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Another Beginning


Jibralta
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On 7/4/2021 at 12:49 AM, luminousone said:

Maybe. Only she would know. She might be shy around men, or worried that she would be the third wheel, or maybe she is gay and had designs on you. 

Boltnrun was asking if Job 5 affected Janelle, that's why I was contemplating it. I'm pretty certain Janelle does not have any designs on me! But it's very possible that she is shy around men, or that she would feel like a third wheel. 

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Janelle messaged me through LinkedIN to find out if my company had filled the position that she applied for. All I could tell her was that nobody new has started working there. 

I do know that they haven't asked me anything about her. I'm assuming that they would if they were seriously considering her. 

Before they posted the job openings on LinkedIN, the HR manager emailed everyone in the company with the job descriptions and asked if we could recommend anyone for the positions. I thought of Janelle, but I didn't recommend her. Instead, I told Janelle about the openings when they were posted. 

The fact is, I've never worked with her and I can't vouch for her work. If the owners approached me for feedback about Janelle, I'd tell them that she seemed very knowledgeable and competent (which is true), but I'd be sure to emphasize that I didn't have any firsthand experience working with her. 

My boyfriend stated it well this morning. He said that at Job 5, the most successful people were highly skilled at brown nosing and cronyism. Skill in architecture or engineering was secondary. And that's really the truth! Recommending someone from there is like rolling the dice. 

 

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Another former coworker from Job 5, Alana, crawled out of the woodwork to ask me to help get her a job with my current employer. This was actually about two weeks ago, right around the time that Janelle was going in for her interview. I guess they spoke!

I kind of rolled my eyes when I saw Alana's text, to be honest. I mean, this is a girl who barely bothered to communicate with me over the last year and a half, even though we were on pretty good terms when we worked together. Now she's suddenly my friend again! People amaze me, sometimes. lol. 

Anyway, I'll keep my eye out for openings. But it's going to be the same with her as it is with Janelle. 

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On 6/22/2021 at 5:37 AM, Jibralta said:

I found out yesterday that my first project went over with flying colors. Nadine did seem happy with it a couple of weeks ago, but I was afraid to believe her. I'm still really shell-shocked from my last employer's constant lies lol.

And even though Nadine seemed happy, there was a chance that the client could freak out. The project was for a 'temporary' covered deck addition to a restaurant, but the end result was a timber structure that you'd need a wrecking ball to demolish lol. This 'temporary addition' unexpectedly  required sprinklers ($20K) and after all is said and done will probably cost $100K to build. There are 20 different connections, and many of these are custom fabrications. It was a beast to coordinate.

The client does all of his construction himself, so the drawings really needed to make sense. He was also the firm's very first client 16 years ago, so I was particularly glad it went over well with him. I'm sure the owners would listen to their very first client if he had a problem! The set went through permitting without issue last week, and construction is imminent. Nadine said that the client is really happy.

Well, that client finally realized that he's looking at a $100K 'temporary' structure lol!!!

I did a fair amount of running around over the past 10 days, trying to value-engineer the thing. The good news is, Nadine is taking it in stride. There's no anger from her; I sense no subtle daggers of blame directed towards me.* She's not fretting over how we're going to bill the client for the redesign. She seems perfectly up to the challenge. 

_______________________________________________

*There really shouldn't be any blame laser-focused on me, since Nadine was part of every decision in that project. But I've seen some crazy blame-games over the past 10 years or so. Particularly noteworthy at my last two employers.

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Posted (edited)

This morning, I woke up thinking about Job 5 and Job 6. What a crazy ride they each were. What a struggle. I felt glad that I stuck each one out until the bitter end. I learned so much. Not the lessons that I hoped (or expected) to learn, but very important lessons nonetheless. I am glad to get those lessons out of the way. 

I am reading through my old posts about Job 5. That job almost completely overtook my journal thread! I felt so bewildered while I worked there. I saw what was going on; I just doubted my own eyes. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing.

After the passage of a couple of years, I can believe it. I can see things more clearly. It's validating. When I think of Job 5 and Job 6, I recall a quote: "If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning." Those guys fall into the "horrible warning" category. 

Edited by Jibralta
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17 hours ago, Jibralta said:

I am reading through my old posts about Job 5. That job almost completely overtook my journal thread! I felt so bewildered while I worked there. I saw what was going on; I just doubted my own eyes. I really couldn't believe what I was seeing.

I don't like how problems in life seem to take over a journal.  I hate that it sucks so much mental space, but I understand some of it may be necessary in processing what we're going through in those moments. 

It surprised me how that last journal I had was supposed to be about balancing life with kids... NOT trying to psychoanalyze my husband's family members, but that's what it became as they kept doing things.  

It's hard to draw the line between too much venting or ruminating, and just getting feelings and thoughts out/trying to figure behaviors out... 🤷‍♀️.  But it is nice to journal and figure things out.

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Yes. At the time that it was happening, I felt a little dismayed that it overran my journal like an out-of-control weed. But at the end of the day, it's just a journal. The whole point is contemplation.

Frankly, it's great to be able to go back and read what I was writing over the last three years. It gives me a strong sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. 

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Even though Job 6 ended up being the worst job I ever had in my life, I really did enjoy the surveying part. A lot. Yeah, it was extremely disorganized and we were almost always in unsafe conditions. But it was still a lot of fun for some reason. 

Just this morning, I remembered laughing together with Jean. We came a long way, him and I. I'm sure he wanted to kill me in the beginning. I surely wanted to kill him. I think we got into an argument every. single. day. 

Somewhere around the middle of July, I think we started to get things down to a science. We didn't really need to communicate anymore about who was going to do what. I remember the day I realized it. I opened the back of the truck and we both started grabbing equipment. I knew what he was going to need and he knew what I was going to need. 

Anyway, that memory from this morning was him and I laughing at some grumpy old lady who stomped around our truck one day, like it was blocking the whole road. We both peeked around after her and saw that the truck clearly wasn't blocking anything, except perhaps whatever hypotenuse she wanted to cut. 

Jean shrugged at me and we both laughed. We were never uncomfortable together, and we'd definitely laughed together. But this was, I think, the first time we laughed almost as old friends. This was around the same time that he tried encouraging me to go to church, and started sharing his snacks with me at the end of the day.

Jean invited our whole survey crew to his home to meet his wife and two young daughters. You could tell how important it was to both of them. His older girl was about five, still really spoke only Arabic, but that didn't stop her from gabbing away in pseudo-English lol... I was taken aback when Jean placed his baby girl in my arms... I totally didn't know what to do.

Jean was a nice guy, and a nice friendship developed between us. I remember him fondly. I was friendly with all those guys. It was really nice.

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Posted (edited)

Just came across this and it made me think of Job 5 and Job 6.

A mouse was placed at the top of a jar filled with grains. There was so much food in the jar that the mouse didn't bother searching elsewhere for food. Instead, the mouse feasted on the grain before him.

With each bite, the mouse was slowly lowered into the jar. As the mouse reached the bottom of the jar, he realized he was trapped. There was no way for him to climb the smooth glass walls of the jar. His survival now depended on someone else to put grains in the jar, and he had no choice but to eat whatever he was given.

Lessons:

  1. Short term pleasures can lead to long-term traps.
  2. If things come easy and you get comfortable, you can get trapped into dependency.
  3. When you are not using your skills, you will lose more than your skills. You lose your CHOICES and FREEDOM.
  4. Freedom does not come easy but can be lost quickly. NOTHING comes easily in life and if it comes easily, maybe it is not worth it.
  5. Struggles can be blessings in disguise.
Edited by Jibralta
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8 hours ago, Jibralta said:

Just came across this and it made me think of Job 5 and Job 6.

A mouse was placed at the top of a jar filled with grains. There was so much food in the jar that the mouse didn't bother searching elsewhere for food. Instead, the mouse feasted on the grain before him.

With each bite, the mouse was slowly lowered into the jar. As the mouse reached the bottom of the jar, he realized he was trapped. There was no way for him to climb the smooth glass walls of the jar. His survival now depended on someone else to put grains in the jar, and he had no choice but to eat whatever he was given.

Lessons:

  1. Short term pleasures can lead to long-term traps.
  2. If things come easy and you get comfortable, you can get trapped into dependency.
  3. When you are not using your skills, you will lose more than your skills. You lose your CHOICES and FREEDOM.
  4. Freedom does not come easy but can be lost quickly. NOTHING comes easily in life and if it comes easily, maybe it is not worth it.
  5. Struggles can be blessings in disguise.

I love this!  I think I'll share it with our two older kids....

All we can control is our own actions... I also see it as a way to avoid blaming our circumstances on other people.  How many people find themselves at the bottom of that jar, knowing to some degree they ate themselves there, only to turn around and complain about it?  

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

How many people find themselves at the bottom of that jar, knowing to some degree they ate themselves there, only to turn around and complain about it?  

Yeah.... it does touch on that a bit.

You know, that allegory is a bit simplistic and finger-wagging-ish. For example, many people would probably not eat themselves to the bottom of the jar--not everybody is a lazy, foolish, glutton. And everyone who did do so wouldn't necessarily complain--some people bear their burdens with dignity. But yet it does illustrate a couple of perilous traps to avoid (in ourselves and in others).

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4 hours ago, Jibralta said:

You know, that allegory is a bit simplistic and finger-wagging-ish.

In reality I think most mice would eat and run... maybe only a couple would fall into the trap.  But it's a good analogy for welfare (or unemployment income even)... once you start receiving it, getting used to it, and depending on it or anything else than yourself, it does actually make it harder to have the motivation to get off of it.  Not finger-wagging at all to acknowledge basic life truths that when you're handed something easily, many people tend to get used to not working or developing their skills, etc.

I think of it even with raising kids... allowing TV or social media to raise them is the easy way out, but then don't complain if they're nasty, disrespectful and violent later on (if that's what they've been watching for hours and hours for years on end).  It may be easy, but parents pay for this kind of parenting later on.  (Edited to add: proper parenting takes a lot of work, many aren't inclined to put their kids first and sacrifice their time/emotions/energy/wages etc. to make sure it's done right).

Or an old phrase homeschooling moms say all the time that I hear around... "If you send your children to Caesar, don't complain when they come back looking like Romans."

Edited by maritalbliss86
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And yes, it does make sense to look at ourselves (the only ones we can control ultimately).  Funny story... my mom brought cooked chicken last year every week... for the entire year !!!!  It was insane, but she really wanted to help and missed being with us so I accepted it and became dependent on it.

Then when she stopped I couldn't believe I had actually forgotten how to cook chicken (things like remembering to dethaw it in time... the ways I'd cut it and season it and everything!).  You wouldn't think you'd forget things like that... stuff I've been doing for 10+ years, but one year being dependent on her bringing already cooked food made my brain rely on it and forget those basic cooking skills/life skills.

I could see that in nearly every aspect in life though.

 

Edited to add: another thing about my chicken mom story lol....  I was surprised how I was annoyed at having to do it myself at first (!) I'm usually a very grateful person that loves cooking and the hard work that comes with things, but my relying on her convenience made my attitude falter and I had to correct myself for awhile... begrudging having to do the work.  It's a good life lesson.  Hard work and self-reliance often gives a person a better attitude and more gratitude.

Edited by maritalbliss86
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5 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Or an old phrase homeschooling moms say all the time that I hear around... "If you send your children to Caesar, don't complain when they come back looking like Romans."

I fail to understand the point here, is that a bad thing? I would take it as a compliment.

I understand what the writer wants to say but he/she used a wrong example to illustrate his/her point. It's offensive to my 3.3% Italian blood lol. 

Edited by dias
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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

But it's a good analogy for welfare (or unemployment income even)... once you start receiving it, getting used to it, and depending on it or anything else than yourself, it does actually make it harder to have the motivation to get off of it.

It's similar when you have a job that pays well, but that doesn't really challenge you. You get comfortable with the income, but meanwhile your brain languishes. 

I found that this was happening to me at Job 2, before I went to graduate school and changed my career. (Your chicken mom story applies here, too). Job 2 was challenging and rewarding in many ways, but it didn't challenge this one majorly important skill that I have: It never required me to think through drawing. As a result, I rarely drew at all.

Then, when I started preparing for my GREs, I realized the situation was even worse than I thought. Even though Job 2 involved some math, and I did tons of analysis, I found myself staring blankly at the math questions on the practice exam. All my math knowledge seemed to have vanished! And I've always been really good at math.

I felt like I had to relearn everything. For a few worrisome, frustrating months, I tried by myself. But it seemed like I would never be able to unlock the math knowledge that was trapped within my brain. So, I changed courses and took a GRE prep class. That was really all that I needed: someone to put me through my paces in an organized way. But I remained amazed at how my math knowledge had receded to a point where it had seemed completely inaccessible before that.

Then, when I got to graduate school, I realized that I didn't know how to draw anymore! After six years of not drawing at all, I barely knew what to do with a pencil in my hand. I remember sitting in the studio for hours, trying to sketch something out. I think I sat there for 12 hours straight before I was able to get something on paper. And even after that, it was constant work to get myself back up to speed.

With respect to Job 5 and Job 6, I found myself in a position where I wasn't given an appropriate amount of responsibility. I couldn't make decisions, I could only react to other people's decisions (which were usually terrible). Both jobs had been sold to me as positions with responsibility. But in both jobs, I found that my level of responsibility had actually decreased to less than what it was in the previous job! I stayed because the money was good, and because I felt like I'd be able to build a good resume out of the experience.

At this new job, where I was given responsibility right out of the gate, I find that I am sort of sluggish. Once again, I've found that a skill has atrophied. But once again, I am building back up. 

Edited by Jibralta
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It's the old "use it or lose it" saying.  If you don't use a skill you'll eventually "lose" it.

When I first got hired on at my previous job it required me to unload boxes of freight for 10 hours a day.  I had guns!  I had almost zero percent body fat!  I could move around fast as lightning! But once I got promoted to a leadership position I no longer had to unload boxes.  Goodbye guns!  I had to unload a few times to help out and holy cow was I slow!  And sore afterward.

Now if you asked me to unload a truck I'd probably hurt myself in the first 5 minutes lol.  But I have regained my computer skills so there is that.

I'm sure you'll be back up to speed in no time.

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Posted (edited)

My former coworker from Job 5, Eddie, was diagnosed with brain cancer back in June. He's doing ok. They removed the tumor and he started undergoing chemo and radiation therapy. But Eddie is about 75 years old, so this could be an uphill battle for him.

Arnold and I go out to eat with Eddie and his wife from time to time. Arnold usually gabs with Eddie's wife (who loves him), while Eddie gives me the gossip about Job 5 (he's a total yenta). Then Eddie and I em eff Job 5 liberally with Arnold and Eddie's wife chiming in here and there. The four of us were at a restaurant together back in May, and Eddie was having a lot of trouble hearing. We were all making fun of him about it. None of us had any idea that it was a brain tumor.

Since the diagnosis and surgery, we've been in touch more often. I check on him at least once a week, and we all went to dinner together about two weeks ago, after he started treatment. He seems ok, but he is not at 100%. The treatments make him tired and nauseous, and by the end of dinner he was flagging. His wife confided to me that he is pessimistic about the outcome. She, however, is optimistic, so that is at least good. She doesn't seem to be letting him lay around and mope.

I've always known that Eddie was a people person. But since his diagnosis it's become apparent to me just how important people are to him. He's one of those people who needs other people. They light him up. And he loves young people. He says they (we? I guess I'm still one of them lol) give him energy. 

Eddie is still employed at Job 5, but he is very upset by the way that they have handled his brain cancer diagnosis. None of the owners have shown much sympathy to him. They shunted him off on disability almost immediately. However, they still expect him to review and sign their drawings. 

This is some kind of a moral crisis for poor Eddie. A normal person would probably say, "No, I am too busy recovering from brain cancer." But Eddie has some kind of warped sense of loyalty to Mark, Ivan, and Robert (the owners at Job 5). At least part of his loyalty stems from his relationship with Mark and Robert's father, Melvin, who started the company 40 years ago. He and Melvin are longtime friends, and Melvin brought him on to do quality control at the company. That was about four years ago. Melvin retired two years ago, and things have been declining steadily at Job 5 since then. Well, things were declining before then too, but since Melvin's complete departure the gradient has become noticeably steeper. 

Whatever his flaws may have been, Melvin was a true entrepreneur and businessman. His son, Mark, fashions himself a businessman (he once told me, "I'm a skilled businessman" ahahahaha!), and even has an MBA, but he is actually the farthest thing from an effective, functional businessman. Mark grew up as a big fish in a small pond, and it shows. He has no idea how much it shows because this has been his entire life's experience... and yet some part of him is aware of his inadequacies because he surrounds himself with sycophants that validate everything he says.... But I digress.

Eddie was ostensibly hired at Job 5 to provide quality control. But that has not been his true function there. Nobody ever pays attention to Eddie's mark ups, and he never gets them back to make sure the changes have been picked up. He complains about this all the time, and none of the owners ever do anything about it. It's a joke.

Eddie's true function at Job 5 has been to stamp drawings for projects in California. He is licensed in a bunch of states, but most importantly, he is licensed in California. That's gold.

To become a licensed in California, you need to take the regular architectural registration exam and a supplemental structural exam. Eddie never took the supplemental exam; he was grandfathered in before that requirement. This means that he isn't able to recognize structural problems or design for earthquakes. But Job 5 doesn't care; they just need a warm body in the seat to rubberstamp their California projects.* 

So now Eddie has brain cancer, and Job 5 shunted him right off on disability with zero effort to work with him by letting him use vacation days or PTO. But they still want him to sign their crapsht California drawings. He's been wrestling with this for a couple weeks, and both Arnold and I have been like, "Don't sign the drawings!!! Stop working!!!" 

On Friday evening, Eddie called me and vented about a meeting he had with Ivan and Robert that afternoon. He actually went into the office to meet with them!! Mark chose to exclude himself from the meeting, leaving Eddie to be double teamed by Ivan and Robert. I doubt this was a scheduling conflict. I've seen Eddie and Robert double team employees before, forcing them to quit. They're relentless. 

In the meeting, Ivan and Robert pressured Eddie to sign the drawings. Eddie got the impression that if he didn't sign the drawings, his job wouldn't be waiting for him when he recovered. He tried to argue that he wasn't up to reviewing the drawings, and Ivan said, "Why are you holding a gun to our heads about this?" Pretty laughable, considering the fact that the reverse was true.

Eddie told me that after the meeting with Ivan and Robert, he felt sick and went to bed. Then he told me about a meeting that he'd attended earlier in the week, for an architectural organization that he supports. While he was there, they made a big announcement and everyone rallied and showed their support for him. He said that when he left there, he felt like a million bucks. Perfectly healthy. I pointed out to him that if there was any time he should be surrounding himself with things that made him feel healthy, this was the time. I hope he listens to me.

Even though he's a 75 year old man that most people would see as venerable, deep down Eddie really just wants and needs approval. Eddie really wants Mark, Ivan, and Richard to wake up and experience a revelation that they've been doing wrong by Eddie. He seems to think that there's some way that he can explain things to them that will make them understand. I can relate. I was in those shoes for a while. But it's never gonna happen. 

_____________________________________

*Note to anyone who lives in California: If you're hiring an architect, make sure that person has passed both the ARE and the CSE. It would also be a good idea to make sure that architect lives in California and that they have been practicing there for a significant amount of time after passing the CSE. And if I were you, I'd ask them to provide proof that they passed the CSE. You may be able to do this yourself online. 

Edited by Jibralta
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14 hours ago, dias said:

I fail to understand the point here, is that a bad thing? I would take it as a compliment.

I understand what the writer wants to say but he/she used a wrong example to illustrate his/her point. It's offensive to my 3.3% Italian blood lol. 

LOL it is funny now... now that we're so far removed from the horrific history😂!!! 

Christians were persecuted by the Romans so harshly.  Think Nero 5th emperor of Rome and how he crucified so many Christians... fed them to lions, and such....  Nasty horrific history for the Christians 🤷‍♀️.  So I can see why they didn't want their children growing up to join their enemy... copying Roman traditions and such when they killed so many of them. 

Our kids watch a great cartoon series where it shows how the Romans hunted Christians door to door... and they had to rely on God to save them, or to change the hearts of the Romans, which did sometimes happen ❤️.  

 

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It ended up being part of God's plan imo though... Paul said he escaped, "from the mouth of a lion," which theologians think meant Nero, and ended up writing the wonderful book of Romans.  It just makes it all that much more powerful.

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Posted (edited)

Something just occurred to me that I wanted to write down. About 25 years ago, my mom and I were at lunch with my godmother. We were telling my godmother about a little streak of crime that I had in my teenage years, and how I'd eventually gotten arrested for shoplifting. My godmother, who was a practicing therapist, said, "People steal when they feel they aren't getting what they deserve."

I don't know if that hit home for my mom, but it hit home for me. When I was a teenager, I had an awful time with my mom. She was unfair and abusive. And I was acting out deliberately. I knew exactly what I was doing. It wasn't wanton destruction or an impulse control problem. I felt trapped by a system and I wanted to cheat it back.  

Last summer, when we were surveying (Job 6), we had to commute 7 hours round trip to get to the job site. Some people had to drive 8 hours. We stayed out there for about a week at a time. On the second week we were out there, we were all reprimanded for putting our commute time down as hours worked. Simon told us that he was only going to pay us for our trip back. 

We were all at the jobsite when we found out, and there was a bit of an uproar about it. Nobody was about to donate three or four hours of their free time to Simon indefinitely. Everybody thought that was bullsht, even the senior crew chief, and nobody did it. We just hid the travel time by adding an extra half an hour to each day's work. And in all honesty, with all the coordination and job talk that happened "off hours" when we were in our jobsite townhouses, we worked more than that. But the point is, we all did something dishonest because we felt like we were being ripped off. It made things fair.

This past April, my former coworker from Job 5, Peter, suddenly died. It was the last thing that anyone expected, and I'm sure the owners had a major pants-shtting moment because he was the finance guy, and he'd been there for 25+ years. When I first talked to Eddie about it, he discussed the situation freely. But a week or two later, he was a lot more hush-hush about it and alluded to some 'scandal' that Peter and Damian (the print guy) had been involved in. 

Peter was a good dude. He wasn't afraid to rough you up if he thought you were out of line, but he was someone that you could talk to about anything. He was a unique balancing act, always juggling the interests of the company with the interests of the employees. I had a lot of respect for him. It was (and still is) my opinion that if he was involved with anything shady, there was a good reason for it.

The next time I saw Eddie, I tried to get more information. It was immediately following his brain surgery and he was all doped up on pain killers--and don't be mad that I pumped Eddie for information when he was like that, he LOVES talking, even when he's half conscious and in pain. Alas, Eddie wasn't at his clearest and I couldn't get a coherent story about the supposed scandal. All I could make out was that had something to do with Peter and Damian running some sort of side business while they were working there, possibly using the company's computers to help them with the book keeping. It didn't sound like anything egregious.

My guess is that the two of them, both longtime employees, both decent, hardworking people, had built up a bit of disgruntlement over the years and found an outlet for it. And if that's the case, I'm glad. The owners at Job 5 treat people like they are beasts of burden. They aren't as brazen about it as Simon was, but they're of a similar breed.

So, all of this flashed through my brain suddenly, for no particular reason, and I realized that leaders who cheat their people are tyrants. That's what tyranny is. The best resistance movements in history are executed when people manage to cheat the tyrants. 

Edited by Jibralta
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