Archive for October, 2011

May 09, 2011 by  @ Mashable…


Sitting down, which most of us do for at least eight hours each day, might be the worst thing we do for our health all day.

We’ve been preaching the benefits of stand-up desks for a while around here — and no one needs this good news more than social media-obsessed web geeks. A recent medical journal study showed that people who sit for most of their day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.

And our readers are receptive to the idea, too. In fact, in a recent poll, three-fourths of you said you already used a stand-up desk or you’d like to try one.

So if you need more convincing, check out these graphically organized stats from Medical Billing and Coding. We like it for the information it contains, but we love it for the Saul Bass, Vertigo-esque graphics.

Check out this infographic for all the details


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I graduated college in May of 1987 and during the summer I continued to wait tables at the Blackeyed Pea, the part-time job I had secured two years prior. Facing upcoming student loan payments, I knew working part-time lunch shifts wasn’t gonna cut it. The full time employees there had seniority over me and got all the best Fri/Sat night money making shifts.

I had received a BFA in theatre and a fellow classmate and I had a theatre project we were continuing with in the Denver area post-graduation. I was also contemplating going to graduate school in a couple of years. I was suddenly struck with the idea that I could now get a “real” job because I just received a college degree! I could move on from the kinds of jobs I had during high school and college, which included Taco Bell, being a Page at the Lakewood Public Library, a cashier at a cinema complex, and, during college I was a work-study employee at the library and an administrative assistant in the box office of the college’s performing arts center.

Surely, now with a bachelor’s degree, I could toss my waitron apron aside. I looked high and low for this elusive “real” job and was getting the message that an administrative job would be the most realistic hiring possibility. Temp agencies weren’t placing me, so I targeted some colleges and universities in the Denver area. (Surely since I had some admin experience at the college level, I’d be qualified for something in the higher ed system.)

After nearly six months of job searching and filling out applications, I FINALLY landed an interview to be a receptionist for chancellor’s office at a private university. At the time, the thought of being even a receptionist sounded terrific. I felt like I gave a good interview and my number one reference was actually the box office manager I worked for in college, a job was the most similar to what I would be doing in the prospective job.

I was friendly and in touch with the box office manager, and a few days after the interview she called to tell me she was actually contacted for a reference and was thrilled to give me a good one. “But,” she said to me on the phone, “I have to tell you that the woman I spoke with was interested in you, but had a very serious reservation – she was concerned that you would want to ‘entertain’ people waiting in the reception area. So I told her that even though you were a theatre major, you weren’t a musical theatre major, you had a more ‘serious’ course of studies and focused on directing. Just want to give you a heads up!”

I was…stunned. Really? My potential employer was concerned about WHAT?! How did something… like that… even cross her mind…?

Shortly after this call something began to creep into my mind…something an algebra professor said to the class during some casual chatting in my first semester of my freshman year. “Folks getting a BFA might reconsider and just get a BA. Sometimes employers think you are too specialized in the arts when you graduate with a Fine Arts degree.”

I remember thinking how that didn’t make any sense. I had to take all the classes one was required to get a BA and then a whole lot more on top of that in order to get the F between the B and the A. If my degree was so arts specialized, why on earth did I have to take algebra, biology, anthropology, history, philology, expository writing, English literature and many other “non-arts” related courses? In fact, because all of the requirements of a BA needed be met by the BFA student, plus taking the specialized arts classes, it often took five years for a person to graduate from the theatre program. (Why should I miss out taking advanced design, acting and technology courses?)

I did end up getting the receptionist job, fortunately with my sense of humor still intact. And I fantasized about coming into work on the first day with a pair of tap shoes in hand announcing, “I hope I don’t scuff the linoleum!”

But, I was desperate for this job. I needed the (little) more money than I was currently making and could not bear the thought spending the next several years with food spilled on my uniform apron and having to bring whiney adults straws for their glasses of water. I started my new job with a strong feeling a trepidation, knowing there was serious reservation about me before I even sat down at the receptionist’s desk for the first time…

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“It’s been 14 years since you graduated from XXX XXXX Law School. See and explore over 140 LinkedIn members in your alumni network.”

I supposedly still owe approximately $126,000 to the criminal lender Sallie Mae. I’m certain I’ve totally paid back my original $80k loan. However, b/c I have been intermittently unemployed and had to defer, forbear and such, the interest (bordering on usury) which Sallie Mae loads onto the original loan amounts, according to a bill I recently received, to close to a quarter of a million bucks. Completely surreal. And, I’m not even an attorney.

werking gerl is a simple scribe who also reluctantly werks in corporate PR to support her family of 2-1/2. We live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes we don’t have enough to eat, commute or purchase necessary medications. we are also not covered by any healthcare insurance and are currently struggling to find practitioner(s) to check out some medical issues for one, some, all of us…

My law school story is, at least to me, a very a long, sad and lurid tale of domestic violence mixed with materialist aspirations gone wild…i will write about it sometime, I’m not in the mental space to do so at the moment.

FYI, Here are some companies where my law school colleagues are employed, according to LinkedIn:

Sikorsky Aircraft, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, Honeywell International, Railex, Smyth Nora LLP, Cypress Venture Holdings, Inc., Pricewaterhouse Coopers, UGL Services, BBDO, Jackson Lewis LLP, Borah, Goldstein, Altschuler, Nahins & Goidel, PC, Nicoll Davis & Spinella LLP, HSB Engineering Insurance, State of Washington Department of Labor and Industry, U.S. Embassy…

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Werking Gerl #2 here…

I’ve been out of work for going on nearly four years now. I’ve been picking up odd jobs and a little bit of temp work here and there.  And, I even landed a three-month stint at a call center – for $9.00 per hour. (Stand by for the freakish things I’ll report about that.)

A few months ago a long-time colleague called me about a job. Mary had been working in a small chiropractic office as the Everything: Receptionist, Office Manager, Custodian, Insurance Biller, Any-thing-that-needs-to-get-done (including changing the paper on the tables between patients) Gal for about 5 years. And I remember there was a year long period where she expressed how nasty the doctor was to her. (There is only one doctor in this office, and several acupuncturists and massage therapists all work out of there as well.) Mary was reducing her hours at the office to do more specialized work on just billing and deal with a highly advanced, difficult to use, (yet in many ways serviceable) chiropractic software. Consequently, she was looking for the Everything person to replace her – who by the way, had social skills and the ability to be gracious and friendly with the patients.

So when Mary called to tell me about the opening, my first question to her was, “How is the Doctor’s behavior?” She expressed it was much better than during that “rough” period and noted the doctor was going through a personal crisis at that time, which was now resolved.

There are no benefits (health insurance, paid vacation or sick days.) The job pays $15 per hour and is approximately 35 hours per week – give or take more or less patients on any particular week. There is no lunch break, (which is illegal) and there is only 3 minutes (if even that) of downtime during an 8 hour shift, which I have to gobble my lunch at my desk while still waiting on people. What can I say? I need the money, and wouldn’t care about any of this, except for the fact it turns out the doctor is like working for a feral cat – sweet and wanting to be playful one minute, even seemingly generous – and clawing my eyes out the next. My gut was right when it made me ask the behavior question. (Note to all: if you even have to ask about someone’s behavior, that’s a huge red flag to turn a job down.) I would normally have said no to this job, but being desperate fuelled me to interview and give a good interview.

The doctor is one of a legion of people who are bosses, managers, business owners, etc. that I’m using as an example because the doctor has nearly all of the oh-so-many classic behaviors and attitudes of a an abusive boss: Extremely detailed-oriented, but is so impatient they can’t be bothered with details; resentful that they are paying their employees as well as the taxes on their employees; gets thrown into a mania if something is not working out as expected and then micromanaging everyone around them to try to gain control – which only makes take longer to a correct a situation; temperamental x10, passive aggressive x 20, and, and, and.

This person is in critical need of therapy and/or group therapy so they might examine why they are triggered, by SO many things.

The doctor is clearly a gifted health care practitioner and seems genuinely kind, concerned and engaged in their patients care – and there is no question that the patients love the doctor and the doctor’s expertise.

This probably adds to the devastation of my feelings when the doctor is acting out towards me in the wings, so to speak. During my first week alone with the doctor, the office was extremely busy as every appointment slot was taken – and though a little sweaty and nervous – I pulled it off without a hitch! So you can imagine my disappointment when the doctor was hissing at me in the hallway (so the patients couldn’t see this) about not getting a patient in a treatment room fast enough. And then the doctor privately hissed at me because because another health care practitioner borrowed something of the doctors. (Are you kidding?) And then when the doctor saw that practitioner later that day, the doctor HUGGED them and was delighted to see them – not mentioning anything about the huge shit-fit thrown about that person earlier.

And the doctor regularly dumps personal things in my lap and wants me to “just take care of it.” “Print my taxes. Call the mechanics and see how late they are open. Put my friend’s phone number into my cell phone. Order my lunch, I’m starved and I won’t be able to work without some substance.” (Are you kidding?) And most recently the doctor wanted a personal product they purchased to be return via mail, tossing the box at me and saying, “just make it go away.” And I could go on and on…

Note to all: Anyone who uses the phrase “just take care of it” or “just make it go away” is a disgusting person to work for.

The bottom line is, this horrible little job exemplifies the core elements of what is so wrong with employment in America: We are still engaging in a Master/Slave dynamic, and, as a culture we have a fucked up relationship with the arts (and a few other things), which is a symptom of a type of cancer known as a Deformed View of Self-Worth caused by a deadly strain of U.S. capitalism.

I should be Occupying Wall Street right now, but I have to go to werk tomorrow.

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I have recently received a couple of bills and follow up phone calls asking for payment on a bill for for a follow up breast exam I had over a year ago. It was the time I was at the breast clinic and the billing staff told me my Medicaid card was rejected, remember that? So, that tells me I am at least 12 months overdue for a mammogram and another follow up breast exam. I say “follow up”  because I had a breast biopsy a few years ago. My surgeon removed what turned out to be benign tumor, but it increases my chance of breast cancer. So, ideally I should see the breast doc every 6 months.

I werk 45 hours a week at a corporate job, but I don’t have health insurance. I also partially support my girlfriend who has a really shitty per diem job and she barely makes the rent. I cannot afford to pay this bill (which Medicaid should have paid). I especially cannot afford to pay the outstanding bill so that I can see the doctor only to be presented with another bill…my right breast goes unchecked in this country of riches…

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