Steve Kane's almost entirely pointless blog

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Jobs 'n' shit

Long story short: Got a temp job for two days from one recruitment agency. Then another recruiter offered me an ongoing temporary contract but wanted me to start on the day that the first two-day assignment was supposed to start. Phoned first recruiter and said sorry but I've got a better offer. Started the better offer on Thursday. During the day, I was called by a third recruiter offering me an interview on Friday for another ongoing and better paid temp position.

So, come lunch hour on Friday, I went off for the interview. Recruitment consultant gave me wrong address and sent me to the agency's local office. Explained situation to local office who called recruitment consultant's manager who provided another address. Walked to new address a few streets away but was told that the person I was meant to see worked in another building that was, coincidentally, opposite the recruitment agency's office.

Finally made it to correct address and sat my interview; more of an informal chat, really, just so they could check that I wasn't a complete moron. Returned to work. Two hours later the recruitment consultant called, made grovelling apologies about the address fuck-ups and said that I had been offered the ongoing and better paid temporary position. Oh, and, um, could I start on Monday?

Ended second day of ongoing temporary position by telling my boss that I'd had a better offer and wouldn't be back on Monday. He was very understanding but also saddened because he was desperate for someone to do the job and had had several temps before me who had all been complete morons.

Have been working ongoing and better paid temporary position for about four weeks now. It's pretty fucking shambolic. It took them two and a half weeks to sort out my computer system access so that I could actually start doing the job I was hired to do. Everything worked for a week but then I lost access for apparently no reason. And then it fixed itself this morning. Pretty frustrating but, then again, better than the alternative of unemployment, starvation and destitution.

Oh, and it is another banking job. How the hell did I end up working in banking?

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

I have a blog?

Oh yeah, right, the blog...

S'pose I should write something here. It's been a while. When did I last post...? June.

Right, so, at the end of May I was told I was losing my job in two to four weeks. But then I didn't. The company kept me on for another week, then another, then another. It was the end of July before they finally let me go. And since then I've been sat at home looking for another job. In the middle of a recession. With unemployment figures at their highest level in fifteen years. Yeah, working as a temp for a bank during one of the biggest economical nosedives in history was never going to be the most secure of career paths.

You can appreciate, then, why I have been a little preoccupied and neglecting my blogging duties?

What else? Been on a couple of dates. Waste of time as usual. I have managed to cobble together something resembling a new tune in the days since I lost my job. It's kinda' gloomy and not finished yet. It is resting in that limbo state of almost-done-and-needs-a-little-something-else-but-I-don't-know-what. A rough version is up on SoundCloud which you can listen to by using this embedded player thingie:

Song For No One by Steve Kane

Blah blah, what else... I'm on Twitter. My pal Suw Charman persuaded me to sign up over a year ago before it became famous in the mainstream press when it was populated mainly by tech-heads and nu-media journos. It is now, of course, a handy way to stalk celebrities. I didn't know what use it would be to me for a long time but I am gradually using it more often. I'll put a feed up in the sidebar so you can revel in my 140-character pearls of wisdom.

I've more or less given up on writing fiction. I haven't written anything for three and a half years now, virtually nothing since I puked out that novel for NaNoWriMo in 2005. I dug that out a little while ago - I couldn't get past the first page for the awful, awful prose. I can no longer in all consciousness refer to myself as a "writer" anymore. The desire and the ideas have dried up, vanished. There was a time when I'd always be mulling over ideas, newspaper articles or snatches of overheard conversations at work or in the street would set me off on some bizarre train of thought. Not so now: I sometimes sit down with every intention of firing up my mental fiction engine and get back into it. I think and think and think and... nothing. No stories to tell.

I don't know why this is. Perhaps I am so out of the habit of writing fiction that my brain has forgotten how to do it - "use it or lose it". Maybe I see so much shite literature getting accepted for publication while good writers, innovative writers, writers pushing the boundaries and daring to be different, are routinely rejected and I think, "What's the point?" Who needs my words? What have I got to offer? Who gives a fuck what I have to say about anything?

All I know is that the need to write has gone. I even thought about deleting this blog, this entire website, even. The only reason I don't is because of some vague notion that I might one day feel the need to write again and that I might rekindle my ambition to get my stuff into print.

I am still interested in music, though, which is something. I was listening to all the stuff I produced for Mad Hatters' Review the other week and, damn, some of it is really fucking weird. I don't even remember writing some of it. It seems that my ability to experiemnt creatively hasn't completely abandoned me.

I also seem incapable of hitting the apostophe key when I type and always press the semi-colon button instead. Every time. I have no idea what this has to do with anything but I thought I would share.

I am going to try and blog more regularly from no on. Honest.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Random conversation #2

When at work, instead of swearing when something goes wrong, I say something like "fiddle-sticks" or "flibberty-jibberts".

"Why do you say those silly things?" a colleague once asked.

"Because otherwise I'd say 'fucknuts' or 'cunting ball-sacks'."

She looked horrified.

"You see my point," I said.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Random conversation #1*

Female work colleague: "So, Steve, what team do you support?"
Me: "I don't support anyone."
Female colleague: "No one?"
Me: "I don't follow football."
Female colleague: [Uncomprehending face] "What... not at all?"
Me: "No."
[Momentary baffled silence]
Older female colleague: "Well, if you did follow football, what team would you support?"
Me: "Er...?"

* Don't read too much into the "#1" - this may be a series that goes nowhere.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

34 years old. Me, that is, not the blog

Yes, this morning I am flopping about my apartment after an evening of theatre and booze to celebrate another birthday. The play, incidentally, was an amusing show called Edward Gant's Amazing Feats Of Lonliness...

In 1881, one of the Victorian theatres most enigmatic impresarios, Mr Edward Gant, presented his famed travelling show for the very last time. In 2009, Anthony Neilson and Headlong Theatre are proud to present a reconstruction of this historic and extraordinary evening of mystery and magic, spectacle and strangeness. Behold . . . The Amazing Feats Of Loneliness!

Anthony Neilson is one of Britain's most acclaimed playwrights, creating pioneering, taboo-breaking new work in a bold and compassionate way. Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness is a beautiful and very funny exploration of performance and performers, of sadness, mortality and wonder.

Contains strong language and scenes of a wonderfully freakish nature.
And jolly good fun it was too, a sort of mix of Terry Gilliam, David Lynch, The Mighty Boosh and The League Of Gentlemen. I mean, any play that contains the line, "A woman so ugly I would not have shat in her mouth if she were hungry," has got to be good for a giggle.

Tuesday night - St. Patrick's Day, as it happens - I went to see a band called Stinking Lizaveta. I was meant to meet some acquaintances at an Irish bar but, oddly enough, the place was rammed with St. Paddy revellers and I couldn't find my chums so I went to the gig instead.

Turned out to be a most curious night. The venue was a small bar called Bloc. It's a tiny place that has no stage area; the three bands performing that night were all crammed into a corner with barely any room to move.

I was sitting at the bar nursing a pint of Guinness (what else?) when a tall, skinny woman approached me and asked if I was there to see the band. I said yes. She then asked if I was on Last.fm and was I the guy who's been listening to Tom Waits this weeks. Mad, isn't it, how you can be recognised by your online social networking profiles? I can't decide if this is a good thing or not. On the one hand I got to meet and chat with a really cool girl at a gig who might have never spoken to me if she hadn't recognised me (although maybe she would have - she was happily going around chatting to anybody who happened to be in front of her. I wish I had that kind of confidence); on the other hand, it could end up like this...

(Before you ask, the tall, skinny, cool, pretty girl was quick to mention she had a partner so nothing like that was on the cards. No, I ended up leaving the gig with someone entirely different but... no... not going to tell you about that. It wasn't good.)

And work has been sucking the big one too. My "productivity" came under an unusual amount of scrutiny so basically I've been working my nuts off so as to ensure I don't get sacked. But fuck it, I won't bore you with that: it's my fault for working for an evil cunty bank. Suffice to say I've been putting in lots of overtime for some extra cash and going slightly crazy with stress over what's happening.

Interesting month. Been getting into lots of Tom Waits, something I've been meaning to do for years, and rediscovering Yello and Art Of Noise, the two bands who really got me into electronic music when I was a kid.

Let's finish on a song, shall we?

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mmm

The three of you who read this spiel regularly will have noticed that dispatches from my Great Glasgow Odyssey have dried up. Simple enough reason: after the hijinks and crazy adventures of actually getting here life has settled down into a regular and, frankly, unblogworthy routine. I got a flat, I got a job (oh, please rest assured that I still believe banks to be agents of Satan himself even though I work for one now. I pretend that this is an exercise in irony but, let's be honest, I'm a sell-out) and for the time being it's going to be the mundane business of grafting and surviving.

Still, you'll be glad to know that I have actually been out socialising with work colleagues. No, really! I got drunk and everything. Of course, I do end up being a bit boring and wandering off home at a sensible hour so as to not piss all my money away. Plus, after a few drinks I like to get home to my own music collection and my bed. But at least I am making the effort to not be a total hermit.

I've also been trying to sell off some of my CDs and DVDs, partly because, having dragged my hoard all the way from Oxford and up to the second floor of a tenement building, I've come to accept that there is a very strong likelihood that I am never going to watch or listen to a fair portion of my collection again and that those items are an unnecessary burden*. I'm also fucking broke and need some cash.

So, blog posts will be not so frequent for the moment, such is the ebb and flow of inspiration and the creative urge.

Oh, I have been recording unusual and extraordinary names during the day job but I will save those for a later date**.

* My book collection, however, is sacred and will forever accompany me on life's journey.
** And, you know, when I've got more than two.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Incompetent interviewing

I admit it: I am shit at interviews. Doesn't matter how much I prepare and practice because on the day I become a stuttering, mumbling, inarticulate fool.

I applied for a job with the local Police authority as a Tenprint Officer. This job is mainly attempting to identify fingerprints taken from crime scenes. Cool, huh? Well, I thought so.

The first stage of the selection process was an assessment day. Twenty or so candidates were ushered into a room and given an introduction to the history and basic patterns of fingerprints. I was fascinated, my mouth hanging open in wonderment in an especially goofy fashion. We candidates were then given an half hour exam to test our ability to compare fine details. We were presented with pattern images and each one accompanied by four other images, only one of which was identical, and we had to spot the difference. It was great fun and I left the assessment feeling deeply smitten with the idea of doing this for a living.

A week later I received a letter inviting me to an interview. I was so excited and I vowed to give myself every chance of winning the job. As I was temping in the Police authority's finance department, I had access to local crime statistics, departmental development reviews, scene-of-crime procedures and crime reduction strategies. I printed off anything that might be relevant to working in the Fingerprint Bureau. I then looked into the study of fingerprints and found a book by Sir Francis Galton published in 1892 that set the standard for fingerprint classification and is still used today. For two weeks I read and rehearsed answers to likely questions. I had never wanted any job so much as this one. I was going to go into that interview and dazzle the panel with my knowledge and enthusiasm.

The day of the interview finally arrived. I got myself suited and booted, arrived nice an early at the venue, strolled confidently into the interview room with a smile on my face, greeted the three members of the interview panel with a firm handshake and...

I fucked it up.

"OK, we're, uh, going to ask you some competency based questions."

Oh no. Oh shit. No, don't do this to me, not the competency based questions, the same old generic, asinine competency based questions. I want to enthuse about Francis Galton and pattern-types and genes and prove my genuine enthusiasm for the subject...

"What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in a team?"

The... what? Er, OK, um... you have the knowledge and support of other people but... er... sometimes this can lead to indecision. Now, about fingerprints...

[The panel take notes... scribbling... scribbling... tum-te-tum... scribble scribble scribble...]

"Give an example of a task you performed that required following a logical sequence."

What? What the fuck are you talking about? How about making a cup of coffee: that requires a logical sequence. Every task has a logical sequence. Give me an example of a task that requires following an illogical sequence. You see? That question doesn't make any fucking sense! Uh... uh... mumble mumble blah blah... Oh god, I'm fucking this up.

[Scribble... scribble... scribble...]

By the time somebody asked me a question about fingerprints and why I wanted the job I was so despondent that my well-rehearsed enthusiastic answers blundered out of my mouth in an especially feeble and unconvincing manner: "Oh... er... Francis Galton's book... uh... first fingerprint bureau set up in Calcutta in... 1892... no, that was when Galton's book was... and genetics... I read a lot of popular science books... all fascinating... hmm."

To cap it all, the third chap asked me some questions to test my recollection of the presentation I had attended two weeks prior. I rattled off the answers to those with no problem: "Arches, loops and whorls... The delta and the core... IDENT 1... Livescan..." But then he asked a question that stumped me. I foundered. I didn't even remember the thing he asked me about being mentioned at the presentation.

"To be fair," interrupted Panel Member No. 1, "we didn't actually cover that."

"Oh right," said Panel Member No. 3, "I didn't know if you had or not."

Hang on: A man who was not only absent from the presentation but who also didn't know exactly what the presentation consisted of was testing my memory of it? Oh sure, that makes sense.

And then Panel Member No. 3 asks, "Give me an example of when you worked in an office."

That was the point when I nearly lost it completely. "Give you an example of when I worked in a...? You mean apart from the last ten fucking years of my working life? Of course I have worked in fucking offices. You know I've worked in fucking offices because it says so on my application form which you must have read otherwise you wouldn't have invited me to this fucking interview in the first place. Add to that the fact that I have been describing jobs that would obviously have been office-based. You think that I performed the role of Product Manager for a software reseller in a fucking barn? I processed copyright permission requests on a tractor? I updated database records on a laptop as I jumped out of a fucking aeroplane? For fuck's sake, are you thinking about the questions you are asking? Have you even listened to a single fucking word I've said?"

Obviously, I didn't say that. I should have, though, as I knew by that point that I had lost the job.

I was so angry at myself for having allowed my nerves get the better of me yet again despite all my preparations but I was also pissed at the interview panel who were clearly uncomfortable with interviewing candidates, had not consulted each other on what questions they would be asking and were so utterly reliant on their list of pre-prepared competency based questions that they sucked all the life and enthusiasm out of the entire interview.

Give you an example of when I've used my initiative and communication skills? Here's an idea: why don't you demonstrate your initiative and communication skills and have a conversation with me?

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

You can never escape you past

Remember that psycho nutter work colleague at the council who accused me of conspiring with my supervisor to oust her from her job so I could take over and diddling my hours on my timesheets and, to top it all off, made a formal complaint against my supervisor and me for inappropriate behaviour and bullying? How could you forget? Well, I left the office of my latest temp job at lunchtime today to pop to the shops, turned a corner and almost bumped into the bitch as she walked out of the Co-op store. I did a double-take, uttered, "Oh, for fuck's sake," under my breath, looked straight ahead and carried on walking without acknowledging her existence. She did likewise.

Damn, this world is just too small.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

More work blah

Hmm, my recruitment agency specialise in supplying IT professionals, financial consultants and engineers, people who command 30K-50K per annum and beyond, people for whom it makes sense to sign up with an umbrella organisation.

What my recruitment agency don't deal in is lower-end office admin staff. They are clearly not the agency you go to fill such positions and yet that is what my employer did. Rather than tell my employer, "Um, actually, we don't really deal in that area,"£ they simply took the money and said, "No problem."

No wonder they farmed my payroll stuff out to an umbrella organisation: they simply handled me in exactly the same way as they handle the high-flying consultants on their books even though it is completely inappropriate for a £6.00 an hour admin temp.

Never mind: I've been offered another position by an agency who know what they are doing. And this position offers more money. And the daily bus ride is cheaper. And the job should be more interesting. So, fuck it: I'm outta' here.

I also found this very handy page on the BBC website about how to claim back those excessive penalty charges from evil banks. They even provide a template letter you can use that outlines all the legal precedents that support your demand for a refund. Splendid.

Bah, this whole thing is boring now. Time for a drink.

ADDENDUM: Hooray, Just heard about the new job and they want me to start on Monday. If I hadn't already bunked off work at lunchtime, I would tell the boss to stick the job up his arse and walk out triumphantly. I suppose I could go back to work just to tell him to stick the job up his arse and then walk out again. Or I could go to the pub.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Limited umbrella clarification

I lied... I think. I'm not a limited company after all, I am a PAYE employee of the umbrella company employed by the recruitment agency employed by the company I work for. As far as I can ascertain, this is the worst option for me in terms of tax and National Insurance contributions. Or is it? Would it make any difference if I was simply on the recruitment agency's payroll? I have no idea but I am certain of one thing: whatever advantages there are ta an umbrella company to handle my wages, those advantages benefit the recruitment agency and not me. I'm going to get some legal advice about all this.

Whatever I find out, though, I ain't paying the £50 umbrella set-up charge.

Meanwhile, I have discovered this very useful page on the BBC's website about how to claim back bank penalty bank charges for, say, exceeding your overdraft limit for one day. They even provide a template letter for you to send to the bank invoking all the legal precedents that back up your complaint. That'll be going in the post this week.

Panic over. I have some money now and I am of a mind to kick some arse. It's all good.

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And he's on the floor again...

BAM! Another £60.00 in bank charges for breaching my overdraft limit by... let's check... £11.50. It's a fair cop.

Hang on, everybody - if I just... bend over a little more... and sort of... put my legs apart like this... then you can all fuck me in the arse at once.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

And, once again, it all goes to ratshit

To summarise recent events, then, the combination of not getting paid when I should have been paid by my recruitment agency and being bludgeoned with a fistful of extortionate bank charges has left me utterly fucked, financially speaking.

Wait a minute, there's something I forgot to mention, and this is a doozy. I don't actually get paid by the recruitment agency. No, no, no. I submit a timesheet to them (or, at least, try to), timesheet then gets sent to an umbrella company, umbrella company raises invoice, sends invoice to recruitment agency, recruitment agency pays umbrella company, umbrella company pays me. I mentioned earlier that I have been set up as a limited company. The one detail that I have actually forgotten throughout this debacle is that I have to pay umbrella company £50.00 for setting up my payroll. Yes, that's right: I have to pay them to pay me. Er... right.

I could understand all this faffing around to set me up as a limited company if I was a freelance copywriter or consultant on £20.00 an hour but is it necessary for a lowly admin assistant on a pissing £6.00 an hour? What the fuck was I thinking? How could I have been so fucking stupid to have thought that this was a deal worth accepting? Oh yeah, I desperately needed to be earning some fucking money. Except, of course, I haven't yet been paid a fucking penny anyway so I may as well have stayed at home and waited for another position from an agency who don't piss around with umbrella companies to pay their temps.

I am so mad at myself right now. How could I have been such a dumbarse fuckwit? I pondered this all day at work today and it made me angrier and angrier, so much so that I had to leave early because I thought I would throw up. I've been fucking shafted by a bastard recruitment agency again - except that this time I let them fucking do it.

It's all gone to fucking ratshit. How did I let this happen?

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Saturday, March 31, 2007

New addition to the shitlist

Hooray! New job! New income! Money coming in again! Except that it isn't because the useless fuckwits at the recruitment agency who placed me in my new job have had "technical problems" with my user account on their swanky online timesheet submission system. This means that despite entering my timesheet three times onto their system (and getting it approved each time by my supervisor) they were not able to get me on the payroll on time which means that my first week's wages (that would be the week starting Monday 19th March) will not clear in my bank account until next fucking Thursday.

Considering the complete lack of support I got from my previous agency when I mentioned that I had been harassed and slandered by a permanent employee of the council for the best part of six months then you'll maybe understand why rectruitment agencies are not my favourite organisations right now. If there are any temps reading this then please remember that if it ever comes down to a choice of your agency supporting your needs or maintaining their relationship with a big, juicy client then be in no doubt that it will be you who gets fucked over.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Finally...

... got a job. Well, it is technically still only a temp job but I have been contracted for at least twelve months. Actually, I'm not a temp; I'm a "contractor" now. Amounts to the same thing but "contractor" sounds more impressive.

The job itself isn't especially exciting: computer stuff, blah blah, document management system maintenance, yadda yadda yadda; not too stressful or mentally exhausting but not totally mindless either. Plus, I can catch a bus right outside my house and don't start work until 9.00am (as opposed to my council job which involved a twenty minute walk just to get the bus, a half hour bus ride and getting to work at 7.30-8.00am). And I've been there a week and nobody has accused me of gross misconduct or harassment yet: bonus. I've even got my own office. I've never had my own office before - it's quite a novelty.

Talking of the council, they finally advertised my old job after I left. I think my supervisor was hoping that I would change my mind and still apply for it. Yeah, cold day in hell, flying pigs, monkeys flying out my butt, etcetera. No fucking chance would I ever, ever consider going back to that job. I'm still in touch with some of call centre girls and a woman from the flooring contractor the council used. They were hoping I'd go back too. It's nice to be popular.

So, things are back on track, settling down and I am quite content at the moment. Hopefully I'll soon feel inspired to blog about something interesting.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Hey, everything's fine

I will never have a career. I'll probably go from one admin monkey role to another and never get on the career ladder. I'll probably never make a lot of money. I'll probably have to work until I drop dead because I won't have been able to put enough aside for a decent pension. I'll probably never own my own home.

I'll probably never get married, never have a family. I may never have a serious relationship with a woman ever again.

And you know what? I don't care. But I don't mean "I don't care" in a bleak, nihilistic and pessimistic way. I mean it in a "ah well, something will turn up" kind of way.

Today I finished a week-long temp assignment that was really basic office work: filing, photocopying, typing up letters, stuffing envelopes. At the start of the week I thought it horrifically boring but as the days passed I grew to appreciate the mindlessness of it all and the complete absence of any real responsibility. I haven't got any work lined up for next week. I should be bricking myself but I'm not. A friend is going to hand over a bit of cash for me to redesign their website so I can do that and have time left over to concentrate on the job-hunting. Something will turn up for the following week.

It's strange but the uncertainty of not knowing where the next buck is coming from or that I am still not settled in a permanent job or that I am terminally single doesn't bother me in the slightest. I am inexplicably contented.

Plan for next week, then: redesign friend's website; bang out lots of job applications; finally do some bloody revising of my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel (yeah, remember that?); go back over all the music I've written in the last eighteen months and start thinking about revising and rerecording the best ones for a proper demo.

I can't explain this sudden sense of well-being; it is most peculiar but also most welcome so I'm not going to analyse it too deeply. Hey, everything's fine - what else do I need to know?

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Rock off

OK, having declared to the world that I've rediscovered the joys of fuck-off grungy guitar music lately, I spent this morning listening to Mouse On Mars and have now embarked on an Orb marathon. So much for my alleged rock renaissance.

Maybe if I declare to the world that I don't want a well paid, full time permanent job and would prefer to temp forever then I will suddenly get a well paid, full time permanent job.

Is fate subject to reverse psychology?

Anyway, job applications await...

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Yay! And... oh shit

This week I did something that might possibly be considered as a little rash: I quit my temp job at the council. I had to, really, because not only was I degenerating into an unmotivated, difficult, pedantic, spiteful smartarse but my behaviour was becoming increasingly bi-polar. I seriously thought I was becoming a manic depressive: one day I would be hyperactive, doing silly voices down the phone and talking surreal gibberish at anybody who made the mistake of passing nearby my desk; the next day I would lethargic, sullen, almost weeping at my desk and teetering precariously on the edge of the abyss of total and utter despair. My behaviour was scaring me. I really didn't know which of these two extreme moods was the real me or if either of them was the real me or if I was going mad and hurtling towards a nervous breakdown.

I did wonder if the mood swings were a side effect of the medication. Ah yes, I haven't mentioned that yet, have I? Yes, I'm back on the drugs! Back at the beginning of November I finally admitted to myself that I simply couldn't cope with the whole damn life thing on my own. No amount of sensible eating and vitamin B and St. John' Wort was going to drag me out of the persisting rut my life languished in; I needed the happy pills. So I went to the doctor and he gave me something called Fluoxetine. 20mg a day at first but that made no difference so he bumped up the amount to 40mg a day. I started to feel better. I wasn't bouncing off the walls, invigorated by the joys of life but my underlying mood began to rise. I still had good days and bad days but my moods were no longer underpinned by abject hopelessness. When I went to Devon for Christmas I was fine, quietly contented. I was still anxious about the future and my (lack of) career but at least I was thinking positively about how to rectify my problems.

When I returned to work in the New Year, however, I just didn't want to be there. I've already talked about how I gave up smoking simply to spite the management and as the weeks went on my moods began to swing more and more between extremes. Everybody in the office noticed, the girls at the housing association call centre noticed, I noticed. I'm going mad, I'm finally going bloody mad, I'm losing my mind, I thought.

I had to do something about it. I decided to talk to my recruitment agency and tell them everything I have had to put up with at work. I explained about mad-psycho-colleague's accusations, the investigation, the management's continued failure to get off their arses and advertise my position as permanent, the level of responsibility that had been dumped on me despite only getting paid a basic admin rate per hour. The agency girl nodded without interest or sympathy. All she was interested in was that I had notified my bosses of my feelings and desire to leave and how it would be best for them if I were to leave. The council are one of the agency's biggest contracts and they know what side their bread is buttered on. I'm just a disposable cash-generating machine and they couldn't care less about my happiness or well being. Bastards.

I then went to the doctor again and addressed my concerns about my volatile mood. He said that it was highly unlikely to be a side effect of the medication and was more likely to be caused by the stress I was experiencing at work, especially as I only experienced the volatile mood swings whilst at work.

The next day when I arrived at the office I immediately announced that I'd had enough and was giving them a week's notice. Safe to say that some panicked discussions took place between my supervisors and their manager. What the hell would they do now? Start from scratch with a new temp, an unknown quantity? Wasn't there some way they could entice me to stay?

I was almost doubting if I had really made the right decision until I discovered that the Chief Executive of the council had put in place a blanket freeze on all recruitment across the entire organisation which meant that even if the management were finally on the brink of making my position permanent they would not be able to. The Business Manager of my unit is currently fighting to advertise my post with the board of directors. He'll probably convince them... probably.

So, what did I get? I was told that the organisation genuinely appreciated the work I had done for them and regretted that I had decided to leave but acknowledged that I had had to put up with a lot of bullshit. They may be able to advertise the role shortly if they succeed in overturning the job freeze and they would be more than happy if I were to apply for it. That's it, that was all they could offer me: hearty thanks and an apology for all the hassle. But good luck for the future. Ta ta.

Next Friday will be my last day. I feel ambivalent. I am intensely relieved that I won't have to do that horrible job any more, that I won't have to suffer the sheer incompetence of the management but I am also bricking myself about the not insignificant matter of where the fuck my next pay cheque is coming from. Hmm.

Never mind. I have a job interview next Wednesday. I also only have one week to summon up the bottle to ask that intriguing girl from the Performance Management office for a date.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Jobsworth

My attitude at work has been appalling this week. Talk about pedantic and apathetic, I just didn't give a fuck. It took me twice as long as usual to do anything and I made a point of phoning recruitment agencies to enquire about job opportunities when my the senior manager was within earshot.

"Hooray, only fifteen minutes to go," I said to him at 1.00 on Friday afternoon.

"Buggering off early, today?" he asked amiably.

I frowned and said, "No, because I've stopped smoking I'll have done my 37 hours for the week."

I actually stayed until 2.45pm so I could claim a bit of extra dosh (but still within the 40 hour limit, of course).

"I'm going soon," I told one of the housing association call centre girls over the phone.

"What? Why are you skiving off early?"

"Oh, I'm not skiving. I've done my hours for the week."

"But who's going to answer the phone?"

"Uh, my supervisors are out but should be available on their mobile phones if you need anything."

"What if we can't get them?"

"Sorry, not my problem." I then explained that I was wasn't being obnoxious to them (the call centre girls all love me and want me to be taken on permanently) but that I was making a point to my superiors.

"Mmm, I don't blame you. How stupid of them," she said.

"If you can't get hold of anyone and wish to complain that there is nobody here in the office to take your calls for the next two hours, feel free to make it formal."

One of my supervisors has been reassuring me that he is trying to move things along with regards to making my job permanent and saying how horrible it would be for them to have to take on someone new, an unknown quantity, and train them up from scratch. However, my behaviour this week has been so blatantly jaded and critical that he must now suspect that the likelihood of me accepting a permanent role or even applying for it is minimal. Even though I have not secured any alternate employment yet, I feel demob-happy. One way or another, I'm not going to be there much longer.

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