Employment flashback

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I woke up quite early in Minneapolis this morning after passing out quite early in Minneapolis last night.
Before I went mad with low blood sugar, I put on all the layers I had with me in my hotel room (it was 37°) and bolted for the nearest breakfast burrito. I ended up at The Simple Sandwich, which is in the most corporate of corporate towers on the corner of Marquette and Fifth.
Everyone was streaming into work wearing grays, blacks and blues, with their “I don’t like Mondays” face and holding stainless steel coffee mugs with insurance company logos. Women carry at least a purse and one enormous bag/shoulder suitcase. This twisted my stomach into knots because it gave me the feeling I am running late and that I’m a useless leech on society. Strange, that never bothered me before.
The last time I was in Minneapolis was eight years ago when I worked for Honeywell. For the two years working for the massive engineering firm, I had the permanent feeling of sand in my eyes. My colleagues were some of the hardest working and smartest people in the room. They were also earnest and, I’ve decided, descended from farmer stock in the Midwest because holding meetings at the crow of the rooster was not unusual.
This was a nightmare. I had just come from Paris, where I had worked for a French bank. I won’t name it but the initials are SG. In France I enjoyed 10 weeks of vacation a year, not including public holidays. Every person received five weeks, and in 2001, everyone was given another three weeks to make up for the 35 hour workweek rules. Then, as an expat, I received two weeks home leave. When I wasn’t on vacation, I was preparing to go on vacation.
So I go from strolling to work in Paris with my jaunty beret and a baguette under my arm to deciding how much thermal underwear I should be wearing at 5 AM so I’m not too hot in the afternoon.
I left Honeywell for an Australian firm. Australians have the work/life balance attitude of the French but without all that culture to get in the way.

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