Category Archives: Work

Photo A Day Challenge | 2013 March | Day 21

Mood: Happy Snapper

Day 21 | Working
Image was removed.

In The Dark

Mood: Huh?

I was caught in the middle of the CBD blackout today. Not a fun way to end the day, but in a sense, it was an apt conclusion to what had been a dark day.

Earlier in the day, I had been tasked with a horrendous task of pulling together some stats for my manager, who was asked by the Minister to confirm the figures before publishing them to the public. R, my manager, had been given a set of figures by my predecessor Ms Evil, and they represented the good work that the unit had done over the last 3 years. As these figures were about to go public, R wanted to be sure they were correct before they were published by the Minister.

Even though Ms Evil wasn’t exactly the nicest person to deal with, there were no reasons to doubt her work. No one said anything bad about her work – it was her attitude towards others that everyone had a problem with. That was, until today.

When R asked me to double check the figures, I thought it would be a relatively easy task. I was to be proven very very wrong.

I spent all afternoon trying to match up her figures. I used every trick in the book to try to come up with the stats that she had given to R. I even sought assistance from the internet to make sure I was using the correct formulae in the Excel spreadsheet. 5 straight hours later, and I was no closer to reconciling her figures with what I was coming up with.

I have no idea where the figures have been extrapolated from, or how they were extrapolated. All I know was that the glowing report that R had originally passed on to the Minister was now looking not so good. The success rate R had reported was significantly lower according to my figures, and there was going to be a lot of explaining if my figures prove to be correct.

No one from my unit wants to deal with Ms Evil again. R and I have both made it clear that we don’t want to involve Ms Evil in our work going forward, and L (the junior in my team) has also said she is reluctant to deal with Ms Evil again. But it seems we may not have any choice – we are completely in the dark as to how she came up with her stats, and we need to resolve the problem now.

R said he would speak to Ms Evil in the morning to find out where she got the figures from and there was no need for me to deal with her. I gratefully agreed he would be the better candidate for the job – I know he would employ much more diplomacy than I could muster. Right now, I just want to throttle her.

Just before 5pm, I had almost finalised my figures when the building plunged into darkness. If I thought I was the dark earlier, I was now totally in the dark, literally.

The silver lining from this mess is that R and I are developing a great working relationship. And I have a good ally in L, who I want to protect from Ms Evil if she flies off her handle at L again – I’ve seen Ms Evil lose it at L once (and L had nothing do with the problem), and I never ever want L to experience that again.

Walking out of the office building this afternoon, I was confronted with chaos with all the traffic lights out of order. In a way, I was glad I had to think about keeping myself safe as I crossed the streets on my way to the bus stop – it made me temporarily forget the potential stink that will hit the fans in the morning!

LIGHTS BACK ON AFTER SYDNEY BLACKOUT
By Rhett Watson, The Daily Telegraph
March 30, 2009 06:45pm

Power and lights have been restored to Sydney’s CBD and eastern suburbs after a power failure played havoc with Sydney offices, ATMs and traffic.

Lights came on in Bondi and Darlinghurst at 6.25pm and were back on in Surry Hills and the city a short time later.

Energy Australia said there had been a fault that had hit four major cables which supply two sub-stations in the city at about 4.45pm.

Investigations later isolated the problem to one of the major cables and the other three were then used to get the power back on throughout central Sydney.

The power short caused hundreds of traffic lights to blackout creating a traffic disaster for commuters on their trip home.

Sydney Opera House was forced to cancel all performances for tonight.

More than 70,000 homes and businesses were affected and without power for over two hours during the blackout. The Sydney Harbour Tunnel and Eastern Distributor were closed.

Officials had estimated it could take until 9pm to fix the problem but were able to restore power just before 7pm.

Earlier one person was trapped in a lift in state parliament for about an hour until the carriage could be wound from the 7th to the 12th floor and opened.

Security could not confirm who was inside, except to say it was not the Premier.

Fire brigade officials were reporting alarms going off in buildings, causing confusion and fear. In the CBD’s Australia Square hundreds of workers were asked to leave the premises before they risked being plunged into darkness. Police were trying to send SMS alerts to city workers.

"Lots of buildings were evacuated,” one person leaving Australia Square said.

"Traffic lights were out across George Street causing traffic dramas everywhere."

One bureaucrat quipped that the "government has forgotten to pay its power bills".

The blackout extended from the Circular Quay to the city out to Redfern and Chippendale. Eastern beach suburbs such as Coogee, Dover Heights and Bondi also reported power losses, plus Paddington, Rose Bay and Darlinghurst as well as parts of the inner west.

Businesses only 20m apart were affected differently.

The Martin Place Bar was doing a roaring trade with the business types seeking refuge while the Lindt Cafe on the other side of Elizabeth Street on Martin Place is dark and practically empty.

"We have no idea why our lights are on but it’s certainly helped business," one bartender said.

An EnergyAustralia spokeswoman later told Macquarie Radio sections of the network had automatically shut down to protect itself.

"Until we can pinpoint the exact problem we can’t begin to restore power safely … so we will complete all our rigorous testing before we begin to restore power," she said when the blackout first happened.

"We don’t know what it is at this stage … the system is shutting down automatically to protect itself,"

The Roads and Traffic Authority said up to 100 sets of traffic lights were not working in the CBD and inner-eastern suburbs, while the harbour tunnel would remain closed until power was restored to its essential safety systems.

Sydney Ferries and CityRail are operating as normal.

A Sydney Opera House spokeswoman said Monday night’s performances by the Sydney Theatre Company and Bell Shakespeare had to be cancelled, with the iconic venue running on back-up power.

A NSW Fire Brigades spokesman described the situation as "bedlam".

"We’ve had multiple lift rescues in the city and in Darlinghurst and Redfern," he told AAP.

Ms Evil

Mood: Peeved

I find people amazing. Everyone is different, and fortunately for me, the people who play big parts in my life are truly amazing, in that they are wonderful, caring, considerate, loyal and honest. The same can’t be said for a lot of other people I’ve ever met in my lifetime, and this week, I met a horrible piece of work.

Let’s call her Ms Evil, because she thinks she is so clever in her quest for world domination.

I met Ms Evil last week, after I was told I would be replacing her in the job that I am now in. Ms Evil was lovely then, nice as nice can be and said so many nice things. I had heard she was a bit of a troublemaker, but had given her the benefit of the doubt as we were still to spend time together.

Monday this week was the start of the training / handover from Ms Evil to me. Right from the start, she was hot and cold, saying nice things and then saying something not so nice to counteract the first comment. Or she would say something that wasn’t so nice and then covering up the cattiness by saying something nice. I didn’t know what to make of it, and decided not to play her games. I just wanted the handover and the training to be done so I can get on with my new job.

Ms Evil was full of questions, and a lot of them were of the personal nature. I was already a bit antsy with her, but decided not to rock the boat too much and answered her with as few details as I could get away with. Oh how I wish I had just told her nothing, as what I said to her would later come back to haunt me.

By 2pm on Monday, I was confident that I had sufficient training to do my job. It’s really isn’t brain surgery, and what Ms Evil had been doing in that role was stuff that I had done in the past. Nothing out of the ordinary and no red flags anywhere, so I readily agreed to being dispatched to my new office to meet my new team and actually get on with the work.

I spent the rest of Monday afternoon working with my team, collating documents for the weekly meeting. Ms Evil was going to be in and out of meetings all afternoon, for which I was glad as it gave me a chance to get use to my new job on my own as well as getting to know my team.

Turned out the meetings Ms Evil was attending came about due to some performance issues.

Ms Evil was undoubtedly a capable and knowledgeable worker. There was never any real question about the work she produced. But there were a load of issues with her people skills as well as management skills. And she played stupid games to try and get the sympathy vote. All in all, no one liked her and no one wanted to work with her.

From what I’d heard, and the little I saw, I had a good idea what she was like as a colleague – a right royal nightmare. She would yell at people, because she could. She would blame others for everything that went wrong, because she could. She would use the race / sex / age card to make herself look sad / small / better, because she could. And she would twist words and stories around to suit her needs, because she could. To say the least, she was not someone I wanted to have a lot of contact with, let alone work with.

All this week, Ms Evil was called to many meetings with HR as part of her performance management regime. From what I’ve heard, Ms Evil had upset so many people that she now has to undergo performance management, with a view to being phased out of the Department. Yeah, you could say she was in a world of trouble.

Ms Evil has been busily defending herself in these meetings, blaming anyone and everyone indiscriminately, and pulling the race and sex and age cards when there were no one else to blame and she was grasping at straws. Skating on thin ice already, she said things like "I have to fight so much harder to be recognised because of my race” and “I have to speak so much louder to be heard because I’m a female in a male dominated environment”. And the best one: “no one takes me seriously because I’m so young”.

The Government is not an organisation one would ever accuse of discrimination when it comes to employment. There are too many policies in place to prevent any kind of discrimination. Even so, to accuse any employer of discrimination is a huge deal, one that should never be used lightly. And yet, here she was, accusing her bosses of discrimination. Is she stupid or what?

Ms Evil had expressed a desire to stay in the Department and build a career. But what she is doing will see her out on her massive butt faster than one can say “your services are no longer required”. And believe me when I tell you she will not be missed.

Although I have only spent a total of 12 hours with Ms Evil, she had already tried to tarnish my reputation and burn me in that short space of time. Throughout the handover, I felt she was holding back on sharing the full picture with me, and I voiced my concerns when I was asked how the training was going on Tuesday morning. Almost immediately, she was told in no uncertain terms to handover everything, and she begrudgingly did so, but not before throwing a few choice words my way.

Thankfully, my team has been great in showing me what I need to know to do my job. I really didn’t need Ms Evil to do the handover – my team knew I was coming and they were prepared with a better training programme than the one Ms Evil haphazardly pulled together. And best news of all was being told yesterday afternoon that I will never have to deal with Ms Evil again.

But that is not the end of the story. There was still one stink bomb to come.

This morning, Dee called me with some not so happy news. For the past couple of weeks, Dee had been performance managing Ms Evil and quickly become fed up with Ms Evil’s antics. Dee had been in enough meetings about Ms Evil’s performance issues to last a lifetime, and the latest stink bomb was just about the last straw. According to Dee, Ms Evil told HR in one of their many meetings that Dee and I were related, and nepotism was how I got the job. It took me a while to work out what conversation Ms Evil had twisted, and then it came to me – she asked me on Monday how I knew Dee, and I told her Dee and I had met a few weeks ago through my best friend Suz, who was like family to me.

Dee was told by HR of this latest lie, and was assured by HR that neither Dee nor I were in trouble; Dee for hiring me and me for working for the Department. But so Dee was aware, Ms Evil was still spinning yarns and asked Dee to be more discrete while at work. The solution was not one everyone was happy with, but it was the only way to stop Ms Evil from spinning more yarns. Dee and I now can’t be seen together, and if we are, we can’t be seen to be too friendly. And I have to stop having lunch with Dee and my new friends M and F for now.

Stupid woman. Because no one likes her, and no one wants to be friends with her, Ms Evil became jealous of the fast friendships I had made in the short time I’d been there. She had no one to have lunch with, to share a laugh with, to sit and have a chat with, without the person she’d approached rolling their eyes at her. Yes, I saw the eye-rolling when she took me around for introductions on Monday, and there was plenty of eye-rolling. I really resent that I have to be strangers to my friends, but at least I can still email them. They are just as upset about the whole thing as me, which is comforting.

Oh how I wish I could tell Ms Evil to piss off. If she knows what’s good for her, she will stay well and truly away from me. Grrrrr!

I’m A Public Servant!

Mood: A-Ok

I have a job!

Really. Truly. Finally. I have a job!!!

My beautiful friend Dee had worked really hard batting for me in these past few weeks. First, she got me in the door to cover for someone who was on secondment. The secondment period was only 2 weeks, and as we drew towards the end of the period (being this Friday), Dee somehow managed to get me another role in a different division. And this role is an ongoing one with no end date, and a lot more money!

Love this girl!!! Love her work!!!

Such a shame all those recruiters from all those recruitment agencies didn’t feel they needed to work as hard for me as my friend did.

Doesn’t matter now. I’m well and truly in the Public Service door and the only way is up from here. And to be promoted to a more senior role in just 2 weeks has got to say something about my skills, right?

Dee mentioned a few things that were of interest. Now that I’m working for the Government, albeit as a contractor, there is nothing stopping me from applying for any permanent roles that may pop up from time to time.

Dee also mentioned that the role I’m going into from next Monday may well be made permanent in the near future. And as I’ll be the incumbent, I’ll more than likely be helping to write the job description, and the interviewers always favour the incumbent, unless the incumbent was incompetent, and I have no intention of being seen as anything less than very capable and highly competent.

Dee has put in some really great references for me to the new division, and my new manager and I had a great meeting yesterday, so it’s looking really positive at this point. The new manager wanted someone to stick around for a while, and Dee has told him that the only way he will lose my services would be if I found a permanent job. From what she’s told me, the new manager will now work harder to make the role a permanent one.

To say the very least, I’m quite happy with how things have worked out. I’m working with some really really lovely people in a grand old building and after 14 weeks of not working, it was really good to finally have something to look forward to on a daily basis. I am a creature of habit and it felt great to reinstate my daily routine of getting up, showering, getting dressed, going to work, working and going home from work. I’m even loving battling buses that are occasionally crowded and often late!

My 14 weeks of forced vacation were really hard. It’s not something I would recommend to anyone. If I had been expecting to be out of work; if I had had any real warning at all, I would / could have put something in place to prevent me from sliding into a deep black hole that had me in tears whenever someone asked "how’s the job hunting going?"

For the last 4 of those 14 weeks, I felt I had no purpose in life. Every day, I had to force myself to get out of bed, even though I couldn’t see any real point in getting out of bed. Every day, I had to force myself to take off my pyjamas and put on different clothes, even though I knew there was no point as I wasn’t leaving the apartment and no one would see me anyway. Every day, I had to force myself to look for work, even though I truly didn’t want to as I couldn’t face another automated rejection email response.

I know there will be a time in the near future when I’ll be taking another "forced" break from work, but that one I’ll look forward to with relish, as I know it will be a very busy "break".

It’s getting a tad late, and I really should hit the hay so I can be fresh for work tomorrow. Yay for being able to say that!

And for those with a keen eye, if you can work out what building is in the picture, you will have worked out where I’m working right now.

Back To Work!

Mood: Smiling Again

I’m finally working again!

After 14 weeks of unemployment, I tentatively re-entered the workforce this week as a temp, working for the Government in the CBD. Thanks to my beautiful friend Dee, I hope to be working there for some time yet.

I am still looking for a full time permanent job, closer to what I was doing before the involuntary redundancy, but at this stage, I’m happy to go back to my roots and be a good business administrator.

There are so many pluses. The people I work with are so lovely. The job itself is not taxing, for which I am grateful as my brain needs to be slowly retrained to think after most of it wasted away from too much daytime TV. I’m working in the city – oh how I love working in the city. The job is a foot in the door to future Government work, and with the economy the way it is, working for the Government is the safest bet yet. And I’m earning money again, which is slowly building my self confidence.

I’ve now got pretty much everyone looking for work for me. I have signed up with a number of agencies and the recruiters are all busy looking for work for me. I’m getting phone calls here and there, which is good. And my mates are looking for jobs as well. Today, randomly, I got an email from Ian who wanted to know if I’d be interested in working for his organisation. A job as an EA to a senior executive has popped up on the Positions Vacant board and he wanted to know if he could refer me as a potential candidate. After reading the job description, I wholeheartedly gave Ian the go ahead. Fingers crossed I get a call!

It’s now time for bed. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. But yay for being employed!

SHHH! We’re Hunting Jobs!

Mood: Job Hunting

Today is Day 4 of my search for a new job. And I’m over it already.

Back in early December last year, I was made redundant from a company into which I had poured the last 4 years of my life. The redundancy was a bit of shock, but truth be told I was getting itchy feet anyway. I had served my time and it really was time to move on.

The only thing that stood between me resigning from the company and getting a new job prior to December was my complacency. I was happy enough with the company and was fairly content with my job, which had long ago stopped being challenging for me. The division in which I belonged had stopped winning projects, and with work drying up faster than a drop of water on a hot footpath, the decision was made to downsize their operations.

The parting was to be amicable – I was assured and reassured that I had done nothing wrong and the redundancy was in no way reflective of my hard work over the years. Very simply, the company was struggling, and the senior execs made the decision to cut staff.

I was given an acceptable redundancy package, although it is interesting to note from some who have heard about my plight that more have been paid to ex-staff leaving on bad terms. Never mind. It was blessing in disguise – I was able to have a breather and focus on my surgery, and this really was what I needed in order to get myself further in my career.

In any case, the company cut over 30 staff from their 200 total during the month of December, with cuts impacting all divisions and offices across the board. And this was supposedly the first round of redundancies.

Initially, I was worried about finding another job. After all, it had been over 4 years since my last job interview, and my CV looked like a school child had cut-and-pasted the whole thing together. But my concerns were allayed within the first week of my unexpected unemployment, when I was contacted by an old client telling me he had the perfect job for me and he was only interested in me.

We met up for a coffee and a chat, and he all but gave me the job right on the spot. It was perfect. All that was needed was his boss’s signature on the dotted line and I’d start in late January.

Unfortunately, his new boss had other ideas. The new guy had only been in the job a fortnight by this point and was still getting his head around the corporate structure as well as his new portfolio of work. So negotiations came to a grinding halt for the time being.

My old client told me that things may change in late January, given that hopefully by then, the new guy will have had enough time to understand everything. I told him I’d contact them again in late January / early February to see how things are travelling. I’m not holding my breath.

So, on Monday this week, I started looking for a job in earnest. There is so much work out there!!! After hours of viewing, I’ve come to the conclusion that my skills are half way between the really great jobs and the fairly junior jobs, but that hasn’t stopped me from applying for quite a few jobs already. My CV is looking a lot better than it did – I’ve been editing along the way to include more things, things that I had forgotten to include in the past. Fingers crossed something comes off soon – this whole exercise is exhausting!

It Pays To Work Hard – NOT!!!

Mood: Frustrated

Wish this had happened today – instead of what really happened. Thanks for the big slap in the face!