A CASE OF THE BLUES
Monday 11 February 2008
WMESB™: Another driver this morning who doesn’t know how to count. I handed over my ticket and said, “Number 7, please”. I even handed it to him in the right way so he could pop it straight under his punch. Simple? No. He looks at my ticket, turns it around and punched number 8!! How hard can it be to check the numbers on a 12-journey ticket? I say 7, he checks 7, he punches 7, simple. At the Ferrytoll I let an X57 and X58 go but got fed up waiting and went for an X54. Getting these buses instead of a 55 or 53 means I have to pay £1 to get a bus back to Comely Bank but the stress of waiting at the Park and Ride is too much.
My colleague who regularly gives me a lift home is out of the office this afternoon so I’ll have to endure a toll-free delay-ridden journey home on the bus tonight. Sometimes I don’t mind getting the bus home; a time to collect thoughts and become even more disenchanted, but most days I hate it. The queuing, the sullen drivers, the wait at the soulless Ferrytoll for a connection (usually having just missed one by 30 seconds) and the stupidity of other passengers are just a few of the reasons I dread the trip home. Sure, a lot of people have to go through this but I feel that it’s sucking the very life out of me. The 9 to 5 (8 to 4 in my case) bit in the middle is bad enough without spending 2 ½ hours a day to and from it.
There was a piece in yesterday’s Independent about people getting sacked for having compromising photos or making comments about their employer on their blogs or on social networking sites like Bebo, MySpace and Facebook. Everyone I work with knows I hate what I do and having been screwed over by my employer on a number of occasions I’ve every right to feel bitter and aggrieved.
In 2003 I applied for a job within another department. I thought the interview went well and I was disappointed to find out I hadn’t got it but I philosophical. Someone, I forget whom, then tipped me the wink that the result was “dodgy”. I immediately asked for feedback. I found out that I had scored 147 at interview, ahead of the other two candidates, who both scored 144. By all the rules laid down in the recruitment Policy the job should have been mine. It seems that the manager in question decided that he just didn’t want me and decided on an it’s-my-department-and-I’ll-do-what-I-want stance.
Within minutes of the starting the feedback interview it descended into a farce. I kept asking poignant questions and he wouldn’t give me straight answers. I asked to see the scores, which I was legally entitled to, but the manager concerned refused. Eventually, I took out two grievances but these took their toll on my health and by the time I had to face the second highest person in the organisation, who just happened to be a friend of the manager who didn’t want me, I had lost the will to fight on. I should have taken it further because I was right and what I was enduring was just plain wrong, and illegal, but I was mentally and physically exhausted.
The irony of the situation is that one of the reasons cited for me not getting the job was that I was too ambitious yet the girl who was given the job lasted less than years before leaving. The manager in question also left for a cosy 18-hour £30k a year job working from home as a “consultant”. Rather interestingly, the news of this cushy number made the press and I suspect the information came from a disgruntled member of his own team. It probably isn’t healthy but I’ve kept the press cutting just to remind me what a thoroughly obnoxious individual he is.
After that debacle my health continued to suffer. I applied and got a job in a different department but I knew almost immediately that it was a mistake. I lasted a couple of months before an incident with another member of staff resulted in me taking seven months off sick with anxiety, stress and depression. This individual made a racist remark and when I asked her not to say it again she repeated it! At the time both of my senior members of staff were on holiday and when they came back they weren’t interesting in disciplining her.
The tale of woe continues. Upon my eventual return to work I was placed in a department that had no work for me to do. For nine months, in a room on my own, I did nothing but crosswords and puzzles. And that’s my employer’s idea of rehabilitation – putting me in something akin to solitary confinement. I constantly asked for work; I even went to other departments. I was told that when we moved to a new building that things would be different. Wrong! At one point my compassionate manager suggested that “you don’t need a manager, you need a social worker”!! I complained to Personnel and got a face-to-face apology.
Eventually I was redeployed to the post I currently hold. At first it was like I had a new lease of life. I was busy and enjoying myself. I lightened the mood in an office that was having staffing problems. Four members of this small office weren’t getting on with each other. Two years on and all four have gone to pastures new (I liked two of them and didn’t like the other two). Unfortunately the job now has more troughs than peaks and I’m back to twiddling my thumbs. My new colleagues and I are now helping out other departments because we’re quiet work-wise. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told that, “You’re wasted here”! I need to be in a more creative environment, one where I can use my skills and talents so I can fulfil my potential. At the moment I feel that the very life is being sucked out of me and my motivation is draining away. The knock-on effect is that I have no motivation at home and I’m losing interest in all the hobbies that normally bring my some contentment. All the projects I’ve started have been fallen by the wayside and I seem to spend my time on the PC player iPool. I need to be jumped started with a new challenge (and a big fuck-off pair of spark plugs), but something that pays the bills to keep the GLW happy.
Therefore, I make no apologies if my employer feels that I may be having a go at them because, in this democratic society we live in, I am entitled to my opinion and I will fight for that right.
I didn’t bother about the weekend crosswords yesterday because I used a black cloud of depression as an excuse to take it out on my study by clearing out loads of shit. I filled the whole paper bin and took some stuff up to the recycling centre. It was a job well done although I’m still not entirely happy with the room. At least now I can see the carpet. I do, however, still have a big pile of paperwork to sort and file – a good excuse to go stationery shopping.
That reminds me. After work on Friday I accompanied a colleague into Clinton Cards on Princes Street. Coming down the stairs I spotted a row of signs showing which sections were where within the shop. Sadly, and rather worryingly for a card shop, one of the signs read “Social Stationary”. That’s right, stationery with an A!!! I took a photo on my phone (when I learn how to upload it I will) before spotting the same mistake on another similar sign on the way out!! Unbelievable. (I’ve now e-mailed them).
I missed my mate Mark on "Goldenballs" again. Watched "University Challenge", then "Mastermind" (on tape and fast forwarded through the dull specialist subjects, which, in tonight's case, was all of them) and later on it's "Damages". Until then I'm off to the newly gutted study to listen to Jackie Leven and update the Jock 'n' Roll website.
Haste ye back!