Hasta La Muerte

Archive for the category “Work-related”

Waiting For Pay

This current contract has had one major downside – the agency in question have the worst pay schedule I’ve ever seen.

Of course, there are also quite a lot of other downsides, which is why I’m not going to be extending or renewing the contract anyway. But that pay schedule is definitely a contributory factor to the entire thing.

It’s come through an agency I hadn’t previously dealt with, and while they did say that the job paid monthly (which is fine with me) they carefully didn’t explain quite what they meant. This tells me that they damn well know the pay schedule is insanely broken/dodgy, but can’t be chuffed to do anything about it.

Usually, a monthly contract is paid by dint of the contractor submitting an invoice and getting paid seven days later. All well and good. You have an invoice deadline of (for example) the 23rd of the month, submit by then and get paid for month-end.

Not with this agency. Oh no.

You submit your invoice for the end of the month. They then take three weeks to pay, *and* still send it BACS, so it takes three days to hit your account. So, for example, the invoice for March, submitted by the ‘March’ deadline of 4th April (don’t ask) doesn’t hit a bank account ’til 18th April. (Which is a bank holiday – something the agency only realised when I asked them what they were doing about bank holidays)  For me, because this one has gone through an Umbrella company, I don’t get paid ’til the next working day – the Tuesday after Easter.

My colleague who started on 31st March won’t get paid til the 23rd of May.

In short, that’s shocking. And I can’t wait to get paid (three days before my contract ends).


Shelterwood Field Notes notebooksOne of my loves is – as sad as it sounds – stationery. Pens, Inks, and particularly note-pads of various types. I use them a lot in my work, taking notes, keeping track of ideas and projects. Well, that’s how I justify things, anyway.

Recently I’ve been getting savage temptations from a company called Bureau Direct, who have a huge range of everything I love using. I’ve been impressed by their service, their range, and the speed and efficiency of their service. Sadly, their weekly promotional email is like temptation itself.

The most recent addition to my collection arrived over the weekend – a pack of three limited-edition “Field Notes” notebooks called “Shelterwood“.

They’ve managed to get a fine layer of American Cherry wood as the cover – I have *no* idea how they’ve managed it, but they have. The covers are still flexible, but they’re a razor-thin laminate of ‘proper wood’. Naturally, all the covers are different (as you’d expect from wood) and they’re ace. The books aren’t as big as I’d thought they might be – about A6, I’d guess – but that’s fine, and makes them different from my normal notepad-size too.

It turns out that Field Notes do these limited editions on a regular basis – I suspect I may end up with more…

Break Contemplation

When this current contract ends, I’ve already got the next one lined up, which will be another 4-6 weeks of work, taking me through to the start of June. It’s a nice situation, having something already lined up and waiting to start – not all that common, and helped by the knowledge that I have no intention of extending this one at all.

It’s making me think about what’s next (i.e. what’s after that) and I’m actually contemplating taking a week off, disappearing to a cottage somewhere.

It’ll be expensive though. Not the cottage (or whatever) itself, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll still know that it’s costing me a week of work, which is a not-insignificant amount. Mind you, I haven’t actually had a proper break/holiday in more than two years, so it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.

I’ve got some ideas on locations, but also of things I want to do. But mainly just taking a break, and hopefully putting some of what’s in my head onto paper/disk/keyboard.

Right now, that’s sounding like quite the plan.


At the current workplace, I’ve heard more jargon and bollocks than I know what to do with.

The one today was “onboarding” – which is apparently another word for “starting a new job”. I suspect it’s only used by cunts and idiots – but really, Jesus Christ, “Onboarding”?!? Fuck me.


I’m really hoping that this isn’t a poxy April Fool’s thing, because (as I’ve written before) it’s actually needed far more than HS2 is.

Network Rail have published a development plan which includes an East/West route connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Phase 1 will deliver the infrastructure required for Chiltern Railways services between Oxford and London via Bicester as well as the works required for the later introduction of East West Rail services west of Bicester.

Phase 2, which is at an earlier stage of development, will deliver the EWR works east of Bicester to Bletchley and Bedford, including the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction line within this five-year period ending March 2019

So – still a long way to go, but it looks like it might just be a plan.

Big Business

As it turns out (and I do need to remind myself of this more often, and/or not take on the jobs) I really don’t understand big companies. I don’t have the necessary mindset for working within them, and I simply don’t get how they work.  All of this also probably contributes to explaining why I don’t want to work in them too often, and why this current contract won’t be being extended by me.

I like small companies – even medium-sized ones. I like the ability to bypass management (if it even exists) and talk direct to business owners/directors, and make a difference. I like knowing that (mostly) the people I work with are productive, and know what the hell they’re doing.

In a big company, I’m a fish out of water. It seems like productivity becomes something that’s talked about and aimed for, but isn’t actually achieved. Ever. I don’t get the mindset where people would rather have meetings (and sometimes meetings about meetings) in order to establish who will be to blame if a project goes wrong, rather than just getting on and doing the project. I don’t get how productivity seems to become a way of avoiding work, because there’s “so much” other stuff to do.

Currently I’m working in a huge barn of an office, with probably 100-150 people in it. Yet they seem to collectively do less than the previous company I worked with, which had six people in a room. People here seem happy to be bums on seats, to do as little as possible on a daily basis and simply mark time ’til they can a) go home or b) retire. It’s not a mindset I can work with, let alone live with. I want – no, if I’m honest I need – to be doing stuff, to create things that work, that make life easier.

I needed to write this so I can look back on it, so I can remember just why I don’t like working with big faceless companies, the behemoths of the world – regardless of the industry they ‘specialise’ in.


Not Extending

Six weeks in to my new contract, discussions are starting to happen about whether the contract will extend or not.

For the first time in quite a long time, I’m not planning to extend this one – I’ll be happy to finish it and go elsewhere.

Usually I’m good with sticking around, as I generally enjoy the work I’m doing. Here I’m happier to move on – the work’s OK, the people are OKish, but the overall atmosphere just isn’t one I want to continue working in if I can possibly help it.

Since I started, three other developers have left. I’ve been here six weeks, and I’m now the most senior developer on-site. There’s no indication that they’re bothered by this, or that they plan to recruit anyone else. Any contract extensions will be on a ‘monthly rolling’ basis – meaning that as soon as I’ve got one sorted, I need to start getting the next one done. It’s all budgetary bullshit. There’s no willingness to commit to anything longer, no organisation, no preparation.

And that’s going to get them left with a bundle of managers, and no-one actually doing the work.

It’s not the fault of my own team. It’s an institutional issue, something that goes to the core of the management structure, finance department and so on – and it appears that no-one has ever stood up and asked why things are like this, or complained that it leads to loss of talent, knowledge and skills. (Or maybe they have, and then not been renewed themselves – that wouldn’t surprise me)

Once I’m gone, it may be that in a couple of months I look back and think “I wish I’d stuck with it” – but I can’t see that being the case. I think I’ll be better off without the hassle, and I suspect that sticking around here will be more hassle than it’s ever going to be worth to have it as a long-term job on the CV.

And that’s why I think I won’t be extending this contract.


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