I have been asked loads about my new jobs and they are certainly interesting. I wouldn’t ordinarily write about the specifics of work online but they are so different there are a few pieces worth mentioning.
Job number one (in the order they began) is an HR management role (sadly without the standard good pay that comes with it). The start was not auspicious – being told to give a warning to someone just because the owner didn’t like the person, then pointing out that to do so was (a) against the company’s own procedures; and (b) technically illegal (in so far as if the said person decided to go to tribunal, this would be viewed rather dimly); followed by asking for evidence which was not forthcoming (it didn’t actually exist) and then declining to do so on the grounds of there being no evidence of said offence; is never a guarantee of a happy workplace.
The days that followed included discovery of major issues with the same complainant (who owns the business so no hope there); being asked to provide false information about their non-existent (and I mean completely non-existent) H&S practices and declining and finally, being told to make someone redundant illegally (and very illegally) and once more, declining.
In contrast, the second job (which is appallingly paid) is with lovely people who know exactly what they are doing; who have employed me not for the role (for which they admit I am hopelessly over-qualified) but for my potential and who are a delight in huge quantities to simply be around, never mind work with.
The difference between them is so vast that I feel schizophrenic. Days are spent going to job number two (which means dressing in a uniform, being one of the “lads”, smoking and swearing with the best of them) then making a mad dash across town, whilst trying to make a uniform not look like a uniform. If anyone spots a middle aged woman on a bus in South London, contorting herself into weird postures on the bus so as to avoid being arrested for public indecency – that’ll be me.
I then arrive at job number one to present myself as the business professional I am and conduct myself with utter decorum in the face of something that approaches bedlam. Let’s just say that the staff are so unhappy that they openly make faces at the owner when said owner is not looking and have private chats on the company’s intranet chat facility about how they hate working there. I have perfected my poker face, which is just as well, given what happened this week.
I have not been able to sleep at all properly over the last seven days. I have had a few hours of light kip every night, punctuated by the odd psychedelic dream and then been rocketed to wakefulness before drifting off again. Getting up and being functional day after day has been a complete ordeal.
I can go a day or two without good sleep but around Day 3, things start to get messy. The grumps start, along with a bit of forgetfulness (ever tried learning a new team’s names in a fug of sleep deprivation – ha!). Then, I get the extreme and achy tireds and normally by day 4 appear perfectly cognisant but become physically clumsy. And then I have a Day 5 … which went, rather typically, like this:
Get to work, start fine. By around 11am, I have eschewed my shiny white uniform in favour of a pair of workmen’s pants, three sizes too big, as the place is pretty dusty (to give you an idea, I am located not in an office but in an environment which involves machinery, wood and dust, loads and loads of dust).
My jacket is off and horror of horrors, my partial uniform includes a sparkling white shirt. I was not prepared for the uniform thing so my bra is black. In fact, both my white bras are in the wash so I have no option but to wear the black one which shows through the blinkin’ shirt. There are no spare workmen’s shirts around so the whole thing is rounded off nicely by my heels and this wonderful shirt and bra combo.
As well as having a tidy up and sort out, I am trying to work out which documents scattered across numerous files are current. The pants (my boss’s) are held up by a belt (also my boss’s). Luckily he has a few spare lying about the place otherwise he would look very odd.
One of the team (a lovely, elderly man) walks in and asks why I am wearing my boss’s pants. I make a wisecrack about the person who wears the pants in the department and the poor bloke, taking a full look at my ensemble, blushes beetroot and disappears.
I bang my head severely on the cupboard (which wakes me up a little), finish what I am doing, change back into my full uniform, wash my hands and straighten my hair and am asked to go upstairs to do some training. I end up in a major meeting, which is super, but of course this is Day 5 of sleeplessness.
The chairman of the meeting is rather confused as to what I am doing working in the department I am in and his face becomes more and more puzzled as the meeting goes on, as it is clear that I am not your average person-with-a-screwdriver. In the middle of the meeting, I notice movement at the corner of my eye. The meeting room door is solid, with a big glass panel above it.
And sailing past in the glass panel, is a gorgeous giraffe, with long eyelashes and a beautific expression on its face. Now. We are in the middle of a town, not on the ground floor. It is this mere split second realisation that prevents me from exclaiming “oh look at the pretty giraffe”.
Because it is indeed Day 5’s great adventure – visual hallucination time.
I try to pull my attention back to the meeting but my sense of humour starts to leak. Sucking in my cheeks, I have a sweet and ignore the giraffe, who decides to turn around (I assume) and sails past in the opposite direction.
When, after several laps, it gets tired of this (I assume again) and pokes its head through the glass soundlessly, grinning at me, I am extremely hard pressed not to laugh. I snort, which I manage to turn into a cough. Luckily and thankfully, someone makes a joke and I am able to give vent to my humour.
The little shite then thankfully disappeared. Finishing the meeting, I dashed off to job number one, doing my contortions as usual but snorting all the way there. I definitely need more sleep this week!