Saturday, April 25, 2009

Doctor Gregg has a bad day

Man, did I ever have a bad day last week. It all started a while ago when I realized I would have to pay 300$ to print 5 (6?) copies of my thesis. Brutal. Surely it doesn't cost that much to print 6 copies of anything, unless you're laminating the pages in gold. The woman tried to console me by saying, "You're a doctor now, you'll be making that in an hour!"

Who does she think I am? An auto-worker in detroit? An electrician, plumber or bus driver? No, those are jobs that you can do coming straight out of high school. I've spent some 9 years in university alone and I could never aspire to make as much as them.

And the tuition fees. I thank God I was on a scholarship and my tuition was being paid for. Of course, the demonic overloads at Concordia University have found one last opportunity to take a big bite out of my ass. No, I'm not talking about the ridiculous fees of printing my thesis. The other day I found a charge of 2200+$ on my student account. I wasn't even worried, I knew it had to be a mistake.

Was I ever wrong. After navigating my way through the serpentine beauracracy of the university, I got my answer as to how I could still owe them money. Long story short, they charge me per credit. Because most of the program "credits" are not credits at all but some hypotehtical measure of how much time I would spend at school, because I finish early they just charge me the difference when I'm done.

Isn't that the opposite of credit? In fact... isn't that robbery? "Okay, give us 2200$... we're not providing you with any service we're just... taking your money because we want more than what you've paid us already."

Well, at least Concordia provides excellent service. NOT! 1 of a million examples would be my recent attempt to get an employee card. One week, I hand in a contract to be put on the payroll. Next week I'm told I have to go and ask them for an employee card. Had someone not told me I would never have known. So I go to the downtown HR office to get an employee card. This is always fun because no one you ask knows where this office is. I get there and after the secretary got off the phone with what must have been his friend, we had an interesting conversation.

Me: "Hello, I'm told I need an employee card."
Secretary: "If you're on contract for at least a year, yes."
Me: "I am."
Secretary: "Do you have a copy of the contract?"
Me: "I gave you a copy last week."

He then checks to see if I"m on file. I am! Hooray! Employee card, here I come. Not so. He asks me for a copy of my contract again. I reminded him that I put the contract in his very hands the previous week. He still tells me I need to bring him a contract....

Me: "What about the contract I gave you! I'm on file!"
Secretary: "You... still have to bring one."
Me: "But all my information is on that screen in front of you?"
Secretary: "Yes."
Me: "So ... I... Don't..."
Secretary: "Yes."

What's the point of arguing? Can someone explain to me what the point of a Human Resources department is if not to keep track of contracts I've given to them? Isn't a contract, proof that I am employed there, a resource? Isn't it cruel of them to make me take another trip downtownn with information they should have, that I've provided them with? Recently no less!?! What is a Human Resources Department if they don't have any resources or humanity? They're just a department. One of many departments designed to syphon money away from students.

As I took the elevator down, it stopped at the 9th floor. There's always some sense of impatience when the elevator stops for someone else. Why should I, a doctor, have to wait 7 seconds for someone to get on an elevator? The elevator stopped again. The guy who got on after me cursed in fury as the elevator stopped. "F**K!!" Some more guys got on. The elevator moved down a few more floors and 7 seconds later stopped again. The guy who had gotten on at the previous stop cursed, "Jesus Christ!"

And I had a revelation. There was something very spiritual about that moment. Just the site of one person after the other, each one actually angry that they had to wait 7 seconds for another human being was really revealing. I had to wait 21 seconds, while the guy who got on after me, only 14, the other one 7. In the grand scheme of things, 21 seconds is no time at all. And had someone gotten on before me... Well, you get the point. Someone has always got it worse. And in the grand scheme of things, my problems were trivial.

So I laughed, realized my day wasn't so bad, counted my blessings, gave God a praise and moved on. Among my good news is, I'm working on an interesting project in the lab, making more money. My book, the Twilight Alliance has hit book shelves across the US at 85 Barnes and Noble stores. That's a dream of mine. I realized if I travelled back in time to tell myself that, I would have been hysterical. Complaining is fun though.