25 June 2012 – Redundancy meeting


We had our union meeting today and found out that the company have not given in to some things but have to others. For me it is a plus because although they said no to four weeks pay for every year they are giving a one off payment that is more for me than the extra week would have been. They agreed to back date the deferred pay raise for the whole of this year and also not to make us pay back any holidays we have booked over our pro rata allowance as long as we booked it before the announcement. Another plus for me because I was over my allowance but booked it in January. Continue reading

20 June 2012 – Jobs fair


The jobs fair was very positive and gave me lots of interesting ideas. It also meant I went to work in a dress for the first time in living memory. A few of the employers expressed an interest in mE and took my bran new, shiny CV but some of them were too far away and some I’m not interested in as it’s call centre work again. Continue reading

27 March 2010 – biting the varifocal bullet


Yesterday I got all the supplies for Sunday’s trip to Wembley and Rachel came to cut my hair so that was that out of the way. Today was all about glasses. Since I was in my twenties I’ve had to wear the blasted things, without them I can’t see. A few years ago I tried contact lenses, wore them for about a year, but, with all the flying I was doing back then, they were too much trouble. From a vanity perspective I don’t mind the glasses, at least they hide the crows feet a bit but they’re a pain when it’s raining. Continue reading

5 October 2009 – the new girl again

The ugly brown building

The ugly brown building

Monday 5

My first day at the Mad House started with a weigh in. The slow march into new territory continues and I have lost another pound, I am officially in the lower half of the elevens now at eleven six. I don’t mind admitting I did a little happy dance.

In my usual fashion I’d been steadfastly refusing to think about my first day at my new job until I absolutely had to but, being as I was actually getting ready to go there, I couldn’t avoid thinking about it any longer. The general feeling was dread. For a start there was all the stuff about being the oldest and fattest going round and round in my head, then the stuff about not being able to do the job, not understanding the training, not retaining the information I needed to learn. In short, fear of failure and humiliation. On top of that was the horror of being back in a call centre, a job I swore I would never, ever do again.

So I found myself standing outside the big, ugly building looking up at all those floors of hideous brown bricks and glass. As usual, I was early, I’m pathologically ridiculously early for everything, so I stood for a while contemplating my fate. There was a huge temptation to turn and run but how would I explain that to Commando? In the end I went through the automatic doors into the foyer and gave my name to the man sitting looking bored at reception. Why couldn’t I have got a job sitting in reception? I could do that, no headsets there.

After a short while a young, incredibly beautiful Asian woman came out of the lift, through the turnstiles that stop unauthorised, possibly homicidal, members of the public getting in and shook my hand. She had a wide, wide smile on her face. Her name was Jas and she was one of my trainers. Actually it was slightly embarrassing because no one else had arrived, what with me being so early, and I’m not sure she knew quite what to do with me. Luckily, another early bird arrived about then. All my worries about being the oldest and the fattest melted away as soon as I saw her, she was, as far as I could tell by looking, older than me by a good few years and about the same size I’d been back in January, although way taller than me so she looked much better than I had back then. Her name was Kim.

There were six of us in my training group, myself, Kim, a dark haired girl call Emma (also bigger than me), Louise, a pretty blonde, Leo a bit of a joker in his early twenties and Clive, late twenties and a little too serious for my liking. There was also another trainer, Dev, an oriental looking guy who seemed a bit full of himself to me. We spent the morning doing ‘getting to know each’ other exercises, filling out forms and having our photos taken for pass cards so we could get into the building.

Jas took us on a bit of a tour, starting with the cafeteria on the first floor. There was an amazing coffee machine but, sadly, we couldn’t actually get one because you need to put money on your pass card for everything you buy and we didn’t have our pass cards yet. Still, that was probably for the best because there was also a lot of rather tempting food around. Good job I bought a packed lunch.

Then we visited one of the floors of the call centre. This was pretty much as I expected, rows and rows of desks, people talking into headsets, notices everywhere, motivational posters, big screens showing call waiting times and sales, a hive of activity. Unless you’ve worked in a call centre it’s hard to explain the sheer level of noise, all those people talking at once. I can’t imagine sitting at one of those desks or maybe I just don’t want to imagine. Thinking about it makes me shudder.

At lunchtime I went across the road to East Park and sat on a bench to eat my lunch. That’ll probably get me a bad name with the trainers because everyone else ate their lunch in the training room. To be honest I don’t care if they think I’m not a team player, I had to get out of that building. This does not bode well for the rest of my working life at the Mad House, half a day and I’m desperate to escape.

Then it was back to the training room on the second from top floor where we had a long presentation about the history of the company, followed by another about data protection laws. Having such boring lectures straight after lunch was probably not the best planning. I don’t think I was the only one who could hardly keep their eyes open. After that we needed our wits about us because we had our first look at the system. Jas showed us how to find an account, which seemed fairly simple, understanding all the information less so. There are actually two systems running side by side and you have to flick between the two. This was the point when I wondered if I was actually up to the job. When I stole a glance at Kim she looked absolutely terrified. At least I wasn’t alone in that.

When I got home tonight my head was buzzing with stuff. All that information just kept going round and round leaving me feeling confused and more scared than I did at the beginning of the day. All that and I haven’t even answered a phone yet!

1 October 2009 – scary times

Last driving lesson for a while

Last driving lesson for a while

Today I had my last driving lesson for a while, driving round Shirley, turns in the road and a half arsed attempt at parallel parking. It is the last for a while because, for the next six weeks I will be working nine until five thirty, five days a week and I don’t think I can cope with lessons after that. Once I’m out of training I’ll only be working 4 days a week (ten bloody hours a day though) so will be able to have a lesson on Fridays. Continue reading

27 September 2009 – a last supper

Cooking with Joe

Cooking with Joe

Mac and Joe came round last night to celebrate my new job so today I am feeling slightly delicate. It was a great night though. Joe came laden with carrier bags filled with the makings of a Thai green curry, I’ve only ever used jars to make them before but he fancies himself a bit of a cook so it was cooking from scratch. While Mac and Commando cracked open the first (of many) bottles of wine and sat about watching, Joe and I cooked. Continue reading

25 September 2009 – good news, I think

A new dawn? Maybe

A new dawn? Maybe

Finally all the washing is done, dried and put away and the house is looking normal again. Of course, as soon as everything was done and I stopped dashing about, I started worrying about the job issue. One more week and I would be officially on the dole. This was not a happy prospect. Continue reading

22 September 2009 – job centre worries

I sense an impending trip to the job centre

I sense an impending trip to the job centre

We never did get to see the blue legged chickens or the beach at El Prat de Llobregat. We spent the morning, or what there was of it before we had to catch our flight, sitting in the sun outside Cerveceria Cataluña with a cool drink watching the world go by. It was a lovely relaxing end to a nice break. Continue reading

17 September 2009 – holiday preparations

Packing, I don't see what the problem is

Packing, I don’t see what the problem is

Commando managed to get the heating working again today. Isn’t he a clever thing? Ok so it’s summer, we don’t actually need the heating right now but it is one less thing to worry about. At the beginning of the week there seemed to be so many problems. So many things to get worked up about I couldn’t even begin to think about our weekend break to Barcelona. There was Mini Commando’s infection, an interview and, of course the boiler but, one by one they have been sorted. Continue reading

15 September 2009 – longing for hot water

Full of tat but Mac likes it

Full of tat but Mac likes it

Celebrities seem to be dropping like flies at the moment. On the news this morning they stopped going on about Michael Jackson for long enough to announce that Patrick Swayze had succumbed to pancreatic cancer, which was sad. It wasn’t that I was his biggest fan or anything but I did see an interview with him a while ago talking about how he was determined to battle his illness and I kind of hoped for a miracle just because of his ballsy attitude. Not only that but Keith Floyd, the famous TV chef has died of a heart attack, personally I was more surprised it wasn’t alcohol related, the man always seemed to have a glass in his hand. I did quite like his cooking shows, back in the day, though and it made a change from the endless clips of Thriller. Continue reading