D4D

The choice of a sweary generation ®

Archive for the category “Work-related”

Inept

Following on from yesterday’s post about car maintenance, and giving the Saab a treat, there was one final thing that needed doing.

Over the last couple of months, the car’s been intermittently reporting “Key battery needs changing”. It did it for a week, then stopped doing so. Then every so often the message would return. (I know, that’s pretty much the definition of ‘intermittent’. Sod off)

Anyway, last week it got more consistent, and over the weekend it started not locking etc., which I figure is a pretty good indication that it’s time to sort it out. (Luckily I’ve got two keys, so it wasn’t a complete hassle) Having looked at the instruction book – yes, a man reading the instructions, what a rarity – and picked up the necessary battery on Sunday, expecting it to be a two-minute job.

Safe to say, it wasn’t a two-minute job. Following the simple instructions, the panel on the key simply wouldn’t open. I probably could’ve forced it, but what the hell would be the point of that?

So it ended up that yesterday I went to my Saab garage, and got them to do it instead. It cost me nothing (except the fuel to get there, of course) and yes, it took them less than two minutes all told.

On occasion it’s galling to be quite this inept – although they did say it’s something that a lot of people have issues with doing – but at the same time I’m fairly secure in my inpetitude, and in getting things done by those who know how to do so.

Basic Maintenance

This week, the Saab must think it’s been stolen – allbeit by someone who actually gives a damn about cars.

With the various odds-and-sods and issues of the last few months, basic car stuff had kind of gone by the wayside. I’ve been promising the car some attention, and so now normality has been somewhat resumed, it’s been time to do it. Plus, of course, the onset of winter conditions, which means it makes sense to ensure things are sorted.

Over the weekend, it got a proper clean inside and out (I don’t quite know how car windows get so disgusting on the inside, but they do) which made a world of difference. There were also new windscreen wipers – the last MOT said they were OKish and wouldn’t fail the car, but did need replacing. So with the colder/wetter weather (and with the next MOT due in a couple of months) it was worth sorting out.

Finally, it’s now sitting on new tyres – it’s a year since I did the last new set, and they’ve done nearly 30,000 miles in that time.

Of course, now it’s had another couple of hundred quid spent on it, it’ll now break down spectacularly in the next couple of weeks, knowing my luck.

A Long Five Years

While I was looking back through D4D™ and what happened when, I found the category for the “Five Year Plan”, which started in – um – 2006, to go from 35 to 40.  And now I’m 43 and still using it.

Oops.

So anyway, it’s going to stay as a tag/category, but the goalposts are changing a bit. (Well, they’ve already changed, as I’ve been using it for three years past the original target) It’s going to take me through another two years now, to 45.

I’ve a nagging feeling I’ve written about extending the timeline before, but I can’t find it right now.Hey ho.

Along the way of that plan though, lots has changed. When it started, life was heading in a particular direction, and since then everything has altered pretty radically. Indeed, I don’t think there’s a single part of the original plans or intentions that has stood the test of time, or remains in place.

There’s still a lot of things I want to do, and things I’m working towards. There’ve been some savage roadhumps along the way, at least one of which doesn’t actually complete until the end of 2015. However, I do feel it’s generally going in a positive direction, and we’ll see where things end up.

43

Today, I is forty-bloody-three. It doesn’t seem like a year ago I was forty-bloody-two, but there we go. Time flies when you’re having fun. (Or dashing around trying to avoid a shower of shit. Either way)

I’ve looked back to what I wrote this time last year, the usual ‘plans’ post and it’s not been too bad for once.

And in general it’s worked out for the most part. Goals in bold, explanations in normal text.

  • Weigh Less  – Successful. I’m now more than two stone lighter than I was a year ago. There’s still a considerable way to go, but it’s been significant progress throughout the year.
  • Write MoreAlso successful, albeit not to the degree I’d have liked.  I’ve got more ideas and more plans of what I want to write in the coming year, I’ve got two projects started and significant progress, and completed some shorter stuff, including submitting three pieces to competitions. None were successful, but it’s still progress.
  • IAMDidn’t do. Mainly because of the fluctuations of the year, the IAM thing just didn’t happen. It will do this coming year, though.
  • Own companySuccessful. Again it’s been knocked a bit by fluctuations and inconsistencies, as well as a couple of let-downs, but generally successful.
  • Business IdeasKinda successful. I know more about the direction, but need to do the work.
  • Rebuilding the finances50/50. It was successful – but then with those fluctuations, and the shower of shit, it’s back to square one at the moment. At the same time, it didn’t descend into “being in the shit”, although it was close. So, you know, little victories.

And for my 43rd year? Much the same, I think…

  • Weigh Less (continued work)
  • Write More
  • IAM Test
  • Own Business Ideas
  • Build the Finances

There may be others, there may not. But if I can have the successes of this year without the downsides and letdowns, it should be pretty positive. That’d be nice.

Lazing

My current contract is quite cushy, and lets me work from home for four days a week, only needing to be in the office for one day.  The car thinks it’s been nicked, the mileage has dropped so much.

Working from home is an odd thing – it can be quite hard to motivate oneself (although I’m doing OK so far) when you’re spending the time at home instead of in a proper office.  It’s easier when one has a specific room for use as a home-office, but this particular house isn’t big enough to do that without some serious changes – which would involve either an extension, or roofing over the outside yard and using that – so it’s a bit tougher on that score.

At some point I may look at renting desk-space again, as I did earlier this year. Depends how things go over the next couple of weeks.

Other than the work side though, it’s also allowing me to catch up on some recorded TV that’s been hanging around for a while – no bad thing.

And finally, it’s making it clear to me – yet again – just how much my bloody cars actually sleep. I’ve always known they’re lazy bastards, but seeing just how lazy is a real eye-opener.

Anyway, back to the grindstone.

Slightly Quiet – the Recovery

Carrying on from the last couple of posts – Reasons and Repercussions – I’m hoping that I’m now on the road back. (If nothing else, the fact I’ve done these three posts should say that I’m on the way!)

This last few months has been tough, there’s no denying it. There’ve been a number of facets to that toughness, but I’m generally optimistic that they’re all on the way back to something approaching sanity.

Financially it’s definitely been tough, and I’m back to pretty much square one again. This month will (hopefully) be the last of that level of toughness, now I’m back to working on contract instead of permanent roles. The last few months have cost me dearly, going into what savings I had amassed, based on promises that salary deficits would be fixed and so on – which never happened.

Socially it’s been absolute piss. I’ve hardly seen anyone – some of that is related to the financial stuff, some of it down more to depressions, to not wanting to go out, as well as to feeling a bit trapped by a number of things.

Workwise – well, we covered that in other posts. Safe to say, it’s not been fun, and it’s affected me pretty negatively.

Creatively, it’s been a bit of a dead zone. The only positive is that the amount of time spent on the road while commuting gave me the opportunity to think a bit about some writing ideas, although I didn’t have the time or inclination to actually get them done. Still, with any luck that’ll be part of the next phase.

Really, the only real positive of the last few months has been health-wise – I’ve managed to lose two stone in weight, and been walking far more than I was. And again, that’s something I’ll continue making the effort on, I think, as well as (now I’ve got some more time to myself and my life) getting back to the gym a bit more.

This last few months have left me feeling pretty flat and wiped-out. I’m hoping that now it’s a bit more settled and sorted, things will head in a more positive direction for a while.

Slightly Quiet – the Repercussions

As I wrote yesterday, some of the stuff of the last few months has affected me in a number of ways, none of which I’m all that great at explaining at the time.

The work and jobs I’ve been doing this year haven’t left me in a good place, and I’ve found that (as on other occasions) it affects me more than I’m actually happy about.

I value myself to some degree by the work I do – and I like doing good work. Being part of a grinding factory of make-work bullshit isn’t my thing, and that was the kickstarter this time, a three-month contract with a company in Cambridge that was almost local-government in its use of people and make-work self-justifying crap that signifies the environs I really hate working in.

The work I did there was negligible – it wasn’t even relevant – which never helps. The next one was just bad, totally demoralised staff and an obsession with everything being “Agile” and a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP), which appears to be techie-code for “Yeah fuck it, that’ll do”.

The idea of MVP is a good one in a startup business, or one that’s launching. It means that you do the basics, get it ready and get it out, then continue improving, adding functionality, listening to customer demands and the like.  However, when you’re in a business whose product has been available for a while, MVP means basic “do what the customer requested”, but without any thought for knock-on effects, or even how that functionality affects or integrates with existing code and setup.

From there, the next role was more challenging, but owned by an asshat. Lots still ongoing on that one, but at least it’s over.

But when all’s said and done, it all affects me – and more than it should. More than I admit, probably even to myself.  It leaves me demotivated, and not wanting to work on my own projects – whether web/tech-based, or just writing.  You’d think – and logic would dictate – that when I’m down about my paid-work being shit, I’d want to rectify that with producing decent stuff outside of work. But it doesn’t work like that – if I’m not happy with what I’m doing, I don’t want to do more of it.

With the excessive work hours at the last place as well, I didn’t really have time. I felt like I was existing only to commute, work, and sleep. Never a good place to be.

About the only positives to come out of it all have been that I’ve learned ever more about things I really don’t want to do, more warning signs about working with/for douchebags, and some more writing ideas when I get back into the mood for it.

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