What a month it's been! in Juggling with Hedgehogs

  • March 13, 2018, 2:17 p.m.
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After 10 years of hideous commutes, and fraternising with all kinds of celebrities, I finally left my wonderful job at ITV on Valentines’ day.

The job wasn’t 100% wonderful, sadly. I had new colleagues I couldn’t stand, a department head I couldn’t stand, a boss I couldn’t stand, and the colleagues I did like were leaving in their droves. The job itself had become rather mundane, and I was just really ready for a change. So with the building demolition set for this summer, and the move to White City occurring mid April, I really had to get my skates on and move along.

So I landed myself a temporary position with the NHS, which was just enough to get me out of the ITV ‘golden handcuffs’ and working locally.

I went there on the 19th of February. To say it was an unmitigated disaster would be the understatement of the year. I did the induction day, which is all lovely and fluffy, as we’re told all about how the NHS covers Health and Safety and Equality and Diversity, and how we have to do a work station assessment when we get into our roles, and all the various benefits available to us as NHS staff (there’s a decent discount scheme, I’ll give them that). The reality, sadly, simply didn’t match up.

My first day in the actual job, I was told to report to the main hospital to meet a secretary and get my badge before going over to the office where I would be working (next town over). I duly turned up, and the guy who makes the ID badges wasn’t there until 1.30 that day. So that was an utter waste of time. I went over to the office, and the people there had no clue what to do with me. We had a little chat, I introduced myself to them, and they to me, and then I was sent back to the previous hospital to meet the apprentice. The interim head of department apologetically told me that the apprentice had been told she was to be my ‘mentor’. It turned out the girl had taken this literally. She acted like she hated me on sight, her responses to every single question I asked her were monosyllabic, she ran through some of what she was doing interspersing every other word with ‘like’ or ‘literally’. I hated her on sight too, sadly. So that wasn’t the best start. She decided to walk me from one end of the hospital to the other to show me where the post came in. There was no post, so we walked all the way back again. By which time, it was lunchtime, so I told her I was going to get my ID badge done, and would return after I had eaten my lunch. I got my badge, walked all the way back to her office (bloody LONG way!) to be told I could go home.

So that was my first day.

Next day, I went to the office I had been posted to, and the place was freezing, there were no blinds on the windows so the sun reflected off the computer screens, there were only 3 computers for 7 people, and not enough chairs. The chair I was in gave me instant sciatica, and I couldn’t get into any of the software I needed to do the job. I endured one full week of this. The following Monday I went in, but that was when it snowed. No-one else could get into the office, and as I was reliant on them to give me things to do, I just stayed home for the rest of that week. I spent my time feverishly job hunting. I landed myself an interview with a local company, and I liked the sound of that job. I also got myself a couple of days temping in a solicitor’s office.

The following Monday I went in to my NHS job, and I received an email from the lady who recruited me. She wanted to meet with me the next day to discuss all the problems I’d been having. That lunchtime, I also received an email offering me the job at the local place. I phoned the guy immediately and accepted. I went to meet the head of the NHS department on the Tuesday, and didn’t waste any time telling her I wasn’t staying. She was very nice, said she understood and apologised for all the rubbish I’d had to endure. I just told her there was no sense of being in a team, the IT was diabolical, the furniture was worse, and I just couldn’t remain in that office.

I started my new job yesterday, and I’m pleased to say I like it. I’m working with mostly male computer geeks. The job is what I can only describe as Extreme Word Formatting. It’s compiling O&M Manuals for the construction industry. It’s way more interesting than it sounds, and the office is 5 minutes from home, casual dress (super casual, one guy came in wearing shorts today), and they work 9-5 on the dot. No staying late, no coming in early, no working through lunch. They work hard, but they do their hours and no more. The pay I’m on is low for the first 3 months while I’m training, but there’s a very generous monthly bonus scheme, which, if I make the grade, I will go on once I’ve finished training. It’s very involved, very complicated, a bit mind-blowing, but the guy training me is doing an excellent job, and today they got me new computer screens, keyboard and mouse. The office is warm, comfortable, there’s plenty of parking, I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. The MD is a really nice man, the bloke in charge of the office overall is also really nice, and they also have an apprentice, but she is a really sweet girl. Friendly and just nice. I hope they keep me.

Camdengirl 6 days ago

Oh you'd be really good at that, it sounds fab.

NHS is always a shambles, it varies from place to place but in general terms the management invariably screws things up!

Icklewriter Camdengirl ⋅ 23 hours ago

Into week 2 and I'm still really enjoying it. :-)

Fred 6 days ago

Well, it sounds like it's all working out after all. Good for you.

Firebabe 5 days ago

When I was the Admin of my last department, I made damn sure we had a full desk and laptop set up for ALL new employees. I would schedule the new folks to have lunch with the Director, and then have a team lunch a few days later. I always made sure they were introduced to everyone, and there was an orientation / training agenda ready for them to go, that basically covered what they'd be doing the first four days they were on-site. I can't tell you how many people told me that all that organization and preparedness really made them feel like part of the team, and like they were working someplace that had it's shit together. It's amazing how detrimental it can be when you show up and no one knows what's going on.

So happy it all worked out for you. I was a little worried about the NHS gig, but thank god it only lasted a few weeks, and you were able to get out without getting your soul crushed. ;)

Icklewriter Firebabe ⋅ 23 hours ago

One week, and two actual days, although that ran over a 3 week period - well 2.5 roughly. It was absolutely awful, but I'm pleased with my new job. I'm learning new skills, I'm doing something interesting, and the people are great. It's not without its niggles, but none of them (currently at least) really affect me, so I leave others to do the stressing and spend my days learning. The days have flown by - I suppose that will stop once I actually have a clue what I'm doing. :-)

Marg 3 days ago

What a shambles! In my last job my manager had a full-scale one to one induction WEEK for me when I started in which every minute was planned out - and she fitted her own job into that as well. I was so impressed - also because it showed she was well aware what the Admin job entailed - so many managers haven't a clue how hard their Administrators work half the time - things just appear to get 'done' somehow!!

Icklewriter Marg ⋅ 23 hours ago

It's similar where I am. They have plenty for me to work on and it's done in a step-by-step way so each new thing I do teaches me a new skill. I'm really enjoying it.

Marg Icklewriter ⋅ 8 hours ago

Great news!

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