From then to now … “The Only Way Is Up !”


The daily, weekly and monthly back-ups were a bit of a bind for most people, so as I had taken over the job, my popularity had begun to grow a little. However, this wasn’t to last. The scaling system for what was essentially junior office staff started with S1, then S1/2 then S3 followed by S4, S5 and S6. The S1 level was reserved for staff under the age of 18. These were very few and far between at this time, so most people in the Council were S1/2 or above. I had been there just over a year when the chap on the S3 level decided to leave. He wasn’t getting the promotion he expected and he had decided to go back to the private sector. This left an opening for 7 of us on the S1/2 scale.

I wasn’t going to apply, as I felt that 3 of the others had more experience than me and were probably better suited to the joOffice Deskb. It was one of the two Supervisors that told me to apply for a number of reasons, and it gave me food for thought. Then when the other Supervisor repeated the same reasons why I should apply, I decided to bite the proverbial and I completed the required application form (no CV’s in those days for the lower grades) and handed it in. I wasn’t expecting much, but knew that all internal applications were interviewed, so really I had nothing to lose. The interview went as well as could be expected and afterwards I felt that the manager may have gone a little easy on me. This was due to the comments the other 3 main rivals had made when they thought I was out of earshot. To cut a short story even shorter, I got the job and was due to start the following Monday. This, of course did not go down well with the other internal applicants, and it soon became clear that I was back to square one with, what were now the lower grades.

The main premise of the job was to be the first line answer to written correspondence about a parking ticket. An appeal letterPCN would come in, it would be logged by one of the S1/2’s. They would also create a file for that correspondence, and it would be passed to me. My job was then to read the letter, make a decision to progress it for payment, progress it higher or cancel the ticket. I would say about 95% of the appeals that came in failed with only 1 or 2 % going to a higher level. All the rest (3%) were cancelled.


TypistThe letter writing was something I had not seen before, although I understand that it was a standard practice. All replies were constructed using pre-written standard paragraphs with some even being standard letters. All I had to do was attach a piece of ‘scrap’ paper, with a series letters and numbers ie P1, P4, P6 etc. This would then go with the file, to the typing pool who would type up the letter and return it for posting. There were no word-processing in those days. Most of the typists used huge Canon typewriters that had a little memory but nothing like what is in use today.

But I now had a little bit of faith that I could make it in an office situation.

A little bit more ranting …


     I’ve just spent the past half hour posting replies to comments on our local online newspaper. I use the term ‘newspaper’ lightly in this case. I have stopped buying and even reading, physical editions of the press. To me it seems a little one way. With a hard copy, or paper copy if you prefer, the only way to have your voice heard is to write to the editor. He or she, then may or may not publish your letter/email when ever they see fit. With the online version, I can post or reply to a comment and it appears almost instantaneously. That is providing it complies within the terms and conditions. This to me, seems to be a far more interactive way of expressing ones feelings. I have to admit though, it can lead to my comments being ridiculed and attacked by some of the other people that contribute to the site. Like many online newspapers, there are a large number of people with right-wing tendencies, that seem to take delight in posting negative political and almost racist comments. I occasionally try and redress the balance.

     Work took an interesting turn on Friday. Our service manager called in at the end of the day, and asked to have a private word with me. The way things are going in the Council at the moment, it made me a little apprehensive. However, and I’m not supposed to say anything yet, she explained that that there might be an opportunity coming up in the next couple of weeks and that she wanted me to consider it carefully. Without going into any detail, it is an area that I did not think I have any experience in. I downloaded lots of information, and I may be doing myself down too much. I may just have enough limited knowledge to pass this off. If I get my head down and start reading all this information, who knows what may happen. Just hope I don’t tread on anybody’s toes!!

     The new car is living up to expectations. Now I’ve had it a couple of months, it’s getting more and more difficult to remember the old one. The mileage is better, although I’m not getting the 60mpg that i was led to believe. It’s more 48mpg, which is better than the 42mpg I was getting with the Ford, so it is an improvement, and with the low tax band, I will be saving. It still looks strange to see my car and S****’s car side by side in the car park. Especially as they have consecutive number plates!

     On a completely different track, I’m starting an online course on Monday 25th. I saw an article in the Guardian online, that explained a little about these ‘free’ courses. It is an organisation called Futurelearn and the quote from it’s website says:

“At FutureLearn, we want to inspire learning for life. We offer a diverse selection of free, high quality online courses from some of the world’s leading universities and other outstanding cultural institutions.”

     I’ve signed up for a course about King Richard III. It is not something I know much about, but the discovery of his remains and the recent television drama about The White Queen, stirred my interest somewhat. It is free, so I have nothing to lose, and it may just benefit me should I attempt to go on Mastermind !!!! I’ve also signed up for a course in programming apps for smart phones, but that does not start until February 2014.

     A couple of post’s back, I mentioned a story idea that I had been planning. Well it is now into it’s fourth chapter, and the story will start to take a different direction. I will not say any more, but I may put an excerpt on here sometime. In fact, I have considered posting the whole story as weekly chapters, but I’ve not decided yet.

Letter to my head


If you are wondering about the title of this post, I shall explain all at the end.

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        You know K*** had those problems last year with those Melanomas, well we thought everything was now okay. However, a couple of weeks ago, she felt something under her arm, where she had had the biopsy, that did not feel quite right. She spoke to the consultant at the hospital, who told to see her GP, who would refer her. This was done, and at the end of this week, she had both a consultation at the clinic on Thursday and a scan on Friday. You have to congratulate to hospital on the speed their action. But, after the scan, she was told that there was nothing to see, and that it may just be a rib!! I think she is now waiting for the consultant to get back to her officially. she is still very worried though.

        Work!!!! Someone who I knew a few years ago,in my previous job, asked me if I’m happy in this new job, and my immediate replay was along the lines ‘…same old story, back stabbing and bitching with a smaller team…’ It made me reflect a little on where I am now. Do I actually like what I am doing? Do I like the people I work with? The ‘team’ as they like to call us. Things are beginning to come to a head I think. It has a lot to do with this new restructure that we are going through, and everyone is quite worried. In my opinion, the problem is exasperated because for two members of the ‘team’, there is no position at their current grade. Now our Manager, M*** was told us that this represents a huge opportunity to get those jobs that we deserve. This is a nod to one of the ‘team’ members, E***** who missed out on a promotion in the last restructure. I’m convinced, that this is why I still don’t feel like I’m accepted as a full member of the ‘team’. She missed out last time and I think she believes that she may miss out this time. This is probably fuelled by her partner B****, who conveniently works in the same ‘team’, in the same office. I feel that it is never a good idea for people in a relationship to work together, unless it is their own business. It just does not work in a large organisation such as ours.

        Just to change the subject ….. I have had a cold virus this week. Not such a big deal you say. Well usually that is the case. I get three to four colds a year, and they are typical colds that last three days. Occasionally, and it happened in July last year, I get a cold that completely floors me, so to speak. I started late Saturday, with the usual symptoms: the slight headache; the tingle at the top of my nose etc. By Sunday, the cold had started to kick in properly. I had a fitful nights sleep, tossing and turning, not able to get comfy and with the now ever present ‘nasal attack’. I spent the next two and a half days in bed, with the usual handkerchiefs, paracetamol, buckets of water and a pained look on my face. I went back to work on Thursday, but at a push, could have held out to the end of the week. It is still there, and of course, I now have to live with the aftermath of all those handkerchiefs, the sore nose!!

        Now, the reason for the unusual post title. I intended to start writing posts as if I was actually writing a letter to myself …. to my head in fact. After the first paragraph, I thought, this is not going to work on this blog, and i would have to start a new one. But it also gave me an idea for a story. A story built along the lines of letters from someone to friend, and what happens when those letters and everything else changes. The story is only in it’s planning stage at the moment, but I thought I would keep the post title as a reminder.