Right hand – meet left hand

11 06 2013

Hands

One of the difficulties of effective management of a large organisation is making sure that everyone knows what is going on. So it is difficult when the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

I decided today that there are quite too many hands in my place of work and they are definitely not always working together. Given my recent delight at having established a positive working relationship with some of my valued colleagues – it is frustrating to realise just how much still needs to be done to improve collaborative working practice.

I was charged some time ago with organising some entertainment for a major event and I have been working towards this goal for some time – only to discover that the event co-ordinator was until today, unaware that I had been involved.

Had I put no effort into my plans, I would simply have walked away. However walking away would be a waste of the work I have already put into this project and a slap in the face for each child who has put their heart and soul into creating fabulous pieces of work showcasing the best of what my department has to offer – so screw that.

It has been a VERY LONG YEAR and I will be glad to see it come to an end. But despite minor pitfalls I intend to go out on a bang not a flicker.

If I achieve anything in my job role (other than the obvious target to ensure that my students achieve in their external exams), I am determined to bring departments together, to encourage collaboration and teamwork. After all, we all spend a great deal of time at work yet we often do not draw on the expertise of our colleagues as much as we should, and if we must endure the company of other people perhaps if would be easier if we could find ways of making the experience mutually beneficial and more importantly enjoyable.

 

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Rewrites

8 06 2013

Songs

I have occupied myself tonight by rewriting the lyrics of a popular song to be performed by members of staff at my work at an upcoming event.

While this could be categorised as a work based task and as such should be a total bore and have no place in my Saturday evening activities – I have found it to be a great outlet for my creativity.

I cannot name the song or divulge any particular details at present for fear that the surprise element will be lost at the event in question when it is performed; but sufficient to say I have had a great evening exploring the possibilities. I will of course reveal the final version after the event in question.

I would love to hear from other bloggers who have either discovered parodies of popular songs that they love or even attempted their own rewrites for their own purposes or as part of a writing challenge.

I regret that at present I cannot say any more publically so for now I will encourage readers to leave comments including links to your own favourite parodies or song rewrites and the following quote: “If music be the food of love play on”

 





The future father of my children…has forgotten what I look like

15 05 2013

laptopIt is not uncommon for couples who have been together for some time to neglect each other for periods of time when the banalities of life take over.

As I am currently up to my eyeballs in work, on our evenings together FFOMC’s views only glimpses of me are mostly obscured by my laptop.

It is a very attractive laptop – as laptops go. And FFOMC has always had a tendency towards all things technological so I am sure it is not a view he entirely despises. However if memory serves he was rather enamoured by my face at one point and I am sure – assuming he ever gets to see it again – that he will fall in love with it all over again, I know he would like to “give it a go”.

I am nearing the end of my tether right now and am not sure how many more late nights I have in me. But I take comfort in the fact that when I do finally emerge fro behind the glare of microsoft office, bleary eyed, exhausted and in need of TLC that he will be there waiting to welcome me back.

 





Spontaneity

29 03 2013

frensham-pond-hotel-farnham

The more eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that my last post was a day late. This is because of an impromptu decision last night to stay in a hotel following my sister-in-laws wedding.

I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t able to able to attend the ceremony in the afternoon because of work commitments. In fact I was surrounded by a sea of paperwork when I received a text from my husband immediately lifting my mood, suggesting that I pack an overnight bag when I finished work and he would book us a room for us. This meant I could relax at the evening reception and enjoy a few drinks without having to drive home.

After our disastrous date day a few weeks ago I welcomed the opportunity to do something spontaneous and romantic. I rushed home picking up my new outfit on the way, and a fabulous pair of nude peep toe stilettos. I even squeezed in a visit to the hair dresser to have my hair pinned to perfection atop my head in what I would describe as a designer messy look.

When I arrived at the evening reception – feeling like a million dollars – my husband of 8 years beamed at me as he ushered me into the chair next to his.

The evening involved a little dancing – something he definitely needs a few beers to even consider – some red wine, a buffet, and some quality time with my extended family.

As I enjoyed being in my husband’s arms I noticed how ecstatic my sister-in-law looked in the arms of her new husband at the end of the evening. She had swapped her pure white gown for the ceremony, with a pillar box red cocktail dress for the evening entertainment and clung to her new husband as the dulcet tones of Chris De Burgh crooning “Lady in Red” resonated from the speakers.

When the morning arrived about 8 of us enjoyed a full English breakfast together before a long walk round the pond admiring the ducks and huddling together in the cold with our faces red and windswept and our hair tousled. When we all completed the circuit we decided that a final drink in the hotel bar was in order before we went our separate ways on the journey home.

I got a lot of pleasure from this spontaneous romantic evening – maybe the key to romance and successful date days is not to over plan them but to just go with the flow.

 

I'm part of Post A Day 2013





The future father of my children … wants to be a ‘HOUSE HUSBAND’

20 02 2013

House husband

Despite only being in his early 30’s my husband’s favourite topic for discussion EVERY morning when I drive him to the train station – is his retirement.

He seems to feel now that I am the main wage earner in our household that he should be permitted to give up work and stay home. I have pointed out that he would be unable to draw his pension just yet, but he is undeterred. Recently though he came up with a new strategy that would enable him to hang up his shirt and tie forever – he wants to be a house husband.

Now this is not something that I should simply reject without due consideration. However while I can see both pros and cons of this plan of action, I am not entirely sure that he understands exactly what is involved in being a house husband.

There is a lot to be said for having one parent stay at home to look after the children, and it makes sense that it be whoever has the smallest wage. We could save on the astronomical cost of child care and he could enjoy spending time with our children in the early years of their lives – a privilege denied many fathers.

I would be delighted in many ways to see him taking sole responsibility for looking after babbykins, cleaning our home and making sure there was a cooked meal waiting for me on my return from work every evening.

However I suspect that my interpretation of a ‘house husband’ wildly differs from the ‘World of War craft’ extravaganza that he has in mind. In his head the child will sleep for 90% of the time, be easily pacified, require minimal time and attention while he breezes through about 1hrs worth of housework each day and have the rest of the time to do as he wishes, after all “What do all these housewives do with their days?”

I doubt he has considered how regularly a newborn needs to be fed or the increased workload for the washing machine when coping with ongoing spit-up, nappy changes etc, and for that matter I would question whether he knows how many nappies a baby goes through in a day or how many cuddles are required to stop the crying that occurs for no apparent reason. Has he considered the endless hours he will need to spend watching Tweenies and Sponge Bob or some other nonsense concocted to drive new parents insane? What about playgroup? I am not sure how comfortable I would be if he was the one Dad in a room full of hormonal new Mums, especially if as a hormonal new Mum myself I would be shipped off back to work.

Not to mention that I would be the one to have undergone the major trauma on my body only to go rushing back to the fairly stressful environment of Secondary education. Instead of using my time to bring up my own child I would continue to be subjected to other people’s children – hardly a relief from the responsibility but more an endurance test by day followed by much of the same in the evening when hubby would no doubt expect to hand over the torch!

Who would do night time feeds? With a full day of child care behind him would he ‘man-up’ and leave me to get much needed sleep? If I am to work full time am I absolved from the responsibility of breast feeding? What if breast is actually best?

If he is truly intent on remaining in the house would he ever leave it? Will the pram that will no doubt cost a fortune simply collect dust while he shouts at computer generated images of his ‘online friends’ while juggling our offspring and a variety of stuffed animals in one arm? Does he understand the need for walks in the park, feeding the ducks, swimming, coffee mornings with other ‘Mums’ or jingle tots?

The jury is most definitely out on whether the FFOMC should be permitted to be a stay at home Dad and deliberations may take some time.

For earlier posts about FFOMC check out:





The Tea Station

15 02 2013

TeapotMy morning does not start until shortly after my first cup of tea. And by first I do of course mean my third!

We have an odd relationship with tea in the UK – it is the start of our day, an opportunity to catch up with old friends and it is well known to be the solution for all of lives major problems from a bad day at the office to the death of a loved one.

In the work place many of us have limited opportunities to get our daily fix of caffeine. It is a two minute dash to the tea station in a short break and once we are cupping a steaming mug in our hands we dutifully return to work and drink it on the go. I myself am in this position and I have found myself increasingly frustrated with the layout of the tea station at work.

The wall mounted water boiler and the fridge are at opposite ends of the staff room. Whilst they are not miles appart for some reason people feel the need to have a “quick catch up” standing in between the two making it almost impossible to circumnavigate the tea station without colliding with a collegaue who already has a cup of tea in his or her hands usually deep in conversation about the details of their day so far and oblivious to the existance of other staff members who would like to make use of the facilities.

If this scenario is not familiar to you then it is likely that you are part of the problem! Make your tea and leave and if you have urgent business to discuss with a colleague then book a meeting room.

I'm part of Post A Day 2013





Working to buy a home

3 01 2013

In an earlier post I outline some of the difficulties my husband and I faced when we first started to consider home ownership. But that’s not the whole story. As well as having many knock backs we have also taken some very positive steps over the years to help make our dream a reality. We may not be there yet but it’s as important to reflect on action taken to improve our chances.

One of the most important factors is work. After all it our income that determines whether banks will give you a mortgage and for most of us the main purpose of our working life is secure a rewarding and comfortable home life.

When I finished university I drifted for some time. Although my other half has been in full time employment for as long as I have known him; the work I took on initially was always temporary. I often toured for sustained periods of time and between tours I couldn’t settle into anything that tied me down too much as I never knew when I would be away again.

I did eventually take on a permanent job role but it was not well paid so I started to look for part time work in addition to my main job. I found a number of positions including teaching social skills through Drama to adults with learning disabilities, teaching at a children’s theatre school, some private singing tuition and I started to work as a Murder Mystery actress. These positions were more flexible, meaning I could still take on any acting work that came along but they were also a significantly better rate of pay than my main job. I was of course exhausted but at least my bank balance was fairly healthy. My partner worked in retail and over time eventually received a management position and whilst we were not well off we did eventually start to enjoy greater financial stability.

However as my part time work was self employed I did have to declare my self employed earnings to Inland Revenue. You don’t really notice tax and national insurance being deducted from your salary each month but you REALLY notice when you receive an end of year bill. This created a seesaw effect in my savings account and caused problems on more than one occasion.

Five years ago I took a massive step of returning to university and I retrained as a secondary school drama teacher. This was a significant turning point. In three years I managed to double my salary. I kept on my part time work and this became the main source of my savings while I survived on my main salary – something that had never really been possible before. Despite still having some debt to pay off we were back on track and able to begin again in earnest.

Aside from a setback in July 2011 we have actually been making gradual but steady progress and have made a good start to building up our savings and its thanks to improving our working lives.

Watch this space for “POTENTIAL DREAM HOME?

PROGRESS TOWARDS RAISING A HOUSE DESPOSIT

DATE

% OF DEPOSIT SAVED

ESTIMATED MONTHS TILL PURCHASE

JULY 2012

28%

23 – June 2014

AUGUST 2012

31%

22 – June 2014

SEPTEMBER 2012

33%

21 – June 2014

OCTOBER 2012

36%

20 – June 2014

NOVEMBER 2012

42%

19 – June 2014

DECEMBER 2012

47%

17 – May 2014

JANUARY 2013

54%

15 – March 2014