Human Resource – A Free Short Story!

All right, guys, a bit of a warning with this one. It’s … dark. Very dark, especially if you stop to think about it. And grim.

Worse still, it’s not entirely untrue.

A bit of background: I wrote this story after my second frustrating workplace injury and experience dealing with Worker’s Comp and my part-time job’s Human Resources department. If you’re interested in hearing the details about that, you can check out this post here, which is all about how I acquired the injury and the recover I underwent. But the short of it is that within days I was already feeling like I had when I’d had my knee injury. In other words, very much like my company just wanted to practice horse medicine and shove everything under the rug.

In my frustrations, I ended up writing this short to blow off a little steam. It’s dark. It’s grim. And, worst of all, it’s actually pretty true, and like most good fiction, that makes it all the more alarming.

The microphone monitoring tech? That’s real. A certain massive mega-conglomerate retailer patented it last year and has already started rolling it out into stores. It monitors all employees at all times. And yes, they do warn that ‘certain problem words’ can trigger an automatic, computer-driven firing. Boop, a text to your phone, go home, you’re done here.

That’s what scariest about this story: It’s really not that far off. The tech involved here is very real, and already being rolled into the workplace much in the same way you see it in this story. It’s just all in one package, and seeing the sudden jump from where we are now to where we may be in five, ten years really does seem jarring, compared to coming in to a new bit or piece every day.

Am I worried we might go as far as this story? Well … in a way, yes. We were once already there, if you know your history of what jobs used to be like before labor laws were put in place.

But I’ll stop waxing on it now. You’re here to read a story. So, without further ado, I present to you Human Resource. Enjoy!

And try not to let it depress you too much. I can tell you it was therapeutic to write.


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The Tale of My Wrist (With Pictures!)

Okay, first up, all the pictures in this post are going to be hidden behind the jump. There’s not even a featured image for this one, despite me having ten pictures of my wrist at the ready for the post. Why?

Because some people do not want pictures involving even a little blood or pain. And some of these pictures are a little gross. So if you’re squeamish about that kind of thing … Yeah, this post past the jump is going to be a little unwelcome for you.

Anyway, that warning out of the way, today’s post, as promised, is about my wrist injury. How it happened, what’s been going on since then, and my recovery. Because it’s a fun, interesting tale.

I do have one small bit of news on an upcoming thingamajig before I get rolling on this however: This month’s Patreon Reward! It’s going up tomorrow, and it’s a doozy of a preview. What of, you may ask? Well, my current project is, as I’ve mentioned a few times, a Halo novel! The first three chapters of one, anyway. The plan is to pitch the first few chapters and the outline at Gallery/343 and see if they pick it up.

But since that’s what I’ve been working on, this month’s preview is going to be an excerpt of the first chapter, which I finished yesterday. Pre-alpha, naturally, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m enjoying it so far, and in fact really want to get back to work on it, so let’s get to this post so I can continue working on it! But if you’re a Patreon Supporter, check back tomorrow!

Now, about my wrist injury. Let’s start at the beginning …


I have a part-time job working at a local convention center. While my full-time hjob is writing, which takes about 8-10 hours of my day, often more, it doesn’t pay all the bills yet. So I have to work part-time in order to make ends meet. This means that my average workweek ends up being around 60-70 hours, but hey, sacrifices for the job, right?

Writing, to be precise. The other job, well … let me tell you about it.

I work in the operations department, which is setting up, taking down, cleaning, and other assorted tasks vital to a convention center. If you’ve ever been to a convention or a vendor’s conference of any kind and seen hundreds of chairs set in nice neat rows, huge panels of staging, drapery, dozens of tables all set up with nice tablecloths and skirts …

Yeah, we do all that. We set it all up. We keep it clean. We straighten it up. We take it all down. And more. If I listed all the things we do, it’d be a post into and unto itself.

We’re also the absolute lowest of the low where I work. So low that most of the time our department feels like an afterthought to the office part of the building. Lately there’s been one manager who’s started to reel that back (great guy, him I back) but it’s been pretty common with our job to be handed incomplete diagrams, measurements that don’t conform to reality or the laws of physics, and other things like that which we’re just expected to “fix.” Our shifts have gradually been pushed further and further into the night so that events can run later and later (the current common shift is 9 PM to 3 AM or 10 PM to 4 AM), with no compensation offered for the extreme lateness of the hour. The pay is also low, so low that we’ve had serious retention problems and our department is quite understaffed. Right now about half our department is made up of high schoolers, because they’re the only people we’ve managed to attract with our low wages (which are below the living wage—not minimum, just living—in our area). Which comes with its own problems as minors can’t work certain hours, but that’s another story.

Why do I work there? Because the hours are flexible enough that I can focus mainly on my writing, and just sort of somewhat disconnect and do the job to make it through. But if it sounds like the place may have some issues, well … yes. I’m explaining this because it leads into how I got this injury by kind of giving you an idea of how it is in our department.

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Price Drops, Wrist Report, and Other Updates

Hello readers! Again, I apologize for the lack of material these last two weeks. This arm injury really threw a wrench into everything writing and life-wise. And right now I’m battling to get my worker’s comp (and may, it seems, need to get a personal injury lawyer) so that’s taking up time … Ugh.

You know, things would be a lot nicer if companies would just be nice, ethical, and legal. Or at the very least not attempt to bury their screw-ups and take responsibility for their mistakes. I’m not looking forward to going down there today, let me tell you.

Anyway, that does tie in with the arm. How is it? Well … improving. I’d say I’ve got about 50% of the mobility back in my wrist, and the swelling has gone down. I can hold something that weighs a pound or two without too much strain now, though position matters. And the brace helps.

All said, it’s getting better. The gash is healing too. Still looks ugly, and will probably leave a scar, but … that’s life. It still aches a bit when editing and writing, so I have to take breaks, but they’re getting less frequent. Another week, I’d say.

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Answers on the Arm

Hey hey! Guess who’s back at their computer?

Sort of. I’ve got a massive brace on my right forearm that doesn’t make typing easy. I’d say I’m at less than half-speed right now. Maybe a quarter.

But … that’s better than nothing, and better than a phone. So what’s the story with the arm and what’s going on?

Well, the injury if from my part time job. If you’ve ever been at a college or a convention center, odds are you’ve seen air-wall. Those large, mobile wall pieces used to divide rooms in half?

Well, in our building’s largest room, we have two of them. The ceiling in this room is fifty feet up. That bit is important. As well is that these air-walls are pretty … old and badly maintained.

Yeah, there’s no other way to put that. This was the third incident of falling metal from the air-wall railings. And the first instance of it hitting someone. The air-wall came to a stop, we tried to start it moving again, and …

A six-foot, 15 pound or so piece tore free and dropped right at me. Unfortunately, this happened at the junction where the air-wall moves into its storage. Which meant that I was backed into said storage and really didn’t have options for moving out of the way easily. So I ducked my head, put my arm up in a block (I did martial arts for several years in high school and I’m glad that muscle memory held up), and took this long bit of metal right on the back of my arm, wrist, and shoulder.

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Being a Better Writer: Writing About Injuries

Hello readers, and welcome to … Topic. List. Eleven!

Okay, so it’s probably not such a big deal for those of you who are newcomers or aren’t sitting on my end of the keyboard, but on this side knowing that I’ve made it through ten of these sheets of paper with Being a Better Writer topics on them is a little awe-inspiring. This marks the fifth year of writing these, and from the look if it, I’m not going to run out of topics anytime soon.

So then, let’s talk injuries. Specifically, writing about them, why we write about them, and some of the different ways we can use them in our writing, for good or bad.

Actually, we’re going to tackle this in not quite that order. First up, why write about injury? Why should we be concerned with keeping track of our characters pains and aches, especially if they’re not “important” to the story?

Well, as you can probably guess by the quotes around “important” in that last paragraph, I’d disagree entirely, regardless of the type of story that we’re writing. That’s right, injury and pain are just as important in a story that’s a Regency Romance as they are in a story that’s an action-adventure novel. Do you know why?

Because pain and injury, minor or major, are a part of life. They’re as much as it sounds strange to say it this way, a unique flavor that’s a part and parcel of the experience. Ask yourself how many times you’ve stubbed a toe, burned a finger or palm, or suffered a cut or scrape across your arm. In all likelihood, you probably can’t even remember a large number of those times … but you still know that they happened because they’re part of the experience of life.

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