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The exterminator, not Ahnold, came today. How many times have I used that one in my blog now?

Today I received this form letter from IBM HR.

Dear John:

I am pleased to inform you that your request for a Flexible Work Option Leave of Absence has been approved. Your leave will begin on May 6, 2006 and is planned to end on May 6, 2007. The number of weekly hours you will be working will be 16.00. While on a leave of absence, you will be eligible to the same benefit plans and programs as other regular employees.

  • During the leave of absence, you are subject to the IBM Business Conduct Guidelines in effect on the date your leave begins. The agreement you signed upon hire regarding confidential information and intellectual property continues in effect during your leave.

  • In the event IBM or your business unit conducts a layoff of employees while you are on leave, IBM may, to the extent permitted by law, terminate your leave status and your employment in accordance with the terms of the layoff.
You should contact your manager at least 30 days prior to your FWLOA leave expiration date to confirm your return as a fulltime or an extension.

IBM reserves the right, at it's discretion, to amend, modify, or terminate it's benefits, plans, programs, practices, or policies, as the company requires. IBM reserves the right, at it's discretion, to apply or not to apply to employees on leaves of absence, a change (for example, an improvement or reduction) which it makes in the benefits applicable to employees not on leaves, and the right to make a change applicable to employees on leaves of absence, even if it does not make the change to employees not on leaves.

If you have any questions regarding this leave, please contact me.


Now you might think that that clause about being laid off even when you're on leave might have set me off, but you'd be mistaken.

Here's the letter I fired back to HR:


Is there any way to update this form letter to reflect proper grammar?

It should be "IBM reserves the right, at its discretion, to amend, modify, or terminate its benefits,..."

I cringe at the thought of such a note going out to person after person after person.


I am an official member of

I listened in on two of the most incredibly boring conference calls ever today.

IBMers love to say these phrases: "in this space", "we need to re-double our efforts" (Why not just quadruple them and be done with it?), "... at the end of the day..." and on and on and on with phrases that they perceive make them "thought leaders," when in fact, they make them "thought sheep."

One call went from 11:00 - 12:30, and the other one from 1:00 - 2:00. These are the notes I took during the meetings:


I did 30 minutes on the elliptical machine tonight, with my heart rate hovering between the highest point in the "aerobic zone" and the lowest point in the "overdoing it" zone. I jammed to "house music" while ellipticaling.

Afterwards, I walked for 30 minutes, and listened to podcasts while doing so.

I was supposed to meet Joe and some colleagues of his out for drinks at 11:30, but the outing got canceled. Instead, Joe and I met at Flex, where it was "Show Tunes Video Night."

Robert F. was out, as was Jace, "Military Mary" (Bill), and Phil and Joe.

Later, this guy named Phil, who is one of twins we met last year at the Miss N.C. beauty pageant time, came in with a couple of friends of his, including a guy named Jay who was with Phil (and his twin Craig) last year. Craig wasn't with them. I remember Jay telling us last year that he was in a triad, and tonight one of his partners was with them.

Joe introduced Phil (the twin) to Phil and Joe, and suddenly there were two Joes, two Phils, and me. :-)

Just as we were leaving to go to CCs for the 12:30 show, Dougie arrived. We told him we'd see him over, if he went, but he never did.

The show was decent. There were two drag queens named Jazmine in the show -- Jazmine Addams and Jazmine Brooks. Too bad Joe and Phil didn't follow us over there; we'd've had two Phils, two Joes, and two Jazmines.



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