Friday, November 11, 2011

They Did it AGAIN!

Several weeks ago, all of you fine folks indulged me while I ranted about First Bank of Sand Land (FBOSL) fouling up a wire transfer by several orders of magnitude. Since you're all invested in my plight, I feel obligated to issue the following update: MOFO's DID IT AGAIN!!!(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Requested transfer amount: 7,705 Sand Landian Schillings

Actual transfer amount:  7,750 Sand Landian Schillings

Actual footage of me checking Fuckwittery, Inc.'s bank
statement earlier today...except it's not really me
and I don't wear pleather blazers

Yup, Mr. Fat Fingers, FBOSL's lysdexic wire transfer clerk, strikes again. Hey FBOSL (or should I say FBSOL, emphasis on S.O.L) how come none of these errors are ever in my company's favor? Huh?!

I really wish Michael Jackson's doctor had been acquitted. Placing him on permanent retainer was probably my only shot of getting a good night's sleep so long as I have to deal with you all...

Oh, I almost forgot...FBSOL, if  you're still reading this, Sand Cat here is pestering me to ask if she can work as a wire transfer clerk in your esteemed concern. Yeah, I know, she's trying to use your recent screw ups as a pretext for wasta'ing her way in.

But hear me out on this, FBSOL: while she doesn't comprehend the mathematical significance of numbers themselves, she loooooves to knead her paws on my calculator, which means - you guessed it - she is capable of punching buttons! Based on my recent experiences with you, it would appear she has the requisite skill for the position.

Sand Cat tells me she is willing to start for a basic salary of 179 Sand Landian Schillings per month which can be paid in either cash or kind consisting of bonito tuna flakes, glittery yarn and neon flea collars. She's willing to accept 1 SL Schilling less than minimum wage as long as you allow her to play that ear worm of a song by Fine Young Cannibals on infinite repeat over the PA system - as she doesn't understand numbers, a fun loving work environment is more of a priority for her than money and she's really in to that whole 80's day-glo thing right now.

As my way of thanking you for not being specist and giving her a fair shot, I promise to cover her maxi taxi fare so you can save on that pesky transport allowance. But wait, there's more! She's also game for dismembering any insects that are squatting in the branch to which she is deputed - without demanding overtime pay (provided you let her keep the carcasses).

Think you can find any human beings willing to sign up for this deal? Doubtful with your Sand Landization requirements. C'mon, FBSOL, act now before someone else reads this and snatches her intrepid ass up!

Hey FBSOL, hook a kitty up!
 I kyoot an I gotz mad kwalifikashuns!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Attention All Nerds In Sand Land: Keep Your Academic Prowess Under Wraps!

Confession: I am a nerd - a fact which is obvious to anyone who knows me or has glanced at my blogroll. I'm an unabashed dork who proudly earned a varsity letter in high school for winning a "Math-letics Olympiad" and skipped her junior prom to compete at the science fair state finals. When I meet high school age kids, I often ask about their academic pursuits and their post-secondary school aspirations. In the course of conversation, I may let it drop that I'm an ex-mathlete or that I have a degree in chemistry.

But I've learned the hard way that, when in Sand Land, no good comes of people learning about your nerdly glories of yore. In fact, leaking such details can lead to a whole lotta shit coming your way.

A few weeks ago, Mr. Superwasta, a well placed employee at one of my company's key suppliers, ambled into my office with his sulky teenage son, Sassafras, in tow. Why Sassafras was following his father around that day, I have no idea. Perhaps it was Bring Your Child to Work Day in Sand Land and us fuckwits had (thankfully) missed the boat. Anyhow, my company was pushing hard for Mr. Superwasta's company to give us a bigger volume-based discount, so I put on my charm hat and tried to make small talk with the glowering young lad:

Me: So Sassafras, what's your favorite subject in school?
Sassafras (not looking up from his iphone): Chemistry.
Me: Oh gooooood for you! That was my favorite, too! I majored in Chemistry!
Sassafras (looking up at me with excitement. Serious jazzhands excitement): Really? Did you learn balancing chemical equations?
Me: Oh yeah. I learned that in high school.
Sassafras (gazing upon me as if a choir of angels is perched on my shoulders, singing): I'm learning it right now. I think it is very interesting.
Me: High five, brother!

As Mr. Superwasta and Sassafras left, I smiled at having connected with a budding chemistry enthusiast. Later that day, I got an incoming call from Mr.Superwasta's mobile. Sassafras was on the other end of the line asking if I could meet him that night. Based on my recurring experience in Sand Land of being inappropriately hit on by males between the ages of 13 and 97, I immediately began making vague excuses about not having any free time...ever. But Sassafras was not to be deterred. "Look, I have chemistry homework due tomorrow and I don't understand it. So you need to do it." I suggested that he re-read his textbook and email me if he still had general questions and then I waxed poetic about how important it was for him to do his own work if he truly wanted to master the subject.

Half an hour after hanging up, I got another call from Mr. Superwasta's mobile. This time it was Mr. Superwasta himself. "Have you got my email?" he asked, slightly panicked.

"No, I haven't checked my mail in a couple hours."

"Why not?"

"Because it's 11:30 on Wednesday night and I'm at a friend's house."

"Fine, check your mail and call me back," Mr. Superwasta said before hanging up.

I pulled up my email on my blackberry. My eyes bugged out as the screen flashed "downloading messages 1 - 16". All 16 emails were from Mr. Superwasta and all had the same subject: HELP HIM.

Attached to each email was a pdf containing a single page of either a homework assignment or an exam. I replied to the first message saying that I'd previously spoken with Sassafras and would be glad to give him some pointers if he had general questions but I couldn't do his assignments for him, academic integrity sure is a bitch ain't it, blah blah blah...

Within 30 seconds, Mr. Superwasta's reply hit my inbox:

Dear Ms. Adventures,

Sassafras does not need to do chemistry good. He will be a doctor. He will not be a chemist. He just needs the good marks and he is a busy boy. So kindly please do the needful and send him all of the answers tonight.

Best Regards,
Mr. Superwasta

In my semi-buzzed state, I bristled at the notion that a high school student was busier than me. I mean, you all can vouch for what little free time I have these days, right? I turned my phone on silent and returned my attention to my gin and tonic. 15 minutes later my husband came over, his mobile at his ear. "Your boss," he mouthed, handing me the phone. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and saw there were three missed calls from my boss.

"Ms. Adventures, did you tell Mr. Superwasta you would do his child's chemistry homework?" Fuckwittery, Inc.'s owner asked, groggy and irritated.

"Um, no. I told him I would not do his child's homework," I said, cringing at the prospect of being ordered to go home and get to work balancing chemical equations.

"Good," he said. "Mr. Superwasta just woke me up and asked me to track you down so his son could get the answers to his homework from you."

"I'm sorry, sir. But I'm not helping high school kids cheat."

"I'm delighted to hear that. Have a good night."

In all fairness, Sassafras Superwasta is not the only person to have approached me about completing school assignments. It's happened quite a few times, albeit in a less coercive manner. Some of Fuckwittery, Inc.'s more wasteful expenditures involve sending "high performing" employees to the local "MBA" programs sponsored by various bottom feeder universities based in the West. When midterms and finals week roll around, I often get a few wild-eyed panicked employees asking me to solve "business math" story problems and the like.

Fortunately, telling your employees you're not going to do their homework is a less excruciating prospect than swatting away Sassafras Superwasta. But nonetheless, it's always an awkward conversation and feelings get hurt. So from now on, I'll be discussing crap like Paris Hilton's My New BFF with the teenagers whose paths I cross and I'll be doing my darndest to look stupid whenever someone comes to my office lamenting the difficult final exam from Univeristy of Mattressfordshire their teacher's just handed out. I've done a stupid thing or two in my life, so I'm fully confident I can pull it off.

Fellow nerds, I advise you to learn from my follies and act in a similar manner.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Banking in Sand Land: A Cautionary Tale

A few weeks back, in the middle of the night, my mobile phone rang.

"Who in the hell is 'G-Train'?" my husband asked, handing me the phone.

"'s one of our suppliers...from New Jersey," I said, blinking.

"The company is called G-Train? Are you serious?"

"No. It's our sales rep. That's his nickname or something." I explained and answered the phone.

The ensuing conversation went something along these lines:

Me: G-Train, do you have any clue what time it is over here?

G-Train [sounds like a Sopranos cast member]: You still in Sand Land?! Are you kidding me, doll? Aren't you gonna like flee that country or somethin'??

Me: What are you talking about?

G-Train: Lady, c'mon. You just sent me $89,400.00 to settle an invoice for $8,490.00. HAHAHAHAHA!!!

Me: No way. I reviewed that transfer order before it went to the bank.

G-Train [screaming to his colleagues]: Yo, Pretty Ricky! Juice Factor! Get over here. This lady just sent me like a MILLION more dollahs than we invoiced her for. HAHAHAHA!

Pretty Ricky or Juice Factor: Damn, bro! That is one crazy ass broad! Yo, G-Train that money is all you! It's all you baby!

G-Train: I mean, what's going on doll? Is this your passive aggressive way of letting me know you wanna run off wit me?

Me: Dude, look, there's been some screw up. Don't take that money to Atlantic City or anything. It's coming out.

I ended the call while G-Train, Pretty Ricky and Juice Factor were fist bumping and talking about how they were going to make it rain in the Jersey shore clubs that weekend.

As I fired up my computer, my heart was in my throat. I've done some pretty stupid things in my life, but this would definitely take the cake. I opened the pdf of the wire transfer and heaved a sigh of relief as I confirmed that the document did indeed call for a payment of "US$ 8,490.00" to G-Train & Bros.

Just to make things crystal clear, the First Bank of Sand Land's wire transfer form also required you to write the amount in letters: "Eight thousand four hundred ninety u.s. dollars and zero cents".
So what the hell was G-Train talking about?

I logged into Fuckwittery, Inc.'s account. Sure enough there was a wire transfer for $89,400.00. The jackholes at First Bank of Sand Land had not only transposed the "4" and the "9" but they added an extra zero for shits and giggles. Payroll was due in a few days and a substantial portion of our working capital was in the custody of G-Train, Pretty Ricky and Juice Factor. My blood pressure hit the stratosphere.

Not with my luck.

I called the bank's help desk and was promptly put on hold and subjected to their shiteous call hold music, Ode to Joy...hammered out on a xylopone...on infinite repeat. (What is it with call hold music in Sand Land, by the way?) As I waited, I sent out a panicky email to our banking manager. After 25 minutes on hold, I was told that absolutely nothing could be done outside normal working hours.

The next morning, I was standing outside the bank branch with my accountant when they opened for business. I made a beeline for the manager's office. In as calm a voice as I could muster, I explained that we had submitted a wire transfer for $8,490.00 but $89,400.00 had been transferred out of our account. I handed the manager a copy of the transfer and a screen shot of our bank account, sat back and waited for a profuse apology.

But the manager sipped her coffee, gave the form a casual glance and looked at me over the rims of her glasses. "Madam, I'm afraid there is nothing we can do. The money has already been transferred."

I took a deep breath and tried to stay calm. "This bank erroneously transferred more than $80,000 out of my company's account. I'm afraid you are going to have to do something about it."

"Do you never make mistakes?" the manager asked, her face clouding.

"Not $80,000 dollar mistakes! Are you insane?!" I shrieked before regaining composure. I was starting to feel paranoid, like I was the unwitting victim of some elaborate, international candid camera prank. "Look, a mistake is not the end of the world but you've got to fix it."

"Madam, when you transfer money, you have to accept the risk that there may be some mistake. Everyone knows this." She stood up and motioned for the door, apparently to indicate that I was dismissed.

"On what planet is it common knowledge that a bank can make unauthorized transfers out of a customer's account?" I snarled, glued my seat.

"The planet of Earth," she answered matter of factly.

"Ok, is that why the transfer forms make you write the amount in both letters and numbers? Why don't you just type "any amount this bank damn well pleases" in those fields?"

We continued sparring to no avail. When I got back to the office, I started burning up the phones to everyone I knew in First Bank of Sand Land's headquarters. After two days of continuous emails and calls, someone high up the food chain finally admitted that the bank would have to correct the transfer and initiated a process to claw back Fuckwittery, Inc's money from G-Train & Bros.

When the missing $80,910 was safely for the time being back in our coffers and my blood pressure returned to normal levels, I thought I had a pretty good story on my hands. But it turns out I didn't. As I told my Sand Land friends about this ordeal, I was consistently met with sympathetic nods, not bug-eyed, slack-jawed looks of incredulity. Everybody had a story of the banks erroneously transferring money into or out of their accounts for no apparent reason. I came to learn that more than a few people here spend hours of their free time every month combing through their bank statements in search of these inevitable, uncorrected errors.

The only person I've come across who was impressed with the banking establishments of Sand Land was my 9 year-old neice. On a Christmas visit, she was awed by the ever-present ad campaigns exhorting the public that they can win money lottery-style by keeping their savings in Sand Landian banks. Compounding interest is just so un-fun compared to photos of ecstatic newly minted gajillionaires.

Personally, I just don't have the time or nerves to constantly comb through my personal bank accounts. So the next bank transfer I effected was my own money. No doubt my neice will be seriously disappointed when she comes back this year.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sorry Gang!

Hiya guys! Sorry for being AWOL for so long. Yes, I'm still around, chugging along. Work has been crazy busy and between lots of business trips and a couple of unusual side projects, I haven't had much time for blogging or any other fun activities. All work and no play well and truly makes Ms. Adventures one dull gal and any posts during this time would definitely have been total I spared you! :-)

Things should be settling down next month and I'll resume regular posting. Never fear party people, I've got lots of stories for you...including an employee motivation scheme I've rolled out recently that seems to be taking a bite out of Fuckwittery, Inc.'s fuckwittery. I call it the "Robin Hood Rewards Program" and yes, it is a wealth transfer scheme of sorts.

In the meantime, please forgive me!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ladies' Guide to the Sand Landian Job Interview

Dear Ms. Adventures,

I have been searching for a job in Sand Land for several months. At first, no one was showing interest in my CV. But then I used your Sand Land CV guide to spiff up my CV and I am finally getting called for some interviews.

But I'm still not able to land a job! I research the company ahead of time so I will be well prepared. I arrange for a babysitter to watch my children while I attend the interview. I arrive at the interview 15 minutes early. I give good answers to the interviewer's questions. What gives??

Jobless Gal in Sand Town


I could not help but chuckle as I considered your plight. Perhaps you are doing everything right by the standards back home. But honey, you're not in Kansas anymore! Many of the behaviors you've described may signify "excellent candidate" back home, but in Sand Land they scream "pathetic, douchey loser." But don't fret, gentle reader, if you follow these simple steps, you'll have employers wrapped around your little finger:

Everything about this picture is wrong.

Step #1: Cancel that babysitter!

In Sand Land, when a lady attends a job interview, it is expected that her children will accompany her. Consider them an accessory as essential as your CV. If you do not currently possess children of your own, borrow or kidnap someone else's.

You should plan to bring a minimum of three children under the age of 10 to the interview. One of the children must be an "Unweaned Bipedal", which is to say that it should be old enough to walk upright, but...umm...not yet eating solid foods. Consider the other 2+ children "Wildcards" who can be of any developmental stage. Both categories of children have essential roles to play at the interview.

Step #2: Tell your husband to clear his schedule.

Much like children, a husband is an essential accessory at any woman's job interview. If you are not married, you will need to hire someone to pose as your spouse at the job interview. Be sure that your husband or the hired actor is capable of assuming an air of belligerence and machismo at the interview.

Consider the "Unweaned Bipedal/2+ Wildcards/Husband" ensemble as the bare minimum necessary to conform to Sand Landian job interview etiquette. You can always go the extra mile and invite parents, siblings and any house guests who may be staying with you at the time of the interview.

Step #3: Care and feeding of children prior to the interview.

All Wildcards you are planning to bring to the interview should be placed on a diet of processed carbohydrates, high fructose corn syrup and added sugar for a minimum of 48 hours prior to the interview. The children should also be kept indoors and deprived of TV and favorite toys so they will be in "peak interview form" - an emotional state characterized by pent-up energy and extreme agitation.

Step #4: Getting yourself ready for the interview.

In job interviews back home, you may have tried to demonstrate that you were eager to get the job and enthusiastic to contribute to the organization's goals. But this type of Eager Beaver attitude gets no love in Sand Land. Rather, you'll need to project a "you'd be damned lucky to have me on whatever terms I and any member of my interview ensemble demand" attitude.

To convey this mindset, consciously avoid all information related to the company with which you're interviewing and its industry. You should also be prepared to give the impression that you have little to no clue about what the prospective job entails. And try your best to remain ignorant of the company's physical location.

Step #5: Prepare and pack large quantities of food.

Your interview will probably last all of 15 minutes and during that time your entourage could become ravenously hungry. Tantalizing "interview entourage picnics" that I've come across in the past have included aromatic ingredients like raw onions, canned fish and BBQ potato chips.

Step #6: Leave your house at the time your interview is schedule to start

A major, deal-breaking faux pas in Sand Land is showing up to the interview early or on-time. Never do this! You'll look like an over-eager chump. From the Sand Land employer's point of view, late = aloof = hard to get = awesome employee.

Once you are in the car, have your husband drive about aimlessly as you call the company and ask for directions to the interview site.

Step #7: Take over the waiting area

When you finally arrive at the interview site, you and your entourage must launch a coordinated banzai-style attack on the waiting area. Think of the lobby as Guadalcanal and your crew as the Imperial Army.

Instruct your children beforehand that they will be rewarded with Baskin-Robbins if they succeed in digging up all of the lobby's potted plants with their bare hands. While they are doing this, your husband should pester the reception staff to change the TV channel and crank up the volume. Your objective is to bring the company's operations to a grinding halt so everyone sits up and takes notice of the awesomeness that is you.

Step #8: Meet the interviewer

When you are called to the interviewer's room, be sure to bring your whole crew. The children should dart into the room and begin playing with the interview's office supplies, paper weights, mobile phone, etc. Your husband should munch on the BBQ chips while demanding to know the salary you will be paid, he should then warn the interviewer that you can't work later than 2:00 p.m. When the interviewer asks your husband and children to wait outside, express extreme annoyance.

Step #9: Ask not what you can do for the company, but what the company can do for you.

Answer the interviewer's questions in a confused and distracted manner. The interview should be a tit-for-tat game wherein you attempt to ask more questions than the interviewer. All of your questions should be asked in a manner that assumes you have already been offered the job:

Interviewer: How many words can you type per minute?

You: Typing? Uh, yeah. I can type. How much annual leave are you giving me?

Interviewer: 30 days. How much experience do you have answering phones?

You: Ummm, I can use phones. Are you going to give me 45 days' leave next year? What about air tickets?

Step #10: Shit fits.

90 seconds into the interview, your husband should give the go ahead for the 2+ Wildcards to run into the interviewer's office and begin throwing full blown shit fits. Each Wildcard should throw a shit fit that is completely unrelated to the other Wildcards' shit fits. For example, one Wildcard could scream about how they want to leave while the other Wildcard rolls about on the floor demanding a juice box.

Step #11: Deploy the Unweaned Bipedal.

In the midst of the Wildcards' shit fits, the Unweaned Bipedal should scamper into the room, jump into your lap and attempt to climb up your shirt.

The interviewer will be amazed at how your cool, collected self manages the chaos. They will sit back, watch the situation and think to themself: "Hot diggity dang! Look how Superwoman wrangles them kids! No assignment we'd throw at her could ever come close to the technical difficulty of simultaneously placating those Wildcards and juggling that Unweaned Bipedal."

Before the interviewer can stop themself, they'll blurt out "Hired! We'll give you whatever you want!"

Happy Job Hunting!

Ms. Adventures

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What to do when work gets you down? FAIL Break!

Over the past few months, I've chronicled some of the funny, frustrating and inane happenings that typify the Sand Landian work environment - or at least my Sand Landian work environment. But let's face it, all workplaces, regardless of geographic location, can be crazy, stressful and/or bizarre at times. In the obnoxious wise words of Mr. Adventures, "That's why it's called "work" not "fun!"

People often ask me: "What do you do when you just can't take it anymore?"

To which I respond: "Dissolve a few xanax in my nightly vodka and chase it with a shot of Cuervo gold. Problem(s) solved!"

No, just kidding, I really don't do least, not the xanax part...most nights...

In all seriousness, when I find myself getting overly dismayed or stressed out by Fuckwittery, Inc's whackness, this is what I generally do:

1. Close my door.
2. Go to YouTube
3. Type "FAIL" in the search box
4. Select a video. (This is my current favorite.)
5. Spend 4 or 5 minutes laughing as random people do shit that's waaay stupid, even by Fuckwittery, Inc. standards. And if you've read even a couple of my posts, you know that's saying something.
6. Mentally compare my coworkers to the protagonists of the FAIL video I just watched:

Me: Self, it really sucks that your administrative assistant, who spent two years in "secretarial university," takes 85,000 years to transcribe a single letter because she types using only her index fingers.

Me: Yeah, that's totally lame. But, you know, at least she hasn't done something really lame like attempt to roller skate off of the roof like that tool at 3:58 in the video you just watched."

Me: Yeah, that really puts it all into perspective. I feel better now, back to the grindstone!

Now, if I'm having a really, really bad day, FAIL videos just aren't going to cut it. Let's say, hypothetically (wink wink), I just discovered our accounting clerks spent the last couple days delivering 100+ invoices to the wrong companies and I'm seriously contemplating ending it all by roller skating off the roof. Well, then I'd watch this video five or six times:

So that's basically how I keep myself from losing it. If not for my occasional video breaks, I'd probably be just another unemployed bi-winning warlock banging seven gram rocks...that is, if they even have seven gram rocks in Sand Land.

What do you fellow employees of Sand Land do?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"I'm the branch manager, is it not my right to use this office as a church?"

My company has a few branches scattered across Sand Land. I spend most of my time at our headquarters in Sand Town but every month, I try to set aside a few days to travel to our remote locations and check up on things. To the extent possible, I try to keep both the date of my travel and the branches to be visited under wraps. Like a field anthropologist, my goal is to drop in quietly and unannounced so that I can bear witness to the real deal - not some hastily cleaned-up fallacy that the employees would treat me to if they had advance warning.

After making the rounds to our larger branches, I set out one morning to visit the remotest, most neglected of our outposts - the "Bumblefuck Branch." The Bumblefuck Branch is located in the middle of nowhere, consists of only four employees and is basically the redheaded stepchild of Fuckwittery, Inc. In fact, at the time I joined the company, no one even clued me in to the Bumblefuck gang's existence. I came to know about them after a few days on the job when some dude going by the name of "The Reverend Jedidiah" and claiming to be the Bumblefuck Branch manager emailed faxed me a handwritten annual leave request.

I asked around about the Bumblefuck Branch and none of the headquarters employees seemed to have much of a clue about what was going on out there. At the time, I had my hands full trying to get the headquarters and the main branches organized, so in lieu of traveling to Bumblefuck I invited Rev. Jedidiah to meet with me at the headquarters in Sand Town.

Rev. Jedidiah was an intense guy. I never figured out if he was a formally trained theologian or if he'd simply bestowed the title upon himself - my money's on the latter. The first time I met him, he was wearing a black blazer, a navy shirt buttoned all the way to the top and a clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. He strode into my office with a briefcase in one hand and a tattered Billy Graham book in another. I knew instantly I had to make time to check out the Bumblefuck Branch - fast!

So the next week, I hopped in my car and set out for the middle of nowhere. As the quaint little town consisted of a single intersection, it wasn't hard to locate the Bumblefuck Branch's sign. I got out of the car and walked to the door that was directly beneath the sign. I pushed the door open and a cloud of incense wafted into my face. Hymns blared from tinny computer speakers and clusters of religious icons and statues sat in each corner.

"Oh crap, how stupid am I?" I thought to myself. "I walked into some church instead of the Bumblefuck Branch."

I walked back outside and glanced up at the sign, trying to figure out where the entrance to my company's branch could be. "Oh come on, you moron," I thought after a couple seconds. "That was totally Rev. Jedidiah's decorating."

I walked back into the deserted office. "Hello?" I called.

A perplexed Sand Landian lady came out. I introduced myself and established that this was in fact the Bumblefuck Branch.

"Where's Jedidiah?" I asked.

"He's in a meeting," the lady said, glancing back toward his office.

"Ok, I'll wait here until he's finished," I said.

I plopped down on one of the ratty seafoam green sofas and took in my surroundings. Bible verses printed on a dot matrix printer in all caps lined the walls. Mixed in with the standard regulation "God loves you" and "Everything through Christ" quotes were alot of "Thou shalt not do this" and "Thou shalt not do that" and even the odd verse from Leviticus exhorting you not to do random, freaky stuff you never would have dreamt up unless you'd read in Leviticus that you were banned from doing it. Seriously! There was a verse instructing believers to "detest flying, four-legged insects"...WTF?? Do four-legged insects even exist? And what abomination did the Bumblefuck gang commit with these non-existent insects that compelled Jedidah to paste that verse to the wall? Ok, sorry, I'm getting way off track...moving on...

After reading all the dot matrix Bible verses and checking my email, Jedidiah's meeting still showed no signs of wrapping up.

"Who is Jedidiah meeting with?" I asked the receptionist.

She looked instantly uncomfortable. "Umm...his friends?" she speculated sheepishly.

"Friends?" I said. "This meeting's not about work?"

She bit her lower lip. "No," she whispered, shaking her head.

I jumped up and knocked on Jedidiah's door. When he opened it, I saw that there were three other men in his office. All dressed exactly like Jedidiah: black blazer, navy blue buttoned-all-the-way-up shirt and clunky wooden crucifix in place of a tie. Apparently, this was some kind of uniform.

"Hey Jedidiah, how's it going?" I asked

"Reverend, Madam. It's Reverend Jedidiah." he replied, clearly annoyed that I'd busted in on his meeting.

"Excuse me, Reverend. Are these some of our local clients?" I asked, motioning to his three clones.

"No, madam. They are not," he scoffed. "They are my deacons," he explained proudly.

"Got it," I nodded "What are your deacons doing here during working hours?"

"Planning tonight's prayer meeting, madam."


"Yes, madam," he said, sounding irritated. "You are welcome to join us if you like. It will start at 5:00."

"It's starts here? In this office?"

"Yes, madam" he said in a sing-song voice as if I'd just ask the stupidest question on earth.

"Alright, deacons: can you all clear out of here and let me speak privately with Rev. Jedidiah?" I said, motioning toward the lobby.

The deacons shuffled out one-by-one and shot me the evil eye. I closed the door and turned to Jedidah.

"Look, Rev. Jedidiah," I said. "All of this has to stop. You cannot decorate the office with religious iconography and hold religious gatherings on the premises."

Rev. Jedidiah stared at me speechless. So I just kept going.

"All of these decorations have to come down now. The hymns have to be turned off and you have to do your work."

"What do you think I'm doing here, madam?" he asked slowly, his eyes narrowing. "Are you telling me saving souls isn't work?"

"Um, it's not the work I'm paying you to do. So you'll have to confine the soul saving to your free time. I'm quite honestly shocked that you think what you're doing here is appropriate."

"Excuse me, madam. I'm sorry you're surprised. But let me ask you this: I'm the branch manager. Are you telling me it's not my right to use this office as a church? I'll have you know that at every single meeting, we pray for the prosperity of this business.We have even prayed for you," he said, pointing at me like I was a total ingrate.

"That's very kind of you, but even so, it's definitely not your right to turn the place into a church."

"Madam, at my next prayer meeting I'm going to pray very long and very hard for you. I'm going to pray for you to realize that you are being manipulated by satan. You are being used by him to stop my work."

"Ok, Rev. Jedidah. As long as that prayer meeting isn't taking place in this office, you go right ahead and do that. Now let's get to work taking down all those statues and Bible verses."

For a moment, I thought Rev. Jedidah's head would rotate 360 degrees. He looked like he was about to fly across the table and choke the devil out of me. But he collected himself and calmly tendered his resignation. At the time, I was alittle surprised at how readily he walked away from his job.

He skipped town a few days later before the end of his notice period, leaving his deacons like sheep without a shepherd. In the weeks following his departure, we were contacted by one person after another who had lent Rev. Jedidah funds for his ecclesiastical pursuits. The good Reverend had stiffed them all. On a happy note, the employees who had the misfortune of working under him are now holding down the Bumblefuck Branch rather nicely.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Asking for Sick Leave, Sand Land-Style

(Friendly disclaimer: If you've just eaten, are eating right now or are contemplating eating in the near future, skip this post and find something else to's a random, interesting article I recently read...if you're struggling with your New Year's weight loss resolution, continue reading.)

During my stint at Fuckwittery, Inc., I've come to realize that there are many differences between Sand Landian workplaces and U.S. workplaces. One of the most striking differences is the manner in which employees go about obtaining sick leave.

From my experience in U.S. workplaces, people tend to be alittle guarded about discussing their health problems at work. When the need for sick leave arises, employees are usually pretty vague about what's wrong. You would no sooner launch into a protracted description of your malady than you would whip out your paycheck and show it to all your co-workers (yet another difference between the two workplace cultures). But in Sand Land, the employee-employer sick leave discussion involves significantly more blood and guts than the average Tarantino flick.

Allow me to juxtapose the radically different approaches to obtaining sick leave with a couple of scenarios, which are based (less loosely than you'd think) on conversations I've found myself having with Fuckwittery, Inc. employees.

Now, in both the U.S. and Sand Land, there are two types employees seeking sick leave: (1) people who are legitimately sick, and (2) people who aren't sick but don't feel like being at work. We'll analyze both cases.

Case #1: Legitimately Sick Employee

It's 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday morning. "Jim" is happily working away on his expense report when he suddenly develops a bad case of projectile blue diarrhea.

Here's how Jim would likely proceed in a U.S. office:

Jim (calling his supervisor): Hey Sally, I'm not feeling too well. I'm going to need to go home.

Sally: Oh, sorry to hear that, Jim. Hope it's nothing serious.

Jim: Nah, my stomach's just alittle upset. I'll log into my email later today if I'm feeling better.

Sally: Ok. Thanks for letting me know. Hope you feel better.

Jim: Thanks, Sally.

(Jim hangs up, grabs briefcase and quickly, quietly makes his way home.)

And here's how Jim would proceed if he worked at my company in Sand Land:

Jim (banging on my door): Madam! Madaaaaaam!!!!

Me (rushing to open door): Yes?!

Jim (forcing the door open and smacking me in the head with it): Madaaam!!

Me: Ouch! What's wrong, Jim?

Jim (flopping into a chair, perspiring profusely): Madam, I am very, very sick.

Me: I'm sorry to hear that. Why don't you go home till you're feeling better.

Jim (nodding slightly, taking a deep breath): I just came out of the toilet, madam. I have very, very bad diarrhea. I'm really shocked because it's a strange color and -

Me (waving hands, interrupting): Ok, ok, ok. I understand you're sick. Why don't you go home now and get some rest, ok?

Jim: Madam, it's blue!

Me: Aggggghhhh!

Jim (wild-eyed): Yes! BLUUUUE! And it's just shooting out like anything!! I don't know how it could be blue, do you?

Me (trying to be calm, but about to cry): No, I don't know why your diarrhea is blue. But I really think you should go to the doctor right now, ok?

Jim: And the gastric pains are too much for me and it's really stinging very badly even as we speak -

Me (standing up, opening door ): Ok, Jim. This sounds really serious, you definitely need to see a doctor. We'll call your wife and we'll get someone to take you to the doctor...come with me.

(As we make our way to the reception, Jim pauses in each doorway to fill his colleagues in on his blue diarrhea.)

Case #2: Employee who's not sick but doesn't want to be at work.

It's 2:15 p.m. on the last day of the workweek and Jim is bored out of his mind. He just checked Facebook  for the 87th time since lunch and saw that some of his buddies are organizing a game of Ultimate Frisbee in a nearby park at 3:00 p.m.

Here's how U.S. Jim would feign illness:

Jim (calling his supervisor): Hey Sally, I'm not feeling too well. I'm going to need to go home.

Sally: Oh, sorry to hear that, Jim. Hope it's nothing serious.

Jim: My stomach's pretty upset. I think I got some bad food in the cafeteria this afternoon. I'll log into my email and catch up over the weekend if I'm feeling better.

Sally: Ok, thanks. Feel better.

Jim: Thanks, Sally.

(Jim hangs up, grabs briefcase and quietly makes way out of the office.)

And here's what Jim would most likely do if he worked in Sand Land:

Jim (hovering in my doorway, groaning): Muh-muh-madam, can I speak with you?

Me: Sure, is something wrong?

Jim (gripping stomach, leaning against doorway): Yes, madam. stomach.

Me: Oh, no. Looks like you're feeling bad.

Jim (staggers into my office and suddenly adopts the posture of the Hunchback of Notre Dame): Madam, my stomach is paining soooo bad and I think there's something wrong with this bone in my spine - it hurts when I stand up but I can't sit down because I have this boil in between the back of my two thighs and whenever I sit down the pain from the boil radiates up to the bone in my spine and it combines into one horrible pain explosion. And I'm also congested and my throat is paining.

Me: Ok, why don't you pack up and go home for the day.

Jim (whimpering): Are you sure it's ok?

Me: Definitely. Get to feeling better.

Jim (standing up straight, beaming): Thank you, madam!!

(Jim scampers back to office, packs up his things and, on his way out, flashes the "thumbs up" sign to the person who sits directly opposite my office.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Help! My Boss Has a Fake Degree! What Should I Do?

I recently vented to you nice folks about job hunters in Sand Land running around with bogus credentials from U.S.-based diploma mills. In response, I've received several emails and a comment from people asking what they should do about a boss or co-worker who is sporting a fake degree.

How naive I was when I wrote that post - I hadn't given alot of thought to the possibility that numerous people have managed to parlay meaningless pieces of paper into gainful employment, let alone positions of authority. But I guess it makes sense, doesn't it? I've never come across bullshit degrees in the U.S. but I've run into more than 20 in Sand Land. Large numbers of people wouldn't continue to plunk down hundreds (or thousands) of dollars for fake credentials if they didn't see a return.

So, in response to the emailers and commenter, let's play a game I learned in Sunday School.

[That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.]

Way back in the days when my parents forcibly dragged me to church multiple times a week, my Sunday School class often played a game called "What Would Jesus Do?" Or WWJD for short. We would sit in a circle on the floor and snack on Cheez-It's and Kool-Aid. One by one, kids would describe a problem or dilemma they were facing. Then they would say "WWJD?" At which point the listeners would debate what Jesus Christ would do if faced with the same situation. The ability to recite mad quantities of Bible verses from memory was key to getting your peers to buy in to your suggested course of action. So basically my thoughts never counted for shit...but anyway...I'm not bitter. Really.

For purposes of our "Would Would You Do" game, please use the comments section of this post to tell our advice seekers how you have handled (or would handle) the issue of bosses/co-workers with fake degrees in your workplace.

To squeal or not to squeal?
 For the people who asked my opinion, here are my thoughts:

(Disclaimer: I am not a seasoned HR professional. All of my training and most of my work experience is in an unrelated field but my current job requires me to spend a good deal of time blundering through all things HR. If you want the opinion of a respected HR pro, you might consider sending a query to someone like the Evil HR Lady):

The 5 year-old tattletale in me screams "Bust those fakers!" For those of you who have sacrificed time and tuition money to earn bona fide credentials, you have a right to be pissed when people use fake degrees to weasle their way into the same or better job. A fake degree is a time bomb on a resume and, in my opinon, an imposter deserves to have it blow up on them.  

However, my jaded, office-politics savvy self says keep your indignation in check and tread carefully. This is a serious accusation to level against someone. Before I contemplated saying anything to anyone, I would need to be 10,000% sure the credential in question is bogus - not simply from an obscure school I've never heard of. If I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the degree was crap, I would still think long and hard about the following considerations:

1. Is this faker a high performer who's exceeding expectations? Yeah, I know that's unlikely but if it's the case, the powers that be might not care about the faker's dubious academic background (assuming the faker is not masquerading as a doctor, attorney or other licensed professional).

2. What is the faker's position in office hierarchy? Are they very tight with the company's owners or top-level management. If they're a sacred cow, be aware that you're taking a big risk by ratting them out. Nepotism and personal connections play a bigger role in the Sand Landian work place than any other place I've seen. Outing someone with influence could backfire on you. No, it's not fair, but that's reality.

3. Would the people in power at your company be upset by an employee with a fake degree? Are you sure they understand what a degree mill is?

4. What is the risk to your company if it becomes public knowledge that the faker has a bogus degree? Again, if this is someone claiming to a be a licensed professional, it could be quite a scandal. If your company deals closely with firms from abroad (particularly western countries), employees with fake degrees may tarnish your company's credibility. But if it's a small, Mom and Pop enterprise, the risk to the company is less.

Without firsthand knowledge of your work situations and office culture, it's impossible for me to give you quality advice. The points I've raised are general things I'd consider before calling someone out. Best of luck, whatever you decide.

Ok, party people: You just discovered someone in your office has a fake degree - WWYD?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Are the Hookers of Sand Land Trolling For Johns in the Classified Ads?

I regularly advertise job vacancies in the classified sections of Sand Land's local papers, and I always use an email address that gives absolutely no indication of Fuckwittery, Inc.'s name. I've learned the hard way that if you use an "" address, a minimum of 100 people per hour will call Fuckwittery, Inc. and a good 70 to 80 will end up being transferred to me.

Once upon a time, unbeknownst to me, a former HR manager submitted a job ad to the local papers that contained my personal mobile number(!!!). Starting at 7:00 a.m. one morning (and continuing for 2 weeks), at least 20 hopeful job seekers per hour were dialing me up. I contemplated flinging my mobile out the window as it rang nonstop on the drive to the office. When I got to work, I called the numbskull HR manager into my office:

Me (shrieking, jumping up and down): Dude, what the hell were you thinking listing my mobile number in a job posting?

HR numbskull: Madam, I thought that you would want to screen the candidates personally.

Me: Okaaay. And why wouldn't I do that by checking the HR email account and reading their CVs?

HR numbskull: Well, madam, what about those applicants who aren't knowing how to use email? How would you screen them?

Me (foaming at the mouth): How would I screen them? How would I screen them?!?! They'd be weeded out automatically since it's 2011 and I have no earthly use for people who want to work in an office and can't use email!!!

 Anyway, I digress...when we place an ad in the paper, our anonymous email account generally receives the following:

  • 500+ emails from job seekers who want to apply for some job other than what we advertised for (i.e., systems analysts responding to an ad for reception staff and vice versa).
  • 300+ emails from job seekers who want the job advertised but who are in no way qualified.
  • 50 - 60 emails from local suppliers wanting to sell us shit like printer cartridges, window washing services or various power tools.
  • 20 emails from people who appear somewhat qualified for the job advertised but look to be total wackadoodles.
  • 10 emails from weirdos inviting us to join Facebook, Linked In, Quepasa, Brijj or any of the other half-baked networking sites people in Sand Land use.
  • 4 emails from African princes asking for our bank account information so they can hide $30 million from some usurping dictator who has killed their whole family.
  • 2 emails from people who want the job advertised and appear to be reasonably qualified and normal.
But with the past couple ads we've placed, I've notice something new in the mix - emails from girls with names like "Orchid Lovely" and "Sweetie Luuuvie Baby":

Dear Hensome Man,

Perhaps you will be suprise to know that I am loving you. Did you know it? Did you see how I do?

Tuth of this matter is I do, for all of the heart and for always. I seen you from a distance. I admire your grace. I know you are not only a strong man and a hensome man but also a important man.  So I confess to you I want you for myself.

If you want to ask me why I love you, sweet man, do not. I will be so bashful to tell you. So do not ask me that. Just write me back to say we can see each other. Don't make me a sad girl. I am a shy girl who has never loved anyone the way I love you. I want to see you, so tell me we can.

Loving you in etirnity,

The first time our account got one of these emails, I thought it was a fluke. But then I got two more this week - all professing their undying love and respectful admiration of the handsome hensome/wealthy/powerful/strong man that I apparently am. All emails ask me to write back to arrange a meeting. So, with curiosity peaked, I did write back:

Dear Ms. Lovely,

Finally! At last you have found me! Orchid, I know you must be my true love because you are the only one who recognizes me for the manly man that I am. Most people mistakenly assume I am just an average looking woman. Only you were able to discern that I'm actually a hensome man.

I long to meet you!

Forever yours,
Ms. Adventures

The next day, I got this response:

Dear Ms. Adventures,

Only the foolish person could not see your hensome. I am happy you love me. I can meet you at th entrance to the [dodgy grocery store] in [neighborhood in Sand Town] at 10:00 p.m. tomorrow. I can't hardly wait to love you.

Loving you in etirnity,

What's going on, folks? Are any of you HR/recruiter types out there getting these emails? Are times really that tough for the hookers of Sand Land? Judging from the skanky/trashy nightspots, I kind of had the impression that, beneath its puritanical facade, Sand Land was a fairly freaky place where ladies of the night wouldn't have to troll the classified ads for their johns.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

U.S. Diploma Mills Do Brisk Business in Sand Land

The sad state of higher education in Sand Land has been a recurring theme in several of my posts. I've written about a few of the young people I've interviewed who are unable to apply what they studied at Sand Land's universities and training institutes. But over the past few months, I've increasingly noticed another education-related problem - a problem that appears to be most pronounced in certain quarters of Sand Land's expat community: degrees issued by U.S.-based diploma mills.

I first became aware that people over here were purchasing bogus degrees when Fuckwittery, Inc.'s former HR manager introduced me to "Jake" a candidate who had "done graduate studies in the U.S." The conversation went something like this:

Me: How's it going, Jake?

Jake (shaking head quizzically): I'm sorry. I didn't get you?

Me: How's it going?

Jake (continues to shake head): I can't get what you're saying.

Me (enunciating): How. Is. It. Going.

Jake (looking at me like I'm insane): What is this thing that is going?

Me (shooting the HR manager the "are you f'ing serious?!" evil eye): Don't worry about it, Jake. So where in the U.S. did you study?

Jake (looking at me blankly): I can't make out what you're saying.

Me (trying to talk like a CNN newscaster): Where in the U.S. did you study?

Jake (eyes lighting up): Study?

Me: Yes!

Jake: I studied at Lawrence University.

Me (nodding): Nice. How'd you like those Wisconsin winters?

Jake: What?

Me: Lawrence University is in Wisconsin, is it not?

Jake: don't quite remember where it is.

Me (grabbing his CV from the HR manager): You don't remember which state you lived in?

Jake: It was a few years back.

Me (skimming the CV): You have a Masters of Accounting from Lorenz University? Where in tarnation is that?

Jake (shrugging shoulders): As I told you, it was a few years back. I don't remember.

As soon as I gave Jake the boot, I googled "Lorenz University." After spending roughly four seconds on the website, any marginally intelligent human being will recognize it as a diploma mill. You can "express order" everything from high school diplomas to doctorate degrees (thesis optional). They make idiotic boasts like "One of our prodigies, has been promoted to the post of Divisional Head." They even have a separate website dedicated to proving they're not a scam.

Since running into Jake a few months back, I've now come across 13 resumes listing degrees from Lorenz and many more resumes with credentials from other U.S.-based diploma mills. I know I'm probably preaching to the choir, but come on workers of Sand Land, don't waste your time or money on this crap! These degrees are worth less than the paper they're printed on and any employer with a brain will see through it. It's better to list no education on your resume than to tarnish it with this shit. If you don't believe me, check out the list of cats and dogs who have been awarded "life experience degrees" from these clowns.

And if you're still not convinced, consider my personal investigative research: I filled out an inquiry form on one of these websites for my feline BFF, Sand Cat. Luckily, Sand Cat has a rather sophisticated human-sounding name. I explained that, because she has a speech impediment, Sand Cat preferred that the university deal directly with me as I am her authorized representative.

27 minutes later, I received a call from some redneck claiming to be an "ed-joo-kayshun consultant." As the redneck's dog barked incessantly in the background, I explained that, because of her speech impediment, Sand Cat had never been able to attend school but wanted to know if she qualified for a Bachelor's of Science degree based on the following life experiences:

1. She'd hung out with me while I studied for graduate school entrance exams and was very familiar with my notes. [Sand Cat likes to lay on paper.]

2. She had participated in all of my grad school study groups and project teams. [Sand Cat sat on the group members' laps. When she was feeling frisky, she would swat our pens around my living room while while we worked away.]

3. For the last three years, she's sat in on all my study sessions and attended all my online review courses for a certification that I'm working on. She's much more intimately acquainted with the study materials than I am. [Sand Cat sleeps on my desk while I study and she spends a good 4 to 5 hours a day sleeping directly on the textbooks whereas I have to leave them and go to work.]

Sand Cat BSc, MS

As I stated Sand Cat's case, I started to doubt the redneck would buy it. But quite the opposite:

Redneck: Now, here's tha thang I'm wunderin' 'bout: If yer friend has got all this post gra-joo-wait expeereeunce, why isn't she kunsiderin' gettin' 'er master's at tha same time?

Me: You can do that?

Redneck: Well yes m'am, ya sure can. If yer friend goes an' gets 'er masters at the same time as tha undergra-joo-wait degree, she'll only have to go through tha review process one time. And she only has to pay fer one shippin' charge fer her degree dock-u-ments. If she gets tha bachelor's and then waits on tha master's, she's gonna hafta pay those shippin' fees twice. Thangs start ta add up, ya know.

Me: Ok. I don't think my friend has considered the possibility of earning both her bachelor's and master's at the same time. Let me confer with her and I'll get back to you with her decision.

Redneck: Yeee-ah. Tawk to yer friend because whut I'm suggestin' is tha smarter way.

Me: Ok. Will do. So if she wants to go with your school, we just need to fill out the order form online, describe her life experiences and pay the fees, right?

Redneck: Yes'sum that's rat. Tha education committee will review her qualee-fuh-kashions and if they consider her expeereence suitable she'll get 'er degrees by express mail. Tha degrees'll be signed by Hill-uh-ree Clinton and they'll be embossed with a gold seal.

Me (snorting): Hillary Clinton? The U.S. Secretary of State is signing these degrees? Come on, you just legally changed your name to "Hillary Clinton" didn't you?

Redneck: M'am. Whut I can tell ya is these degrees're all signed by Hill-uh-ree Clinton.

Since my conversation with the redneck, my mobile has received a deluge of text messages (usually around 3:00 a.m. Sand Land Time) addressed to Sand Cat from the diploma mill:

"Act now, Sand Cat! Get 25% Off + Free Shipping!"

"Enroll today and save, Sand Cat!! Fees increase on January 28th!!!!"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Unabridged Walk-In Application

In my last post, I described a workplace problem that is endemic to Sand Land: job hunters roaming door-to-door pestering employers to interview/hire them on the spot. Over the past few days, I've received numerous emails asking for a copy of the application that I use to scare away these walk-in job hunters.

The text of my walk-in application is pasted below. After adding copious spaces for the applicant's responses, the formatted version of the application is 13 double-sided pages. Remember, the whole point of this application is to look huge, scary and time-consuming - a magical combination that causes at least 95% of walk-in job hunters to hastily beat cheeks out of my office. The few who do stick around to fill it out usually give up mid-way through. To date, only "Mr. Mechatronist," the subject of my last post, has gone the distance.

For those of you who have the misfortune of dealing with walk-ins, I hope this helps get them out of your hair. For those of you who don't have to deal with walk-ins, the application will probably not make for very interesting reading as it is simply a mixed bag of random and, at times, nonsensical questions.

The Official Misadventures in HR Walk-In Application

First Name:
Middle Name:
Last Name:
Email address:
Mobile number:
Mailing address:
House address:
Landline number:
Fax number:
License plate number:
Driver’s license number:
Date of Birth:
Passport Number:
High School
Did you complete high school?    
High school graduation date:
Vocational/Professional Training: (please list each training program separately)

Course Title
Course Description
School Name            
Dates Attended
Did you graduate?

University: (please list each training program separately)

University Name
Name of Degree Program
Subjects Studied
Dates Attended
Did you graduate?

Post-Graduate Education: (please list each training program separately)

University Name
Name of Degree Program
Subjects Studied
Dates Attended
Did you graduate?

Work Experience: (please list most recent job first)

Job Title
Starting & Ending Dates

Computer Applications:

Rate your skill level from 1 to 5 (1 = basic knowledge, 5 = expert)
How many years have you worked with this program?

How many words can you type per minute type?
Which models of photocopy machines have you worked with?
Which models of printer/scanners have you worked with?
Which models of fax machines have you worked with?
Why do you want to work for this company?
What does this company do?
What are the top three reasons this company should hire you?
List all of the great things that will happen to this company if we hire you:
What are your hobbies?
Spouse’s Name:
Spouse’s date of birth:
Spouse’s occupation:
Spouse’s hobbies:
How many children do you have:
Please list the full names of all your children:
Father’s Name:
Father’s date of birth:
Father’s occupation:
Father’s hobbies:
Mother’s Name:
Mother’s date of birth:
Mother’s occupation:
Mother’s hobbies:
Number of brothers:
Number of sisters:
Please list the full names of all your brothers:
Please list the full names of all your sisters:
How many pets do you have?
Please list the names of all your pets:
Please list the species of all your pets as well as their dates of birth:
What did you eat for breakfast today?
What is the meaning of life?
What is your favorite cuisine? Explain what you like best about this cuisine.
Why did Humpty Dumpty sit on that wall?
What is your favorite type of music?
As a child did you have any imaginary friends? If so, please list their names, genders and approximate ages:
What is the formula for the quadratic equation?
How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
What is your favorite color and what do you believe this reveals about your true nature?
What is your favorite shade of your favorite color?
Solve the following equation:  5(-3x - 2) - (x - 3) = -4(4x + 5) + 13
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (specify answer in kilograms)
What element are you ruled by: earth, wind, water or fire? Explain what this reveals about you.
What was Paraguay’s 2007 per capita GDP?
If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it, do you think it still makes a sound? Why?
New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox? How come?
Have you realized your personal truth? If so, what is it?
What is your astrological sign?
Approximately how often is your astrological horoscope correct?
Solve the following equation: |x - 2| - 4|-6|
Whose version of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” was better – Bob Dylan or Guns n’ Roses?
What is your favorite movie?
How does the presence of “heteroskedasticity”  and/or “autocorrelation” impair the validity of a statistical equation?  
What Roman general conquered Gaul in the First Century BC?
From memory, write out the lyrics to Led Zepplin's "Stairway to Heaven."
Which actor portrayed James Bond most to your liking?
What is the difference between the product of carbon-12 reacted with chlorine and carbon-14 reacted with chlorine?
Rolling Stones or Beetles? Why?
Which general succeeded Alexander the Great in Thrace?
If given the choice, would you rather be a vampire or a werewolf? Please give at least three reasons for your choice (use complete sentences).
What is the x-intercept of the following equation? 2x - 4y = 9
If you’re driving at night faster than the speed of light and you turn on your headlights, will they work?
How far east can you go before you’re heading west?
When did the last emperor of China ascend the throne?
When does the weather stop being partly cloudy and start being partly sunny?
Explain how it’s possible for something to be both “new” and “improved”?      
List all of the countries you have visited in your life:
Do prison buses have emergency exits?
If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would you choose? Why?
In a movie theater, which armrest is yours?
In 1945, an Allied conference decided the partition of Germany in four occupation zones. Where was that conference held?
What is it about lead paint that small children find so delicious?
Is it possible to look into someone’s eyes and see their soul? Why or why not?
What was the most populous tribe of the Iroquois Confederacy?
What is the deal with "blue raspberry" flavoring seeing that there's no such thing as a blue raspberry?
If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you wish for?
Explain the concept of the “efficient frontier” in investment planning?
Who killed JR?
Who founded the Mughal dynasty?
What is your favorite holiday?
What does it mean to “find yourself”? Have you found yourself yet?
What is the difference between the mind resting in tranquility and the mind moving in thought?
How does soap clean?
171 gm of cane sugar is dissolved in 1litre of water. What’s the molarity of solution?
If you could be reincarnated as any animal besides a human, what would you choose to be? Why?
If the professor on Giligan's Island could make a radio out of coconut, why couldn’t he fix a hole in a boat?

With respect to commodities futures, explain the meaning of the terms “backwardation” and “contango”?

How has the increase in commodities speculation influenced the prevalence of futures that are in “backwardation” versus “contango”?

Do you believe in miracles? Why?

What is the population of Shanghai, China?

Summarize the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in no fewer than 5 sentences:
Cake or pie?
In a fight to the death, who would win – a saltwater crocodile or a great white shark? Describe what such a fight would look like and how your pick would gain the upper hand.
How many times did you roll your eyes during the movie Eat, Pray, Love?
List all of the organic elements on the periodic table:
Do you see a glass as half full or half empty? Why?
List all of the planets in the solar system - starting with the planet closest to the sun and ending with the planet that is farthest away.
The ancient city of Antioch lay within the boundaries of what modern country?
What is the highest level you ever attained while playing Super Mario Brothers
What is the longest river in the world?
Explain why you agree or disagree with the premise of the Laffer curve?
Describe the perfect pizza:
Are there more grains of sand on the beach than there are stars in the universe?
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Which is superior: white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate?
What happens when you wish upon a star?
Explain how it's possible for bull sharks to live in freshwater rivers.
What would the perfect day be like for you?
Where do you think socks that get lost in the laundry go?
How much time did you spend filling out this application?