Monday, May 21, 2007

the split shift

I worked 13 minutes short of 12 hours today. It was a split shift, which tests one's mental stability and discipline. On paper they look good. Sure, you work for five hours and then are off for three. Except that you really work for six and are off for two. Plus, once you start working you are never off. You can't just downshift. As I have a commuter pass I can go between Kyoto and Seta as many times as I want with no additional charge so I took the train back to Kyoto so I could eat at Subway for 15 minutes and turn around and head back. But trains are nice, and you can read on them, and my boss can't find me.
So, I'm finishing up my second class of the evening. I am assigning the students two sentences for homework:

My house is next to______. My house is across from_____.

Suddenly, through the large sliding door, my boss comes bounding in, panicked and angry in her odd, baseless way. "We don't teach them 'across from!'" She chides. This isn't the first time that she has interrupted my class to give me information that I have no interest in. Actually, at the moment, my boss's opinion lies somewhere on my personal scale of importance between the dump that my upstairs neighbor took yesterday-at the exact moment it was passing through the pipe next to my apartment, as that was the only moment it had any actual relevance to me-and a random wino's pre-cancerous prostate- in the sense that it would be a shame that anyone acquired cancer and wasn't aware of it when it could have been treated. That is how I feel about my boss's announcement that "we don't teach 'across from.' That's what I told you in the office." Flash back a few hours beforehand when I am wasting my lunch hour preparing for this class. The folder, in which my boss outlines what she wants the students to be taught that day, reads "Location." I ask her what she means by location, whether she means the bank, or Antarctica. "No," she responds, "Like 'next to' or 'between.'" "Oh, prepositions." I say. "Yes. I guess. Is that what they are called? Prepo....." You can see what a moron I am. Clearly my familiarity with the adposition family uniquely brands me as a substandard teacher. I had inadvertently taught my students a way to describe things that face each other.
This is every day at my work. Or, when things are going well, there is the oppressive threat of this being everyday. That is why I hate my job. My boss's English is worse than my Japanese and yet she is free to charge into my classroom at anytime and declare me incompetent. And then to glare at me as if I had just asked the students if I could rub up against them furiously while wearing tight jeans. This after I witnessed her talking to some four year-olds about their 'unvisible' cake. Fucking moron. If she had the ability to read this far into the post, I will give her this month's salary back and leave. I already told her to fire me. When you live through a year with no job, finding the cheapest place to buy potatoes and digging change from between your tatami mats, you really don't give a shit about whether you can hang on to another meaningless job. The sad part is that it could be a great job. The kids are great. The program could be pretty solid. But all the strings are pulled by an incompetent control freak whose confidence far exceeds her ability. Isn't that always the way?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

-this entry has a lot of typos. you probably need to sleep more. or you could just send me your entries before you post them so I can proof them. but you still probably need to catch up on your sleep.

- quit your job with a quickness. are you on a lease or something? teach the kids to say “mr. cheek is up out this bitch, you mark-ass trick” and stroll out that piece bj reilly style.

-i went swimming in the gulf yesterday and found a shell half the size of my face (and you know i have a huge head). i got all emotional about it. you should leave japan. or start writing some happier entries. you don’t sound very happy. -summer

wwc said...

they all have typos at first...i just type that way..then I stop and go back. thanks though. i actually went off on her, at length, in the office two weeks ago. she looked like she shit. i told her that she could say whatever she wanted about me, but i was never going to care. i told her that if she believed half the stuff she said about me that it was her responsibility to fire me, she hadn't really said much since then.

quiting would be sweet, but being an immigrant doesn't work like that...are you on a lease? you mean like a house? man, you don't know japan. my soul is sold. but i live on sanjo in downtown kyoto so, once i get out of work, the world seems a lovely place.

yes, i had considered going bj on her and flogging her with a gardenhose...we'll see.

uhh..don't talk to me about the beach, this is the first year in the last five that i haven't been surfing about twenty times by this point in the year....oh well.

was i happy in america? i don't remember.

Anonymous said...

-yes, i meant a lease on a living space. that was usually the only thing that kept me from quitting my job in california. i don’t know what sanjo is, i’m assuming you mean that you live on a banging street in a cool neighborhood. i can relate i guess, i just got too tired after a few years. if you can still enjoy life outside of work you’ll be okay. what’s the deal with being an immigrant? will they throw you in a hello kitty cage if you don’t have a job? savages.

-i seem to remember you being happy here a few times. you were probably talking about sports stuff that i didn’t understand.

-if you ever do quit your job please wear a “100% black” shirt when you do it and scream “I hate you jeffrey!” on your way out the door i will send you a high-five.

-I love bullet points!

susan said...

I feel such a mix of emotions when reading these comments. 1) is it weird that your two major ex-girlfriends make all the major (ok, mine aren't so major) comments on your blog? 2) I too, remember you being truly happy when sports were involved. 3) why don't I get to be the cool one that uses bullet points? and 4) my job is also quite mind-numbing, although less infuriating than yours. Although my previous almost best friend is now boycotting me and recruits everyone in every cubicle around me for Starbucks orders, but not me. And he's a guy!

Look for a new job, and then quit. Or, come visit me. I got a new apartment! It's cool. Pictures as soon as I tell my roommate I'm ditching her and her stinky, hairy, barks-at-6am dog.

wwc said...

are you an Jordan on the outs? Sad to hear. Do I think it is a bit odd? Yes. But considering you were the only two people I could talk into dating me it seems reasonable that you would also be the only two people I could convince to comment on my blog. Whatever strange chemical in the brain is. In any case, susan this is summer, summer this is susan. Let me take the time to apologize to both of you, now compare notes. I sent out my resume to a bio-med proofreading place and an auto importer today. I want to wear a suit.

Jennifer said...

hmmm, interesting...
are those of us who don't hold the title "ex-girlfriend of wes" still allowed to comment if we have time and feel so inclined to do so??

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attempting to silence the voices in my head.