Father Panda was one of the only supporter of the Vietnam war that the Panda Bear knew.   Just before he died, Father Panda admitted that the Vietnam war was was wrong.

In 1972, the Panda Bear thought George McGovern was extreme and flaky.   However, now the Panda Bear thinks he sounded like a good person.   After he left politics, he ran a small business and wrote about the problems of business owners.   The Panda Bear commends his critiques of the Iraq war.   He may not have made a good president but he seems to have been moral human being.

The Panda Bear wishes modern Democrats would learn from George McGovern.   He was a Democrats who was not afraid of critiquing Democratic presidents.   Democrats at one time could disagree with each other!!!

Right now most Democrats seem to follow a party line and very few Democratic politicians seem capable of thinking for themselves and they tolerate virtually  no dissent.   Despite George McGovern's reforms to make the primary system more open, the Democratic party now seems to be a top down rather than grassroots party.

Many people are surprised to find out that there are more dissenters within the Republican than in the Democratic party and that two of the third party presidential candidates(Gary Johnson and the Panda Bear thinks it Virgil Goode who were former Republicans).

Therefore, the Panda Bear things there needs to be more dissent and debate among people who might believe in some of the ideals of the Democratic party but dislike some of their politicians and the way the party is currently being managed.   Perhaps a new party is the answer.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Panda Bear on Predicting a Romney Win

The Panda Bear is an average worker.   Consequently, she has had not much time to prepare a blog post.   However, today the Panda Bear had this revelation and she wished to share it to the web.   She predicts a victory for Mitt Romney.   News sources note-The Panda Bear is still an undecided voter.

The Panda Bear makes this prediction for these reasons:

1) The Panda Bear and others are looking at third party candidates.  Third party candidates usually do well when people are unhappy with the incumbent.
2) Weak support among the base-In Massachusetts which is a very Democratic state, many people aren't saying whom they are voting for because the Panda Bear thinks they are considering Romney.   If your base does not support who will?
3) Events in Libya.   Obama's poor handling of the situation on Libya reminds the Panda Bear of Jimmy Carter's problem with the US embassy in Iran.

The Panda Bear believes the Democratic party is in bad need of reform.   Right now it seems like a top down party.   If the Panda Bear believed Obama would carry the state so Panda Bear's individual vote would not matter, the Panda Bear would cast a third party vote to keep alternative parties to the Democrats and Republicans alive in Massachusetts.

The Panda Bear has some advise to Elizabeth Warren.   She needs to be more of an "independent" Democrat.   The Panda Bear would consider voting for her if she believed Elizabeth Warren was capable of disagreeing with Obama particularly in foreign policy.  Right now Elizabeth Warren is selling herself has the
Democratic party line.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Panda Bear on Blogging, the Presidential Debate and Leadership.

The Panda Bear has found that blogging is cutting into her exercise schedule.   However, the Panda Bear hopes to rent a lock at the YMCA so she can take her computer with after work so she can do some blog posting between work and exercise.  The Panda Bear finds that she is a typical American in that to do more of one thing means doing less of another item.

The Panda Bear would like to comment on the terrible job Obama did on the debate.  Some of the time, he seemed like a two year old on the verge of a temper tantrum.  He seemed to resent the idea of having to debate a political opponent.   For shame Obama!!! This is what makes us a free society; incumbents have to defend their political record.

However, the Panda Bear thinks it is a very common problem that people in high position get spoiled and they lose their ability to hear criticism.  It is hard to convey unpleasant truths to people in power without fear of bad consequences for oneself.   The Panda Bear thinks it is a very rare quality in leaders that they are able to create safe environments were those under them can tell them things they don’t want to hear.

Several times the Panda Bear has tried to bring up disagreements with those who have authority over her.   Often the response is an unfriendly “Ms. Bear, maybe the problem is you.”  At this point the Panda Bear feels that discretion is the better part (quality) than valor and changes the subject.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Panda Bear on Early Voting, Employers and Healthcare Reform

The Panda Bear has been busy with the election season.   Actually, she has begun burn out over the upcoming elections..   She will need to read a light novel in addition to her studying up on the election issues.   There will be two major debates this week that the Panda Bear would like to see.   The Presidential debate will be on October 3, this Wednesday.  Today on October 1, there will be a debate between the two candidates for US senate. This election seems very close and probably will where the Panda Bear's vote will count the most in the fall election.

It seems deeply unfair to the Panda Bear that in many states they have early voting which is starting now in some battle ground states.   People can vote even before the presidential debates and well over a month before people in Massachusetts are able to vote.

The Panda used to be more a Democrat than a Republican.   However, in Massachusetts the Democrats control almost all offices.   There is a lot of corruption in Massachusetts for which the Democrats have done nothing.   The Panda Bear is thinking of working for a third political party; she thinks reform is badly needed. She found this website called and found out she really like the third party candidates (Gary Johnson, Jill Stein) for president and the party she liked most was the Green Party.  Actually, The Panda Bear is thinking about finding out more about the Massachusetts Green Party.

Today, The Panda Bear was reading about the many preventative services that will be covered in full under Obamacare.   However, the Panda Bear wonders if employers will give workers the time off to use these services.

The Panda Bear believes the government needs to educate and/or mandate employers are what they need to do to maintain their employee’s health.   Many workers have to use all their “vacation” time for physician appointments.  

Today the Panda Bear was feeling blue at work.   She has read exercise and stretching can improve mood.   However, many supervisors want people to sit and their desk continuously which is not necessarily the best for employee health.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Panda Bear on Bankers Hours and Voting Hours

The Panda Bear recently talked to a Bank Vice President,   She was doing business at a bank on Saturday because she and Mr. Panda work during the week,   Saturday hours are now common and many branches now are opened Sunday.   The Panda Bear commented that bankers no longer seemed to work "bankers’ hours".  The   defines “Bankers’ Hours” as:

Working or being open for the shortest and most inconvenient amount of time (~10am-4pm). Also includes a long lunch break and every possible holiday off.

The bank VP said bankers no longer worked bankers hours-many now have to work nights and weekends.

Many physicians complain that they are no longer treated with the respect that the profession once had.   The Panda Bear thinks one reason that people don't respect physicians as much as they used to is that the work hours of physicians don't seem as impressive as they did in former times.   Now when physicians complain of work hours they don't much seem longer than other workers and physicians are still better paid than many other occupations.

However, with everyone working these long hours nowadays one would think the state of Massachusetts would have longer voting hours than it does now.   In Massachusetts, for election that can determine the fate of our state and country we have voting hours on a weekday Tuesday from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm.  The Panda Bear thinks these hours are a hardship for many working people.  Many people work nine hours a day and have commutes of at least two hours.  Often the places where people have to vote are not conveniently located for them.   Many people have multiple jobs and other commitments.    The Panda Bear herself has had at times found it difficult to vote.  The Panda Bear would vote more often in minor elections if it was easier to vote.  To make voting available to people just one weekday is not enough.

The Panda Bear thinks in this busy modern world of ours it should easier for people to vote.  Workers on strict work schedules should demand that the government make it easier for them to vote.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Panda Bear on Fall and the US Elections

The Panda Bear want to take a moment to mourn the death of the panda cub at the National Zoo.   The Panda Bear hopes the mother Mei Xiang recovers.

The beginning of autumn has begun in New England.   The temperature has gone down.   The evenings are now crisp.   The days are getting shorter; it gets dark now about an hour earlier than it did in the height of the summer.   The Panda Bear notices she gets tired as soon as it gets dark.   She is getting hungrier and craves carbohydrates; she feels the winter weight gain upon her.  

The Panda Bear is trying to find some healthy low calories foods for the winter.    She has resolved to bake fruits and carrots to manage her sweet tooth.   She may add a little honey to her tea and fruit.   The Panda Bear realizes honey adds calories but it is probably healthier than processed sweets.

The Panda Bear was going to work on her apartment now that the weather is not so hot (readers of the Panda Bear Blog the Panda Bear hates household chores and will find any reason not to do them).   However, this fall is the election season in the United States.

There are three major offices that have elections this fall.   The Panda Bear will need to vote for three offices.  One, of course, is the US president.   Probably the state of Massachusetts will go to Obama so the Panda Bear’s individual vote won’t matter too much with the Electoral College system that the US has.    However, there are two other important offices that will be voted on this November.   One for the US Senate with Scott Brown running against Elizabeth Warren and the other is for US Representative with Joe Kennedy running against Sean Bielat.   The Panda Bear has resolved to spend what free time she has researching election issues until the fall elections.

The Panda Bear deplores that US politics is becoming increasingly ideologically based.   The Panda Bear thinks it is hard to vote for political theory.   She wishes US politics would return to its pragmatic roots where one voted for the individual rather than for the political party.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Panda Bear on her Office Forest and 3 Stress Management Rules

The Panda Bear has started a plant collection on her desk.   A recent office move has given the Panda Bear more desk space.   She and other office workers have started to decorate the office with plants to make it prettier.   The Panda Bear has put a lot of different plants on her desk.   When people come up to her desk and ask her if she wants to create a forest on her desk, the Panda Bear says yes; her goal is to make her desk a beautiful garden of tropical plants.   On her computer at work, she listens to recordings of forest sounds.   The goal for the Panda Bear is that whenever, she is stressed or bored at work she can look at her plants and pretend she is in the woods.   She spends forty hours a week at that desk.   She feels her desk should be beautiful.

The Panda Bear has found this link about how stressful jobs are today.     The Panda Bear has learned to better deal with job stress.   All of Panda Bear’s jobs have been high volume/high stress jobs.     Here are some general tips the Panda Bear has found useful in dealing with all kinds of stress both work and personal
1) Stress is a fairly universal problem of modern times.   As individuals we all have to find a way to deal with stress.   Many factors that cause stress in modern times are out of an individual’s control.   You are only one individual and can only be expected to do so much.  

2) Stress is not a helpful reaction.   It does not help getting things done.   In fact, the Panda Bear slows down under stress.    Stress simply creates psychological and physical wear on the person.  It can lead to health problems.   If one gets sick from stress, one accomplishes nothing.

3) No one cares if you are stressed out.   Maybe because it is such a common condition but when someone complains about stress it can sound like whining.   No one has changed anything or modified any practice for the Panda Bear because she has complained about stress.   It is up to the individual to learn how to cope with stress and find ways to relax.   Often ways of reducing stress for individuals will be unpopular with others because it may mean curbing certain activities to reduce one’s stress load. However, the Panda Bear believes that dealing with stress involves learning self care skills since modern American society does not provide people with much opportunity to relax.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Panda Bear on Fair Weather Cats and the Lower Percentages

The Panda Bear has discovered that her cat is a fair weather cat.   She hides in the apartment from the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda during rainstorms.   The cat does not respond to the Panda Bear or Mr. Panda when they call for her when she is hiding.   The cat seems to have the philosophy that when disaster strikes one should save oneself first.   When the sun comes back out, the cat will come out from hiding and jump on the Panda Bear’s lap waiting to be hugged and petted.

One of the purposes of the Panda Bear Blog is to be a blog for the people of the lower percentage.   The Occupy Movement started a good trend in coming up with the concept of the ninety-nine percent.   However, the Panda Bear does not think the occupy movement went low enough in their percentage points.

The Panda Bear thinks the top twenty-five percent can be very snobby.   These are the people of the United States’ “upper middle class”.   The United States would like to see itself has a meritocracy so the top 25 percent can see itself has being quite the elite.   The Panda Bear would include in this group such people as college professors, MDs, upper management and journalists.   These people can regard themselves as a little “better” than other people ;  the Panda Bear has grown up close to this group and perhaps as had aspirations to this strata of society.

However, the Panda Bear has been a failure in this respect.   Economically, the Panda Bear is probably in the sixty-to seventy-five percent of the US; not poor but not part of the upper elite.

In the office the where the Panda Bear works, the Panda Bear is in the lower thirty percent of the office population.   Most of the office is considered “salaried” and therefore is not paid for overtime.   Their jobs are considered to be “professional”. The Panda Bear is of the lower thirty percent of her office who are paid for overtime; their jobs are considered less professional than the salaried workers.

The Panda Bear is in the lower ten percent in her housekeeping skills and ability to play games involving a ball.  (However, the Panda Bear has been more successful in her housekeeping tasks-subject for another blog posts).

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog for the lower percentages; a blog for people in the middle who are muddling through life.

The Panda Bear things the upper percentages should remember that they could not be in the upper percentages without people (or bears) like us in the lower percentages.     By definition not everyone can be in the top one percent; most people are in the average range and some people are even-gasp-below average.

During the past two weeks, the major political parties have had the conventions.   There has been much the US being a more partisan society.   Part of the reason for the deepening splits within the US is that the upper classes are increasingly socially insulated from those in the non-upper classes.   The US needs to embrace economic, political as well as cultural diversity.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Panda Bear on Labor Day, Property Ownership and Stress

This Monday September it was Labor Day in the United States.   Most people have the day off from work; it is a long weekend.   It also marks the end of summer.

On Labor Day, the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda went to the YMCA to go swimming and get their needed exercise.   Then they went home to do their needed household chores.
The Panda Bear and Mr. Panda are very fortunate in that they both have jobs.   The downside is they have very little free time and much of their off work hours is spend doing chores, seeing physicians and getting their needed exercise since they both have desk jobs (desk jobs are turning out to be very bad for one’s health).

The Panda Bear spent much of the day going through tickets to see if she won a prize at her local supermarket’s sweepstakes.   She must have gone through about 75 tickets but she won no prize.   It was very disappointing to the Panda Bear to find out she did not win the supermarket’s  1,000,000 dollar prize and realize that she would have to go to work the next day. 

The Panda Bear has often heard that instant riches ruin people.    (Actually, the Panda Bear knows of several people who recently inherited some money and are in no rush to go back to work).   While the Panda Bear doubts her competency in many areas of life, she feels suddenly having lots of money would not go to her head.   She would quit her job and become a part-time bank teller (she sees advertisements for part-time tellers).   The job would give her some structure to her day but she would be free to do other things she likes to do such as take day trips, blogging, seeing  friends and taking care of her apartment.

The Panda Bear’s apartment is a disaster.   During the summer it has been too hot to do much work in her apartment.  The Panda Bear could use a couple of months off from work to work on her apartment; however, alas, that time is not there.   The Panda Bear hopes that as the weather cools off she can slowly work on getting her apartment organized one room at a time.

Before the Panda Bear studied relaxation techniques, she had anxiety attacks about her apartment.   She felt stressed out  because she did not have the time, energy and inclination to keep her apartment in the condition that it should kept.   With all the stresses in modern life, the apartment just seemed like an added pressure.
After the Panda Bear learned how to get more relaxed, she realized that there was no point about stressing over her apartment.   She feels things will get done when they get done.    Stressing out about things does not help matters it just is hard on oneself.   Now the Panda Bear looks at the mess and says things will get down when they get done.

However, the Panda Bear has found an interesting radio show that states that many people are like the Panda Bear and find owning property stressful.   The show has had segments that state the American families are feeling strapped for time and very hard at their jobs.     This time pressure leaves people very little time to deal with their property.

The show is called Real Estate Today and it is put out by the National Association of Realtors.  Now the Panda Bear would never have thought that she, the hater of household chores, and the National Association of Realtors would share many of the same views on real estate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Panda Bear on Rumors, Obama and Columbia

The Panda Bear is very excited.   She an average everyday blogger gets to examine an untrue political rumor.

The Panda Bear numerous times of right-wing leaning radio programs has heard the rumor that Barack Obama never went to Columbia University.   Furthermore it is alleged that no one at Columbia remembers President Obama.

However, in the magazine of Columbia University, the Columbia Magazine, there are articles where people say they remember Obama at Columbia University.   The most recent article was in the summer edition of the magazine call Dreams of My Mater.   This article gives examples of people who remember Obama when he was a student at Columbia.

However, the Panda Bear finds it interesting that this untrue rumor has some distorted reality to it. (The Panda Bear finds many office rumors have this quality).  

First of all according to the article:

His classmate Wayne Root, the 2008 Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate, told the New York Times shortly before the election, “I’ve not only not met him, I’ve not met anybody who met him.”

So there were public figures that presumably had inside information that made this claim.   Whether they deliberately lied is hard to know.

Secondly according to the article, Obama himself has had a cool distant relationship with his Alma Mater.   From the article:

For those who know Obama not just as the leader of the free world but as a member of the Class of ’83, his appearance on South Lawn seemed improbable. It’s hardly a state secret that the president has never fully embraced Alma Mater.

He felt no attachment to Columbia,” writes journalist David Maraniss in the newly published Barack Obama: The Story. Obama himself has acknowledged that as a transfer student from Occidental College, where he spent his first two undergraduate years, he wasn’t a man about campus.

“Mostly, my years at Columbia were an intense period of study,” he told Columbia College Today in 2005. “When I transferred, I decided to buckle down and get serious. I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn’t socialize that much. I was like a monk.”

The Panda Bear knows of many urban campus where the students live off-campus (as Obama did at Columbia) where the commuters are not a central part of college life and would not be well remembered at the school.

Of course, Obama contributes somewhat to the confusion around his schooling by refusing to have his school records released (or is this untrue rumor the Panda Bear has heard?).

So while it appears Obama in fact did go to Columbia he was not a well known name on the campus which makes it easier for this rumor to grow.

Thus, the example of the rumor that Obama did not attend Columbia University shows how under even false rumors there is a distorted truth.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Panda Bear on Dysthymia and the Fusion of the Personal and Politcal

The Panda Bear will be continuing through what remains of the summer do short blog posts.   The Panda Bear works in an office all day and the evenings are too nice to side inside and write blog posts.

The hypothesis of the Panda Bear Blog is that we live in an overly busy society.  However, the Panda Bear also believes that in this fast paced society that does not give individuals much down time we have to learn to give ourselves breaks.   Therefore, the Panda Bear has to look at herself critically on when she herself contributes to her stress problem.

However, today the Panda Bear is feeling blue today because she has been told she suffers from low grade depression (Dysthymia) and anxiety.  (The Panda Bear always gets more depressed when she finds out she is depressed but does not realize it) The Panda Bear wonders if she did not have these problems would she have the energy to do it all.

Upon further reflection the Panda Bear decides life is not so clear-cut.   The Panda Bear can push herself too hard in a high pressured society.    Writers are often the canary in the coal mine.   Miners used to bring canaries down into the coal mine because canaries were more sensitive to bad air than humans.   If the canary died, it meant the air was not good and the coal miners would leave the mine.   Writers and artists are often the canaries of society.   They are more sensitive to the problems that all individuals face.

The Panda Bear Blog is about the fusion of the personal, political, and economic forces of stress.   It is a blog about an average, benign and fumbling human Panda Bear.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Panda Bear on e-Readers and Protecting the Sikhs in the US

The Panda Bear admits she has been neglecting her blog because instead of being inside blogging she is enjoying being outside and reading (The Panda admits she has a dull life in that the high point of her summer is sitting outside reading a book).

The Panda Bear has been using eReaders for about a year.  She still finds them very convenient though they are not without technological problems.   Three e-Readers have become broken in the course of a year (one Kobo and two Nook eReaders).   They were all under warranties from Best Buy so these problems did not cost the Panda Bear money-she simply exchanged the e-Readers for newer one.

The newest eReader Panda Bear has is the Nook with the Glow Light.  She finds the Glow light helpful but in order for the eReader to work it needs to be frequently recharged. 

The death of Father Panda in June 2012 also has caused the Panda Bear to have a busy summer.   She has been helping Mother Panda with all the paperwork death involves.   Mother Panda says no one should every die; death involves too much work.   The Panda Bear finds it distasteful all the work that needs to be done regarding Father Panda’s estate.

However, what has prompted the Panda Bear to write a post are the recent attacks in the US on the Sikh community. The Panda Bear hopes the US does more to protect them and makes violence against Sikhs a separate hate crime from those involving the Muslins.

The Panda Bear condemns all attacks against innocent civilians on the basis of their religion/race/nationality/ethnic origin.  

However, the attacks on the Sikhs seem especially worth commenting on for two reasons.

One is the extreme ignorance/bigotry of people lumping them together with Muslim when they are a separate religion.  It seems the basest/lowest form of hate crime that does not correctly identify what group to attack.

Secondly, much of what the Panda Bears hears about the Sikhs and the Sikh beliefs seem highly commendable.   The Panda Bear shares the Sikh beliefs of equality, service to others, and religious tolerance.   The response of the Sikh community has been remarkable in its freedom from hatred and calls for revenge.

In short, the Panda Bear feels spiritual kinship with the Sikhs and hopes the US does its best to protect them from hate crimes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Panda Bear on Viral Infections and Vacation Time

The Panda Bear has not forgotten her readers.   She wants to share this link The Atlantic which states that there are studies that show that workers are more productive at work with time off.   The Panda Bear thinks more managers need to read this article.

The article states that the average American gets about 16 "vacation" days and uses about 14 of them.   This sounds correct to the Panda Bear based on her experience in the work force.   However, the Panda Bear thinks of the 14 vacation days the average American uses, probably only about half are used on genuine vacations with the rest of the time being used for the many chores and errands people can't do because they work during the week. For the Panda Bear "vacation" time includes, time off for physician appointments, looking after sick relatives, preparing for the holidays and taking time off from work due to bad weather.      

Many Americans take their "vacation" to visit relatives who live far away. While the Panda Bear is all in favor of seeing family, visiting family can be stressful and the Panda Bear does not consider this to be a true fun relaxing vacation.

For the past three weeks, the Panda Bear has had a virus infection (cold) with a sore throat.   The Panda Bear felt very tired, she took one "vacation" day off from work to rest.   The sore throat lasted about two weeks.   The Panda Bear gets many colds that aren't bad enough (fortunately for her health) to use company "sick" time but they are not true vacation days either.   The Panda Bear was hoping to be able to take a long winter vacation.   However, the Panda Bear believes her body is telling her to slow down when she gets colds so she is taking some Fridays off for the summer.  She will be enjoying the outside fresh air.   (The Panda Bear thinks too much time inside buildings causes viruses to spread).

Therefore, while the Panda Bear may be doing shorter posts during the summer, you the dear reader are still foremost in the Panda Bear's heart.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Panda Bear on Store Hours and the 32 Hour Work Week

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog about the busy life of an average American.   The Panda Bear disagrees with so-called "experts" who say people are just imagining how busy they are.

Today the Panda Bear had today off from work.   At 1:00 she is to meet Mother Panda for lunch and help Mother Panda buy a new computer.   Mother Panda now has no computer.

This gave the Panda Bear from 4:30-12:45 of leisure.  (The Panda Bear's work hours are from 7:00-3:30 so she is used to getting up early in the morning).   The Panda Bear spent all yesterday afternoon day dreaming about what she would do with her eight hours of leisure.  

The Panda Bear's first choice of activity would be either to go to a second hand clothes store she likes or the public library.   These places of business do not open up until 10:00.  In fact most stores don't open until 10:00.   Considering the US is now a 24/7 society, the Panda Bear is very surprised that sores don't open earlier during the week.   There must be many people like the Panda Bear who are used to early hours during the week and some people who would like to do errands before work.   Thus, despite the Panda Bear being critical that in the US people are expected to be on the go constantly,  the Panda Bear believes that some institutions might find it useful/profitable to have early morning hours.

The Panda Bear has nothing against being busy.   Indeed, the Panda Bear is devoting a great deal of her leisure time to her blogging and other activities.   The problem is the Panda Bear believes that a great part of American busyness is involuntary.

In the future the Panda Bear will be doing a series of posts advocating that thirty-two hours not forty hours been considered the basis of a full-time work week.  The Panda Bear has picked a thirty-two hour week because the Panda Bear known people who work a thirty-two hour work week and they can hold similar positions to those who work forty hours a week.

The Panda Bear remembers learning an old Union Chant that went:

It is a six day week, and a twelve hour day and it is welcome boys to the USA.

The five day work week certainly was an improvement over the six day week-maybe it is time to consider the four day work week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Panda Bear on HIV/AIDs, Superpower and Overwork

The Panda Bear is pleased that some of the topics she blogged about a year ago, such as goods from China, and the outsourcing of US jobs is now being discussed by major news outlets.   It is about time!!   Even in the 1990's, the Panda Bear found it hard that she as a US citizen had to compete against the entire global economy for jobs and services that were local to the Panda Bear.    She felt as a US citizen she was a low person on the totem people of American consideration for jobs.  It creates a culture of overwork in the US in that the average Americans constantly has to compete against the entire world for US jobs and services.

The Panda Bear has also complained that the US can spend considerable amount on foreign aid while denying help to its own citizens who suffer from the same problems. The Panda Bear recently came across an example of this double standard.   The Panda Bear heard on NPR that there is a major AIDs epidemic in the African American community.   Under President Bush, the US spent much more combating AIDSs in African than in the US.

To the Panda Bear this seems wrong.   First, the US government should want to help its own citizens, some of whom have paid taxes, before it helps the rest of the world.   Secondly, in these times of high US unemployment, if the US spent more money on programs to help US citizens, it would stimulate the US economy by creating more jobs for Americans which would lead to a higher demand for US services.

Has the US government asked the US citizens on whether they want US to be a superpower?   Many Americans feel they would rather lead calmer lives and live in an ordinary country than living in a superpower where everyone is running as though they had their head cut off.   The Panda Bear personally believes the US and the world would be happier if the US was less involved in world affairs.   

The Panda Bear thinks let some other country feel the heat that comes from being number one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Panda Bear on Time Stress and Being on the Clock

Since the part of the Panda Bear Blog is about time stress, the Panda Bear wanted to share with her readers some interesting articles she has found about time stress.

The first is from an editor of the The Atlantic Monthly saying that only Yuppies felt time stressed.   The Panda Bear agrees to some extent with the article in stating that it time stress is a problem for people who are working and don’t have serious financial problems.   However, the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda are in no way “Yuppies”.   They are just ordinary Panda Bears who are time stressed.

This editor references an article by a The Atlantic cover story on why women can’t have it all.   The Panda Bear wants to point out that this very smart and talented Princeton professor did not realize what it is to be on the clock until she worked for the state department.   The Panda Bear believes that many so called experts have no idea of what it is like to be on the clock.   The Panda Bear works literally on the clock.

The Panda Bear gets frustrated with so-called experts who say flexible hours are the future of work when so many jobs still have set hours. 

Finally, the Panda Bear wanted to share on link from on families being time stressed and living in clutter.  The Panda Bear felt slightly superior because even though her apartment is a total mess(the Panda Bear does not have time to/hates cleaning), she has gotten rid of a lot of clutter in her limited “free time”

Related Panda Bear Posts:

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Panda Bear on Coffee, Yogurt and the No Holiday July 4th

The Panda Bear was feeling stressed out during the week.   She wondered what she could do to make herself feel better.   Some of the Panda Bear's healthy habits have fallen to the wayside this year.   The Panda Bear's coffee consumption has gone way up to over three cups of coffee a day.  Too much caffeine makes people anxious.    She needs to cut it down to one cup(some of the Panda's physicians feel she should drink none).   The problem for the Panda Bear is that small amounts of coffee make the Panda Bear feel extremely good and happy.

The Panda Bear also found this interesting story on NPR stating that eating yogurt could make people feel more relaxed.   There is speculation that there is a gut-mind connection that means that the good bacteria of yogurt that is in the stomach could help the brain relax.   The Panda Bear was always liked healthy bacteria in yogurt particularly since there is some speculation that these bacteria could help fight colds.

These healthy resolution gave the Panda Bear a revelation.    The reason Americans in some ways are ahead of Europe in terms of health care in terms of lifestyle(i.e. healthy diet, less smoking) is that  when we Americans feel tired it is harder for us to get time off from work than Europeans.    Instead of taking time off from work when we feel stressed , Americans try exercise, take vitamins and change eating habits in an attempt to make themselves feel better.   Actually,the Panda Bear believes in healthy living-but she still thinks the reason Americans always complain about being tired is that they are not getting enough rest.

Last week, was the no holiday, holiday of the 4th of July.   Americans are supposed to be celebrating their independence from the British.   The Panda Bear did get the day off from work.   However, nothing was done at work was done to celebrate the 4tjh of July; the leaders of Panda Bear's organization made no mention of this great day at work;

Nowadays most stores are open in the United States for this holiday.   Some people were surprised to hear that the Panda Bear and her husband went to the YMCA to exercise and then went to the stores; some Americans don't realize that now in the USA the only time the country shuts down now is for Christmas.

If the stores were closed, the Panda Bear and her husband probably would have seen friends and done something to celebrate the 4th of July.   The Panda Bear definitely feels there is a down side to stores and other organizations being open during the "holidays".   Employees of these places have to work and puts everyone under more pressure to do chores.

While the Panda Bear is a patriotic American and glad the US won its independence from Great Britain, she still can't help but wonder that if the US had stayed a part of Great Britain would American have now more paid holidays.   Is this the kind of freedom the Founding Father's of the US wanted-everyone feeling pressured to be busy all the time?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Panda Bear on Ice Cream, Fax Machines and Automated Phone Systems

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog about an ordinary person working on the clock living on times that are too busy.

The death of the Panda Bear's father has disrupted the Panda Bear's schedule.   Her house is a mess and she has failed to keep up her diet and exercise routines.   She had a hard time doing everything before Father Panda's illness and death and has the Panda Bear has fallen even more behind.   Slowly she will pick up her old routines.   The Panda Bear is having to help Mother Panda more and is spending more time with her.   Mother Panda lost her spouse of 54 years and for the last few years she and Father Panda did almost everything together.  Mother Panda Bear has the challenging task of building a new life.

The only bright spot in the Panda Bear’s attempt at healthy living is that this summer the Panda Bear has successfully resisted ice cream.   She figured out some of appeal of ice cream is that it is cold.   She has found very cold fruit (some fruit the Panda Bear will put in the freezer for a short time) a satisfying substitute for ice cream    Cold watermelon is good in hot weather.  (Though not as healthy as fruit the Panda Bear will sometimes eat a frozen waffle that is still frozen-it is still fewer calories than ice cream).    True there are "diet" ice cream products but l fruit is much healthier than diet sweets.

It is a thesis of the Panda Bear Blog that technology can make us work harder not less. There are two technologies that the Panda Bear believes that increased the time and amount of office work; these technologies are the fax machine and automated phone systems.

The Panda Bear remembers the simpler times in the office before there was a fax machine.   New paperwork came in via the mail which was once a day.   The Panda Bear could organize day around the time which the new paperwork arrived. .   Then the fax machine was introduced.   New paperwork came in throughout the day.   The number of phone calls increased because people called to ask whether you had received the fax.   In the early days faxes came on special paper that deteriorated quickly, so there was an additional step of photocopying the fax so the paper would be preserved.    Then a few days later the original copy got sent in the mail so one had to review the paperwork and throw out the duplicate copy.

Though now faxes come in on regular paper, the Panda Bear still has to do with the faxed copy and the original coming in the mail a few days later.   The Panda Bear thinks that 95 percent of what is faxed could simply be sent through the regular mail; waiting an extra day for it to come through the mail would not be a crisis.   While e-mail, like the fax, is going on constantly and causing interruptions, e-mail does have some labor saving functions.   It has replaced memos and phone calls.   The fax machine saves no labor.   It merely adds the additional step of having to deal with a faxed as well as an original copy.   Its introduction has made people want things faster for most of the time without any good reason.

The second technological innovation which has caused an increase in wasted time is the automated menu systems on phones.   People both personally and professionally can spend over 15 minutes just getting through different menus before they can reach a person.   Sometimes after going through three or four menus, people will find that they have reached the wrong phone number for their purpose and they need to contact another number which will have its own automated system.

The Panda Bear thinks that customers and clients should be demanding from organizations the ability to quickly be able to connect to a live person without going through these endless menus.   People should be demanding that organizations have more respect for their time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Panda Bear on Being a Nobody and Superior Coworkers

The Panda Bear obtained the poem below from this link.

I'm Nobody! Who are you? (260)

by Emily Dickinson
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –  
To tell one's name – the livelong June –  
To an admiring Bog!

The Panda Bear has put her poem on the door of her cubicle.    The Panda Bear 'attitude towards her office over the last few months has been-yes the Panda Bear acknowledges is that she is a low person on the office totem pole-but she does not care; the Panda Bear believes that there are joys of being on the bottom of the ladder that those on the top will never know.  Probably because of the death of Father Panda Bear was in a bad mood all last week at work.   The work load was as heavy as ever.

"Oh you miserable wage slave", the Panda Bear was thinking to herself.  How sad and short is life, the Panda Bear would think to herself.   When we are young we are to stupid to enjoy life, when we are in the middle, we are too busy working and when we retire we are old and sick.   The Panda Bear pondered the great existential problem;everyone we know is going to die and we will also die.

The Panda Bear works in a small office.   The office has two main divisions   The Panda Bear will call them Division A, Division and Division C.   The Panda Bear works in Division C.   The rumor is that Division A considers themselves better than Division C;they do have a higher job grade.   Division A is salaried while Division C is on the time clock..   The Panda Bear was told by the Director of the office is that she could never be promoted to Division A.

When the Panda Bear was in a bad mood last week, she thought who cares about Division A. (To be honest, Division A workers are nice to the Panda Bear on an individual basis so the Panda Bear feels obligated to be nice to them.   However, the Panda Bear does not feel that excuses their attitude of superiority to Division C).  

Father Panda was a modest person.  It came to a surprise to those who knew him best that he changed the the way some atoms, photons and mathematical operators are used in the sciences.  In part out of pride in Father Panda and in part to show off to Division A, the Panda Bear e-mailed to them Father Panda's list of accomplishments.   The Panda Bear thought no one in Division A probably is related to someone as smart as Father Panda.   The Panda Bear wanted everyone to think how smart she must be even if she inherited even one tenth of Father Panda's intelligence.

The Panda Bear has decided her whole approach to her coworkers will be one of intelligent humility.   She will not be bitter(Ha!) at the seventy-eight positions that she has applied for within her company for which she was turned down.   The Panda Bear knows she is a smart person despite her lack of worldly success. 

The Panda Bear is seen as being  nice person.   However, at times the Panda Bear feels that nice guys/gals finish last.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Panda Bear on the Legacy of Father Panda and Lack of Respect in the Office

As the readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, Father Panda passed away June 4, 2012.

Father Panda was a quiet and humble person.  He was a scientist.   While at times he was affiliated with universities, he did not like to teach. He did not like administrative work. His passion was working on mathematical formulas by himself.  

When the Panda Bear was a child no one understood what Father Panda did for a living.   He would just sit and write formulas on graph paper and tell the Panda Bear he was thinking (presumably thinking very deep thoughts).  To the Panda Bear has a child this seemed so boring and minor.  It hurt the Panda Bear that no one knew what her father did in an area where many of the children had for fathers who were business leaders, physicians, college professors, lawyers and architects.

Her father was not self-promoting.  He always felt deeply disappointed in himself in that people did not recognize his work.

Imagine the pride of the Panda Bear when she found out from some of her father's professional colleagues after he died that they thought the science he did was really very good; in fact he was way ahead of his time.   He changed the way a certain mathematical operator was used and redefined the properties of an atom.   The Panda Bear always knew her father was smart.  However, she felt like a contestant on the TV show Antiques Road Show where she found out what she thought had value was truly worth something.

Because Father Panda was an idealist and not the worldliest person, he had limited ability to help the Panda Bear get ahead in the world.

The Panda Bear is a humble office worker.   Even though she is considered to be a smart person, she feels at times people in higher positions talk down to her.   The Panda Bear could not help but mention to her coworkers and superiors about Father Panda's superior scientific achievements.    Let us seen if anyone can treat the Panda Bear as though she stupid now!!!

The Panda Bear when things quiet down needs to rethink her future.    She is tired of people not treating her with respect.   She feels she should go into business for herself but she has no idea what she could do besides word processing.

The point, dear reader, of this post is not to bore the reader with the Panda Bear's problems.   It is more to show that the Panda Bear does not think of the office has being a meritocracy.   People valued for the perceived position on the office hierarchy rather than an intrinsic value.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Panda Bear on Her Envy of the French and the Mistakes of Her Youth

The Panda Bear was at a meeting this week where a woman said in France everything closes down in August and takes a month off.

Whenever, the Panda Bear wants to feel sorry for herself, she will complain that she has worked full-time consistently and with good attendance since 1993 and to her a month off from work seems like a remote impossible dream.

The Panda Bear has heard of other European countries that shut down for a month but seem to be in worse economic condition than France where the Panda Bear in a typical American superior fashion can say their economy is in a mess from their shorter work hours.   However, the French seem to be functioning as an economy though they don't have as many consumer as the US.

The Panda Bear doesn't even dream about a month off every year-even a month off every five years would be nice and she finds it hard to believe that either the US economy or the companies she works for would suffer that much from her taking a month off every five years.

The Panda Bear admits that as a typical American she has been frustrated when things are closed in the United States.   However, recently she has started to feel that when services are open extended hours she is also working longer hours.   The Panda Bear is starting to feel that Americans need more collective down time.

The Panda Bear remembers when in Massachusetts all stores used to be closed on Sunday.   Now there is hardly any holiday that everything closes down.   It used to be that everything was closed for Thanksgiving Day(which is in November) but now that is starting to change and stores are now open for people to shop.

The Panda Bear would prefer to live in a society that had fewer consumer goods but more leisure.

The Panda Bear is regretting the errors of her youth.   When she was young she was very serious, shy and anxious to settle down.   When the Panda Bear was young she had a hard time having fun.   What a wasted youth!!!   The Panda Bear should have been having enjoying herself.

Now the Panda Bear would like to have fun but is unable to have it because she has so many responsibilities.