I almost went to bed tonight without posting the latest news in this thing.

Excuse me a moment while I grab a beer and crank up Tom Petty. I find it ironic to blog about working for the IRS while listening to Tom Petty. Maybe its just me.

Ahh. there we go. thats better. I figure I can nurse this beer along for about 20 or 30 minutes, so thats how long I'll give myself to update you on the astounding things that have been happening in the land of made up numbers.

I switched to the nightshift at work, that's a pretty big change. I no longer have to get up at six, I can now get up at 3pm. I enjoy getting up at 3pm. It fits in better with my schedule of staying up till 5am. Staying up till 5am and then waking up an hour later just wasn't working as well as you would think.

Mostly, I switched shifts to escape the clutches of my last manager, who was at least a little batfuck crazy.

So like a bunch of breakfast club social misfits, all of us late shifters sort of straggle in between 2 and 4... Its different, when I was working day shift, EVERYBODY would arrive at work at 7:20, on the dot. It was almost robotic. We all showed up at the same time. The nightshift crew sort of wanders in whenever... its kind of refreshing. When I get there, there's usually three or four of us sitting outside just chatting or whatever. Its pretty laid back.

Anyway.

I discovered a curious thing day one of working night shift. Apparently, IRS policy is that if there are people in the building, then SOMEBODY has to sit at the guard's desk by the door. This spot is usually filled by assorted security personel, but due to the "restructuring" and "downsizing" of our government (we'll touch a LOT more on this in a bit, don't worry) they've gone through a lot of "officers" in the last couple years, and currently there isn't anyone contracted out or toured in to be security for the building.

During the dayshift, different people from each department were taking shifts at the desk on a rotating schedule. During the night however, since there was only one crew there, they had us taking 2 or 4 hour shifts up there.

Now keep in mind that there's not a whole damn lot going on at the guard's desk at 6:30 pm, since the building closes officially at 5. There are no deliveries, no visitors, nobody is coming or going.

Which means, if you've followed so far... that the guard's desk is the best job in the whole building.

So of course, at the first late shift crew meeting, I volunteer to man the desk full time. Most people are relieved at this. They hate it up there, because its "boring."

Ah... boring. Like a siren's call. To me, its really impossible to be really "bored." Bored just means you're not trying hard enough, or you're one of those crazy people for whom entertainment must be a physical thing.

I spend the first week of guard's desk duty quietly listening to audio books on my ipod and trying not to fall asleep in my comfy chair.

Eventually of course, somebody realizes that im up there just sitting on my ass and trying not to drool on myself (note: having a really good time) and they get me trained on the IDRS (integrated data retrieval system?) computer software. This means that from that point on, they could bring me crap to look up on the computer that is sharing a spot on my desk with my feet.

Of course, this is also pretty easy. And, better yet, they often forget about me, which leaves me once again riding the edge between consciousness and unconciousness.

So. Job good. Money good. Ipod? still good!

Of course, nothing good lasts forever.

Today they call everyone into a meeting when we all arrive.

....You'll excuse me if I repeat things. Its been a while since I've posted in this thing, and its difficult enough for me to remember yesterday, let alone what i've told you and what I havent....

The rupublicans have decided that the best thing to do to help our giant deficit is not to all take pay cuts, surprisingly enough, but to initiate a program in which governmental programs are compared and contrasted with corporations. In effect, they're looking at corporations as being "successful" and they want government agencies to copy that "success" and to run leaner and with less wasteful spending, in order to turn a profit, or in this case, help our pitiful ass budget.

Sounds good, right?

WRONG, you fuckers.

Here is the problem. The government is restricted by all kinds of policies that surround the pay scales and treatment of its employees. Corporations, being Giant Evil Entities (tm) are not. The government, for instance, generally likes to hire people in the united states to do the paperwork regarding taxes in the united states. I know its crazy, but there you go.

Corporations, on the other hand, prefer to send everything to Stanstanistan, where the currency is the rock, and where they can afford to pay people in gravel. You may have noticed this trend if you've tried to book a flight, make a hotel reservation, or if you have ever gotten a call from a telemarketer. Yes, that broken english is spoken by a Stanstanistaner, and he or she is happy to even have a job to keep his family from starving and being forced to eat sand.

So. One of the initiatives of this new program (thanks, republicans!) is that the government now has to bid against corporations for its own work. If the corporation wins, then the work contract is awarded to the corporation, and all of those governmental employees who once enjoyed being employed are now part of a "reduction in force" which the higher ups comically refer to as "Riffing" or "getting Riffed."

For instance: "Hey Bob, I hear that some of your guys are getting riffed."

or: "Man, Id sure like to rif her!"

well ok, that last one doesn't work as well.

Anyway, im sure you see where im going with this. It comes to a surprise to everyone but me that a corporation Somehow (note: illegal immigrant workforce) managed to under-bid uncle sam.

So now, your sensitive tax documents will be handled by Hassim and Habib, who will be happy to foward your documents to you, just as soon as you send them a form 3210, and also, please stop being an infidel, you capitalist pigdog.

The worst thing about this is not that we're losing our jobs, because I was hired as a temp anyway, and this is just cutting my employment by about a month and a half anyway. No, the worse thing is that everyone is shocked, and they can't stop from asking retarded questions.

During the meeting, the regional director showed up and gave a little presentation about what this means to us (thank god, no horrible powerpoint animation) and to paraphrase, it went something like this:

"As of 12 oclock today, I was notified that the IRS has lost the bid, and that a company from florida (I can't remember the name now, but I will add it if I do later) won the bid. They'll be running things here. The transition period is six months, so you all will have your job that long at least. I don't know any details, but its possible that they may hire some of you since you're already trained. I have no way of knowing, since they are a seperate entity from the IRS, so I dont know what their hiring policies are, or what they will pay or anything."

Well, there you go.

But no, the questions start at that point.

"will we be able to keep our jobs?"
"How much does the new company pay?"
"Will we get benifits with this new company?"

And there were lots more, just like that. Obviously, the director has no idea. Nobody does, because they found this out today. there is no information.

But nobody gets it. The questions go on for about a half hour or so.

Then, as I breathe a sigh of relief, the union rep gets up and says she gets a half hour now, and asks if anyone has any questions.

jesus.

About midway through the 800th "What will happen after the six month transition period, do I keep my job?" I got up and left the room. I don't know if anyone noticed, or cared, but I was about to develope a massive headache.

The whole thing is pretty fucked up. As far as I know, they won't be sending your taxes to another country, they'll be operating out of the same building we're in right now. But imagine if our whole government is eventually corporatized. You know that if that happens, they'll eventually START sending stuff to mexico, where people will file paperwork for a few pesos and a corona.

Lets take a little journey, you and I. I have a couple sips of this beer left.

Lets imagine the year 2013, when we'll all have flying cars and our homeland security will be handled by a tiny russian principality, who's only export is guys in black trenchcoats who handle USA security. They work for potatoes, which they send home. Potatoes are the national import.

Our top level governmental agencies are run mostly from mexico. Calling the whitehouse actually routes you to a call center in india, where Haj has been training for several months to develope a mexican accent so you don't realize you're talking to somebody in india and not mexico.

Its a brave new world, huh?

If we're lucky the job of running the FCC will go to sweden. I think they'd do a good job.