Why I Don’t Care if I Have a Poor Work Ethic

I read an article recently about why people shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving work on time. My reaction was surprise that someone would feel bad about that.

For me I always want to finish on time, if not early, and if possible I like to walk out on the dot without a backward glance.

Me at the end of a shift

Leaving late provokes nothing but rage. I give 37.5 hours a week to my employers as agreed, every single second over that is mine and therefore precious.

The only time I would happily leave late is if I worked flexitime, and so knew that half an hour every day Monday-Thursday would mean I could start my weekend two hours earlier on Friday. Or if I worked where you had a decent clocking in system which would add all the extra minutes over a month and pay you for them.
But most jobs don’t work that way. I’ve always for an hourly wage, and in some cases unless you go way over you don’t get paid extra. Five, ten minutes over and you’re working for free. 

So, why should I feel guilty? I’ve done what I’m paid to do, and I don’t owe my employer anything beyond that. 

And if I did work a salaried job 9-5 I’d expect and hope to be out by 5:01. I have a friend who was in at 7pm one evening, still at the office. Bugger that. If I stayed that late I’d have a lie in the next day, rock up at 11. Or expect a bonus.

I know some may be tutting over this, criticising my work ethic. Well to them I have one thing to say;

“Strong work ethic” sounds like a good thing. 

But who is it good for? Your boss is who. 

Seriously, most times someone is praised for their work ethic you may as well be praising them for making it easier for their boss to walk over them.

Staying late? Taking on extra responsibilities and duties? 

Who wins? Your boss. They get more of your time for the same price, or more work out of you. If you work somewhere that wants you to routinely finish late or have to do more than what you’ve signed up for your boss probably needs to hire more staff.

Your strong work ethic helps them to save money by not hiring and paying somebody else. And you’re stopping someone else from having a job. Bravo.

The employee-boss relationship is a deal. You exchange your time and toil for their cash. As long as you meet your half of the bargain (agreed hours and duties) then you deserve the payment. If they want you to exceed that they should match that increase, if they’re not going to, then screw ’em. 

You kept your part of the deal, now get your arse home.

Because nobody is going to be on their deathbed lamenting the fact they didn’t spend more time at work. Go home. Have fun. See your loved ones.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


Annoyed (5)

The other day I was seriously annoyed at work. In the morning I’d caught the bus in and grabbed a copy of the Metro thinking that the Rush Hour Crush, sudokus and crossword would help pass the time. 

It tends to be quite quiet at the start of the shift so I settled in with a cup of tea and started the crossword, having secured one of the few pens that were floating around. 

A few clues in I had to go do something, and set my paper down. A few minutes later having done whatever it was I returned and my paper was gone. I had a quick look about and it was nowhere to be seen. Not in the staff room, not in the office, not moved to somewhere else.
I was tamping.

The worst part was I knew I couldn’t go around raising a fuss because (a) I’ve been there a fortnight, so still need to hide my true self from my co-workers and (b) it’s the Metro I hadn’t bought it. I’d picked it up on the bus, and the whole way the paper makes it’s cash is that it gets picked up and passed on. You see a copy lying around and unless it’s right next to someone it’s fair game.

But still! It had a half done crossword in! Clearly I wasn’t done with it. For the rest of the day I was keeping a vague eye out for it but no joy.

It was seriously infuriating because it deprived me of entertainment and the satisfaction of completing it.

This is the kind of unfinished business which means had I died Thursday my ghost would have haunted work until it could finish the crossword and gain peace.

I was denied my triumph, my well earned joy at a puzzle solved. It’s not often I find myself feeling like Sherlock Holmes, especially since I gave up the morphine,  but when I’ve started working something out I get a little bit obsessed and want to see it through.

Being deprived of this choice was not a good conclusion and left me deeply unsatisfied, in the same way if someone had stolen the dancing men before Holmes had worked out what they meant.

It also left me annoyed with my new co-workers, all of whom I now viewed with suspicion, unable to confirm which one had stolen my paper.

What kind of place have I started to work in? What kind of monsters am I working with, who throws out someone’s incomplete puzzle, it’s just not cricket.
Oh, and the answer to the title clue? “Cross”.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO. 


I don’t like Fridays

Tell you why? Okay.

Every Friday. Every single one my social media is chockablock with people talking about the “Friday feeling” and detailing their plans for a fun weekend.

Why is this a problem? Well my working week starts on Friday, so Friday is essentially my Monday.

image

(Not this weekend though, as it’s my first weekend off since August!)

While everyone else is celebrating the start of their weekend I am at my furthest from mine.

I understand that I’m in a minority, and I don’t begrudge people being happy for their weekend, but it is still a pain in the arse to have it rubbed in your nose that most people are going to be off work.

Worse still is that the weekends are when 90% of plans are made for, which makes sense but it means that I constantly have to opt out of social events or worse still turn up fleetingly before hurrying back to get an early night. This is worse because just as you start having fun you have to go, and you know everyone else is going to continue.

So, by all means enjoy your weekends people but before you post another TGIF meme just pause and consider that not everyone else is going to have the next two days off.

Rant over. If you’re off this weekend, have fun. If you’re working, I hope that your shifts are easy and quiet.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Do give up the day job

The other day I was daydreaming about what I’d do I won the lottery, outlining my plans for international travel, gadgets and gigs galore, when MWG said something that totally fried my brain.

“You can’t quit your job, though.”

What?!?

The whole point of the lottery fantasy is that you’re instantly wealthy and freed from work. I’m not saying I’d be a total bum, I’d probably try to go pro as a writer and power through on one of my ideas for a novel. What I would definitely do however is quit my day job.

The thing is that for most of us working is a major drag, and you’re unlikely to spring out of bed with eagerness, unless you have a particularly satisfying job like being a rock star, a professional athlete or the hit man hired to take out Piers Morgan.

For the rest of us the only thing driving us from the comfort of our beds is the grim voice of logic whispering in our ear, telling us that if we don’t go to work we won’t have money to eat or do fun stuff. I’m a firm believer in the “work to live, not live to work” ethos, and if my numbers came in I would be able to live without working.

MWG disagrees, saying that even if I was suddenly cash rich I’d have to keep going in until my notice was served. Which strikes me as being extremely crappy, not just for me, but for the folks I work with because quite frankly I’d already have one foot out of the door.

I don’t think that MWG gets this because she’s one of those lucky so-and-sos who’s actually doing the job she’s wanted for years and gets a lot of satisfaction from. She enjoys her career, and that’s a wonderful thing, to have a vocation, but a lot of us don’t have vocations, heck, some of us don’t have careers, we just have jobs.

And a job is something different, it’s something you do to pay for the fun parts of life. Without it you’d happily stay in bed until whenever and spend your days going to the cinema and generally chilling out. Work would be nigh on impossible from that point on. Could you stick out a tough day knowing you didn’t have to be there? Would you put up with your boss giving you grief if you knew you had more cash than him anyway?

Everyone would crack eventually, unless they’re one of those lucky few doing a job they genuinely love. For the rest of us it’s just a question of how much we can take.

Personally, I think not a lot. One article about an exotic location or crazy experience to try and I’d be gone. Or a chance to go to a music festival. Or a major sporting event. Heck, I think the first sunny day would be a challenge.

I’m writing this on Friday evening, so I’m existing in a bizarre situation. It’s a Schrodinger’s Cat type of deal, at the moment the lottery ticket in my wallet is both a winning and losing ticket. Until I actually check my numbers later I’m actually existing in two states- I’m skint, but I’m also a millionaire.

Googled Schrodinger's Cat, liked this one.

Googled Schrodinger’s Cat, liked this one.

I’m probably still skint, the odds are pretty long on this one.

Writing about the lottery reminded me of this old advert.

Writing about the lottery reminded me of this old advert.

But you never know, my next post could come from a Tokyo cafe or a South Pacific beach. If I’m either of those places, I’ll have quit my job.

A man can dream...

A man can dream…

I just have to win MWG over on it first.

Did I just hear a whip crack?

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Mixed Bag: Holy Hypotheticals, Batman

All of these are courtesy of The Daily Post’s Daily Prompts. Prompts paraphrased so I can get this posted by midnight.

Back In School

In a reversal of Big, the Tom Hanks classic, your adult self is suddenly stuck in the body of a 12 year old. How do you survive your first day in school?

I think this might not be so bad because like Rod Stewart said “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger”, I think when I was 12 I wasted far too much time worrying about what people thought about me and was quieter and shy. I’m still awkward in some situations, and I don’t think anybody is ever completely unaffected by other people’s view of them, but I’m definitely a lot more confident.

I think I was back as twelve year old Chris I’d enjoy it more, although I’d probably wind up in more trouble because I’d probably back talk teachers more. When I was at school there were plenty of times when I had a sarky comeback ready for a teacher but kept quiet, and I’d kinda like the chance to shut a teacher down on their crap.

I think I’d also be nicer and chat to the outsiders and kids who looked like they were struggling, just to let them know someone’s noticed them and maybe make them feel better.

Man in the Mirror

You wake up in a world without mirrors. How is your everyday life effected by this?

At first I thought it would make no difference, but then on further thought it would. I’m not the vainest bloke in the world but I still look in mirrors a fair amount, this is mainly to check for stray food in my teeth, lament the fact that my beard growth is still patchy and, my major use of mirrors, pulling faces. I think making silly faces at myself while I dry myself or brush my teeth would be the thing I’d miss most about mirrors.

Take This Job and Shove it

In honour of Labor Day in the States, tell us the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

Well, I know I couldn’t be a nurse. I think two jobs I definitely couldn’t do are being a lawyer or a carer for the elderly.

Lawyer is a moral thing, I don’t think I could defend someone I thought might be guilty, or live with letting down someone I knew was innocent.

Elderly care is just me being weak. I couldn’t handle the bodily fluids, the death and the depressing sight of someone fading away. I know that sounds grim, but for me the elderly are depressing. I’ve only seen a few people very far along and the knowledge I may wind up like that strengthens my hope that I die before I get old. Forgetting who I am, losing control of my body and all that scares the crap out of me, and I couldn’t watch other people go through it without getting seriously down.

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum

Captain Picard drank Earl Grey, the Dude had white Russians, what would be your signature drink? And how did it achieve this status?

It probably used to be cider. I used to drink gallons of the stuff throughout uni, and still indulge now, but as I’ve got older it’s too sweet and gassy and so I’d probably say that for an alcoholic drink it’s a simple rum and coke. Dark rum, preferably (Sailor Jerry’s or Captain Morgan’s). I like it because rum has a nice warm taste which isn’t as harsh as other alcohol and it works well with the sweetness of the coke.

Non-alcoholic it’s probably tea, milk, no sugar.

Do Nothing

If money was obsolete, would you still work? How would you fill your time?

I thought this one was gonna be easy, but if money’s out of it completely then a lot of the stuff I like doing won’t be possible- without financial incentive there wouldn’t be Costa Coffee, or movies, so my plan of being constantly high on caffeine, reading books and watching flicks doesn’t work.

So I have no idea. I guess if I could get all the food and shelter I needed I wouldn’t work and just bum around a lot, but if not I’d imagine I’d be fighting for survival.

A little pointless today, I know, but I had a bit of blogger’s block and wanted to write something.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


What? CHRIS is evolving!

At 7am today I finished a night shift. My last night shift at my job.

I’ve been at my job for just under four and a half years, so it felt feels weird to know that I’m not going to be heading there anymore.

I can’t lie and say that the whole time I was there I was happy and pleased to work there, like every job it had bad days and stresses (even those that seem cool and perfect like professional wrestler or masseur to the stars). There were times when it really got me down, leaving me tired, fed up and desperate for a break or change.

But, like everything that you’re around for a while you get used to it, and moving on to something new can seem daunting.

The closer I get to going to university the more I find myself filled with nervous excitement. Studying to be a nurse is going to be hard work, and as my previous uni experience was doing Film Studies and drinking too much and I’m finding myself swamped by doubts as it looms larger on the horizon.

  • That I’m not going to cope well on placements
  • I’m going to be older than a lot of my fellow students which might make it to awkward to make friends. Although at the same time, being immature might cancel that out.
  • That I’ll flunk out
  • My old uni habits of drinking too much, wasting money and eating junk food will cancel out my attempts to lose weight and negatively impact my studies.
  • That by the time I graduate the NHS will have been scrapped and I’ll find it even harder to get a job and be saddled with even more student loan.
  • That I will be skint for a lot of the time at uni.
  • That not having a TV will mean I miss Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

As well as fears about the future, leaving my job has made me take stock of what I’ve had in my life and what I’ll miss. I’ve been lucky enough to have several great colleagues over the year, and to have a job which, when you look at the big picture can be quite withdrawing. I feel that I’ve actually helped people and that their lives have improved because of the support I’ve provided.

Of course, we don’t live in the big picture and day-to-day it could be quite challenging and hard to see it that way. Small improvements can go unnoticed, and progress was slow in the kind of work I did.

I could have wimped out, stuck with a job that I could live off and knew how to do, but I think I need to challenge and stretch myself while I’m free of responsibility and can do so. I’m grateful to my old employees and the job I had because it taught me a lot about myself. Becoming a support worker was not something I’d planned to do, or something I’d ever thought about doing, and when I got the job I was nervous. I think my family were a bit surprised when I started doing it too, it didn’t seem very me but I think I surprised them by sticking with it and I surprised myself by doing it for so long and for doing it fairly well.

I got praised for my attitude and my work, which was great and nice to know I was doing well. I’m not saying I was perfect, I made mistakes and could have handled some aspects of the job better at times, but I think for the most part I did well. It taught me that I was more mature and patient than I thought. It also made me realize that I’m capable of keeping my head in stressful situations, can make decisions under pressure and am not squeamish.

It’s what inspired me to apply for nursing, the realization I can handle tough situations and a bit of icky-ness, and also that the part of the job I like the most was

Like I said, I’m extremely nervous and part of me wishes I didn’t have to change, but I think sooner or later you need to move on and evolve so that you can become something better, like Charmander becoming Charizard.

pokemon

I hope the younger kids get 90s cartoon references, or I’m screwed.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Happy Place

I’ve been having a rough time recently at work, and the other day I found myself starting to feel like I was pretty close to losing my cool. I was stressed out and pissed off, and worried I was about to say something that I’d regret or might even get me in trouble.

I’m usually pretty good at dealing with the stress from work. I’m not sure how, but I’ve just learned to keep a lid on it. You can’t let it rattle you and you’ve just got to make sure that you wait until you get home to let off some steam.

But I needed a release the other day and there was no chance of me being able to take a break.

So I did that cheesy thing you hear about all the time- breathing and visualization, here’s what my happy place was-

Some Bob Marley on the stereo as I lie under a gazebo on a beach in Sri Lanka.

srilankabeach

Lying back in the sun as two Asian girls fan me with palm leaves and I watch Wales win the rugby on a big screen TV. Sipping an ice cold Long Island Iced Tea while further down the beach Lorraine Pascale cooks steaks on a barbecue in a coconut bikini and grass skirt.

Mmmmm, Lorraine

Mmmmm, Lorraine

Little cliched, I know, but it worked.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


No Sleep = Soppy Chris

When I tell people I often work nights I’m often surprised to hear people say “I suppose you get used to it though”. I suppose if you work nights all the time you probably do adjust your routine to fit with the shifts, but I don’t just work nights, I work a mixed bag of shifts. Earlier this month I worked from 19:00 until 07:00 the next day and then had to be back in for an eight hour shift at 15:00. And let me tell you something, lack of sleep is not something you “get used to”.

Lack of sleep really messes with you, its why sleep deprivation is used for torture- it disorientates you, leaves you confused and even starts to mess with your head. I know this because I worked two night shifts in a row and had only had about 2 hours sleep, meaning that leaving work today I was a bit of a mess.

Usually this manifests in a couple of ways-

I either get paranoid, like when I was waiting for a lift home once and started getting really nervous because there were lots of birds around me and I thought they were going to attack like in the Hitchcock movie.

I get stupid and can’t handle basic tasks. For example, not being able to unlock my front door, misspelling texts and bumping into things.

Mild hallucinations- mainly things moving in my peripheral vision which is probably just my hair but makes me all twitchy.

Today however, was a fresh experience as I sort of became even more of a soft git than normal.

The first manifestation of this was when my iPod decided to shuffle to Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on my Guitar”.

Now, I love this song. I think its a really simple, sweet track about unrequited love and I really dig it.

The problem is, it being early in the morning and me not being with it I caught myself singing along, loudly, to the track. For the entire walk home I couldn’t stop singing along to songs, and seemed inclined to pick a mix of country (“The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” by Charlie Rich) and slushy (“Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry) songs.

Things got worse when I got home and read a tweet from actress and writer Emma Kennedy who linked to an article called “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity”. Its a great little article and guaranteed to make you realize that sometimes people can really be awesome. One of my favourites is  this one of an athlete helping an injured competitor finish the race, I just think its lovely.

Lovely.

I must admit by the time I finished reading the article I was very choked up and had something in my eye. What can I say? I’m a soft git.

You can see the other 20 here, and they’re well worth checking out.

So, lying in bed, teary eyed and feeling like a bit of a wet blanket, I decided I should probably get some kip.

I feel much better now. And still reckon that Taylor Swift song rules.

Any thoughts? You


Hail to the Bus Driver and Chatterbox

I felt pretty rubbish this morning, I’m currently bunged up with a cold that refuses to budge, and I’d just finished a 12 hour night shift. The shift hadn’t been too bad, I suppose, but was the kind of annoying one that leaves you feeling irritable and fed up. I was also completely, utterly knackered.

I decided to get a bus home, which was a tough choice- sure I wanted to get home as easily and as dry as possible, and I wanted to get the most out of my month long bus ticket.

But at the same time I was shattered and already fed up, and the idiots who use public transport are trying enough at the best of times. In my state this morning there was a strong chance that by the time I disembarked that I’d have developed contempt for my fellow man.

Luckily, the gods of public transport smiled upon me and by the time I got off at the other end I was feeling much better.

First of all, the driver suprised me with a small, minor act of kindness. The bus whizzed past a vacant bus stop, and as we got a few metres along a rather large woman turned a corner and waved at the bus, trying to flag it down.

Now, I can’t speak for the rest of the world, but here in South Wales bus drivers can be proper t**ts. They whinge when you pay with notes and they have to do some basic maths, and they’ll also whinge if you pay with the exact amount in change.

But the worst is the callous streak they frequently display when it comes to people at bus stops. I’ve seen them pull away when soneone has ran a good 500 yards trying to get the bus, of breathless people throwing up their arms as the bus sails past them. I’ve experienced it myself, a driver reversed 6 inches back at the bus station, looked right at me as I came full tilt towards him and merely kept backing up. Allowing me on would have taken all of 12 seconds, yet he stranded me there.

So, I was a bit surprised when our driver pulled in and waited as the lady toddled over to get on, some 50 yards on from the stop.

It was a minor act, but it had to be admired, the man showing decency and patience where many of his colleagues wouldn’t have bothered.

The lady who got on was an older, large woman who thanked the driver profusely and made a comment to me about him being a “sweetheart” I smiled and responded and was about to return my attention to the podcast I was listening to, but she wasn’t done, and kept chatting away to me.

This was a clear breach of public transport etiquette! You don’t talk to other people beyond that one remark, especially as I had headphones in, the universal sign of wanting to be left alone.

However, I didn’t mind, I quickly realised that the lady wasn’t playing with a full deck, so I knew I needed to exercise patience and tact, and to tell the truth her relentless cheeriness was quite endearing.

Over the next 15 minutes or so she kept chattering, telling me far too much about her life- a recent knee op, her planned wedding next year, her fear of flying.

I honestly didn’t mind though, her happy, unselfconscious talking was rather sweet and I chatted with her happily, getting off the bus and feeling much more positive about mankind.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO


Vinnie, Pam and CPR

Its odd how topics for blogs suggest themselves, for example, I’ve been meaning to write about today’s topic for a good few weeks, but other things have cropped up to knock it down the list. Then I decided that today would be the day, only for something else to happen which displaced it once more, but then literally minutes later something happened that put this one back front and centre. Anyway, enough insight into how I’m inspired to write these tedious missives, and on with the theme at hand-

*  *  *  *  *

In my job they make us do First Aid training, I think its actually a legal requirement and its quite useful, as we do have cause to use it on a fairly regular basis, and also, its just good to know what to do.

One of the things they show us how to do is CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation- or that thing you see on TV where they give the kiss of life and pump a dude’s chest) and recently this was a minor news story. See, the British Heart Foundation, my old enemy, have made a cracking little add that teaches people how to do “Hands-only” CPR.

The ad features one of my all time heroes Vinnie Jones, and is quite funny as well as informative, plus its always nice to hear the Bee Gees:

Apparently there were a few complaints from people saying that it was misleading and taught incorrect techniques but the BHF rubbished these claims and said that while those properly trained in CPR should continue to use the kiss of life technique they thought that the advert would make people more inclined to step up as it removed the mouth-to-mouth bit.

I agree with this, I laughably heard someone describe the ad as homophobic because of Jones’ “You only kiss your missus on the lips” line, but I think it makes a valid point, the whole mouth-to-mouth thing is a little awkward and might put you off, or at least cause you to hesitate.

On one of my training days the instructor asked what might stop members of the public from doing CPR, and I replied that the way the person looked might effect your response, explaining that you’d be far more inclined to give Cheryl Cole the kiss of life than you would a homeless person.

Cheryl Cole- more appealing than a homeless person

The rest of my class looked at me like I was some kind of horrible, shallow bastard, but I guarntee its a factor in response. If you’re confronted by a tramp who’s passed out are you really going to be keen to go lips-to-lips with them? With them covered in grime and who-knows what? Its not nice but every person would have the same worry about their own safety.

Its moments like that where I wish I was in a Woody Allen movie and could have dragged in the dirtiest tramp I could have found and gone “Okay, then, go to it!” to my classmates, who probably agreed but didn’t want to look bad.

So removing what is probably a major factor in people’s hesitation or reluctance to get involved can only be a good thing.

The thing is having read Sirens earlier this year, I’m aware that sometimes CPR is not enough to save a life, and while its better than just staring at some poor bugger who’s stopped breathing, its not a guarantee of survival.

Its also bloody hard work. Seriously, when you do the training you’re given a chance to have a go on a dummy, and you see just how tough it is. Because of the pace of the compressions you have to do its exhausting, and I don’t think anyone could really keep going for too long before they had to stop.

This was a bit of a shock to me when I first did the training, as my only experience of CPR was of seeing it done on Baywatch when it appeared that all it took was a couple of breaths and a bit of light chest prodding. Although, if Pamela Anderson was in the vicinity I think my will to live would be greatly increased.

Pamela Anderson- be still my beating heart.

Anyway, after the training I always have the same worry- how much of this will I actually remember when the chips are down? I mean, I pay attention during the course, but there’s a difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it when under pressure.

I’d like to think I’d cope fairly well, one of the good things I’ve got out of my job is the realisation that I’m actually quite good at staying calm and thinking clearly in stressful situations, so I hope this would be the same.

Which brings me to this morning, which was the closest I’ve ever come to having to put my training into use in the real world.

I’d just finished my run, and as I walked back I saw that there were a few cars stopped and there seemed to be a problem. A bloke had collapsed. I headed over, thinking I might be able to help out, as I got closer though, it seemed that the situation was well in hand- a lady had him in the recovery position and a bloke was on the phone to the ambulance.

Not wanting to just be another gawker, I headed off, although I did feel a little bit guilty and glanced back about 30 seconds later, but the ambulance was just arriving, so it appeared that he was in the best possible hands and I hope that the PTB look out for him.

Should I have felt guilty? I mean, I did walk over and see if I could be of any help, but should I have said to the lady “I’ve had first aid training” and helped her out? Maybe she was stressing out or worried she was doing it wrong, and might have needed some reassurance and support. On one level I know I didn’t do anything wrong, and that I did check that I could help, but I can’t shake the feeling that I should have done more.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO