I Have Been Waiting For You

my new dark salted caramel friends. Yes, years I have waited. Why nobody made a dark salted caramel chocolate that I could buy on supermarket shelves, I am still baffled by. But here it is. And I am about to try it, right now, while writing this post on the blog. OMG yes it is awesome but a bit up money at $6 for this block. I will stock up when it goes on special.

Work has been fabulous. The new job is awesome and I am having a great time, with some minor adjustment issues all on my side.

You see, I had fashioned myself a uniform of sorts. It had to be very warm because my last workplace was like being set down on an Arctic ice shelf, with two air-conditioning vents directly above where I stood for much of my day blowing cold air on me. And hilariously in summer, the hotter it got outside, the colder it got inside. I wore Uniqlo heat tech long sleeve turtlenecks and a suedey puffer vest – with great pockets – and I was still freezing most of the time.

The new place is warm and if it wasn’t, I would be able to change the temperature myself. There is no uniform and probably no need for one though I could definitely come up with one if I wanted to. I did not realise how much time knowing what I would wear saved me each morning. I pick out my outfit the night before.

I also never wore earrings to my old job – it was actually too dangerous with the machinery. I always wore a brooch to make up for it. But now I can wear earrings, and I will.

Since the start of the year things have been quite chaotic in this household. With family from interstate visiting we had a lot more outings than usual and we’ve got out of the habit of many household routines, like the regular fortnightly grocery shop.

It has been more bitsy shopping here and there, picking up things for a few meals at a time because we weren’t sure where we would be. Batch cooking has also taken a back seat with The Other Half only at work three days a week and only needing three lunches.

It is time to get back on the no spend days horse, and time to get back on the grocery budget and meal planning. We’ve started that process today.

Home, work

I Don’t Work There Anymore.

You may recall last week my post Pondering small and large frustrations. I wrote that on the Sunday. On Thursday of that same week I resigned from my job because I had found a new one!

If you had asked me in January whether I would leave this job anytime soon, the answer would have been NO WAY. Absolutely not. I loved every minute I spent at work, I loved (with two annoying exceptions) the people I worked with, it was challenging, fun, interesting, never the same two days in a row.

There is a long version of this story but why would I bore you with that when I did not enjoy living it? Instead I will give you the super short version..

A day arrived when I was literally SHAKING with anger at work. That was the point I knew I had to move on.

I went to see my employment guru, we re-wrote my resume, I got my head in the job-seeking game, updated all my online profiles, set up email job alerts and joined the local job search groups on Facebook. I officially started job seeking on the 12th of March.

I found out about my new job in a store that I am a regular customer of via the Facebook – it seems these days a lot of jobs are not found on the job search websites.

Having been there a number of times and knowing their general vibe, I wrote a funny cover letter and attached my resume. I was the only one to take such a risk but it paid off, the receiver absolutely loved it and thanked me for making her laugh in the midst of many oh-so-serious cover letters, and scheduled an interview with me as soon as she had a spare minute. When I got there she told me she’d already decided to hire me just based on our emails back and forth – there had been several.

My interview was at 9 on Thursday 28th March, by 11 on Thursday I was at my now-former work resigning, and on Friday I did a shift at my new job. It was very fast and slightly a shock to most people when they found out. Heck, it was a bit of a shock to me but I am totally fine with being shocked this way. :)

I did not need to give any notice and I had made a pact with myself that if I did not receive a roster for the next week before I arrived to resign, I would not offer to work any more shifts other than to train someone new if they needed it.

I arrived to resign only to meet a new staff member who was being trained to work in my area as a surprise. Cheapskate Boss had not even bothered to tell me he had employed a new person to replace my offsider once she went on maternity leave.

We had talked about that happening eventually but I believed we had agreed to involve me in that process so we could find the right kind of person. That just confirmed to me – not that I needed any further confirmation – I was making the right choice in leaving.

I had thought it would be very difficult to walk away when the time arrived but in truth, it really wasn’t. When I went to pick up my stuff today – stuff I needed and bought with my own money in order to do my job because Cheapskate Boss would not buy it – I found out he has cut the shifts down to 4 hours instead of 5. I won’t miss many of the people but I will miss certain parts of my job.

My first shift at my new job went very well, it is a place I always loved to visit. It is definitely a different vibe to where I have been.

I’ve had a little bit of unexpected time off this week as I normally worked Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday. That has been good for me. I took some time to get organised wardrobe wise and house wise.

I also took some time to get out and exercise. We had some gorgeous weather as you see above! While exercising, I mentally packed my boxes of former job related shyte up and stored it somewhere that I won’t have to look at it.

For me there are some unresolved issues that simply will never be resolved. Years ago that would have driven me crazy. I hate unresolved stuff. Now I am pretty good at resolving my side of it and letting it go.

work

Pondering small and large frustrations

Yesterday I worked at the state election. If you have never worked at an election I highly recommend it and there will be a federal election coming up this year – you can check out the employment page here and register your interest.

In the process of updating my info for the federal election I was surprised to see I have been working at elections for nearly 10 years now. I always enjoy it even though it is a very long day. I got up at 6:20 and I didn’t get home till nearly 10pm. Once the booth closes the staff have to do the counting.

The contrast between this one-off casual job and my regular job is vast. While I truly love what I do at work, there are a lot of frustrations there at the moment and I am pondering a possible departure as a result.

I might be a strange being but for me, I do not tolerate boredom well. In my travels out and about in the world, I see a lot of staff in stores who stand about chatting to each other while customers roam unapproached and unserved. I’ve had to interrupt such conversations as a customer when I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

I honestly can’t understand it. I guess that is their way of escaping the boredom but for me, my way of escaping it is to DO SHIZNIT. AKA clean, move stock, tidy, mini-stocktake, merchandise, make tickets, do something anything.

As I sat yesterday in my chair at the election, I said to my co-worker – I never sit at my job. Never. In fact some time ago when I discovered other staff would use the stool in my area as a place to rest their bones for a while and browse the internet, I took the stool out into the warehouse and asked the staff there to hide it somewhere it would not be found.

This hiding plan was a success, the stool has never returned, and now nobody uses that computer to waste time and surf the web. It is a good thing too, I was forever having to move that stool out of the way. I don’t know where the warehouse guys put it and I am fine with that.


(I’ve done some editing so I could post this without identifying my workplace, apologies for that. This was an early version, the current version has spaces for 7 days of ticks.)

I recently made some check lists for work as my coworker had suddenly started to forget important things that needed to be done, like the till. She went home and left all the money in there. Another co-worker found it at the end of the day and had to reconcile that till as a surprise to herself.

While I am pretty good at remembering things and have never once left my till money in the register I have found the checklists to be extremely useful. I love ticking things off. I love that anyone can walk in there and see exactly what I did that week and when I did it. I just laminate them and use a whiteboard marker because you can clean that off easily without much effort.

My coworker thought this was a great idea and ticked things off for a couple of days, then forgot the checklists exist. I’m not mad at it because I am loving the checklists for myself but I am worried for her that she’s mentally not present a lot of the time and a bit concerned she might forget the till again..

With The Other Half starting uni this year, his mind was full of stuff, and the very first day he went he forgot to lock the back door. I decided a home checklist was a great idea, and we now have one on the laundry door. It has been handy because he gets up and leaves before I get up, so at one glance I can tell what he has done and what I need to do before I leave.

Most of the time I appear to be serenely floating across the water like a swan but the feet are always madly paddling underneath. Occasionally there is a day where it seems the swan is upside down and all you see is my madly paddling feet, but those days are further apart than they have ever been. I feel confident in what I am doing and 99% of the time am absolutely loving it.

When I think about leaving, I think of the things that challenge me, things that I LOVE doing – and bear in mind I am the only person in the store who enjoys those particular aspects of that job. Everyone else hates those tasks. I would truly miss them and be unlikely to find them in any future role.

There are just some small and large frustrations that make me think maybe it is time to look and see whether there might be another place for me, where my hard work is appreciated and valued. So, I ponder. :)

This post was inspired by another post – Working.

work

Merry Christmas To All

That about sums up how I am feeling today, less than 5 hours after I completed what I have secretly nicknamed “The Santa Obstacle Course 2018”.

When I realised I had finished it, a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, and I felt like dancing. But I still had two hours more work to do, stocktaking our little area, tidying up because my offsider is a bit of a hurricane at times and also forgets to put things back where they live, cleaning, sorting, fixing.

After that I caught a lift home, made coffee, cleaned some in preparation for tomorrow – we are hosting Christmas – snuck out for a quick take away dinner, had afternoon coffee at the late hour of 7pm, cleaned a little more, and I still have a bit more cleaning to do.

I had no idea it was possible to be this tired. I’m ready for sleep already. It isn’t physically tired, though there is some of that. I’ve been getting my 10000 steps every single work day these past weeks. I’ve actually kicked the chair out of my area because I don’t have time to sit and I don’t have room for the chair.

It is 90% mentally tired and part of it is Aspie tired. You see, usually at any given time in my job, I might have 20-50 items with various names on them, waiting for the customer to pick them up. All of that is mentally catalogued via my Aspie Super Powers, filed away neatly in my brain. When the customer arrives, I ask for the surname, and it takes me mere moments for my mental file system to tell me exactly where that item is.

Over the past 5 weeks, I have had double to triple the amount of items with various names on them. I’ve also had 200 or so extra items with names each week to catalogue. I’m not the only person working there, either. I’ve had to create “maps” of where everything is, so the other folks can find things fast when they need to. That plan seems to have worked really well.

I did get my Christmas Glitter Nails, and promptly forgot to take any photos. Here they are two weeks in. You can’t see the rainbow holographic glitter on the thumbnail but believe me it is there. I’ve been loving these nails, even though they are “mismatched” and somewhat weird to some folks. My nail lady thought I was cuckoo, she is probably right. ;)

I wish you all the compliments of the season and hope you have a lovely Christmas day filled with whatever floats your boat. I’ll try to remember to take some photos to share with you this year. :)

Nail Art, work

Election Fever

bushwalk3

Don’t you just LOVE it when the universe decides to have a joke at your expense?

At the last Federal Election, I worked at a holiday town election booth as a declaration votes officer. There were at least two of us, possibly three, I can’t remember. We were pretty busy all day helping people visiting from other electorates to cast their votes. During that day, I had TWO votes for our local electorate of Gilmore, both for people who had enrolled at the last minute and somehow got left off the electoral roll.

So, on Saturday the 2nd of July I unwrapped my votes for the many electorates and began counting them, 5 for each electorate. When I got to Gilmore, I laughed to myself and thought “I won’t need many of those today”.

And the universe laughed with me, or maybe at me, because unknown to me there had been some kind of error with the electoral roll. Some people who were on the roll at the last election suddenly found that they were missing. They had not changed address. They had not changed anything with the AEC. But they could not be found, and had to cast declaration votes.

I had to ask my manager for a pad of Gilmore votes. They are printed in books of 100. I had less than 10 left at the end of the day – add in the 5 I started with, it was almost 100 declaration votes for Gilmore. HA HA, laughed the universe!

There was only one of me this time. There were times where I was surrounded by people at my table. I only had one pen which would work on the envelopes and the polling place manager had to do some pen stealing to find me more. I ended up with four. Even with all four pens being used to fill in envelopes, there were long queues of people waiting for me. I was using one pen – the one that would not work on the envelopes – to write down the things I needed to add to the envelopes once they were filled in.

Handing out votes, saying all the things I needed to say, reminding everyone their votes HAD to come back to me to be placed into their envelopes.. I felt like an election robot.

Just after 5pm, I ran out of declaration vote envelopes. We did not have any more, nor did we have any way to get anymore. We had to send those people to other voting places.

The good news is, this meant I could close my station and begin reconciling. Thank the deities, the vote numbers worked out perfectly. Declaration votes are not counted on election day, they are sent to their various electorates to be counted. The envelopes remain closed until they arrive there. Not even the declaration votes cast within their own electorate are opened and counted.

I was done with my reconcillation by 6:30pm which meant I could join in the counting of regular votes. With one of the best teams of AEC staff I have ever been lucky enough to meet, and everyone pitching in and working hard, we had everything counted by 8:30pm. Another half hour to pack up, 15 minutes to bump out and clean up, and we were all out of there by 9:20pm or so. I was home with my beloved Antony Green on the teevee by 9:30pm. I was in bed not long after that – I recorded him to watch later.

As I type this on the 4th of July, there is no election result in Australia. There are currently 10 electorates too close to call and all the votes – postal, declaration, pre-poll – will have to be counted in order to get a result. By the time this post is scheduled I hope we might have a result, I will update it next Sunday.

One of those electorates is my own – Gilmore.

UPDATE – Supposedly the coalition has claimed victory, even though there is more counting to do.. :/

challenges, elections, work

Collect Egg Cartons, She Said

eggcartons1

A few years ago a lady at work sent out an email asking for people to collect egg cartons. For what reason I cannot recall. It might have been for a kids arts and craft thing, or because she had chickens, to build a space craft, for soundproofing.. I have no recollection of the reason now. But the request stuck in my mind, and collect egg cartons I did. Visitors to the house have commented on the large amount of egg cartons residing here.

eggcartons

I remember taking in a stack of them in to the requester a couple of times, then I forgot all about the taking and just kept on with the collecting. Standing there in the kitchen this morning, I realised.. it has been exactly one year and six months since I was last at my place of work. I’m not going back. These egg cartons are never being given to that person again. What the heck am I still collecting them for? Are they just collecting dust up there?

eggcartons3

Yes, they were collecting dust up there. I wiped the dust off before stacking them into a pile. I counted. There were 36 of them. 35 of them belong to Manning Valley Eggs. I am a loyal consumer. I have my reasons, they are extremely great eggs, nearly as good as our own girls.

Letting these collected egg cartons go was a brilliant feeling. :) Kthxbai!

country life, moving on, work

Unpacking The Past

croc

I’m working with my psychologist to try and unpack some of my bad work experiences – this incident came up in our last session. I’ve written it down in an effort to get the events clear in my head, and also so I can easily refer to it in the future. My memory is not as good as it once was. ;)

One of the best managers I ever had was once totally undermined by a team leader underneath her. Because it was a 24/7 call centre, my manager saw this team leader for a maximum of 2 hours a day and for those two hours, this team leader was on her super best behaviour. It was a total accident that what this Team Leader was up to behind her back was discovered..

My manager called me into her office and told me that she was getting feedback that I was “dismissive”. I said I wasn’t really sure what that meant. Could she please provide me with a specific example. She said she could not, because then I would know who gave the feedback and asked me just to keep it in mind. I said ok, but I can’t fix this without more info, so please ask the person giving you this feedback to speak up and let me know when it happens, and/or ask them if they are ok with you relating a specific example.

A month or so later when we had another catch-up, she said she was still receiving feedback that I was “dismissive”. She had asked the feedback provider re relating an example and the answer was no. As no specific example could be provided, I said, “Sorry, I can’t fix this without knowing more. Plus, now I am starting to feel concerned that the person giving this feedback isn’t adult enough to put their name to it. Maybe there is a reason they will not put their name to it”.

Probably three weeks later, I was walking past the managers office and I heard my name and that word. Her office was glass, so I could see who was in there with her. It was one of the team leaders. The manager and I locked eyes and she knew I had heard it. After that person left, she called me in. I apologised. I did not mean to overhear but I was walking past. Then I said – now I know who is giving you this feedback, I actually know what the problem is – and I am not being dismissive, I am simply too busy to “debrief” with her.

This person was a team leader and if I had a question about how to handle something I would ask her. She would tell me to do X. I’d accept her answer on face value and do exactly what she said to do. Once I’d done what she said, I moved on to the next task.

Two or three hours later she would come to me when it was quiet and try to have another discussion about the question I’d asked. I’d be like.. I did what you said, it is handled, and I’ve moved on to other things. And she’d be like “No, we need to debrief”. And I’d be like, I’m sorry, I don’t have time to debrief. I have 6 other tasks in my queue that need to be completed. The situation was solved and I’ve closed it off, so we don’t need to debrief.

When I explained this, my manager said I was doing exactly the right thing. She actually felt that how I was handling this issue was too polite and she told me in future to be a lot more “dismissive” about these debriefs and just to give a simple no, and she would talk to the team leader directly about this.

My manager then asked me why I had not mentioned this situation to her. I explained that this team leader had told me to always go directly to her if I had an issue with her and she would do the same with me.

I had spoken directly to the team leader about it, and she told me the debriefing was her way of doing things and I should debrief whenever she wanted me to debrief. I said lets do a compromise – if I say that I have work I need to do, let it go. If I’m not busy, we can debrief. In that job, it was rare for me not to be busy, so 99% of the time I’d say I had work to do.

The manager was very unhappy about this “feedback deal”, and on further investigation she found out this team leader had made the same “feedback deal” with every single staff member. She sent out an email making it very clear that any issues with team leaders were to be raised directly with her, and no “feedback deals” were allowed.

I was also very unhappy that this team leader was saying to my face if she had any issues with me she would raise them with me, and from then on, I did not trust her.

All of a sudden, all the issues with people had with this team leader were going to the manager. It turned out this team leader was doing a lot of not great things and the spotlight was well and truly on her. The long cigarette breaks, the disappearances, her refusal to answer her phone when it rang, the non completion of tasks, some bullying of staff members, the times she would leave early and have someone else cover for her, the inappropriate flirting with clients on her calls, all of this came to light.

rockpool_600x400

Because my Best Manager was truly that – an excellent manager – she kept a very tight leash on this team leader once all of this came to light.. but when my Best Manager left, this team leader had free rein to act inappropriately. That was not a fun time for me, but I knew to keep a very close eye on her, and to call her out on her bullshit.

She did not appreciate my calling her out, and she used a new staff member to try and oust me by having them make false complaints about me. Unfortunately for her, I was already in the process of complaining about her behaviour with management and when I pointed out that there were witnesses to the event this staff member complained about and that management should ask them for their version of events, it was discovered my version of events was the correct one.

After that situation, I stated to management that I no longer wanted to work with that team leader, and we adjusted my schedule accordingly, until I eventually left the company, mostly because the new manager was not a patch on Best Manager, and I no longer enjoyed the job.

Eventually, she ended up being demoted from her team leader position. Karma, it happens. :) Though sometimes it takes longer than we would like, and sometimes we are not there to witness it happen in person.

Angry Snoskred, life lessons, looking back, moving forward, work

Here we go again..

leaders

Please to explain how Bill Shorten is even an option on this poll, news.com.au. Bill Shorten is not a member of the Liberal Party and even if he were to get ALL THE VOTES there is no possible way he can become the leader of it! You might as well put Ronald McDonald on the form as well..

Look, there is zero doubt that Australia adores Malcolm Turnbull. The guy says what he thinks and it has cost him dearly at times, rather famously costing him the leadership back in 2009. He will always be known to Q&A viewers as That Guy Who Wore The Leather Jacket That Time.

The Australian Media are all in a tizzy, they love this kind of stuff *so* much. And it will run 24/7 until Tuesday, I’m certain.

Do the public love it? Having worked at the past few elections I have heard many comments from people who are forced to show up and vote, and the general theme is, I’d rather not have to vote for any of these idiots.

I had a few people tell me they’d prefer to “blow all those bastards up” which is a very Australian statement. Non-Australians might not understand how that can be an Australian statement, but this was a catchphrase here for many years thanks to The Kingswood Country. AKA – “Somebody/someone should blow [current object of annoyance] up!”

Some people advise they would prefer to urinate on them than vote for them. I’m deeply appreciative that these people are willing to express their apparent fondness for golden showers with a random like me handing out their voting papers, but the germophobe within me says, ew.

I also deeply enjoyed the drawings of genitalia on the ballot papers, though I did not understand why people drew such small penises on such a large canvas. Were these self portraits? Use the whole ballot, peoples, it is enormous. Have a look at the size of the largest ballot here – Australia’s Compulsory Voting System; Is It Good or Bad?.

In general people were vastly unhappy with all the uncertainty around Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party, so they are unlikely to be huge fans of these same issues in the Liberal Party.

With that said, the last federal election was a very clear middle finger to the Labor Party and I suspect the only reason the Liberals got in is due to the fact that they were not Labor. EG I’m voting for these people because they are not THOSE people. Nobody seemed to like Tony Abbott then, and nobody seems to like him now.

For what it is worth – there is an upcoming election in NSW and they are looking for staff if you live in NSW and you want to give it a try, click here for more. I’ve worked elections a few times and have enjoyed it enormously. :)

Aussie Culture, bitches, elections, politics, work

The Name Game – Taryn

bh9

I once worked with a girl who was named Taryn, in a call centre.

The last thing you want in a call centre is to have a unique name. You would think having a unique name would be awesome but believe me, it costs you time on the phone. Here is how the average wrap up for a Taryn call would go.. the side fellow call centre operators would hear, anyway.

“You’ve been speaking with Taryn today”

“No, not Karen, Taryn, with a T”

“T.. A.. R.. Y.. N”

“Yes, with a T”

Yes, T.. A.. R.. Y.. N, that is right”

“I’m not sure where the name came from. Now before I let you go, is there anything else I can do for you today?”

(A long, long gap, during which the caller usually tells Taryn an unusual name story for no apparent reason)

“Thank you for sharing that with me. I really have to go now, there are calls in the queue that I need to answer. Thanks for your time today.”

The trouble with this was, every single time the call centre would review her calls, the ending wrap up as described above would be at least 2 minutes long. Sometimes a lot longer when the story the caller told her would be 5-10 minutes long. Plus, that last line did not fit in with the smiley happy warm and fuzzy vibe that operators were meant to portray.

Several times, Taryn was told she should use a pseudonym on the phones. Each and every time, Taryn refused to do this. Her call times were always much longer than everyone elses and a major reason was the above conversation which she was having over and over again, on every single call she took. Even when they moved her to making outgoing calls in the hope of shortening her call times, this exact same conversation would happen.

Eventually, the general manager of the company approached her about it and told her changing her phone name was a requirement for continuing employment with the company. Taryn went back to her desk, wrote her resignation, printed it out, signed it, and went back to give it to the general manager. She was then escorted from the building.

Taryn was an incredible call centre operator. One of the best I have ever worked with. She was also incredibly stubborn about her name and at the time I was totally on board with that, but as time has gone by I have seen how little it really matters.

Callers do not care what your name is. They are unlikely to call back looking for you to speak to, and if they do, 99% of the time they will get your name completely wrong. I got called Shannon all the time, and that is nowhere near my actual real name. My name has 3 syllables, Shannon only has two, plus the letter my name starts with is at the total opposite end of the alphabet.

I’ve had people call me Veronica, Alexandra, Cassandra, Katherine, Karen, Mary, Elizabeth, princess, darling, darl, sweety, dear.. the list of names I have been called is long and there are many names on it, and my actual real name is rarely to be seen on that list.

Taryn was right to quit, though. I only lasted 9 months in that same call centre and that place was awful, caring more about call times and stats than actual people.

————————-

I was tagged by Fish of Gold for this name game blog hop.

I’ll tag Kenton Musings as I have not seen them tagged anywhere yet, and their about page says “I am always on the lookout for the next writing topic.” The rules can be found over here.

Here’s who has contributed so far:

Markbialczak
Silver Threading
The Chatter Blog
MeWhoAmI
Lindaghill
Lucy at the Excessive Gardener
DebraB at Debra Books
Mindful Digressions
Fish of Gold
Snoskred

call centre, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2014, pseudonym, work

Favourite Things – Bling!

Over the past few months, we have been working on de-cluttering, tidying, and making our house more of a home.

bling1

When I was working, I created this blinged up box – which I would use to take all my “stuff” to and from work. I am a high maintenance girl. I need stuff, during the day. So the box is pretty large – it is 15 litres and measures 40cm x 28cm x 19cm.

What kind of stuff do I need when I work? This box – without the lid – used to carry the following to and from work –

– A box of tissues
– A roll of paper towel.
– A bottle of Soda Water.
– My plastic cup for the day.
– An apple, a plastic Ikea plate to cut it up on, and a decent knife.
– A 2 minute noodle snack with a container to “cook” it in, and a fork.
– Hand sanitiser
– Lip balm
– Hand cream
– My handbag would sit on top of the “stuff”.

bling3

Now, it has become a home to my bling. The lid keeps the dust off and the bling shiny!

Please to note, none of my Bling is expensive – the most costly item here is likely my Michael Kors watch at just under $200. The other two watches were less than $100. Everything else is below $30. They are doing some amazing things with crystals these days.

More on my BLING tomorrow.

Do you have bling?

If yes, where does it live?

About Snoskred, jewellery, NaBloPoMo, NaBloPoMo 2014, work