Tag Archives: work

Ring-A-Ding-Ding

Very quiet alarm bells are ringing. A slightly concerning situation may be on the verge of developing. I cannot worry…I sort of expected that it may occur at some point, and really up to now I have escaped lightly.

After over three months in my current job, one of my colleagues finally commented on my engagement ring last week. I don’t really mind that nobody else has enquired. For reasons that many of you will know and understand a lot better than my new colleagues would, it is an advantage to my peace and security to keep a low profile and remain discreet about my personal life.

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I answered some of the questions that the colleague who noticed my ring asked me. I am careful about what I will share and what I won’t share. But then another colleague who I work more closely with overheard and very kindly wished me congratulations.

I sort of wanted to put a lid on the situation. I explained I had been engaged for over eighteen months, and it is old news really. I understand that there are normal politely curious questions, and I need to answer them in a way I am comfortable with.

I just hope that the lid stays on. I am not ready to talk to just anyone in the office about my personal life. There is one young man who sniggers every time he asks me about my “charity” work. I have already decided I don’t want to share a single iota of my life outside work with him because he is undeserving. There are others who seem genuinely friendly, and perhaps in time I will feel comfortable enough with them to share a little more of my life.

One thing that frightens me, other than one lady who like me has a very basic non-smart phone, everyone else seems to have electronic devices at their finger tips and they seem to use these social media platforms I am so wary of. So…I will be very very cautious about what I share.

On Your Marks…Get Set…Go!!!

Jack came down last night…I am blessed. We have a lot to pack in this weekend…and he is insisting that the priority for him is actioning what my GP recommended yesterday. Yes, Jack is taking me to hospital.

It is downright inconvenient…and both of us have prepared work we can take along with us because it is very likely a trip to hospital will cost most of the day.

It is going to be a long old weekend…and there is so much to do. On your marks…get set…go!!!

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Could I Have That In Writing Please?

Is it just me – or is it becoming more difficult to communicate through written means? I don’t have any issues with writing….but I seem to find others having difficulty understanding.

There could be so many reasons for that, and I appreciate that if somebody finds reading challenging, then a lengthy email might dismay them.

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But recently, I have found repeated occasions when somebody has either misread, misunderstood or reacted badly. I sent a very polite and warm email to somebody who worked for a different company asking them to provide some information we needed. The reaction I received was slightly frightening. Maybe that person was just having a bad day.

Hmm…

I guess the challenge for me is that the reading and writing are my preferred method of communicating. I find it easier to make sure the information I convey is accurate. Likewise, I find it much easier to read as a means to learning. Sometimes, when people say something to me, it does not make any sense. If I can read it…I can compensate for any language difficulties.

Hmm…

Times have changed. Half of internal communications seem to be made up of emojis and gifs. I think there is a lot less effort put into written forms of communication – and although there may be some valid reasons for that change – I am actually finding it quite challenging.

I Don’t Want To Be A Pie…I Don’t Like Gravy

Can I tell you something? OK….so when I started this job, the contract was a little odd. They gave me a contract with an end date of just six weeks after I started. But that six weeks came and went and nobody said anything.

But today, during the course of conversation, it was mentioned that my first three months are up next week. That was never something mentioned in my written contract, but I understand that at the three months point. technically, they could say to me “thanks, but no thanks”…or I could say to them “thanks, but no thanks”.

And here is the thing…when I heard that today…my heart leapt. How worrying is that? I know, it’s not great.

But recently I have been feeling like a chicken in a battery farm, being told to lay a 100 eggs a day or else!

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And if you are wondering about the title of this post – go and watch “Chicken Run”. It will explain a lot about how I have been feeling.

But Where Am I Really?

I might be chained to a desk, staring at a screen, number-crunching, pen-pushing…you know the drill…but what would they think if they had any idea where I really was….where I really am…where I really will be tomorrow!

There is no situation, no matter how dire, that can take me away from where I really am, and where I intend to be forever!

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None Of This Would Be Possible Without Caffeine

Yes….it is one of those weeks!! Not enough sleep. Working overtime for free every single day of my new job and now working at least a couple of hours in the evening too.

I am so glad it is Friday. None of what has occured this week would have been possible without the strong coffee that the Italians taught me to rely on.

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Management Is A Crazy Concept To Me

Being back in the corporate world (for three days a week in order to earn my bread and butter) has brought me face to face with a word or term or concept that I have always found odd.

There seems a higher ration of “managers” than there was when I worked within the health service. In my new workplace, a manager might have just one or two people to “manage”, whereas before there were much larger teams with one manager.

In the health service, we were mostly independent. We arrived at work and knew what we had to do to care for our patients. Our managers were the people who had to deal with all the stress – things like targets, budgets, audits and compliance. We all knew when we had to involve our manager with a decision or something to facilitate our work activities. The only time there was any kind of invasive interference from managers was distasteful activities such as “appraisals”, when a manger would generally demoralise and discourage individuals on their team and demand perfection in the future, not allowing for the stresses and the unpredictable nature of working in the health service.

In the corporate world, I am even more afraid of this concept of managers and management. For my first ten years of employment I was in the corporate world, and I managed to fight all efforts for senior staff to promote me, refusing all offers to tempt me to become a “manager”. I had zero interest in their view of what a manager should do.

As an unpaid volunteer, “manager” is not a term we use. We use all sorts of other terms – trainer, supervisor, overseer, and assistant. They are much friendlier. They are also more dignifying to all those who freely give up their time without any financial reward in order to work, give, build, contribute to something special.

In my corporate role, a colleague asked me a little about the work I do for charities, and I made the mistake of starting my sentence, “I help to manage a database of volunteers…” My colleague misheard me, and thought had said I manage people. I quickly shook my head and tried to explain. But I soon realized there was no point explaining. Just as the corporate mentality makes no sense to me, neither would the mentality amongst volunteers make sense to my colleague.

Over the years I have carried out all sorts of tasks that my colleague may associate with the concept of “management”. I have been responsible for all sorts of administration and financial administration tasks. I have been responsible for patient care plans. I have been responsible for rotas and work assignments. I have been responsible to create and implement training for scores of volunteers. I have been a one-to-one trainer. I have provided training to live audiences of hundreds of volunteers and in some cases audiences thousands. I have been filmed to be part of training videos. I have had to deal with personal conflicts when misunderstandings arose between volunteers and we brought them together to work things out.

But in all these tasks, there was never an idea of “management”. It makes sense in a huge project, to break down aspects of the project and assign them to smaller teams, and for there to be one person and perhaps an assistant who cares for ensuring that everyone else on the team has an idea of the objective, how to carry that out safely, to guarantee they have the equipment and knowledge they need and to offer encouragement and solutions to challenges. But never….never, never ever ever…would that person be there to lord it over others, or to bask in any glory of an illusion of superiority.

When I worked in the corporate world, it was often individuals who were less balanced, less reasonable, willing to humiliate others, sacrifice time with their family, and generally had a concerning discontent and desire for more money, more praise, more status, more respect, who ended up as managers, sometimes exulting in a false pretention they were somehow “superior”, whereas often there were others on their team who seemed far more successful in terms of life – decency, kindness, reason, ethics…who were in no way “inferior”.

So when a manager gets personal…and starts to “coach” their team members on how they can please the powers that be within the corporate world, and offering suggestions that are unwise – like working at a pace they are more likely to cut corners and make mistakes – in order to make the team look good. Or…one suggestion made to me recently when I had asked somebody for some information I needed to carry out my task (and of course the other person had a lot of other work to do so had to make time to retrieve the information I needed) was to demand they responded to my enquiry within a definite time scale. Demanding people answer my questions within an hour – that is sure to endear me to my new colleagues!

I take personal responsibility for managing my own time and finances. I take responsibility for my energy levels and maintaining good working relationships with others. I take personal responsibility for my work methods and conscientiousness, and I am mindful that the way we work can provide an example for others. But the corporate concept of “management” and “managing people”, which sometimes seems to mean discouraging them, demoralising them, reminding them of targets, pressuring them, offering them the incentive of incremental financial rewards, asking them not to make excuses over unpredictable challenges that come up at work, suggesting ways they could improve in order to fit the corporate ideal…it is so distasteful to me.

It is distasteful and as I look ahead I dread the occasions when somebody else tries to “manage” me. I will continue to do what I have been doing – make every effort to be reliable, punctual, smartly dressed, polite and courteous in verbal and written communications, follow procedures and policies in connection with my work, seek ways to increase time efficiency and productivity. I will do all this….but I have no ambition, except to turn up, give my utmost, and escape so I can go and enjoy my real career of working with incredible volunteers who share their experience and skills freely with a joyful heart, because they care so much about people and planet.

The corporate world may think I am crazy….but of course, I think they are completely crazy!!! I wonder which of us is more joyful, more at peace, and which of us sleeps more soundly at night?

The Perks Of Work

I am trying to think positively about my new job and think about the positive aspects of my new job. My tummy is telling me that I should first of all tell you about the lunch break each day.

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We have a one hour lunch break…and we are pressured (in a positive way) to take that hour lunch break. If you don’t take it, you will be sure to receive a lecture about wellbeing and productivity. That makes a huge difference to my former role.

So I have been making the most of this one hour lunch break by preparing the yummiest meals imaginable. Mostly they are salads, but very sexy salads. But I have also made stunning soups, phenomenal pastas, sensational sandwiches and quintessential quiches! In fact, this evening I have been making a ridiculously yummy gnocchi bake with spinach, peas, pesto, sundried tomatoes and mozzarella. I can’t wait to eat it tomorrow!

Being able to take a proper break and enjoy delicious food is rather lovely!

What are the other perks of this job? Well, I don’t have achy feet and legs at the end of the day. Lazy bum office jobs are so much easier physically. Of course that does mean you have to compensate for that by doing extra exercise outside of work.

Some of the other niceties include the facilities at work. There are excellent facilities – the toilets are clean, the kitchenette area is clean, there is a pleasant canteen. The work stations are spacious and well -equipped. We have plenty of software tools to aid us. Security is well cared for.

There are challenges in my new job, but there also perks at work. I have to remind myself that in every employment, there are pros and cons.

If my tummy was the only judge – then this job crushes it!

Processing The Past Two Months

It is two months since I started a new job. How am I doing?

What a great question!

The thing is…a lot has happened in those two months really. Although I have spent three days a week sitting at a desk staring at and typing into a computer – we call that processing – there has been a considerable amount of drama going on. It has not all been plain sailing!

My second week of work there were major disruptions to public transport. The craziest day when Storm Gladys rolled in – it was an epic journey home from work – one that took longer on the bus than it would have done to walk. Although, walking through a storm would not have been fun. But even in fair weather, public transport is not fun, especially if you time it wrong. If you share a carriage with school children who are badly behaved it is traumatic. For that reason I have been setting off early, and arriving in the office early….but still seem to be finishing late each day.

Work itself is pretty fine. I seem to be quite good at monotonous tasks – which helps when you work in Finance. Sometimes the particular processes we are supposed to use are a little confusing. I think its when contradictions come up that I am baffled. One person says we do this, another person says, no we don’t do that. Then I am told, it depends, we should not do it, but occasionally we have to do it. Yeah…when you are a newbie conflicting instructions are really helpful. I am the kind of person who prefers to see instructions in writing, rather than someone who was not really listening to my question giving me an answer off the top of their head (which may turn out to be the incorrect).

Then there is the whole negotiating working with new faces, new personalities, with their own outlooks. It’s mostly fine. It is really. There has been the occasional moment that made me feel like…I just could have wished myself a thousand miles away. I have to admit there are times when I do feel as if I am an alien from another planet…I think I have mentioned that before. I just don’t belong in a corporate setting. It goes against the grain. Or it is like sailing against the wind, against the current.

But I think that as well as the aforementioned challenges – the traumatic daily commute, the confusion in learning new processes and then unlearning them, and then relearning them, the trying to fit into a mentality that I am never going to fit to, nor would I ever want to fit into….well, what has made the first two months of my new job tiring are things that actually have nothing to do with my job. A close friend of mine sadly lost her life to cancer. A world leader invaded a neighbouring country and began a destructive and barbaric assault causing thousands of deaths and millions of people to flee for safety.

The past two months have been eventful. A job is just a way to earn enough money to pay the rent and buy food etc. My aim is to be reliable, punctual, competent, industrious and friendly with everyone. There are always challenges with change. I wish there were less challenges, I really do. Overcoming those challenges is just part of sailing…sailing on this voyage of life.

If only the waters were always calm as a serene duckpond…but that is not the case. Voyaging through these stormy times calls for all sorts of sailing skills, bearing down, tacking, adjusting the sails. How I long for peaceful seas of tranquility and safe harbours.

I have more to say on this subject though…so I think I am going to save the rest for another post.

The Day Of Days

I had a day this week circled in my diary. It was the anniversary of the day I moved to London to take up a role as an International Volunteer.

It is so hard to explain what that day means to me. How I wanted to just celebrate a day that was intrinsically special.

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I wish I had celebrated it. Only we were so busy, I did not have chance to process my emotions about that day. Because after three days of sitting at a desk in front of a computer…I feel so deflated. Office jobs are so incredibly dull. I am so glad I only I have to do it for three days a week.

Today when I left work I started singing a song to myself that so accurately portrays what it is to be a pen pusher / number cruncher.