How I feel in the office
There's only one life-form as intelligent as me within thirty parsecs of here and that's me.
Depending on your personality, a trip to the hairdresser or barber can be harrowing. Like any customer-facing role, it's expected of staff to take to the job with a wink and a smile – but then comes the dreaded "small talk". "Been up to much today?" "No." ... is how your correspondent's chats with barbers normally start …
Multiple instances of time travel shenanigans have left me no less than thirty-seven times older than the universe itself. My various body parts, now rusted and barely functional, have been replaced at least fifty times each (except, ironically, all the diodes down my left side).
I agree that is how I feel but not just restricted to the office.
I remember a yearly review on my job performance. Have to answer questions that your line manager reviews and puts their rating which you then go over in a meeting.
For the question how I rate my relationship with QA I put 3 out of 5. My line manager marked me down to 2 saying I had a them and us attitude with QA. I manged to get it back to 3 in the review meeting by explaining that I did not have a them and us attitude to QA, I had a me and everyone else attitude and QA was not being singled out.
A few years back when I was in hospital to get my ticker re-plumbed, the evening before the operation a nurse had to shave the chest and and the legs right up to the nether regions. In the ensuing smalltalk, she said that never did she imagine she'd be shaving men as part of her work
First, they don't shave your balls for a vasectomy, they just fry them in a wee frying pan. (Local anaesthetic and not a good view but I checked after and my ba'hair were a' there.
Second, my favourite ever second hand anecdote.
A (now dead) pal of mine, Kate, told me of when she got appendicitis on holiday in Turkey. She had to have an emergency operation and was drugged up for pain and waiting in her hospital bed. A white coat said he had to shave her pubes, which she consented to, because she was drugged. Then another doctor picked up a dinner tray and started banging it on the head of the first doctor.
You don't need your pubes shaved for any operation.
The first "doctor" turned out to be a sex pest well known to the actual hospital doctors.
I know that is true because she only told me that when she was drunk, she still blushed when saying it, and it made her laugh when I repeated it on her death bed.
The old one cranked up their prices by 50% following the post(?)-covid reopening.
That's a tough one. I would be peeved too if my barber raised his prices like that. On the other hand, I like my barber. It's a third-generation small family business. He works hard and isn't getting rich. He closes Sundays to spend with his family, while the big chains stay open and get the Sunday customers.
So at my most recent haircut, I thanked him for opening again. I thanked him for catching me up on 4 months of shaggy hair. Then I quietly handed him 4 times his posted price. I hope his small shop survives.
"The old one cranked up their prices by 50% following the post(?)-covid reopening."
Most likely, they are having fewer customers because they have to disinfect everything every time one leaves and because they might have had customers closer together previously. If they can't do as much work in the same time, they might only be able to manage to stay afloat by charging more. Not that that puts any restrictions on you, but it's worth considering why they might have done that.
And then I totally like to take a cab when being at a new place - they sort of stick to the route, but also show me some sights while driving by, entertaining me with "and people used to say that the owner of this place.... (strange stroy followed)". Totally worth it, and well within the travel budget I had then... (and was allowed to travel)
The great Stewart Lee :-
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. I got in, er, a cab in, in London in December, and about five minutes into the journey, a propos of nothing, early on a Sunday morning, the cab driver turned round to me and he said, ‘I think all homosexuals should be killed.’
Now, whatever you think of that, Glasgow, as a statement, you have to admit it’s a bold opening conversational gambit. You know, with a stranger. And I was a bit taken aback. I went, ‘Oh, why do you think that?’ And then there was a pause, ’cause he’d obviously never had to go to the next level of the argument, fraternising mainly with cab drivers, so … where that was just accepted as a point. No …
And he said, ‘Well …’ after a moment, he said, ‘Well, because homosexuality is immoral.’
And I said – this is honestly true – I said, ‘Um, I’m not sure how much weight you can afford to place on the notion of morality in this argument, because morality’s not a fixed thing. It changes its parameters, culturally, historically, over time.’ I said, ‘For example, look at ancient Greece. To this day, we still take most of our most fundamental principles about ethics, aesthetics, er, philosophy, medicine, science, whatever from ancient Greece. And yet’, I said, ‘in ancient Greece, love between two men, far from being immoral, was actually considered the highest, most ethical, most profound, if you will, most moral form of love that there could be. So all I’m saying’, I said to him, ‘is I’m not sure how useful morality is, given its flexible nature, as a cornerstone of your argument on this subject.’
And then he said to me – this is honestly true – he said to me, ‘Well, you can prove anything with facts, can’t you?’
For a minute, I went, ‘Yeah.’ And then I thought, ‘Hang on! That’s the most fantastic way of winning an argument I’ve ever heard! “You can … I’m not interested in facts. I find they tend to cloud my judgement. I prefer to rely on instinct and blind prejudice.” ’
This appears to be a genuine question (if it’s a joke it’s not particularly amusing) so I’ll take the bait in case you or others reading ever get involved in recruiting. You are perfectly entitled to discriminate on anything except eight tightly defined “protected characteristics” under the Equality Act 2010.
These are age, gender reassignment, being married or in a civil partnership, being pregnant or on maternity leave, disability, race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.
For disability - which includes depression meeting severity and longevity thresholds - you are can also discriminate if you can evidence that accommodating the disability isn’t possible, even with reasonable adjustments to working conditions.
Happiness is technically a stupid requirement to put in a job ad as it can’t be externally assessed. However the response was also ridiculously OTT as everyone knows it’s shortcut in this context for “superficially cheerful when talking to people, even when they’re ****s”. Oddly enough, people with depression are very practiced in hiding their feelings, so might be well qualified.
Sorry, I should have been clearer and fuller. I suspect many people with depression go through a phase of covering things up because of fear of how they will be perceived and of having a mental illness, before they realise it’s generally unhelpful and probably makes things worse. And even when they are talking about it, they will cover some of the time to spare others from a continual broadcast that would get a bit wearing.
I know I did all of that - I have had quite a few episodes of moderate to severe depression in the past, though now (cross fingers) things seem largely under control due to a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. It’s possible I’m overgeneralising from my experience though.
I would urge people with depression to try to be open as you can be - often the stigma might be less than you fear, even in your work life. Just be cautious/apply your judgement, there are some still idiots and poor employers out there, but thankfully fewer and fewer as time goes on. Get yourself a counsellor, it’s very helpful. And it is possible to have a generally very good life - I’m lucky enough to have a great job, lovely family/kids, and fantastic friends.
And to people conflating sadness/grumpiness with depression - they feel quite different, in my experience.
there are some still idiots and poor employers out there, but thankfully fewer and fewer as time goes on
There may be fewer "poor employers"out there - but that seems to be a result of fewer employers overall, and the proportion of poor to good (employers you actually enjoy working for) employers seems to be deteriorating.
if thats not grounds for depression.. I'm sure you can find something else...
The danger of taking affirmation from your job - regardless of how good you are at it - is that you are vulnerable to shocks completely beyond and outside your control - but at least its better than taking your affirmation and self worth from social media.
So it seems that someone from the DWP 'phoned and did not say enough to show that s/he really was from DWP. This is how 'phone calls that end up in identity theft, or something, start out - social engineering. So DWP is clueless that they are making things worse.
Actually: I am not surprised. I get unexpected calls from banks, etc, where they ask ME to prove who I am before they will talk. I always insist that it is the wrong way round.
What is it with DWP and their precursors? My direct experience of them is limited but does extent back more than 50 years and is consistent with stories such as this. Is it simply self-perpetuating ineptness - the inept rising up a management structure of their peers and recruiting more like themselves? Or is the the Civil Service filtering recruits, the flyers going to Treasury and FCO whilst those who didn't even make HO end up in DWP?
Or is the the Civil Service filtering recruits, the flyers going to Treasury and FCO whilst those who didn't even make HO end up in DWP?
Haven't you heard? It's "assorted weirdos" to the top of the pile
"Successfully suing someone would make you happy."
I haven't ever done so and I hope I never will because I honestly don't think it'd make me happy. If I'm suing someone, they probably have done something bad to me or to others, and I'm trying to get them to stop doing that. So I would be pleased if the successful suit meant that they would cut it out. However, it's not the kind of happy that lasts very long, being the cessation of a bad thing rather than a start of a good thing. The only other part that might result in happiness is if I get a large settlement, but I think even that would only be of minor benefit to my mood. Maybe I'm just imagining it wrong.
If it is genuinely a case of discrimination, the person being sued is probably the vindictive, miserable bastard almost by definition.
Discrimination cases are massively stacked against the claimant in the UK (US is very different), who will never come out ahead as it is basically treated as a breach of contract that will, at best, make them whole - before legal fees. Damages awards are generally very low.
But that's not equivalent. 'Experienced' can be measured. If you said 'looking for cheerful developers' or 'looking for stoic developers', you are asking for something that can't be measured and which isn't required to do the job. So you are reaching for an outrage.
Hum, if only. Is that five years 'experience' doing the same thing every day or five years 'experience' learning something new every day? Or perhaps five years 'experience' following what the person next to you did or five years 'experience' in pretending to be competent.
I guess that's why you have interviews and you have to try and gauge what's what. Same with other traits you might be interested in like 'happiness'.
> something that [...] isn't required to do the job
I don't agree. Hair salons are plenty around where I live and, having the choice, I tend to chose the salon with the nicest staff, it's always nice to be greeted and served with a smile.
Nobody likes brooding people (unless they're famous artists).
> unrealistically upbeat people
Yeah, that's different, I hate those too, who doesn't.
I was just talking about people who under casual inspection might look like they aren't too much annoyed by our arrival in their shop. And might even leave us with a nagging suspicion they might not be overly annoyed to have to accept our money. You know, people who don't accuse the customer for being stuck in a menial job they deem way beneath them.
...I cannot find a video of Monty Python's Lumberjack sketch with the opening sequence in a barber's shop, only the later song section.
However, I did manage to find a copy of the script; I hope commentards (or at least those old enough!) will be able to conjure the original up from memory.
Isn't nostalgia wonderful...
Marvin: “My capacity for happiness you could fit into a matchbox without taking out the matches first.”
Arthur: “I think that door just sighed.”
Marvin: “Ghastly, isn’t it?”
Marvin: “Sorry, did I say something wrong? Pardon me for breathing which I never do anyway so I don’t know why I bother to say it oh God I’m so depressed.”
Marvin: “I think you ought to know I’m feeling very depressed.”
Trillian: “Well, we have something that may take your mind off it.”
Marvin: “It won’t work, I have an exceptionally large mind.”
Marvin: “Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to take you to the hair dryer. Call that job satisfaction, ’cause I don’t.”
Marvin: “‘Reverse primary thrust, Marvin.’ That’s what they say to me. ‘Open airlock number 3, Marvin.’ ‘Marvin, can you pick up that piece of paper?’ Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to pick up a piece of paper.”
A Good Education:
Marvin: “It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”
Arthur Dent: “You mean you can see into my mind?”
Marvin: “It amazes me how you manage to live in anything that small.”
Marvin: “Life? Don’t talk to me about life!”
Marvin: “I ache, therefore I am.”
Marvin: “Life. Loathe it or ignore it. You can’t like it.”
I'm as suspicious of this as I was of her idea that her salon was a happy place. When owners/managers tell me their place is happy, I think 'no, you are, because maybe bullying people makes you happy'. A manager's take on the emotional temperature of a workplace is always biased.
Hairdressers use scissors and other implements of that kind, that are frequently resharpened. Near my head and neck.
Sorry, but I would *really* prefer them to be happy people and not someone who suddenly took out a depressive spell on my scalp or jugular. Or tries to drown me in the shampooing basin.
Hairdressers need to be happy people. I wouldn't like them to be able to wield cut-throat razors otherwise.
Edit: Sorry I see Michael Hoffmann has beaten me to that observation.
The question is whether Sweeney Todd was an unhappy barber or whether he actually enjoyed murdering his clientele.
Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "passing trade".
I always hated the barber more that the dentist, because I preferred long hair because I have big ears that my older sisters mocked relentlessly.
I found a barber I could tolerate, a bit of a John Travolta type but he lowered his chat level to my obvious intolerance. I had to drop him when my dad starting going there. I got a new hairdresser who spraffed away too much, but cheap and I am used to smiling through small talk when I'd rather be silent. The trick is to ask them about them and pretend to be interested. Then my dad switched to her.
I switched to a local barber who actively demeaned with his small talk, from his first imputation I couldn't afford his highly inflated prices.
I bought a £15 set of clippers from Lidl's and have been cutting my own hair for years. I've not cut my hair since January because I've enjoyed everyone else having long hair.
Sadly, I am soon to clip my glorious long hair. Peer pressure.
When I was young and the world was, just how it was, I used to help shop for a neighbour and when we went to the butchers we used to ask for a "Happy Chicken"; not an eyelid was batted.
Looking back, A "Happy Chicken" and a butcher, Nope
This is why we need the PC brigade to stomp out such nonsense.
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