For March 2005


March 22nd, 2005 

Another Long Break

 This time it seems I took about a month off. I really needed to, and I thank folks for being patient with me.

In a nutshell, we are doing well now. Stephen has a new job, with some hope of permanence, although it is not at Microsoft. While he was there, he broke all records, doing approximately 3800 tech topics, and several hundred sections of code as well. His supervisor said he had done the work of ten men, literally, after adding up the numbers. Everyone was shocked that he was not picked up for a permanent position. We have tried to figure out why, and the consensus is a combination of politics and ageism. Microsoft has installed a very great amount of programs to fight ageism, which, of course, means that there is a lot of ageism at Microsoft; a company does not spend money on programs for things which do not exist.

Our primary clue came in a bit of information sneaked back to Stephen, that one of the reviewers of him, a person who knew nothing about him, and who was brought in last moment to fill in for the person who was actually supposed to do his review, that Stephen  "did not appear to be energetic enough". This is unbelievable, considering his actual work record stated above...until you judge only on appearance. Stephen has grey sideburns, and looks much older than his 41 years because of them. It is very likely that this likely is what did him in. We just had not thought of trying to dye his hair...frankly, it was outside of our thoughts. He had followed the standard Microsoft advice to not put his age on any document, to hide anything that might suggest age, and so on, as he was councelled to do. The hair. It's obvious looking at him, and with a new person who had no knowlege of his performance...well.

Anyway, his work at Microsoft has set him up well at his new job, and so we get to keep our house, not have to move, and we are not at risk of poverty anymore. Yay! This has reduced my stress level enormously, as you can imagine.

With this worry out of the way, I finally feel able to continue with painting pages of Pastel once again. I really needed the break - there was so much going on that I felt overwhelmed. Now, things are back on track...and since Stephen's job is close to home, we are once again a close family, living entirely under one roof, another truly happy thing.

I am currently working on the next page of Pastel (112), but it is going to take a while because it is very detailed. So, I have thought that perhaps when I am stuck with a big page, one that takes more than one day to do, it might be good to offer a sketch or other bit of side work that I have done to interest readers until the next Pastel is up. We'll see if this is a good idea or not.

Anyway, bottom line, things are normalized again, and so production of Pastel will resume.




By Jennifer Diane Reitz

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