Category Archives: work

Geodesic domes and cupholders

For anyone interested in yesterday’s photo-a-day, you too can make a geodesic dome from jelly tots (or a spaghetti bridge) by following the instructions under challenges here.

In addition to building the dome yesterday, I also drove down to Weston to trade my little Ford Fiesta in for an almost new Prius (Fiesta + bundle of cash = Prius). So far my mpg is over 50 compared to 40-45 in the Fiesta.

Many new toys in the Prius, including multiple cupholders in all sorts of ingenious places. My favourite so far – when you slide the cover on the vanity mirror open, the light above it turns on automagically. Now that is joined-up thinking.

Extra work fun

Found out last thing yesterday (my last day before the break) about some further changes within my team that mean from August there will be a new person sitting above my current position. Not sure if my position will disappear or what, but my contract is only until the end of September anyway, so no biggy if it ends a couple of months early.

Work gubbins

I’ve been keeping a pretty low profile at work. The department has historically been split into two groups (to make them easier to manage) and by being on a series of temporary contracts and working across groups I have managed to keep out of the tedious group meetings and admin. From Monday, though, there will be three groups. People are going to be moving desks, clients will be re-allocated, it’s a bit of a big deal.

I found out today (in a discussion about putting me on a three-month contract to run to the end of January, sure – why not?) that I am being put in a specific group and moving desks on Friday. My new team leader has failed to mention this to me. This should be fun.

I’m not bothered about which clients I work on, or where I sit, I don’t see that it makes that much of a difference. Apparently not all of my colleagues feel the same way and get remarkably possessive of both clients and desk position. In the current economic climate it surprises me that when most of them could be terminated at 4 weeks’ notice, they get up in arms about not being able to sit next to their best friend.

Number crunching

FGW annoyed me enough today that I did a little bit of number crunching. Petrol costs and congestion charge for driving into London for the period 7 October to 31 October (the time between my current season ticket expiring and my new contract ending) works out at about £17 per day. The last time I checked, the season ticket ran at about £11 per day – but that included weekends. Looking at my schedule (I have at least one workday that I will be undertaking at home because I have a medical appointment slap bang in the middle of the day) it might actually be cheaper to drive (assuming I can get one of the few work parking spaces).

A month of season ticket (which I may or may not fully use) – somewhere around the £350 mark; 18 days of petrol and congestion charge – somewhere around the £306 mark. You can buy a lot of yarn with £44…

I also had a quick google and found a couple of (lower paid) related jobs where I am moving to. Time to polish off that CV (not that I can do anything until I have an offer on my house).

I really don’t know why I bother

I left the house even earlier today to catch an early train in an attempt to get to work on time. I made it onto the 08:17 (scheduled to arrive into Paddington at 08:45, though curiously journeys in the other direction are timetabled to take 3 minutes less) and arrived into Paddington at 09:02. In to work late again, having to stay late again, annoyed with FirstGreatWestern again.

I finally got handed a new contract yesterday. It’s another one month contract. No increase in pay (though the salaries for permanent staff increase at 1 October). I am sorely tempted not to sign it and so avoid the aggravation of having to deal with FGW, but realistically I need the money.

It is looking increasingly less likely that I will be able to remote work with this firm, so I am starting to look for jobs locally, which includes getting in touch with ex-colleagues to see if their expat branch are still operating in that neck of the woods. If not then I am going to have to seriously research this whole freelancing malarky (though I am not keen on switching to an uncertain level of earnings – it makes planning hard and I like to plan).

In other news the cat is still pleased to have me back and has spent every night since my return sleeping on the pillow next to me. This does mean, however, that I am conveniently close when she wants a fuss at 3am (where do cats learn to headbutt?).


Organising Passout is starting to prove to be more than a headache (the food issue is such a pain that I am looking for alternative venues, again).

Work have hired a new manager (who used to work there), so where does that leave me (with a temporary contract due to expire at the end of next month)?

The bulb in my bathroom blew just as the bath was half full.


Ungrateful wretches

Just had a performance review meeting which came as a bit of a shocker. Apparently they’re very disappointed in the time I have been charging and the internet gestapo have been having a snoop (farewell OBO). They’re apparently considering terminating my contract. Nice to know when I’m about to go on holiday. I’ve been begging them to give me more work (I only got an official allocation last week and have been picking up other people’s work) and was told off early on for not charging enough time to clients (I was putting research down to “technical reading”). I shall have to seriously consider my options.

In other news, have had a nasty cold but still made it to’s_fotos/Honeystreet_2008/index.html, and’s_fotos/2008_June_Party/index.html and also caught two performance of Sweet Life by the Gandinis (picture below).

Also saw some surprisingly good kid’s circus and tidied up the house to a state where I am happy for people to come and see it (including buying a new drill and attaching the mantelpiece yesterday).

Starting to get excited about EJC and thinking about what to pack. Fingers crossed the weather is good.

Numbered days

So, I got another confirmed kill (yay) and have SIPs incoming, but have heard from the person who assassinated my assassin that socks were dispatched to me over two weeks ago, so I guess I’m living on borrowed time.

No sign of the socks yet, though, or the SIPs. Ah well, probably for the best since I’ll be back at work next week (but not before taking a trip to another company this afternoon for a “chat”). I still may get the chance to kill again before I die, though, as you are not dead until you either receive socks or are told by the Supreme Commander that you are dead (hence the proof of posting being required this year for parcels that go AWOL).

Work update – two weeks to go

I bumped into an ex(but soon to be future) colleague on the way home last night. I checked what had been said about me coming back to see how that related to what I’d told them/been told, which was interesting.

It turns out that someone else who left in the last year is returning next week, which is the opposite of what is happening with my current employer. I found out today (by accident since the bean-spiller thought everyone knew), that one of the assistant managers is moving to Spain for personal reasons, and one of the managers is moving to a different department. This means that the number of people leaving this group over a 3 month period is 10 (1 secretary, 3 assitants, 1 assistant manager, 3 managers, 1 senior manager, 1 director). From a group of 30. Oh, and one of the senior managers who is left is planning on moving to Australia soon.

The person in charge of the group? Not bothered. Let’s see if their opinion changes once everyone has departed.

I also had a potentially interesting option come up in the last week which might tie in with the new job. None of them may come to fruition, but gives one something to think about.

Warning, vent ahead

Just got another e-mail asking for a status update (from someone who sits behind me). Being incredibly busy I replied with a brief summary and advised them to check the software that tracks the status of everything for more info.

Cue snotty e-mail back about h0w I should be actively managing the process and apparently need to spoonfeed people the information because they are too damn lazy to look it up for themselves.

Fine, I’ll spend the next hour providing a full update for them. This means that I won’t be able to do any actual work, but hey, who needs sleep anyway?