Tag Archives: career

Estranging Arranging

The financial software industry is a volatile environment. The market shifts overnight; a small,  boutique competitor (previously unworthy of concern) secures significant investment from a venture capitalist, or three separate – but personally connected – individuals quit their employment to develop a rival product. Such news travels quickly, allowing for rapid, reactionary measures. Think of a game of chess in fast-forward and you have it; a constant state of flux in which some colleagues thrive, and others, unfortunately perish.

The sales department are perfectly honed to deal with this pace. The sales floor bustles with a ceaseless hum of friendly voices, dialing out to prospects. Office space serves as a political forum for airing grievances and seeking solutions. Meeting rooms are used only for customer calls and HR issues that – for now – require discretion.  These interactions, whizzing over the heads of nonparticipants, often make for entertaining ear fodder. One such example took place between Veronica and Keira, arranging to meet a partner firm.

Veronica is a no-shit, up front, efficient worker. A fixer – work with her or be shoved aside. On a bad day, she bangs her keyboard and cusses aplenty. On a good day, she engages in banter, elevating inappropriateness to unforeseen limits with a wicked cackle. Keira is her polar opposite, exploiting her feminine wiles to schmooze and charm, employing a pastiche, girly-girl persona. She partakes in office hi jinx, expediently extracting herself, when it veers towards questionable.

“Are you coming to that meeting, Veronica? Did you see that email?” This question was delivered from fifteen feet away.

“Yes, I’ll be at the meeting,” answered Veronica sharpishly, tapping heavily on her keyboard. She didn’t look up from her screen.

“There is no mention of dates in the email. 2pm. What day?”

“So you’re coming? It’s next Tuesday. Great! I’ll see you there.”

“Er, no, Keira … I’ll see YOU next Tuesday.”

“Pardon me? What did you say?” Keira’s tone was loaded with disbelief. “Did she just …?” Keira’s voice trailed off, smothered by chuckles from surrounding colleauges.

Veronica ducked behind her partition, out of Keira’s sight with a distinct look of concern.

“Fuck, I’ve been spending too much time at home with that builder who is working on my conservatory.”

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All Signs Point to …

I have been talking about relocating to a new city for a while.

Over pints, with a red, flushed face, did I all too often, dramatically announce, “I’m leaving! Remember this face! I am gone! I am sick of Dublin. Sick of it. There are too many ghosts in this city.”

Eyes were often thrown to heaven. “Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard this before”. Sometimes I even received, “what do you expect to get from London that you can’t get in Dublin?”

A month ago, Best Friend proposed he and I spend some time looking for jobs in London using the internet. We did an in-depth, intricate search on Google, using scant terms such as “London VAT jobs”. We received a few matches.

Best Friend  perused one particular job spec. “I think this job would suit you.”

I read the detail on the screen. I shook my head. “Oh, no, this sounds very technical. No, no, this is not for me at all.”

We came across similar jobs. I shooed the notion of them away.

A day or so later, I pondered the job spec. The more I thought on it, the more I realised this job was for me. I could do this. I could be good at this. This is my job! I called the recruitment agent. We chatted about my experience and interest in the role. He forwarded my CV to the recruiters, who instantly expressed interest in my profile.

Faraway, in another land, removed from flights of fancy of living the London Life, Best Friend and I addressed our living situation. The duration of the lease on the apartment, slowly wasted away; to extend the lease or not.

“I could just quit my job – for the first time in my life, throw caution to the wind and leave! Oh wait, no, I have no savings. This won’t work.”

Best Friend disagreed. “You need a job before you move. We’ll look at the matter of the lease, when the need arises.”

Meanwhile, elsewhere, away from employment opportunities and living arrangements, did I happen to meet a handsome, English man – London Bloke – in Dublin for a business trip. We arranged a date. The date went well. In fact, it went very well. I like him very much. I am lazy in romance and for what is a rare occasion, I made the first move on our date.

Roughly one week later, events progressed nicely. Before I knew it, I was required to go to London for a second interview.  London Bloke and I had been in contact prior to the interview. We arranged a second date, deciding to meet in Soho.

I arrived late, having spent fifteen minutes wandering around Soho in search of Compton Street. I walked into the darkness of the bar and looked around for London Bloke. I spotted him within seconds. He looked good. I awkwardly greeted him. I was nervous. Do I shake his hand or kiss him on the mouth?  What is the etiquette for a second date? I opted for a kiss on the cheek.

“It’s really nice to see you again,” he said.

My head spun. Wow, Irish men never say stuff like that. Well, the Irish men I’ve known never would. “It’s nice to see you too,” I replied somewhat coyly, looking to the floor.

“You’re in my city this time. Let me buy you a pint.”

We moved to a nook of the bar. Conversation and laughter radiated from that corner.

London Bloke supped his pint of ale. “So, how did the interview go?”

“It went OK. My head was completely fried afterwards. It was two hours long. I spoke for two hours! I am naturally talkative, but even I found that challenging.”

“When will you know the results?”

I hesitated. “Thing is … I already know the results …”

He raised his eyebrows in expectation. “Oh?”

“I got the job.”

A sexy smile crept across his face. “I am so happy for you. And, I am happy for me too.”

I was stunned. I’m sure my smile beamed. “Thanks.” I felt very strange right then, unaccustomed to the sensation of shyness.

I returned to Dublin the next day, slowly and gradually communicating my news to friends. Events were slowly settling in my own head. Since then, I have handed in my notice at work. I am due to finish my job 15th July; the same day the lease ends on the apartment.

I fancy the arse off London Bloke. As sad – or hopeful – as it sounds, I have not felt like this about anyone in years. I no longer feel dead from the waist down.

I never subscribed to the “whatever is meant for you won’t pass you by” train of thought. In my opinion, our lives are what we make them. Recent events have caused me to wonder if sometimes, now and again, things just go right and fall tidily into place.

It’s really quite nice when this happens.

You make one little mistake …

I have learned my employers are a relatively unforgiving bunch.

You may have noticed my lack of blogging. This is because my work load rained down on me over the last few weeks. Initially, a new system was launched and let’s just says I was having trouble with it. I am not amazing with technology. When it comes to number crunching, I am the type of guy that prefers an abacus and chalk board. All this new software, currencies (that come in three versions), reconciliations, processes and responsibilities totally blew my bulb. I floundered to get on top of it. It came to the crunch and I misgauged my priorities. The net effect was a colleague and I staying back for two and a half hours on Friday evening.

On Monday morning, the proverbial pooh hit the fan.

Whoops!

My colleague who was detained that Friday evening was probably the worst person to keep late.

Accusations flew back and forth between she and I. She carried more weight because she does not use abacuses and chalk; she is an accountancy goddess. I received her wrath!

Don’t worry, I did not take it lying down. I bet you’re not surprised.

Now, as a result of these events, I have to sit down with my manager on a weekly basis and go through my list of tasks. I feel like the remedial employee. It’s ironic that I actually found it difficult to draw up a list of tasks since I barely know what I am doing. Unfortunately, blogging can’t go on the checklist. I was tempted to clarify that one.

It is for this reason and this reason alone I have not been able to inform you of the amazing time I had in Budapest over the weekend. I went with a friend form college. I was unable to write about the (literally) shitty club, Cafe Capella, that my mate and I visited. I didn’t have time to describe the holy show I made of myself on the dance floor while he was ‘occupied’. I lacked the time to describe how my shoes tore my feet to pieces. I would have documented the pinnacle of my weekend – drinking with the presenters of that new after hours show on TV3, Play TV. It was such a good night. We ended up in a bar called the Funny Carrot, where we remained until 06.00 on Monday morning. The barman, Lola, was an amazing host:

“You promeez Lola you come back hir veez yar pardner”

Monday in Budapest was spent panicking in the hotel when I learned it was in fact 13.20 and not 10.20. After locating a tram to take me to the park, I lay face down in the grass on Margaret Island for two hours. I eventually sobered up around 17.00 to have my stomach jolted about by a Danish taxi driver, who should not have been on the road. The gobshite even dropped us to the wrong terminal after consulting a list to ensure we were headed to the right one. After that pleasant jaunt in the cab, I became reacquainted with the contents of my stomach in the toilet cubicle of the airport.

Overall a good weekend and a not so good week, but hey, at least I had something to write about.

I Beat You!!

I repeated a set of exams for the third time during April. This time round I did more work. Not only did I work harder, but I worked smarter. This morning, I received my results. I passed. It is such an incredible feeling.

I have to momentarily remind myself of my achievement. It’s yet to sink in. I owe my sucess to being mature about the whole thing. Stress, mickey fits and procrastination surprisingly do nothing to achieve results.

Fuck you exams! I beat you!

Be Seen and Be Heard

A departmental meeting was scheduled unexpectedly yesterday afternoon. Twenty of us gathered for a brief meeting. A new colleague was unveiled to us all. She spoke for a few minutes, telling us about herself and background. When she finished, the mic was handed back to the department team lead who opened the floor to any further questions or feedback (on anything that was on our mind). By now you must know I am not one to hold my tongue. There has been something bothering of late. Now was the time to air my views.

“I have something to say about our weekly department meetings on Mondays. I hate them. I actually dread them on a Sunday evening.”

My team leader laughed out loud. “I am sorry you feel that way,” she sympathised with a smile.

Each Monday, my department has a meeting at which we are informed of any relevant issues. We then take turns to give what is meant to be a brief overview of what we are working on. It’s an attempt at knowledge sharing.

I appeared to have the attention of the department, most of whom smirked. “I realise that the meetings are necessary for briefings. I find them useful to learn what is going on, but to be honest; I am not really interested in the workload of my colleagues. I zone out when I am not talking.”

One colleague piped up from the corner. “Why don’t you try listening then?” This was said half jokingly.

“It’s not about not listening. I have no idea what you do on a daily basis. You have your work load and I have mine. When you give an overview of your portfolio, I have no idea of what you’re talking about. Why would I listen? There are twenty of us in this department now. Frankly, it’s a waste of my time for me to listen to each and everyone’s work load.”

“That’s a fair enough point,” the team lead said, while nodding her head. “I realise it’s time consuming for everyone. We will work on the format.”

I offered some suggestions, which we discussed as a group.

I probably could have been more diplomatic in how I issued my opinion. I was aware other team mates felt the same about the Monday Meetings. I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind or take shit for speaking on behalf of others. It might be foolish to jeopardise my career for the sake of an opinion, but I really could not give a monkey’s. I have a voice and I use it often. I have a strong voice and I use it on behalf of others.

Speak your mind people. If you feel strongly about something, speak up.

Beans Means … USB Powered Microwave

The good peeps of Heinz were shocked and appalled to learn of the significant number of individuals who skip lunch due to work pressures. So much so were they shocked that they created the little gadget below. This yoke-a-mee-bob is a little microwave that is powered by your PC via USB connection. It is the ideal solution when work requires you to eat lunch al deské. Just pop one of their new microwaveable beans containers into this mike and hey presto.

mini micro

It remains to be seen whether this creation is either an excellent or stupid action on the part of Heinz. It is a good idea, if it was purely done as a PR stunt to grab some headlines. Aren’t I even writing about it? However, if it was a genuine product created for the market then I think someone in Heinz should hand in their resignation. This “USB microwave” retails at £100. A little steep I think you’ll find. There are so many convenient, lunch time alternatives. I for one don’t like beans. I would much prefer a trip to the office vending machine.