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Is it Acceptable To Be Expected To Be Reachable For Long Periods?

QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
edited January 2010 in Debate and/or Discourse
A brewing discussion in the texting thread is the influence mobile technology has had on the working culture. Time was, once someone finished work, they finished work. Sure, they had a house phone, but nobody expected them to be sitting by it waiting for a if they were needed. If a person couldn't be reached, they couldn't be reached.

Nowadays however cell phones are ubiquitous. People can be on call 24/7 if desired. The eight hour work day has been extended into the rest of the day for some people. Not the greatest thing in my opinion, but something of valid use to a degree in my opinion.

---
GungHo wrote: »
Quid wrote: »
GungHo wrote: »
That kind of thing is something that really needs to be examined by society as a whole, and probably warrants its own thread (or two). Employers have way, way too much input into the lives of their employees, and just because technology allows you to run your infrastructure on a skeleton crew doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea.
While I agree with this to a point, it is the state of affairs. And really, it depends on how it's being used. For example while on hurricane duty, while I was expected to be reachable for months at a time, I was only contacted as often as a hurricane was actually inbound to our area, so it was hardly an increase in stress or inconvenience.
I agree. In special situations, sure. On rotation, sure. Every fucking day, for years? No way. It's ridiculous. And, to TK... no, you're not always given "pager pay". And, it's not always infrequent. I've seen it morph into going from being a sometimes thing to being a constant thing, and yes, I'll admit I'm not speaking from an unbiased point of view.

The makers of the blackberry need to be drug out into the street and shot.

I disagree. When I was "on call" for months, the only way around it would have been to have dozens, possibly hundreds of people on eight hour shifts, just sitting there, waiting for a hurricane. Given the infrequency of the storms themselves it wasn't an issue at all.

It also helped that what I was on call for was something of actual importance. Had I been on call that long to basically do my regular job over the phone at random points I'd have been Hella pissed. Instead I was getting called to go help with an actual emergency.

Quid on
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Posts

  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited December 2009
    Depends on the job. Network admins at my company are on a rotation in case something happens. They also get paid more due to the "inconvenience".

    But if you're a fry cook, unless you're being asked to come in because someone called in sick, it's reasonable to not answer your phone when the boss calls. Hell, even if it's a request for you to come in on your off day, if you don't pick up, then it shouldn't be a big deal.

    If you eventually get fired and one of those reasons is "isn't reliable in situations that may arise" then you can't blame a boss for replacing you with someone who would be willing to make that sacrifice.

    However, I've never really known jobs that stopped when you clocked out. My parents were business people and always bringing work home with them. My sister as well, who's an accountant for a big company. She's also on salary so she's simply expected to meet deadlines however she can.

    Like everything, there can be a nice comfy balance. Employers can expect you to come in if they need you, and they should also expect you to decline their request if you have the day off. Unless your pay rate is padded specifically because you may be needed. Or you're on salary.

    Sheep on
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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    "Don't give employers your cellphone number" is something I heard a lot over the last decade.

    Every employer I've worked for has had the company policy of managers not being able to force you to come in. It was well within my right to say no over the phone. This is how it is for everyone. If a manager does retaliate, you take it to human resources right away.

    So is it acceptable to be reachable for long periods? Yes. Is it acceptable to equate that with "come in because I said so?" Hell fucking no. You get the law involved if that shit escalates.

    Edit - If you're a doctor, you should be saving a life if the need arises.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • MorgensternMorgenstern Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I gave my boss my cell phone number and regretted it because I would get phone calls on the weekend to about technical issues, or even phone calls at 11 at night about RFIs that were being closed out, etc. I just changed my cell phone number and when he asked for it again, I said no.

    Morgenstern on
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  • adytumadytum Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I gave my boss my cell phone number and regretted it because I would get phone calls on the weekend to about technical issues, or even phone calls at 11 at night about RFIs that were being closed out, etc. I just changed my cell phone number and when he asked for it again, I said no.

    You have to nip it in the bud. Socially, too.

    adytum on
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  • Zombie NirvanaZombie Nirvana Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I work in an industry where it is a necessity, so I would hope it could be acceptable.

    Zombie Nirvana on
  • HydroSqueegeeHydroSqueegee ULTRACAT!!!™®© Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    when i started my current job this past July, i was unaware there would be any on call duties since i THOUGHT i was being hired for SMS scripting. Instead i was put on a team in charge of part of the servers here. Either way was fine with me, but it was... unexpected. Its really not bad. 4 days on call every 4 months for something that MIGHT break. No extra compensation... just something the team shares.

    HydroSqueegee on
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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Well, there's a difference between being on-call and your employer just being able to call you whenever because they have your cell number. Being on call sometimes or always is an expected part of a job that you presumably squared with when you took said job.

    What boggles my mind is that people always answer their cells when they get random calls. I used to have a part time job where I would get called sometimes to come in, and if I saw that work was calling and I was busy or over hours or just didn't fucking feel like coming in because it's saturday, I just didn't answer the phone.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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  • Zombie NirvanaZombie Nirvana Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I guess I'm always on call to work because I only have a 24 hour window to respond to certain events... but most of the time it is through e-mail - I don't have to physically be in any location. However there are some people in my company who need to be able to respond within an hour or so pretty much all the time. We're all well paid for it though, no complaints.

    Zombie Nirvana on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    So is it acceptable to be reachable for long periods? Yes. Is it acceptable to equate that with "come in because I said so?" Hell fucking no. You get the law involved if that shit escalates.
    Live in a Right to Work state, and you may find getting the law involved quite difficult.

    GungHo on
    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    GungHo wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    So is it acceptable to be reachable for long periods? Yes. Is it acceptable to equate that with "come in because I said so?" Hell fucking no. You get the law involved if that shit escalates.
    Live in a Right to Work state, and you may find getting the law involved quite difficult.

    State law giving employers the right to abuse employees doesn't mean corporations and companies will change their policies just for those states.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    O_o

    You seem to have missed the point.

    Companies in those states can fire people just because they didn't "come in when I said so".

    Quid on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Time for example.

    Jack in the Box as a company has specific policy in place against that sort of shit. The state's low bar doesn't trump a company's low bar.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    While that is the case it is not what you said.

    You said should a company do that, a person should get the law involved.

    That is not an option in many states.

    Quid on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    No, he got the point. He just doesn't think interstate/international corps change their policies within those states. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on who you work for. I happen to know some companies that really do and have incorporated within those states so they can take advantage of employer-favoring laws.

    GungHo on
    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Quid wrote: »
    While that is the case it is not what you said.

    You said should a company do that, a person should get the law involved.

    That is not an option in many states.

    I'm sure if a higher-up in a company violated their policy, it could be taken to arbitration and court if it doesn't result in things being resolved. It wouldn't be a matter of a person vs. the state but the person vs. the company.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It doesn't really matter if they do though (though I'm sure plenty do).

    There are also companies based only in one state that can have that mindset.

    Quid on
  • QuidQuid I don't... what... hnnng Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Wait, I missed the context of the original quote. Never mind. I misunderstood.

    Quid on
  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    I'm sure if a higher-up in a company violated their policy, it could be taken to arbitration and court if it doesn't result in things being resolved. It wouldn't be a matter of a person vs. the state but the person vs. the company.
    Quick, if you're an executive and you're gonna be paged to fix a computer, say "AYE".

    *crickets*

    GungHo on
    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Don't worry I'm not really sure what we're arguing about in the context of the thread anymore.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • Edith_Bagot-DixEdith_Bagot-Dix Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    IMO, it's not acceptable in most cases, and it's why I don't carry a cell phone (I have one on a minimal prepaid plan, for emergencies) or work in the video game industry anymore. I worked regular IT jobs before ever getting into games, and having a cell phone was par for the course. When I worked in the game industry, I found the phone became a source of abuse, because on top of the horrendous hours, you couldn't very well do anything in your off hours due to the expectation that you'd be available to talk about work, or come into work, at any time of the day or night. It got to the point where I couldn't stand the fucking things; even now, hearing some one else's phone ring immediately puts me on edge. I just tell employers that I don't have a cell phone now. It has never been a problem so far, but if it was, I guess I'd say it isn't a job I'd want anyway.

    Edith_Bagot-Dix on


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  • VariableVariable Ted Hitler Stroke Me Lady FameRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    depends on the job and what I agree to when hired.

    I have less of a problem than some folks seem to with not answering my phone for any given reason. If I feel like I'm unavailable, I don't pick up.

    now, if I was defined as on call during a certain period, or 24/7 (my step dad is a boiler operator at a jail, and sometimes they need him, so he's always on call) then yes I'd pick up no matter what as it would be what I agreed to.

    Variable on
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  • HachfaceHachface Not the Minister Farrakhan you're thinking of Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    This question depends entirely on the nature of the job.

    I work a pretty brainless office job. I come in at 9, leave at 6. My supervisors have my cell phone number because I sometimes work out of the office during business hours, but if I ever saw them call before 9 or after 6 I would surely ignore them. Whatever it is can wait until the next business day.

    This attitude obviously won't fly for people whose jobs are actually important.

    Hachface on
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    "Don't give employers your cellphone number" is something I heard a lot over the last decade.

    I WISH it were that easy.

    "Here's your company blackberry, Henroid!"

    Deebaser on
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  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    "Don't give employers your cellphone number" is something I heard a lot over the last decade.

    I WISH it were that easy.

    "Here's your company blackberry, Henroid!"

    Oh my God if I worked a job that gave every employee a blackberry I would have it fucking MADE.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • TaranisTaranis Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    GungHo wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    So is it acceptable to be reachable for long periods? Yes. Is it acceptable to equate that with "come in because I said so?" Hell fucking no. You get the law involved if that shit escalates.
    Live in a Right to Work state, and you may find getting the law involved quite difficult.

    How are Right to Work Laws even relevant?

    Taranis on
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  • AbimelechAbimelech Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I work in IT for a CC company and I have to carry a rotating Blackberry. Two weeks at a time every....four months now, I think. It used to be more back when we only had myself and two others qualified to carry it. Then it was two weeks every month and a half.

    I've been out of school for three and a half years now and I am now in a position where I am a go-to person for pretty much everything we have on my team. I do application development and so I have to support those apps once they go into production. I never thought of myself as a superstar IT person but apparently I am, since I am now second in command behind the tech lead for problem resolution. I have people that have been working there for ten years calling me at all hours when they can't fix something, regardless of whether I am officially on call. I suppose I could always just not answer but I have been rewarded with promotions/raises so I can't complain.

    We have a contact list for my team and everyone was....eh, encouraged to add in all of your contact info. That's just the culture of this company, I guess. I've never seen anyone reprimanded for not answering but it is noticed and the appropriate people are compensated for being available at all times. Which is how it should be.

    Also, since I am now the only person on my team that is not married and doesn't have any kids I am almost always saddled with the shitty pager timings. I am carrying it right now and had it over Christmas. Now I can't go out and do anything for New Year's Eve, which isn't a huge deal for me but is making my girlfriend pissed at me. Again, I could raise a stink about how I am always giving the shit rotation but I just accept it. I am compensated well for the inconvenience.

    I don't think it is a big deal if you have to do be on call 24/7. Technology has made things a lot more immediate. 10 minutes of downtime for a real-time application has a real dollar amount attached to it. It seem logical to expect constant support. Also, I fucking love the idea that the app teams themselves support their own shit. It gives me real impetus to design and code a system that is as stable as possible. I know people that came from companies that had one team do development and another team do support. That seems insane.

    Abimelech on
  • EclecticGrooveEclecticGroove Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    There are many cases where this is useful, legitimate, and not abused (IE: Hurricane watch).

    But in my own personal case, I've seen it used/abused almost exclusively because companies know that:
    1) The employee's cannot afford to lose the job.
    2) They can fire/move that person and find someone who will.
    3) Both of the above.

    In my case I'm on call 24/7 365. I have no backup, my team was once a 5+ person group, and now it's just me... AND I now am in charge of a team of unrelated people in addition to my previous tasks.

    Companies will often farm out any positions they can, and when people leave a job they take a "wait and see" approach when filling that position. If they feel the losses (if any) in performance and slipped SLA's are acceptable, they simply do not replace the person(s) that left.

    I get paid for when I have to do work on call, but no one gets "pager pay" for the inconvenience of simply being on call. And it is an inconvenience. Even if it's a wrong number and my BB/Cell goes off at 4am on a weekend/holiday/whatever, I have to answer it because if it IS work, there's an SLA clock ticking if an incident comes in that requires an on call person be contacted.

    EclecticGroove on
  • DeebaserDeebaser on my way to work in a suit and a tie Ahhhh...come on fucking guyRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    "Don't give employers your cellphone number" is something I heard a lot over the last decade.

    I WISH it were that easy.

    "Here's your company blackberry, Henroid!"

    Oh my God if I worked a job that gave every employee a blackberry I would have it fucking MADE.

    I used to think the same thing, until they gave me one. There aint nothing like your boss being in Sydney, forgetting about the time difference and sending you an urgent email from the future at 10PM.

    Deebaser on
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  • AbimelechAbimelech Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    Deebaser wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    "Don't give employers your cellphone number" is something I heard a lot over the last decade.

    I WISH it were that easy.

    "Here's your company blackberry, Henroid!"

    Oh my God if I worked a job that gave every employee a blackberry I would have it fucking MADE.

    Eh, it all depends on the culture of your company. It is encouraged for the IT people at my company to be available 24/7 but as far as I know it is not required unless you are on the pager. However a lot of my business partners carry personal Blackberries that are essentially useless. They never answer them and argue the next day that they are not required to answer because they are not 'officially' on support, even when they have formally agreed in the past to respond when something breaks because of their shitty instructions. It just causes a ton of problems due to expectations of a response. We sit and wait at 3AM because we agreed that we would page them if situation X occurs and then after a hour we realize that they aren't going to respond and we find some other solution.

    There needs to be a clear policy of who has to respond and when if everyone were to get a Blackberry.

    EDIT:
    I get paid for when I have to do work on call, but no one gets "pager pay" for the inconvenience of simply being on call. And it is an inconvenience. Even if it's a wrong number and my BB/Cell goes off at 4am on a weekend/holiday/whatever, I have to answer it because if it IS work, there's an SLA clock ticking if an incident comes in that requires an on call person be contacted.

    You have the right of it. I don't get 'pager pay' and it sucks when I have it. I can't go into Chicago tonight, for example, because I am on call and it pisses my girlfriend off to no end. I just can't afford to be away from my work laptop for an extended period of time. You have it much worse than me, though. :?

    Abimelech on
  • HenroidHenroid Radio Demon Internet HellRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I'm unemployed, I'm not about to complain about being put to work.

    Henroid on
    Centrism is just the cowardly way to be a bigot w/o being explicit about it.
    American politics isn't 4D chess, it's just if you give a shit about other people or not.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2009
    Chalk up another vote for "depends on the job and what you agree to at the outset."

    A friend of mine is on call 24/7, and is compensated accordingly. In practice, he gets called up to handle issues maybe an hour a week, but that hour could be at 3am. But he agreed to it upfront, and its figured into his salary.

    At my last job, what started out as "you may be asked to work overtime on occasion" turned into "if I tell you to work in your off-time, you better fucking work." I was paid overtime, but the assumption was that my family and social life could eat a dick, which was not part of our agreement.

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  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited December 2009
    Oddly enough I find the biggest offenders for abusing this seems to be the IT sector.

    DAMN YOU IT!

    Sipex on
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  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2009
    Sipex wrote: »
    Oddly enough I find the biggest offenders for abusing this seems to be the IT sector.

    DAMN YOU IT!

    Makes sense, given that tech support is one of the most time-critical things out there that don't involve people actually dying. If Best Buy's computers suddenly go down, they can't sell shit, which is very bad for them. (My friend's company does tech support for businesses, and a retailer's systems going down is one of the more common emergencies.)

    ElJeffe on
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  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Henroid wrote: »
    I'm unemployed

    :lol:

    Hamurabi on
  • DelzhandDelzhand Venitah, Satariel! Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    I'm unemployed

    :lol:

    Yeah... that's... hilarious?

    Delzhand on
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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Sipex wrote: »
    Oddly enough I find the biggest offenders for abusing this seems to be the IT sector.

    DAMN YOU IT!

    Makes sense, given that tech support is one of the most time-critical things out there that don't involve people actually dying. If Best Buy's computers suddenly go down, they can't sell shit, which is very bad for them. (My friend's company does tech support for businesses, and a retailer's systems going down is one of the more common emergencies.)

    Also because our POS systems are truly a POS. Damn things crash all the time.


    I'm in management, but I'm paid hourly. I used to get called all the time when I was at home asking for help with things, and eventually I just said "fuck it. If you call me at home, clock me in while I help." It only took a couple weeks of that happening for them to stop calling.

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  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    For what it's worth, my employer has my mobile number because it's my only number.

    Fortunately, working in financial sector means that I work office hours only.

    Having said that, there are times when it would be important for me to be reachable if I was on a day off or whatever, since there are plenty of things I do where large sums of money are at stake in a time-sensitive manner. I can mitigate it by keeping my files organised and generally taking the approach that someone else should be able to pick up something I'm working on and figure out what's going on, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised to be contacted while not working. I don't think I would be asked to come in, though. The only times I've known that to happen have been when someone's done something retarded like lock court papers in a cabinet to which nobody else has access.

    japan on
  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I worked at an Arco AM/PM for about a year and a half. I lived maybe a block away from this specific store. So while I had no car I could easily run or jog down there within fifteen minutes. It wasn't so bad at first, but after about the first six months the manager began to call me in every time anyone called out or otherwise couldn't/wasn't going to show. There was no calling assistant managers, no calling other off duty workers, just me. Because at first I would always say yes because it meant more cash.

    It got to a point where I never knew when my days off would be. My hours would get shifted, and shifted, and shifted. The manager would call me in while I was on a 9-5 shift, ask me to work until 10:00, which because of the store I never got out until 11:00, and then have me open again bright and early at 5:00 in the morning.

    I had no cell, just a landline, but I was always home and had no caller ID so I had to answer the phone each time someone called. I finally started saying no, and then the manager would throw every conceivable bit of leverage she had to get me to come in anyway, even if it was against company policy (such as me being piss drunk once).

    After almost a year of being on call 24/7 while making minimum wage the job was taking its toll on my sanity and without regard for whether or not I'd be able to afford food or shelter I told the manager she either needed to pay me like an assistant manager (who is required to be on call), promote me to one, or I'd quit. Suffice to say I'm glad I got out of that job.

    Fallout2man on
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  • hawkboxhawkbox Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    They wanted us to have a pager at one point in case something went down and we would alternate who carried it. They decided they didn't need that kind of uptime when we asked how much they would be increasing our salaries to make up for this change in job duty.

    Basically our entire department could quit and go get a job elsewhere quite easily so threats of that nature don't work for shit here thankfully.

    Though 40% of us tend to be the workaholic type anyway and are checking email while on vacation or just before bed and modifying things if needed.

    hawkbox on
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Delzhand wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Henroid wrote: »
    I'm unemployed

    :lol:

    Yeah... that's... hilarious?

    it's because hams is a jerk

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
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