When I first entered my former line of employment there were all these older men from around the country and around the world, who used terms like "fob" "cif" "inco" "FMC" (I put that is caps for a reason) - "ipi" "mlb" - reverse "ipi", bb, BAF, FAF, BSC etc., - they would throw these terms around (along with some very colorful language) so much so that I thought my vocabulary was lacking. Why had I never heard the term Bunker before - except with reference to Bunker Hill. I fondly remember one man who's desk was moved around the office because the "ladies" were offended by his afternoon language - he was my best teacher. "Lady - you can't charge me a damn CFS on my damn BB cargo". He wasn't PC but he was a damn good teacher. I very quickly learned what the hell he meant. This shipping business, a lot less conservative than law or perhaps science, was fun, fast paced and certainly exotic. I was 24ish, when I entered this fast-paced (35 days to get from New York to Yokohama) world and had alot of commercial catching up to do with my counterparts in other countries.
I grew up in a suburb of New York, a street rat from underground night clubs of New York - not really seeing the ships in the harbor, the light at the end of the tunnel or the writing on the wall. I was the grand daughter of a Traffic Manager at Puerto Rico Line somewhere in the 1940s and 1950s, you would think I would have known about a career in shipping - but in my little world you were encouraged to be a doctor, a lawyer, a CPA or a teacher, a librarian, or a banker of some sort. Although my mother travelled on ships in the Caribbean, The Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic, thanks to her father's chosen career, not once did I ever hear career advice about entering the fascinating world of shipping. What's that saying - Mother's always know best...
I like to dip my toes into the water and then dive head in, once I know it's OK. I took some time to get to understand the people (mostly older white men with limited degrees), the language - as colorful as my very first job during High School as a Civilian Aid in a Brooklyn Police Station, the various cultures (from Asia to South America and everything in between by the time I left shipping) - I still can't draw firm conclusions about any one culture - but I will tell you this - put more than 5 men in one room from 5 different companies with 5 different cultural backgrounds with 5 different goals in mind and each of them will come out a winner. Again, they would throw abbreviations around like P&G or M&M, AMF, FMC (not the government agency) (side bar - when I watch Mad Men now on Sunday nights - it reminds me of the these men in more ways than one) They knew their stuff, they could recite Fortune 500 company names and executives, expected ocean volumes, bunker prices in Malaysia, outside competition, inside competition, all day long just to try "capture" some business. I used to love that word "capture" - it sounded like an adventure when in fact it was a buying expedition. We, the "underdog SS Line" at this table, will capture this business if you the "big dog RW&B line" will let us charge this price - of course we had anti trust immunity. Some liked the "one upmanship" - actually mostly there was alot of them and I learned how to do the same - although coming from a female it wasn't "on upmanship" it was being a bitch. When the men at the table were passionate about an issue - they were hard at work establishing (that was another word thrown around alot) their line's rights to the cargo - when the women were "fighting for the rates" - it was just a cat fight. Sad to say at times it was just ignorance. I used to think too bad - I learned from the masters and here I am sitting with well, cats.
I was definitely interested in the show put on and the language used by these men to get their points across and be able to return to their offices, victorious at persuading a counterpart from another company to allow them to carry a certain piece of cargo on their ships - imagine Don Draper having to go to his rival ad man to ask if he could write his campaigns in his own style. I enjoyed the first time I telexed an IA to the administrator of our government enforced tariff filing system. I also rued that day because that meant the demise of these all day long meetings, lunches at the great restaurants in NYC and travel to other cities and countries. As the years progressed "steamship" lines as they were known, moved out of NYC and so we "had" to visit other cities so that not everyone "had" to travel to the weekly meetings. Single, no responsibilities, in an exotic foreign land or even just down in Nawlins and an expense account - what could be better - Don Draper should have it so good.
Enough about shipping and how does this relate to DNA? Well, today I enjoy a even faster paced, technologically savvy world of private and court admissible DNA Testing. I spent 25 years memorizing IPI and MLB and HRTA and FMC rules - only to have to start all over with a whole new set of "initials" and "terms" and often times a much younger audience who have no idea how their DNA got into their BM (baby mama) or if their DL (down low) daddy is actually ... you get the picture. I have my b.berry on 24/7 so that the AF (alleged father) can call me and set up his POM (Peace of Mind) DNA Test. I have my email up so that anyone with an RFE can email me and ask me the time frame, price and process to confirm his biological relationship to the person claimed on the I-797E. I am able to recite that we use only AABB, CAP, CLIA, FQS-Int'l ISO 17025, NYSDOH, ASCLD accredited facilities - so that my customers are assured of the accuracy and reliability of the DNA Tests.
That brings to mind another term I am hearing these days - that is ACA - Affordable Care Act or FSA - Flexible Spending Account - HRA - Health Reimbursement Arrangements - HSA Health Savings Accounts - Archer Medical Savings Accounts MSA. There are changes coming to your FSA's - whether you are in the SSL or DNA business. The Affordable Care Act enacted in March takes effect January 1, 2011 and will require a prescription for drugs and medications purchased with your FSA card - that means no more tax free purchases of over the counter medications, pain relivers or allergy meds. If you are a member of your employer's FSA, HRA, HSA and need a DNA test get your DNA test done before the end of the 2010 using the dollars left on your card.
If the IRS is asking for proof that your child is your child, - get a DNA test done and have the DNA Lady fax your paperwork to the IRS.
If you are thinking of having a baby, make sure your OB/GYN is FACOG. Maybe your age and health require you to find a MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist) or perhaps you are an experienced CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) whose current client has a doubt about paternity and wants to have a DNA test done on the day of birth.
Oh, I could go on with my abbreviations - now that I have more than one industry under my belt - but with the government's handling of SSI (not SSL) I will probably have to learn a whole other set of abbreviations but thank god my DNA comes from two very bright, educated individuals who taught me that whatever happens - I can handle it.