From then to now … more of the same


The big day arrived and the so called ‘newsome twosome’ started. I have no idea who came up with the name ‘newsome twosome’ but it did seem to fit. The fears we had, with neither ever working in a hospital kitchen Teamwere soon discredited. It turned out that C***s had been the Head Cook at an army barracks and P*m had worked for 10 years as a cook in the Royal Air Force. Both seemed to have good skills and soon blended in with the rest of the kitchen. C***s was appointed as the Kitchen Superintendent and always seemed quite easy going. P*m got the Assistant Head job and so became my so called ‘running mate’. She was not as laid back as C***s and this caused a few tensions among some of the staff. You will know the type, criticising everything that she did, but they didn’t have the courage to apply for the job themselves. However, we were now a team again.

Everything plodded along quite uneventfully for a couple of years. A few initiatives came and went, but I began to notice Splitthat whenever opportunities arose, I appeared to be the preferred choice.  A prime example was when management decided to update and change the menus in the staff dining room. All the kitchen staff were asked to come up with ideas, even the Porters and Kitchen Assistants were included. But when the ideas were pooled, it was C***s and me that were invited to take the discussions further. P*m and the Head Cook were side-lined a little. C***s and I tried to include them but we both felt at least one had taken her ‘bat home’  and was a bit more negative than the other. The Head Cook seemed to just be along for the ride. Never offering advice or criticism and his ‘safety phrase’ was “That sounds nice!”

The new menus were decided on and things seemed to be getting back to normal. Then the next bombshell hit.

The Head Cook announced that he was going to retire. We knew it was coming, but he had never Fightdivulged his actual age or the date of his birthday so we didn’t really know when. He had not taken any of his leave so he used his three weeks holiday entitlement as the bulk of his notice. He had asked the Catering Manager not to tell anyone until he had started his leave, as he didn’t want any fuss. C***s knew, but both P*m and me found out on his last day. After the initial shock, both of us realised that the battle to succeed him was on. Although initially it was a good natured battle, the days leading up to the interview day got a little fraught and tempers spilled over sometimes.

All went well …


The staff party went as well as could be expected, even the short time I was there. I think subconsciously I knew that it would and I also knew that there would be no problem with R***. He was the excuse I used to get out of going for the full evening. I know it’s wrong of me to use the possibility of him having a ‘melt-down’ to get out of something, but it was the only thing I had. The problem is, that I’m not a fan of social get-togethers. They just don’t have any appeal these days. It must be an age thing because when I was in my early 20’s you would not have been able to stop me. Anyway it seems that they were glad I went and wished I had stopped longer.

They are a great team to work with and I enjoy their company. Pomfret'sThis job is just what I wanted from a part-time job. The hours could not be better. The location is ideal and the wage, well I don’t expect any more for what I do. Its quite a physical job, but for two days of 6 and a half hours, I seem to be coping. They made me extremely welcome for the first day, and usually that kind welcome doesn’t continue more than a couple of weeks, but I still feel the same as I felt the first day, which can’t be bad.

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1st day down …


Well, not technically true. Technically, today is my last day and tomorrow will be the “1st” day. I didn’t want to go into work for one day, so I managed to save up some time and take a ‘flexi’ day. But to all intents and purposes, today was the first day of my retirement! Now, how old does that make me feel?

Didn’t do much really. Went to the bank, did a bit of shopping, washed my car … oh and had my hair cut. Haircut? For nearly a year now, I’ve been growing my hair longer. In fact, I’ve not had it cut for about nine months. It all started, around November time last year. Our ‘team’ were on one of our ‘away-days’ or it may have been a training day. At lunch time I had gone out and  when I returned, I received a text message, just before I entered the training room. As I was expecting the text, I stopped to read it. I then over heard someone joking about the length of my hair and then everything went quite when it went in. Now I don’t care if people take about me behind my back and I don’t  mind if they laugh at me. What I hate is when they do it and then try and pretend that they didn’t. Which was what happened in this case. So I made the random decision to grow my hair long. My intention was to just let it grow and grow to make them feel bad or guilty . However when I put in for early retirement, I decided that my long hair would go when I finished. Hence, todays haircut.

So all in all, the first (or pre-retirement) day went well and now I must et down to the task of finding and getting that part time job. I need to get one soon, before I get out of the work habit. The next few weeks are critical in that search I think.

It’s sunk in … finally


I think it has finally sunk in. It got to home time and J*******, who I have worked quite closely with, shook my hand, thanked me and wished me well. He is on leave next week and will not be in on the day I finish. It was a nice touch of him to say what he did. On the other hand, there are others who are on leave next week, who have said nothing. Quite frankly, I don’t care about those few. In fact, there is one person that is off all week and it pleased me to know that he will not be in. One of the many reasons I’m not having the obligatory ‘night out’ or ‘leaving do’. I’m not a very sociable person, but I could not leave anyone out if I was having a do. I would have to invite everyone, even those I do not want to be there. So not for me.

What amazes me at the moment, though, is the number of times I’ve been asked, what I’m going to do when I finish? What are my hobbies? Have I planned any trips? All valid questions you may say, but my point is, nobody has asked me any of these questions before! Well not in this team. Way back before the numerous restructures, the team I originally worked with would ask. With this team, they don’t even ask where you’ve been if you’ve had a few days holiday. Strange bunch of people some of them.

Then when I got home, the pension company had finally sent my retirement pack. This is the documents I need to complete so that my pension is paid. Surprisingly it only took two emails to get the pack sent. But that helped it hit home. Made it very realistic. Now I’ve just got to find a part-time job to fill a couple of days in the week. It will be a bit of spending money and keep me occupied for a few years until my state pension comes in 2021.

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I had a crack at knitting a rose brooch this weekend. Rose BroochI had seen the pattern and downloaded some months previously, but it looked quite tricky. Stitchwise I was fine, but one of the main techniques was a little more involved as it were. Still, I had a go and finished it quicker than I expected. I completed the making up today and I very pleased with how it has turned out. Just as it showed on the pattern.

One more week …


Well only five more 06:30 wake-up alarms! But it has been dragging on and on and on …….. and on and on.

No luck on the part-time job front yet. K*** thinks I need to get something, in her words “That I would like to do …” My take on that is get something I can do, and wait for something I would like to do. And that is the advice from colleagues also. I have to ask myself though, “What would I like to do?” It has to be something I enjoy doing, and from the past few years, there’s not a lot I like doing workwise. I suppose I would prefer to sit in front of a computer rather than a manual job, but needs must outweigh desire. (Note to self: sounds like a good sound bite “Needs Must Outweigh Desire” maybe a story title?)

As I said, work seems to be dragging on and on. Someone else is now working on the project that I’ve been working for the past 18 months. I have been drafted back into the main team (Team! … more about that another time) to help out with general support calls coming in. The problem is, that being not a part of the main team since way before my operation, I do not have the skills that others have developed, and with my imminent departure, it’s not really worth retaining me. I can pick up odd calls that I do know about, but they tend to be very basic tasks, that lower graded staff pick up first. I also think that ‘they’ may be worried that if I’m pushed into new work, I may just go sick! Others have done it before and I have had a days sick this week already. I have a feeling that next week is going to be even slower.

Away day … not as bad as expected


In fact, I would go as far as saying, it was quite enjoyable. Today Friday was a team building day. It was a day when the new team (those who were not off work) got together and began to learn a bit about each other. The day when the restructure of the team started to take shape. That was the aim.

We were supposed to start the day with a two hour slot of ‘bonding and building’, followed by four presentations with Q & A’s and feedback and ending with brief quiz as a ‘bit of fun’.

Two days ago, the new team manager (we shall call her KB) gave us all a person we had to ‘buddy’ and a list of questions that we had answer about ourselves and our buddy. This was the preparation work that we had to complete before the day. It was designed to identify where we lacked self-confidence and to give each of us an idea of what the rest of the team thought of each other. It was only looking at the positives and not the negatives. We were then required, to read out what we had written about ourselves and get feedback from our buddy and the rest of the team.

However, before we started, ‘KB’ had a little ‘exercise’ that she wanted us to do. Basically is was to test of our listening skills, but was more a test of our memory capabilities. In our pairings, one had to talk about something, anything that was of interest or importance to us. This had to last for two minutes and person two was not allowed to make notes or ask questions. Then person two had to relay back to person one, what they had said without being prompted. Then (not much longer now) person one had to feedback how well person two had done. The roles were then reversed and the process repeated. For me it proved to be very difficult, as I am having a few memory issues which I’ve put down to my days in hospital. My buddy, who is actually my new line manager (and we shall call him NM), was almost word perfect with his memory and at the risk of embarrassing the lad, I ensured everyone knew that.

Then we go to the ‘nitty-gritty’ and started the part that I was dreading. The metaphorical exposing of each other. To make matters worse, ‘NM’ and me** were the first to go. To my surprise, I found it quite informative and not as difficult as I feared and I think I got a lot out of it.

Now this part was supposed to take an hour and a half for all twelve of us, and then we would have one of the presentations. This was to be followed by a two ‘bonding’ lunch at a local pub and a further three presentations in the afternoon. What happened was that the ‘bonding and building’ sessions went on longer than ‘KB’ anticipated, and at 16:30 she decided that the four presentations would now happen on a later day. I don’t think anyone expected or intended it to go on for so long.

All in all, it was a quite informative (if a bit tiring) day and at the end, I think we were all glad it was over. But maybe next time, I won’t be as apprehensive. Who knows?

**  for all you grammar types, should this be “NB and I” or am I correct with “NB and me”??

All going rather well …..


Well, when I say “All going rather well…” I’m referring to my return to work and I mean the physical side to the return. I working on a phased return over four weeks.  As I say, I mean the physical side is going well. The actual work side is a little different. Although I was assured that I would not be disadvantaged during my absence, I feel I am little bit left out of things. My ‘team’ colleagues (if you can call them that) have integrated into the wider team a great deal more than I have, and I’m beginning to feel a bit like an outsider. Even more of an outsider than I felt before. I just don’t know what my role is any more. My line manager is back next week (at least I think she is still my line manager) and I’ll try and broach the issue with her. Although that may not be as easy as I would hope. She has a few problems in her personal life, and I may get the sharp end of that when she gets back.

I’m now working in the city centre, and as such I have to use a mutli-storey car park. It’s an expense that I wish I did not have, but it is not the expense that is the real problem. The car park get really full and there are very few spaces left by 9am. Normally this would not be an issue, but on the days when I have to have my blood test (currently every two weeks) I end up going in late. The thing that really annoys me is when people reverse park their cars into the parking bay. Because of the limited driving space, reverse parking holds everyone else up. I have no idea why they do it! It is just as easy to reverse out of the parking bay as it is to drive out forwards. I think they are just showing off.

The problems I’ve had with my memory, seems to gradually improving. I was trying to update a report yesterday, and was not having much luck with it at all. Then this morning I tried again and it suddenly came to me what I needed to do. Another report I’ve been working on is starting to look like it should, although I’m not getting the results I should, my line manager will know where I’m going wrong.