First days back in an office

Day 2:  Being back in the office after nearly four years of working from home is more draining than I’d expected.  I’m wading my way through reams of  induction paperwork on policies and practices, strategies and work plans and am still reeling from the newly acquired business support co-ordinator who is ever so efficiently managing my calendar.  I’m not used to having my life arranged for me – it’s novel if a little daunting – and I’m not quite sure I’m ready to give up my independence.     I also appear to have stepped onto the acronym mothership and am bewildered by the ever growing list: ELMA, BA, TOM, BIS, ERDMS, SDS, ASC, CHAT, CMD, PMT, LOL, BTW, WTF?!

Assimilation into a clique (should one exist, no doubt it does) will probably take time but the office gossip has kept me entertained if a little distracted.  I had forgotten quite how noisy 50 people coming and going can be – there is so much eavesdropping to be done.

Oh to have an office

I know I have been somewhat tiresome with my recent rants about work, but it is one of my biggest irritations, no, hates at the moment.  I’ve reached my absolute fill, the homeworking quota has been exceeded, my own company is becoming tedious and I have to escape.  I daydream about the good old days (with rose tinted glasses of course) when I worked in an office. Oh how I miss the daily commute, the people watching, the office gossip, the office politics, the impromptu drinks after work and the regular, face to face contact with other human beings.  As the years tick by, I feel I’m slowly losing the ability to communicate, I’m becoming introverted and find it difficult to make idle chit chat with people who ask ‘how has your week been?’.  For the most part, my working weeks are quiet, monotonous, uneventful, uninteresting, uninspiring…you get the drift. 

As my other half comes home each evening, eager to plonk on the sofa and relax in the peace and quiet,  I’m looking to escape the confines of the apartment which seems to be getting smaller by the day.    That’s the problem you see, if you don’t go to work, then you don’t come home from work – it all just blurs into one.  There’s no shaking off the day when you walk out of the office building. I just turn from my work computer to my home computer – I’m in the same chair, at the same desk, in the same box room. I eat dinner, I go to bed, I get up, eat breakfast and sit at my desk ready to do it all over again.  *Sigh*  I think the ideal balance would be to work in an office three days a week and have two very focused days at home.  That way I could have the best of both worlds because no matter how much I whinge, there are definitely some upsides to working at home.

Anyway, before you start playing your mini violins, here is today’s cartoon on the subject:


Current Sanity Status – questionable!

Frustrated! Angry! Bemused! and its all down to the NHS which no doubt stands for ‘Not Helpful for Sanity!’ The debacle continues:

Up until 10 days before L was due to start her new job, she still hadn’t heard any details about which hospital she’d be working in, who she should report to, what her contract would be or any of the things one should expect before entering new employment.

Naturally a little perturbed, bordering on concern, L phoned the lady she’d had most recent contact with. After explaining the situation and expressing her worries, the voice on the other end stated, with indifference, that she was no longer dealing with L’s details and didn’t know who was. After a little coaxing, she suggested L contact hospital X (no names just the hospital)!

When L finally managed to track down the HR person in charge of her new post she was greeted with “THANK GOD you’ve called! We’ve been waiting for you to ring us because don’t seem to have any of your contact details. All I have here is your last name and the department you’ll be working for!” Followed by “we still can’t confirm your appointment until we’ve had your references” and “no cause for alarm”!

Can I just remind you that this was 10 days before L was due to start. What happened to all those copies of CV’s, reference letters, online references (through the now non-existent online application service) and details she provided for her interview in MAY? Obviously the Not Helpful for Sanity paperwork Pixies had multiplied and were now wreaking havoc with applications! These being the same Not Helpful for Sanity Pixies that stole L’s paperwork three times last year, preventing the Not Helpful for Sanity financial staff from paying L the correct wage for 10 months! I digress…

Wednesday: on the first day of her new job, L knows which hospital she’ll be working at but hasn’t had any details regarding induction or who to report to. Making an educated guess she arrives at her allocated department only to discovers that the induction is being held at a rugby club several miles from the hospital. Undeterred, she rocks up at the club (late) to be greeted by flustered staff who don’t seem to have her name, staff badge nor, for all accounts and purposes, evidence that she exists!

Those cheeky Pixies!

After an excruciatingly tedious afternoon of health and safety talks and ‘in-case-of-fire’ instruction, she still was no clearer as to her rota, her pay, her contract, holiday allowance etcetera etcetera. She also becomes a little uneasy after a hearing several other examples of the Not Helpful for Sanity’s expertise in disorganisation. A the Trust employed 6 new doctors – Two didn’t have up-to-date working visas therefore, four people will now be covering the work of 6. Worse still, one poor girl turned up for the induction only to find that the clinic she was contracted to work for had closed but no-one had bothered to let her know. Several people were still being interviewed 2weeks before their job started (I feel sorry for those with children). L still hasn’t seen a rota or contract…

Thursday: second half of induction, still no contractual information. A rota is apparently being ‘drawn up’. It’s becoming clear that the Not Helpful for Sanity Pixies have tied up the entire HR department, kept them in a dark room with no access to a calendar, paperwork or a computer for the last two months.

Friday: First tentative steps into the department – L is developing a nervous tick and after encountering several severe traffic jams on her journey to and from the hospital (3hours travel a day), she has a slighty maniacal look about her.

4pm Friday Afternoon: Still hot from the printer, L receives her rota. She must now cancel all arrangements for the weekend as she will be on call from 8am Saturday morning! I feel the anger welling up and another grey hair spring from my scalp so I can only imagine how L must be feeling. More bad news, she needs to start at 7:30am at least one day a week over the next four months meaning a 5am start to ensure a timely arrival.

Monday am: Phone call from L….”they want me to start at 7:30am every day…” pause “WHAAAAAAAAT!” L’s new consultant is apparently unsympathetic to anyone’s travel issues. On the spur of the moment he decided to change the rota.

Unsurprisingly I am feeling disgruntled. I have seen L (awake) a total of 15minutes since Saturday. She will not be home tonight deciding it was easier to stay in a hotel near the hospital instead of attempting a 5am start. With our house on the market and the aim to move to a bigger house before Xmas, I’m glad we’ve made the decision to stay in and around Beeston. For the next year (minimum) I will be on my own quite a bit and the idea of being alone, in a new house somewhere in the countryside, miles from friends and everything familiar is not all together appealing. We wait with baited breath for news that the two non-visa doctors are re-employed and the rota becomes less intense…. We could be waiting sometime.

It’s been a while

Gosh! time seems to move on quite swiftly – since I’ve left work I haven’t had a moment to sit down and write any blogs… well I wrote this one on the 12th but didn’t get round to posting it until now. So here you go…

Its raining hard today…On wet days it always makes me smile at the umbrella acrobatics and duels that take place in the crowded streets.A friend once said to me “save space, get rid of umbrellas” and she’d be right.On rainy days, on a busy pavement, there isn’t enough room for everyone AND their umbrella. The speed at which reach destination is greatly reduced on wet days because you have to go into battle with those giant, eye poking, block-out-the-light, space guzzling golf brollies.It should be compulsory for golf brollie owners to share some of the space in a similar fashion to car sharing. It would certainly save a few eyes, and make way for smaller less intrusive umbrellas.

It’s great fun to watch the brollie battles as two on coming people realise there isn’t enough room to brush past each other so they do a little jig raising their umbrella high above their head or tilting it to one side.Of course, the ‘side tilt’ is a dangerous manoeuvre as you can easily become entangled with another unsuspecting brollie carrier or worse, gouge a hole in the head a person who’s forgotten their umbrella at home.

Some people have the most folorn looking umbrellas you’ve ever seen, with bent or broken struts that hang down at a jaunty angle, funnelling torrents torrents of water on to the owner’s shoulder or more likely, the shoulder of someone else. And then there people who use the teeny, tiny umbrellas that just about keep the top of your head dry.What is the point of those?? (my friend, the one who doesn’t agree with umbrellas, has one of these) One’s toupee might stay dry but the other 98% of the body is soaked down to the bone! If you are thinking of buying one of these, let me give you some advice – save your coins and by a shower cap, it works just as well.

Did you know that the umbrella was originally designed to shade people from the sun over 4000 years ago! And the word ‘umbrella’ comes from the Latin word ‘umbra’ meaning shade or shadow… now how’s that for a bit of trivia?!

So I suppose I should briefly mention that its my first week at Uni and it’s running relatively smoothly – Freshers week was last week but I avoided the traffic light parties, the excessive drinking and all related activities.I did make and effort to go to the Freshers Fayre to see what free goodies were to be had and came home with a ton of useless flyers, a spatula, a teaspoon and a small pouch to put your old chewed gum in instead of spitting it onto the side walk. I thought this was an amazing piece of ingenuity but I’ll leave that subject for another time.

I have also discovered why most mature students sit at the front.This is something I used to ridicule when I was a student (the first time round). But now I know…we mature students WANT to hear what’s being said.Unlike the kids, who spend all their time gossiping about who fancies who and how hung over they are, we actually want to pay attention.In my first lecture,I had to steel myself from giving them a stern telling offFrom now on, I’ll sit near the front.There’s not much else to report as we are easing into things pretty slowly.Our first project is based on mapping and I’ve just spent the last hour highlighting bits chewing gum on the pavement….