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or just eat at your desk

Funky? Or just a hangover from a failed attempt?

Office equipment includes sit-stand desks and the latest telephones. IT service is occasionally slow. In such a large organisation, I dare say the IT team would say they’re understaffed and trying to meet unrealistic expectations, but meeting KPIs.

Interstate visitors think we have a “funky” office. Whatever that means. The whole “precinct” is presently being redeveloped, so it’s potentially a comment on more than merely the single floor of the building we occupy. The area is fairly drab but will be more appealing once updated: that’s scheduled for completion by April next year.

In the meantime, I note there are two kitchens, one large and one small. The large kitchen lacks adequate seating and tables. The small kitchen has none. Plainly, there’s encouragement to leave the office at mealtimes. There are days when you’d like to be able to simply pull up a spot of table far enough away from others that you wouldn’t feel obliged to interact, and not do anything much but eat your lunch, without it being obvious that you’re just not in the mood. Tricky.

There’s a nearby indoor/outdoor eating area that’s a hangover from a previous development that didn’t go as planned. It’s somewhere to sit but not appealing on a cold, wet, windy day; or, I imagine, when the weather is very hot.

So, yeah, may you always have somewhere pleasant to eat your lunch 🙂

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Posted by on September 21, 2019 in Food, Musing

 

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neighbourhood noises

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If you don’t have your own barbie, or guest numbers exceed your backyard capacity, many local councils provide facilities such as these.

It’s the time of year when all the neighbourhood lawnmowers are kicking up a racket, and many of them are also throwing lots of grass cuttings into the air. Airborne bits of other highly allergenic plants mean that YoungB is utterly miserable with hay fever. I’m not far behind. But, you know, it’s warm enough that a load of laundry will dry on the outside line, which we both find gratifying because it means our work clobber is suddenly a great deal easier to manage and maintain.

Although the coming week is forecast to have cold nights, the days are definitely improving with regard to temperatures and we now have considerably longer daylight hours. It’s not warm enough to move meals entirely outdoors, but lunch is certainly a viable option for al fresco dining. I expect we’ll soon be stoking up the barbie on the weekend. As you’d doubtless agree, a BBQ can be as simple or complex as you like, but the drifting aroma of fried onion and those “scorched outside and half-cooked inside” sausages is an unmistakable part of the Aussie summer. It’s also far more enjoyable than the drifting grass.

But, hey, who could capture better what an Aussie BBQ is really about than the truly inimitable Eric Bogle? As you’ll see if you go to the link, that’s a 1982 recording. I can only say that, after all these years, I still get a laugh out of that song. I hope you, too, might enjoy Eric’s keen observations of what is a quintessential element of the Australian summer.

May all your sausages not taste like fried toothpaste 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 15, 2019 in Food, gardening, Singing

 

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quick brown foxes

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The best advice I was ever given was to become proficient at typing numbers without looking, because they’re the farthest from your home keys. I’m not sure what this book recommends. Image credit

Typing exercises used to be such fun. I don’t truly recall ever having to type, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” but it’s a relatively easy pangram. There are many other such examples, which are a great deal more difficult because the words are less common, or their juxtaposition not something quite so everyday.

This arises from work conversation about WH&S issues and the value of touch-typing, and progression from typewriters through early computers to today’s models. Everyone chuckled when I mentioned Wang computers and those 5 14-inch floppy disks. The younger folk could visualise the 3 12-inch diskettes, which were around longer and later; but anything larger was pretty much in the category of museum exhibits.

So when you feel that you yourself are a museum exhibit, what should you do? Why, expect skilled signwriters to use many jazzy, quaint old alphabets effectively; maybe even on a typewriter 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2019 in Musing

 

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cheerful

 

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Others also enjoy using the park

It always helps to have some nice things to look forward to, don’t you think? With that idea driving our decision, Youngest Aunt and I have decided that we should make a regular week’s-end, after-work, tea-in-town date. The first of them is scheduled for this coming Friday, with a Chinese restaurant already chosen.

I anticipate we’ll drag out our diaries and set up the rest of the year so that we have similar cheery get-togethers planned. That will provide ample opportunity for us to sample other Asian cuisines in and around the Central Markets.

Occasionally, YoungB and I almost get our buses to coincide on the way home, which means that Dr B is able to make one trip to pick us up. I personally think that YoungB must have a far better relationship with the Doc than I do, because when our “reaching the terminus” bus times DO coincide, I’ve never had to wait. This is most unlike the too-numerous-to-mention times I’ve been left out in the elements for far too long when it’s been just me awaiting a homeward lift. Huh.

Now that the evenings are lighter, YoungB and I don’t always ask for a pick-up from the terminus. Sometimes we walk home together through the park, enjoying the opportunity to distance ourselves from traffic. That’s something else to be cheerful about.

May all your walks in the park be equally cheerful 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2019 in Food

 

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or not helpful, as the case may be

The whole seeking employment lark was not without its amusing moments. While I appreciate that it’s good to have agencies that DO follow up to check whether you still require their services, it was more than a little disconcerting to receive such a message when they’d never managed to place me in any work and I’d only been on their books for a couple of weeks.

You what? Really?! Can I get back to you on that?

I mean, genuinely, would you like to remove me from your books and then have everyone go through the same rigmarole again – documentation, security checks (all, worrying, undertaken online in a time of increasing cyber crime and identity theft), and interviews to ascertain my suitability for employment, for heaven’s sake – when my present contract ends in a few weeks (or months, if I’m lucky)? That seems, well, rather inefficient and not at all helpful because I’ll need to be reinstated potentially a little before my contract ends, so that I don’t have another income hiatus.

That’s a distinct downside of today’s employment market: almost everyone is on contract, and funding is too uncertain to enable planning. It’s a dreadful way to function, particularly for any government-funded organisation, because how can you promise staff any security? Equally as importantly, it’s a dreadful way to live – we’re becoming more like North America all the time, alas – and a big factor in young folk staying home longer, and finding it more difficult to start their own families. Yeah. That’s not helpful, either.

So let’s just keep the agency paperwork in place, huh? You can almost guarantee that, if I don’t, the contract won’t be renewed and I’ll be back on the street, back battling the system, back trying to maintain my cool with dole office staff who aren’t responsible for the system but do occasionally screw up… and back on the paperwork-go-round requiring the same documents again. Yeah. OMG.

May all your employment positions meet your security criteria 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2019 in Musing

 

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then and now

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Still there, after all these years.

Forty-plus years ago, this building bore the name of the insurance company whose employees were housed on some of its floors. Many other floors were occupied by telecommunications workers. It’s weirdly appropriate that it’s now occupied by, and carries the name of, an internet provider.

It seemed so tall. By comparison with today’s tall buildings, it barely rates. I presently work on a floor level higher than this building, and there are a good may levels above me. But when I worked there, I used to sit at a desk near a window. When not working, I was able to watch the traffic and, on one memorable occasion, see a visiting member of the UK royal family waving to the crowds from the balcony of the nearby Town Hall.

Yeah, it was a while ago.

There was a tea lady. She would bring her trolley around morning and afternoon, and she had a prodigious memory for everyone’s favourite brew and strength. Or what type of biscuits they enjoyed. There were no kitchen facilities, but there were a couple of sandwich bars nearby if you didn’t bring your own lunch. Nowadays one of them has morphed into a noodle bar. The other has disappeared entirely. There were also a couple of pubs, which did a roaring trade on paydays. One of those still does a roaring trade on paydays.

There were piles of files on everyone’s desks, and ranks of filing cabinets for things that weren’t currently in use. Archives were on another floor. We used adding machines for monthly reconciliations of accounts. The only computers were on a different floor of the building, and woe betide anyone who took issue with a decision made by the powerful WPOs (hat would be word processor operators, BTW), whether it was correct or not. Once they’d typed up a form letter, you couldn’t get it changed.

There were staff in that office who had worked for the organisation for more than 25 years; not just for the organisation but, for many of those years, in the same job. That wouldn’t happen nowadays. Many of the staff smoked cigarettes. In the office. All. Bloody. Day. That wouldn’t happen nowadays either; and thank goodness.

So, yes, then and now are very different if weirdly similar. May your past not come back to haunt you too much 😀

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2019 in Musing

 

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misty morning

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View from the office window, early in Spring 🙂

It is sometimes better to focus on the good things. In fact, I’m sure you’ll tell me it’s always better to focus on the good things. So there you have yesterday’s good thing: a foggy morning that afforded me a wonderful – and unusual – view of the city skyline.

May all your foggy mornings be equally as soft and wondrous 🙂

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2019 in Musing

 

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