Friday, January 17, 2014

The Panda Bear on the New Year, Vacation Stress and Unemployment Insurance

The Panda Bear wishes all the best to her readers for the coming year.   2013 was a good year for the Panda Bear Blog.   The Panda Bear Blog has just past over 20,000 pages views and has 315 Twitter followers.    The blog has subscribers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Japan.    The Panda Bear feels this is very good for a blog by a humble and lowly office worker who is a mere amateur writer.

Since the Panda Bear is a critique of the cult of extreme business, she thought in this time of resolutions for the coming year to share this resolution the Panda Bear found on a meditation s website by a Zen writer:

 "This year, I am determined to be more unproductive. My goal is to do less and less – to move slower and slower until everything stops. I and the whole world will come to a sweet and silent stillness. And in this stillness, a great shout of joy will arise. We will all be free..." From the Ox and Window, by 17th century Zen master Hakuin Ekaku.

The Panda Bear wondered if instead of asking each other what we were going to do on the weekend we should ask each other what we are not going to do.   Maybe we should feel sorry for people who are doing something and praise people for doing nothing.

The Panda Bear went on vacation for the a few days at the beginning on the month.   People asked what she did during the vacation and the Panda Bear had the pleasure of saying not much.    Why should people are busy morning to night for most of the 365 days of the year not have a few days of nothingness?   Why do even vacations in our culture have to be busy?    Of course going away was stressful.    There was the packing and preparing to leave the apartment.  Getting Mr. Panda to go anywhere is a chore.   He is a home body.   Mr. Panda Bear told the Panda Bear he will only go places if he knows  exactly where he is going.   The Panda Bear told Mr. Panda if everywhere was like him there would be no one to explore new places on earth or outer space.

The few days away were relaxing.   Then coming back home and back to work was very stressful.   All the home chores remained.   The Panda Bear has the type of job that if you are off for the day it takes you a day to catch up with back work.

The Panda Bear believes that many of her other coworkers are also stressed out.   The source of this stress the Panda Bear believes is that work is no longer slow during this time of year.  In the Panda Bear’s line of work and for many other US workers the period between Thanksgivings to mid-January use to be slow.   No major changes happened during this period.  There was a holiday slowness.   Now the prevailing mood of the workplace to be business as usual for the holiday period.    Workers now have heavy workloads as well as the additional chores for the holiday preparation.   No wonder people are feeling so cranky.

Even a few years ago there was not much hiring or layoffs happened between Thanksgiving and Mid-January because of the holiday period.   This slowness no longer seems to be true.   The Panda Bear knows of people who recently have gotten laid off during this time.    In the Panda Bear’s line of work a lot of new people are starting between Thanksgiving and February which is keeping the Panda Bear busy.

The Panda Bear has some friends that are have some luck at getting job interviews during this period.   One friend of the Panda Bear’s thinks she may get a new job right now.   The job was posted in mid-December.   If this friend was to get the job it would probably start in mid-February.

In many lines of work the hiring process from posting the job, interviewing candidates, and making a job offer can take the managers two to three months if not longer.   The Panda Bear hopes the Congress extends unemployment benefits.   The standard unemployment benefit of six months is nothing if one considers the length of the hiring process even if the person is lucky in the job process.




Friday, January 3, 2014

The Panda Bear on Winter Blues, Holidays, and Job Stress

The Panda Bear has been reading more and more in different articles that the number one source of stress for Americans is their jobs.   The workloads are heavy and the hours are long.    People feel that their employers don't treat them well and as human beings with feelings.   The Panda Bear can confirm these findings with her own experience in the work force even though she is a Panda Bear not a human being.

Every winter the Panda Bear gets blue.   The days are short and cold.   From Thanksgiving to New Years is the holiday period in the United States where family is emphasized.   The Panda Bear will feel blue because her family is very, very small and she lost Father Panda almost two years ago.

One of the sources of tension at work in the winter are the holidays at the office.   The Panda Bear feels in a perfect world there would be some very generic "Winter" holiday events.   The Panda Bear does not see any put down of Christmas in saying "Happy Holiday" instead of Christmas especially as the Panda Bear does not celebrate Christmas.  She wishes all the best and joy for Christmas for those who celebrate it.   However, the Panda Bear also believes it is holiday not everyone in the office celebrates and people should not be differentiated in the office by the holidays they do or do not celebrate.   

The Panda Bear is Jewish and was raised not to celebrate Christmas.  If it were up to the Panda Bear no one's religion would be discussed at work.    At one time, the Panda Bear would have said there was such a thing as a secular Christmas.   However, for the past twelve years the holidays at work(really Christmas) have had very overtly Christian(birth of the divine Jesus) tones to them.   In fact the first year, in her present job the Panda Bear's manager gave her a Christmas card that stressed the importance of going to Church.   The manager asked then asked the Panda Bear what she thought about the message.  The Panda Bear just said the message was very nice.   The Panda Bear has no idea if the manager knew that the Panda Bear was Jewish.    (The Panda Bear now for unrelated reasons has another manager).      This is but one of many incidents that the Panda Bear recently experienced where she has received cards explicitly stating that the Christmas holidays were Christian should be celebrated as such.

The Panda Bear heard on the radio that now most Americans think of Christmas as being a religious rather than then secular holiday and the Panda Bear sees this at work.   Many of the Christians where the Panda Bear work feel that they should be able be able to express their Christian religion at work.   These Christians constitute the work majority.

The institutions the Panda Bear works for are supposed to be nonsectarian and respecting of cultural diversity.   They are located in a major metropolitan area where there are many different religious and cultural groups.  

The Panda is looking forward to the days getting longer.