Feeling Rough

Woke up with a throat feeling like it had been rubbed with sand paper. Not sure where this has come from. Stress? Possibly, after what’s been going on at work. Hayfever? Another strong possibility. I’ve had a few paracetamol so hopefully this will clear up quickly, although it’s been there all day.

Mowed the lawn today. Thought I’d better get it done before it rains again. Of course it has affected my hayfever badly. I had a tablet this morning but my nose has been running all day. My eyes are now sore and swollen. I’m in a right sorry state today!

I try to carry on as normal. Get things done that need to be done. I try not to let the allergy get me down or stop me doing anything, but sometimes it can be extremely difficult.

Back on the Diet

That’s right, I was back on my diet this week. I’ve lost 5lb since Monday. I think the stress at work over the last few days might have something to do with the figure. Today is my day off. I have treated myself today, but I’ve also done loads this afternoon to work some of it off.

I’ve started sorting out kitchen cupboards in readiness for my new boiler – should have this sorted in a few weeks time. I thought I’d make a start on the cupboards now so I wouldn’t have a mad panic later to find somewhere to store things while the work was going on. I got quite a lot done. It’s funny how sorting through things can be so addictive, yet housework is a real bore.

Long Term Service

I remember when I started work, many years ago, I was advised that it was always better to work at a company for a few years and then leave for a better job and more money. I followed this advice for quite a while, until I found my present job that paid loads in commission.

I’ve now been at the call centre for 10.5 years, and I’ve worked in 5 different departments. I’m very comfortable in the job, although there has been some ups and downs along the way. I’ve even thought that I may be there for a few more years yet.

Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself with more calls and more lines than other people. When I’ve queried this I’ve been told that it’s because of my experience. It’s made me feel under extra stress, and penalised because I’ve been there some time. On the other hand, it’s nice to be able to help colleagues if they have problems, and show them a few tips on the system.

With the changes in the company of late, many of which are due to the FCA who we are regulated by, a lot of the commission that we were earning is now being removed. We can’t do anything about this as it’s not compulsary. The company is also standardising the pay structure, which is something that is done in many other companies.

Personally I will be losing money as my bonus is being cut. Although we are gaining a pay increase, people who have only been at the company for a few years will be gaining as their basic is to be raised by 2-3 thousand so that it can be a standard rate. I’m on a higher basic because of the length of time at the company.

Now this is all making me wonder whether I have done the right thing by staying at the company so long. After my experience has been taken full advantage of, I now find that new people will be earning what I was on 2 years ago. It’s like a kick in the teeth, being told that new people are to gain a lot of money, while those of us who been there for many years are to be penalised. Some of my colleagues have been at the company 15 years or more.

Now, of course, I’m thinking of looking for another job. I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only person. I think it’s a real pity that loyalty and experience can be treated so flipantly and tossed aside with such ease.

Chinese Whispers

We’re having a lot of changes at work at the moment. There were briefings given out last week while I was on leave, so I’ve yet to get the full details. I have been given a brief overview by our lead agent, and also the opinions of my colleagues. I seem to be getting different information from each person though.

When we are given important information we each take in the bit that is important to us personally, and then we subtley adapt it to meet our requirements. We then pass this information to other people with the slight change, or coloured by our own opinions. This information can then either become good news or bad news.

I’d rather get the information from the proverbial horse’s mouth. I’m one of those people who can’t accept what I’m being told until it comes first hand, or I’ve experienced it, or I’ve done enough research to formulate an opionion based on both positive and negative information.

The current briefings are about pay and bonus structures. Very imporant stuff for any employee. I’ve decided to hold my opinion until I’ve had the full information. And although I will listen to the opinions of my colleagues, I will not allow them to worry me.

Big Brother Is Watching You

As my job involves taking phone calls to make the company money it’s not surprising that they want me to take as many calls as possible. To this extent I, and my colleagues, are watched or monitored. We are allowed a specific amount of time for lunch, break, and personal. Personal time can only be used for going to the toilet or getting a drink – anything else can lead to a disciplinary. We are allowed an infringement up to a maximum of 4 times for any rolling 4 week period – anything over that could lead to disciplinary, unless you have a very good reason.

This is all monitored on the computer system. As soon as we leave our workstation we have to change our status on the system. We are also monitored for the length of time it takes to sort things out for a customer, or to put notes on the customers account.

We have cameras in every room except the toilets. There are cameras outside facing the toilets so we can be seen entering and leaving.

Reading the above it looks very much as if the company goes over the top with watching its staff. However, there have been some individuals who have been up to no good.

Enter the guy seen going into the toilets with a load of plastic cups. He left without them. A while later a toilet was found blocked – with plastic cups. He wouldn’t have been seen if the camera wasn’t there. I heard he said he’d left the cups in the bin and not in the toilet…I’ll leave the rest for the company to sort out.

We’ve also had various thefts in the call centre, as well as people leaving money at the auto teller. The cameras now capture all of this.

I’m sure our company is not the only business doing this. Cameras can be seen virtually everywhere nowadays. We are definitely living in a ‘big brother’ society, being watched as we walk down the street. There’s been phones bugged, emails intercepted and read, companies know exactly who we are and how we live, what we are interested in, what we do out of work. We have no privacy.

There are many people fighting this. They say it is an infringement of our rights. But exactly how harmful is it? My company watches it’s employees because it’s us that make the company money – or lose it. It’s in the company’s interests to monitor it’s work force. It’s also in the employee’s interests for our own safety. But can the same be said for being watched in the street, or monitored online?

Do I really want to be watched walking down the street blowing my nose, fixing my bra strap, scratching my bum, tripping up? Do I really want people knowing that I read lots of blogs, shop on Amazon and Ebay, check out various bands, am a member of social websites? This is all private, and many people would be shouting that this sort of spying shouldn’t be happening.

When someone is mugged or assaulted what’s the first thing they want checked? The CCTV in the vicinity. I’ve not yet heard of anyone saying, “don’t look at that. It shouldn’t be there. It’s an invasion of my privacy. You’ll have to find my attacker by some other means.” That would certainly be interesting. It’s usually the suspected criminal who is shouting about their rights.

In the world we live in at the moment, one of the things we often hear about on the news is that a terrorist plot has been foiled, and people have been arrested with arms and bombs being found. Those of us who value our safety and wish to live in peace are very glad to hear this kind of news. This kind of person is found by being monitored. Should we turn around and say they can’t be arrested because the spying is an invasion of their privacy? Should we get the governments to remove all kinds of monitoring equipment so that these people can carry out their plans to murder people?

At the end of the day each and every one of us is monitored in many ways. If a person wants to access websites to learn how to build bombs, or to listen to hate filled religious leaders, or to look at illegal porn, then, personally, I think they should be watched, and caught. I don’t do any of these things so why should I worry about being monitored? If I was doing something questionable then I would be worried.

The people who are normally shouting about it are usually the same people that demand that criminals get treated like royalty in prison, the same people who think that radical preachers deserve asylum in Britain. They scream human rights for some or other criminal, while the rest of us worry about our safety.

I think this monitoring can and does help to catch the dregs of society. It can and does help innocent people get justice. Those of us who are innocent and are being monitored, haven’t done anything to be charged with. As the cliché says: If you haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about.

Spare Room

I’ve decided to sort out the spare room. Got rid of the bed sofa today. It came in useful a few times, but it was so big and heavy. I had a hard time moving it around the room to clean, never mind putting it up and down. I had it a few years ago, but it’s now got to go. I’ve also sorted out a few of my clothes to get rid of. I’ve got a long way to go in that respect.

I took the bedroom door off to get the bed sofa out easier, but it will also enable me to shave the bottom of the door. It’s not shut properly since I had the new carpet laid – a few years ago. One of those jobs that has needed doing for some time, but I just never got round to. I’m not going to feel guilty about it – procrastination is a human trait. I accept it whole heartedly.

There’s a heap of stuff in the airing cupboard that could go. A few old curtains amongst other things. I haven’t sorted through it completely, but I’ve already found a few things in there that I had completely forgotten about. Stuff that has been hidden for many years. It needs to be emptied completely when I have the new boiler installed, as the hot water cylinder is being replaced at the same time.

It’s only a small room but I could use it for so much. Definitely not lodgers. I don’t pay bedroom tax as I’m not on benefits, so I won’t need to rent it out. I hope I can say the same thing in the future, but I’ll have to wait and see.

Hayfever

Hayfever – I hate it.

My parents would go camping at the weekends, when I was a kid, and I remember screaming in agony as my eyes felt like they were cut to ribbons. Eventually they took me to the doctors. I was diagnosed when I was about 5 or 6. Since then I’ve tried all the tablets going, as well as sprays and herbal remedies.

Some years it gets so bad that I’ve taken a tablet in the morning, a herbal remedy at night, used a nose spray, and have taken homeopathic tablets too, all in the same day. Nothing seems to work 100%, and some things don’t work at all.

I got fed up with the tablets from the doctors as they had no affect whatsoever, apart from the big hole in my purse. The cheap tablets from the £ shop are just the same as the expensive ones. The homeopathic tablets are good, but seem to have no affect the following year. The nose spray doesn’t stop my eyes itching. The one herbal remedy I found particularly good is no longer being sold – presumably because it contained lobelia which is poisonous.

I’ve also tried drinking nettle tea and honey. These didn’t work either. In fact the only thing that worked 100% was living in South Africa for a few years. Didn’t suffer with it at all there. -it was the crime rate I was allergic to.

I had a tablet this morning. I’ve been sneezing at intervals. My nose has been running although not as bad as it could have been. Now my eye is itching. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrggghhh!

These aren’t the only symptoms of hayfever though. I think the worse one is how tired and exhausted it makes you feel. It’s the one thing that other people can’t understand and it’s the main symptom that can knock you off your feet. I’ve had countless days off school when I was a kid, and time off work as an adult because of hayfever. Feeling drained of all your energy and then suffering with a continually runny nose, itching eyes, sore throat, cough, well it just knocks you off your feet.

They’ve forecast rain over the weekend. My hayfever will still be there. Unfortunately it doesn’t disappear with the sun.