20 April 2006

Part one is done

Went to the Register Office this morning to give notice. We had to go in separately. I went first and had to answer loads of questions, simple things like where I live, my name, my partner's name, d.o.b. etc. I laughed and said that I had studied really hard on the difficult questions and that I could tell them that JD has 1 sugar in her coffee and brushes her teeth with her right hand....

I thought she was just completing details so that JD's turn would be faster. After all, I had already given them her full name, address d.o.b. etc.

Turns out that that WAS the test. JD had to answer the same questions about me: name, d.o.b., address, occupation etc....

Funny. I was waiting for The Test whilst I was in fact already being tested.

So there is now no legal impediment to our Civil Partnership. Or, as I prefer to call it, marriage.

Roll on June!!!

18 April 2006

You never know...

...when a homosexual is about.

This little film was made in the 50s and warned boys against the dangers of hitchhiking: They ran the risk of encountering a homosexual. It is funny now but my God, imagine being a young gay man (or woman) and seeing this.

Ignorance still rules. At Christmas, the Radio Times (the commercial TV Listings Magazine of the BBC) gave away a free CD as part of a promotion. The CD contained bits of Chronicles of Narnia, stories, music, screensavers and other rubbish I did not look at. It turns out that this CD was provided by our old biggot friends of Focus on the Family. Of course FotF simply bought the advertising space and since the Radio Times is a good magazine that is editorially free from advertiser influence, they simply published it as a paid ad.

This week, the Radio Times has placed a notice in the magazine, stating that the inclusion of the CD does not imply that the Radio Times or the BBC support or endorse FotF in any way. Well, I think they really should have been more careful about this issue and refused the ad or at least made a point of distancing themselves fm FotF at the time of publishing.

Now it simply looks like RT/BBC agrees with things like Defence of Marriage, discrimination and hatred against homosexuals etc.

Very very stupid.

Let it snow...

Just returned from a little holiday in the snow. No points for guessing where I went to (See photo).

The holiday was fab. Crap snow the first 2 days and then 45cm of the stuff in one night. Obviously there was wonderful snowboarding after that. I am no real snowboarder in any sense of the word but it went quite well if I may say so. It is only my 3rd ever snowboard holiday so I was quite pleased.

I bought myself a nice pair of snowboard boots. Perhaps next year I will get myself a board and some nice bindings. But for the moment, I have no more money left.

The trip home was exhausting. Clearly the fact that our car broke down about 100km before we reached the ferry in Calais added a good few hours to our journey (read: it added about 7 hours to it!). On the motorway, the turbo died (Never buy a Land Rover Discovery!!). I called the Depanneur and they put the car on the truck and took it to a garage. There I called the AA and they told me to get the car to Calais on the tow truck, get it on the ferry and on the other side, a tow truck would be waiting for us.

Unfortunately the ferry company we booked with did not accept cars that are broken down so we had to re-book to P&O Ferries. That worked fine so we got a ferry at 00.15 instead of 9pm. They gave our car a nice little spot on the cargo deck in between all the big trucks. I am sure our Land Rover felt very at home.

On the other side, no truck was waiting so we had to wait until about 2.15am before the tow truck showed up. He took us back to Warwickshire so on Sunday morning, I finally rolled in to bed at 7am. Very tired. But very exciting end to the holiday.

The worst part of this is that I lost the time to shop in Calais. I had planned to buy some nice French cheese and some good wine. A very long drive but definately worth it. Shame I had to go back to my job today. And, as expected, it started off shit.

05 April 2006

New boss 2

How much can your boss dictate how you work?

As an administrator, I understand that my boss can tell me what to do. But can they also dictate HOW I do it? If the end result is exactly the same, can X tell me how to get to that result? Or am I allowed to argue about that and state that I will do it my way?

Last week, my new boss X and I worked on a big tender document. X asked me to prepare a certain part of it. I went to work and when I had gathered all the info, I wanted her to check it, before putting it together in its final version.

I showed it her and she went ballistic: This is not what I asked you to do.....

I explained that I merely wanted her to look at the information I had gathered. Was this what she was looking for, am I on the right track? If so, then I would start putting it in the format that she wanted.

She kept on saying that I had not listened to her. I kept on saying that I was not showing her the END of the process, but merely an inbetween stage, to touch base and see if my info was correct.

She kept on and on about how this was not what she asked me to do. I got flustered and red and asked her to please let me FINISH my explanation and hear me out before telling me it was all wrong. It took me about 10 minutes before she even let me explain what I had been working on and how she needed to interpret it. (Just so you know, the argument revolved around something as banal as answering all the questions in the tender document whilst leaving the questions IN with the responses or taking the questions out. I left the questions in whilst pulling together my draft version, so that I could keep track of which ones were still left to answer)

I was close to crying out of frustration when she eventually started to read what I had written, shaking her head all the time about how confusing my method was and how she would not do it like that.

A few of the points I had addressed were things SHE had forgotten to address in her work so just as well that I had answered the questions one by one, making sure everything was addressed. I tiny tiny vindication for me although she did not aknowledge this.

At the end of the day, the document was finished on time, looking the way she had wanted it. She then said: I am sorry it was such a struggle for you today. Next time when you do this kind of thing, just do it like I told you to do. That is much easier because I do it X, Y, Z....blah blah blah.

I started to explain that I felt more comfortable doing it my way because it made me feel in control of my work. Her look and subsequent sigh indicated that she was thinking: Ah, she is disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing again. She really made me feel like I was being unreasonable for wanting to do something MY way.

In the end, I gave up and just went home.

Once again, I felt totally put down.

New boss

Well, so far, the new boss has kept me busy. My nightmare came through when X was promoted into the job left by Z. She is keeping me very very busy. I like that. Not a problem. I have not been busy for a very long time and being bored has made me depressed to the extreme.

So no complaints there. In fact, this is all much better.

Unfortunately, I get the impression that she feels I am unable to deal with people and clients over the phone, that I am rude, unhelpful and stubborn.

Apparently, someone told her I had been unhelpful and rude and that he no longer wanted to deal with me. Instead of talking to me about it, X mentioned in the passing that this person said I was "an obnoxious cow" and that I should perhaps re-consider my phone manners.

Excuse me?

X did not ask what had happened, IF anything had happened (I have NO idea why this bloke thinks I am a cow, which makes 'considering my manners' really hard).
When I said to her that I was a bit dissapointed that she had not come to me to talk about it, she simply said: Well, I believe him because I hear you on the phone to me sometimes and you are rude to me sometimes.

Right. Clearly she feels that I am unable to differentiate between speaking to clients and speaking to co-workers.

Oh, she went on, and I heard from Colleague Y that another customer had told him you were rude as well.

Oh really?

Well, surely a real manager would come to me and discuss this with me, ask for my version of the story BEFORE making a judgement?

Yesterday a woman called with a query. She is not a client (yet) and was short with me because I had to tell that I had no answer ready and I needed about 15 minutes to find an answer. I asked X for some information and told her the lady I had spoken to had been short with me. X then said: Oh, I will call her back. I said: Why? I can call her, I just need the answer to her question.
No, said X, I will call because I know what you are like. You are clearly on the wrong foot with her.

Excuse me????

I feel angry and put-down by this kind of thing. I tried once to discuss it with her when I said that I would appreciate a conversation about it. And her response was that clearly people think I am rude sometimes, she thinks I am rude sometimes and I need to think about how I approach clients and how I tell them if I can not solve their query.

So whatever I say, she simply thinks I am rude to people so she is firmly on the side of whoever 'complains' about me.

Is it worth giving this new working relationship a chance? I wanted to give it a shot but I really feel personally attacked when she says things like that and it makes me feel that I am wasting my energy.