“EVERY SMILE I FAKE”

It’s been 2 and a half weeks since I started at Vandebron. In my previous blog I criticized the fact that we hadn’t been chosen Energy Company of the year since 2016. I did this because I didn’t want to only write extremely positive things like in my first blog.

Right after posting my second blog I went to the toilet. Maybe I really needed to pee, maybe I needed to release the pressure of having dared to do this during my proeftijd*, while I really like this company and my job and I definitely want to stay here to develop myself.

While I was in the toilet, looking for the lyrics of some old song, my team leader mailed me that the Consumentenbond stopped that Best Energy Company Election after 2016. #ouch!

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Back in my seat one of my colleagues saw me struggling with a problem in one of our programs. I’d refused to ask for help with this and spend at least 10 minutes on that each day. She frowned at me with a friendly face and then showed me a simple short-cut that fixed everything.

What made matters worse is that I then remembered having already been shown this on one of my first days. 15 minutes later I threw water over my keyboard.

My point is, starting at a new company almost always has its difficulties. No matter how smart or skilled you are, or how sweet your team, you will make mistakes and there will always be moments where you’ll feel a bit of a stranger.

It might be that you forget to check that one box that would make the case you thought you’d fixed resume its way. It might be your teammates talking about some legendary former colleague that looked like Nick Cave, who always greeted everyone with “Merry Christmas” and you want to laugh with them, but it feels kind of fake.

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In my case it was probably because I’m already 40 and I wanted to prove my worth so much that it made me look somewhat cocky. I feel a bit stupid for having to say this, but I’m actually not. Not cocky I mean, I’m definitely 40.

If my team mates could look into my head they’d see someone questioning every breath he takes, every move he makes and all of the legendary songs I hum while taking a toilet break.

* I’ll always have 1 Dutch word or saying in my posts for practicing purposes ;)

EQ vs F YOU

– As a starting employee at energy company Vandebron
I’m writing about my experiences working for
the coolest company in the Netherlands –

It’s my second week as a member of Vandebron’s Backoffice squad. This team tries to solve the difficulties our customers run into. I’d love to say that we don’t have anything to do, but that’s not true.

Although I seriously believe that all of my co-workers are trying their very best to give our customers what they need, growing as fast as we did, took it’s toll on their experiences. This means we can’t send everyone personalised emails anymore which is probably quite normal for companies with over 180.000 customers, but I’d still like to sometimes.

Luckily most of our customers chose us because of our shared interest in making our planet just a little bit better instead of my friendly choise of words and possible puns.

Speaking of standardisations, Vandebron works with something called Impraise. I now know that Impraise is a beautiful tool with which you can highlight your colleague’s awesome and less awesome qualities. But when I first heard about it, my brain changed it into a standardized high school popularity contest, because I was a bit afraid.

I thought back to when one of my classmates sprayed water over the crotch of his pants during chemistry, or maybe it was me; my point is that the cold water faucet is on the wrong side!

Prasad Postma Vandebron

That wet teenager tried to explain his mistake with a rant that went something like: “80% of all people are right handed and you mostly have something in your right hand, like soap or an erlenmeyer flask, while using the cold water. This makes it awkward to use ‘the cold side’ since you have to move your left hand across the water!”

With an epic angry face, this guy then looked around his classroom. He knew his fellow students didn’t dare laugh, for his words were somewhat feared back then.

Coming back from my daydream, sitting at my desk at Vandebron I started thinking about all the people who used the warm water for quick splashes of cold. How much gas could have been saved if someone on the team that designed that very first valve would have said something about ‘this obvious design flaw’.

Would me or my colleagues at Vandebron react smarter if we saw someone who outranked us make a professional blunder? Would we start ranting if we came out of the kitchen with a wet spot?

Deze afbeelding heeft een leeg alt-attribuut; de bestandsnaam is erlenmeyer-fles-512x512.jpg

I wish I could answer these questions with a subsequent YES and a NOOO, but I really don’t know. We still have some high school like elements in my team and I’m pretty sure I’m one of them.

I hope I’d be able to properly ventilate my concerns though. I hope I wouldn’t laugh, scream and/or go too far in any other way.

If I did, that person better tell me this to my face, instead of waiting for a fucking Impraise!

I’m probably overreacting. Maybe I just have to learn to deal with my struggles becoming and acting like an adult. Maybe I’m not the asocial bully I used to be, or maybe I never was. Maybe we should all just try to keep our pants clean and our heads straight.

I’m certain that I’m unsure about all of this, including that faucet thing, excluding the believe that we really try to do our very best at Vandebron. I’m sure that I’m done hiding my mistakes though.

Follow my blog as I keep messing up, while getting better at solving problems for the energy company that is most genuinely trying hardest to keep her employees and customers happy.

Ps. My team captain just told me that I don’t work here long enough to do that Impraise-thing, which actually makes a lot of sense. I am very curious about what it is though and about what it might teach me.

That Sticky Stuff

The Netherlands have a famous saying that Saturday is the most beautiful day of the week because of soccer. I have celebrated…

THAT STICKY STUFF

I have celebrated the ‘saying’ at the top of this page, for nearly half my life, but until recently, I didn’t seem to fully grasp it’s meaning.

It was 1993, my pubes almost appeared like they belonged down there, I rebelled against absolutely everything, it were the most thrilling days of my life. I discovered girls and vice versa, I found out my parents weren’t always right and I won all my fights while losing them at the same time. For instance, I got my parents to let me stay up till 23:00 to be able to watch the X-files, but was banned from our remote right after 21:00. On Saturdays however I played soccer and used to be, at least momentarily, freed from their constant mild Christianity a pressure not yet consciously felt in elementary, but quite similar to gravity.

Early that morning (dear Lord, we used to play early) I felt something sticky while reaching for my gear. When I pulled it out it appeared to be one of my shin guards. ‘Why does that always happen to things I haven’t used in a while?’ I asked myself. This happened in our dressing room while getting ready for an important match against our nemesis and it was at that moment that Gerardus, our obese coach, decided it was time for a speech.

Living in a small rural community Gerardus had seen us skip church more and more regularly which got him worried. It was either that or he actually thought there was a link between apostle Peters famous betrayal of Christ and our recent defeat. Whatever it was, it felt as if Gods notions of normal had now taken over my Saturday mornings as well and I was more then ready to make someone pay for that.

Gerardus ended his speech with: ‘So actually it’s all about soccer pitch chivalry’. While he desperately tried to replace my preacher, I heavily enjoyed the inevitable erosion of every principle bone in my body, greeting his final statement with an arrogant grin and an applause that lasted uncomfortably long. I then rolled down my socks, untied my shin guards and Crip-walked to the pitch (oh Lord, I loved crushing toes).

The match itself was gruesome. Our coach, a bear of a man who believed ones entire body consisted of shoulder, was also our referee and in accordance with his believes he never raised his whistle for a foul. This allowed our opponents to compensated their minimal motor skills with some excellent ligament stretching. Becoming fiercely frustrated we tried to appeal to referee Gerardus by portraying a crucified Christ every third unpunished tackle. After my third bleeding Jesus, I had bitten my lips to enhance believability, Gerardus started laughing and applauding awkwardly long. That’s when I gave up on trying to score a goal and focused on preventing them.

Because they couldn’t and we weren’t allowed the match was destined to remain 0 – 0 until the ninetieth minute. In those seconds God seemed to finally look our way and decided it was time for some divine intervention. He whispered to one of their defenders to pass the ball back to his keeper without checking if there was still someone in between. It was me. I controlled his pass, turned, looked, lobbed and scored followed by a harmonic roar as seldom heard before on those fields of joy.

Looking back with a gigantic smile I suddenly heard a whistle. When I looked in the direction of that horrible sound I saw Gerardus, who was at least fifty feet away, making the offside sign. My memories become blurry from that moment, but our referee/coach died a few days after his terrible mistake that made us draw that game. Heart-attack, dear Lord he was fat – and we didn’t play the following weekend. The whole team attended his funeral, all just days ago having wished he was dead.

That happened twenty-three years ago. Three years ago (2012) more than a million Dutch amateur soccer players left their shin guards in their smelly bags. Thousands of pitches stayed empty for the weekend as soccer crazed Holland desperately tried to make a statement against violence around the pitch. All because a bunch of morons, who’d obviously never understood the concept of honour, kicked a failing assistant referee to death.

I can still clearly recall the hate I felt towards Gerardus back then. But my opinion about that feeling is as thin and wrinkly as my pubes. I’m only certain that I no longer like everything surrounding soccer, that you should never fight one guy with a group and that Chivalry is something that sticks. It just has to be shown from time to time, especially around those (un)holy chalk lines on the most beautiful day of the week.

Act Jealous, Press Pause

“It got a bit boring in the bedroom, though.”, they would continue their overly honest monologue. This last remark not being a knife in the back, but…

 

ACT JEALOUS, PRESS PAUSE

When I was homeless I lived without my own remote for months in a row. That might sound stupid to you (and it is) but before I lost my house, my television screen had been one of my closest friends for a long time.

To overcome my growing ‘no remote/control-itch’ I decided to do some downloading, I still had my own laptop. Since I hadn’t a clue on what to choose I asked my best friend for her favourites, and the password to her wifi… I could stay at her place

Anyways… Weeks, in which I overwhelmed my friend with overenthusiastic reviews on movies she’d seen ages ago, went by. Then I finally got to enjoy her couch the way God had intended. She went away for a while and I could stay in her house. The fridge-sized television she left me with would even bring me the good stuff digitally, she said: ‘But I had no idea what that meant.’

I must admit, those first few clicks with a remote of ‘my own’ were a little awkward. But right after a German slagerfestival and a French Nescafe commercial I discovered her movie channel, so I could finally, really settle down. The Descendants had just started and after googling I found out that George Clooney had almost won an Oscar for his role in this particular flick.

Since I’m not that into slagermusic or French commercials, I decided to give that movie a chance and soon discovered it was a ‘not so funny and slightly pretentious rom-com disguised as a drama. George’s almost award winning performance in The Descendants reminded me of his perfomance in Syriana one of my friends favourites for which George did win an Oscar.

In Syriana George plays a not particularly fit looking secret agent that hardly moves a muscle while someone is pulling out his nails. The motion picture I just saw had Clooney playing a not so fit looking father who hardly moves a muscle after hearing someone else had frequently fucked his wife.. in their bed.

Getting up from my temporary TV-throne (which was easier said..) I grabbed my laptop and started googling. There was something utterly wrong here. I found out that Syriana scored a 7 with about 80,000 votes @IMDB. The descendants was awarded a 7.5 from 145,000 viewers. The first flick got Clooney an Oscar and the second one almost.

Then I googled Ocean’s Eleven which scored a 7.8 coming from 300,000 people. Even though the latter was a star packed movie in which Clooney may not have played the obvious main character, it didn’t even get him a nomination from the 6,000 @The Academy. Why was that? What made George a better actor in the previously mentioned movies and what made those roles so hard to play, hence award nomination material?

I know George isn’t known for looking timid or out of shape, au contraire. Whenever you see him, apart from those earlier mentioned (belly)roles, George always seems to breath ‘Sexy’ and I’m willing to bet that his left eyebrow is hotter than the entire cast of the Muppets, miss Piggy excluded.

Now, if that’s the real Clooney it would make his roles in Syriana and The Descendants enormously challenging. That’s like asking Berlusconi to act innocent or David Hasselhof to act as Berlusconi. But I know that’s not George.

Based on nothing but my brilliance (and juvenile jealousy) I am pretty sure that all of George’s former, not so steady, girlfriends talk about him as being a friendly, easy-going, pet loving boyfriend. The kind you would instantly like.

I couldn’t wait to take him home!” They’d say. “Not just to fuck his brains out, but also to show my folks that I’d found the perfect provider.” They would probably follow this statement by a long pause, a small sigh and a blush.

It got a bit boring in the bedroom, though.” they would continue their overly honest monologue, this last remark not being a knife in the back, a substitute for a sex-tape, but the desperate cry of a woman looking for redemption. A female feeling free to react to the BOOH’s of her husband’s fans after their inevitable break-up. Someone who could finally talk about the dryness of her vagina…

Bottom-line; George played himself in Syriana and The Descendants, acted his heart out in Oceans Eleven and should get a damn Oscar for every friggin’ Nescafé commercial that has half of France clinging to their couches.

A proper job

Do you want your website to get pornlike traffic? Do you want your pockets fatter? Hire me and I’ll bring you to the light…


A PROPER JOB


Burning everything containing nudity, lentils, not allowing sex before being wed, dried prunes, having a banner checking your age, acai-juice, disallowing boys to show their penis while taking a shower, spit from monkeys that eat their own seamen, we’ve tried it all. We’ve literally tried everything, yet nothing seemed to save us from pornography and belly fat. We only grew bigger and more obsessed.


Not anymore!” say David and The Wizard. While the former, British Prime minister David Cameron, is talking about a miracle wall that will make the British internet porn free, Dr. Oz promotes green coffee as the miracle substance that will make everybody fat free. Both are full of it and I’ll tell you why.


Thinking that more than one percent of people, including our dot-com-kids, accidentally stumble upon pornography, is somewhat naïve. Thinking that by ‘blocking’ porn the other 99 percent won’t be able to find it anymore, is nothing short of stupid. For example: I was one day late in discovering my normal route to The Pirate Bay was legitimately blocked. When I did, 28 alternate gateways were already well in place.


Figuring that getting overweight is more than 1 percent about the tempo of our glucose release, something green coffee might slow down, is somewhat naïve. Thinking overweight people can keep eating unhealthy and won’t have to move more to lose weight, is beyond moronic. “You don’t even have to walk to a store to get it!” said Oz, followed by: “Just pick up that mouse and let your fat fingers click away. Green coffee will save the day!” or something like that.


That Green coffee the Dr. talked about was ‘scientifically tested on 200 women, for 2 weeks’. Read that back, please and pause after 200 women and 2 weeks… Thought about it? That’s not scientific. That’s not even close! Yet it still beats the living daylights out of Camerons claim that Brittain’s going to be a better place once they’ve build that tiny wall in the world wide web, inmpossible to uphold and costing about the same as they took from people’s social services and child support.’


Do you want your website to get pornlike traffic? Would you like your pockets fatter than fat? Hire me and I’ll make it happen. Though I’m not yet sure how, this I firmly vow!

Murray Mountain

Murray won Wimbledon today. “It was a wonderful match!”, cried the old man handing him the trophy. He was lying.

MURRAY MOUNTAIN

Seemingly effortlessly he discarded those first three championship points. Then Novak Djokovic, the undisputed number one tennis player of the world, granted the struggling Andy Murray from Dunblande (Scotland) a fourth one. It was as if to say: ‘Come on now, lad. We both know this is your moment. Take it, son! I had plenty already.”

A few instants later the air was ripped apart by a roar like they’ve never heard before. It was the moment they’d all been waiting for. A year earlyer, after winning the US Open, his first Grand Slam, Murray was so overwhelmed that he didn’t know how to react. But not at this moment, right now he knew exactly what to do.

Immediately after winning that last point, Murray turned to the crowd. Not to that special box with his blood bound loved ones, but to his fans in the stands, the thousands on ‘Henman Hill’ and the millions in front of screens around the world. First he gave them his racket, soon followed by his tears. He then remembered to shake his opponents hand before his knees gave away, an intensely private moment in this most public of stages.

Tennis-technically Murray’s win was pretty awful. It definitely never approached the level of that illustrious final of 2008 between Nadal and Federer. That was a 5 hour spectacle, the exhilarating end of a trilogy in which gravel-specialist Nadal beat the best (grass)player ever. There were some similarities though. Both winners ran faster than their legs could carry them, both played sharper then their heads could process and both beat someone intrinsically better. But most of all, both were supposed to go like so, making their crowds explode for the inevitable end of an era.

Change was also what Fred Perry, Wimbledon’s last victorious male Brit, had in mind after winning Wimbledon for a third straight time (1936). Disillusioned by the class conscious nature of Britain’s tennis federation, working class Perry immediately turned pro and moved to America. In reaction, the Lawn Tennis Club of Great Britain waited 50 years to recognize Perry’s extraordinary achievement. They had to wait another 29 before they were forgiven by his spirit.

So on the 7th of the 7th, 77 years after their last male victor, not so Great Britain finally got their desperately awaited male Wimbledon winner. They had to applaud Americans, Frenchmen, a bunch of Germans and even an Egyptian before they finally did Andy. He won a horrible match today, but they deserved it.