Posts tagged ‘work’

2018, March 2

Jumping through hoops

I apologize in advance for the rant!

Lately, I’ve become somewhat sick and tired of my job. Or, at the very least, pretty frustrated by certain things. One of them being, using up my training budget.

We have a generous amount, I have to admit, and if you use up less than half of it, you don’t have to sign any additional paperwork. Fair.

Now, for technical authors there are only a handful of courses one can take online, since I don’t live near any live-held courses. I already covered (with flying colors!) my basics in online courses. And I’d LOVE to attend courses or conferences held in London, Paris, Sofia or elsewhere around the World, but those would be way too expensive if I factor in travel expenses – so I don’t choose those.

I e-mailed my direct supervisor earlier this month with a list of books I’d like to order to replace training events (conference, course, etc.), and after sending him a chase, he replied he was happy with my choices given I was well within the training budget.

Then, however, the manager stepped in.
She said she’s happy to approve books “as I read them, one book at a time”.
I get what she means, but, that means I’ll receive all the books I need today, in six months time or by the end of this year if we go by her approval-plan.

It also feels a little insulting, as for a training course/event/conference where I might learn a lot less than say, from five-to-thirteen books, the company would pay in full. And so they do for any other employee opting for a training course or the alike.
From what I recall the manager saying in a company meeting at the end of last December, not even a third of the training budget was used by employees last year.
So, naturally, I feel somehow penalized for wanting to use mine up in one go, one month rather than in a year – just because I can learn a lot more from books than I have the opportunity to learn in too-few events organized in my chosen field.

Because I need to produce a variety of documents and content type, I originally built my list with that exact thing in mind. At the manager’s initial request to not order all of them at once, I narrowed it down to four books, which would be most helpful to me for the moment:

A style-book for the different styles I need to use, and because it also has a part about media law – and I use media components in blog posts, etc. on our company website.
Two technical communication books which would help enhance my knowledge about both traditional technical authoring and the content writing I am currently doing which is more reader-centered than technical. Truth is they can be a dry read and 600-700 pages long, so I would switch between reading them and shorter works. They would, however, be nice to have near me to be able to look up information in as I need it rather than turning to the web for a hundred different thoughts on the same dilemma. For example, when I struggle with figuring out what guidelines to follow for different pieces or how to adapt some forms of work to fit other categories.
And an editorial calendar workbook which would help with the tasks I am currently dealing with on a daily basis, especially as I currently need to produce a huge load of documents in a very short period of time. It would provide a way to break down all my ideas into workable chunks and even get a better sense of how the content I produce can be used cross-promoted in our marketing plan – something I am not familiar with as I have never dealt with marketing before in my life.

The manager’s reply? Here’s the direct quote:
“Ordering 13, 5 or even 3 books at a time, considering their length (624 – 704 pages each), is not aligned with my request. I don’t understand why you are in a hurry to order all those books. The primary objective of the training budget is not to have it spent in a financial year, it is to make sure it supports employees’ professional development in the right way. This is NOT about the amounts, it’s about the PRINCIPLE.”

In the past when I ordered the same amount of books (five plus) for roughly the same amount of money, I found no difficulties in them being approved together, which is why I didn’t see an issue with asking for more than one at a time this year.

I didn’t build my list just for the sake of asking for books. I buy leisure books on my own – and these are definitely not my choice of “for fun” reading.
Also I didn’t think “which ones are the longest?” and list those. Of my full list, only three of the books are past 500 pages, and they happen to be among the four which I would most benefit from in the beginning.

All the books from my original list (and so, implicitly, the broken down few-item list) were chosen because I honestly feel they would help me in my professional development.

Yet, I need to jump through hoops before receiving them. One. At. A. Time.

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2017, June 30

Goodbye and good luck!

The card below I received from the wonderful people I worked for/with, from the UK.

I visited their offices for handover of my work, and aside from the fact that out of a five people team I was the only one invited to do my handover sessions on site, I was floored that everyone there was genuinely interested how I was doing and if I have found another project starting July. I did, just for the record, a pretty interesting one, yet the gestures still made me all teary.

Thank you for the best two and a half work years of my life (so far)! I will truly miss working for you!

2014, December 20

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack

xmas kitten proof 3

When I first started thinking about holiday decorating at home and at my boyfriend’s, I was a bit concerned about the latter.

As you may have seen from my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts, we have a really cute, but at-times-beyond-hyper kitty, Pixel. Almost nothing is out of reach unless shut behind a cabinet door, and everything is easily turned into a toy. A toy which usually gets destroyed in five minutes or less if we don’t notice in time. And we usually don’t.

I started searching for ideas of Christmas decorating when one has pets around. The tips I found were good, but not fully applicable for our case. We live in an open plan apartment, which means that Pixel can get into and onto anything and everything.

There are no tips out there for leaving a kitty alone with all the holiday decorations up while the owners are at work and out of the house for 10 plus hours.

This whole thing got me thinking. We’d just have to be creative when it came to holiday decorating this year. And I’m sharing below just how we achieved it.

xmas kitten proof 1

Simple holiday decor ideas that will survive a kitty attack:

Keep it simple. And I do mean Simple with a capital “S”!
Go for an easy yet effective design which will still be festive, but won’t grab your cat’s attention too much.
We’re going for the “Hmm, a new thing’s placed there, let’s see what it is. It doesn’t sparkle. I can’t make it move around much. Doesn’t smell interesting. Okay, I’ll go sleep now.” reaction from your cat.

Go with a small fake tree, and place it out of the cat’s reach.
Also, if you have a real pine center piece, only leave it on tables or nightstands when you’re at home, and place them out of reach before leaving the house.
You wouldn’t want your cat nibbling on real pine while you’re at work all day long (it’s toxic if ingested in larger amounts).

For the Christmas tree avoid using tinsel, glittery and breakable ornaments.
I found that using simple clothespin ornaments, plastic or metal balls, or securing the ornaments to the branches with a ribbon works perfectly. You can also use homemade decorations like salt dough ones, dried fruit and cinnamon sticks, nuts and pine cones – these usually won’t get a second glance (especially dried fruit, kitties dislike citrus-y aromas) and even if they do, they’re not expensive to replace.
Add bells, if your cat is afraid of the sound they make; or use them as a precaution so they’ll alert you if the tree is being tampered with.

Place decoration out of reach.
Decorate mantels, shelves, window sills and other areas your cat doesn’t get to. You can safely display holiday photos and Christmas cards you receive, Christmas stockings, and breakable decorations this way.
Hang wintery and Christmas-themed paintings, wreaths and simple garlands on the walls and doors.
Plants on window sills will get a festive feel from some bows over the pots, Christmas themed planters and plant stakes.
Secure Christmas lights by lining the window frame with them for a both indoor and outdoor decoration. Use the “all lights ON” setting instead of letting them twinkle on their own.

Make some jar ornaments, which you can leave even at your cat’s reach.
You can create very cute decorations with jars, using even your favorite glass ornaments, since your cat won’t be able to touch them after you place the lid on. You can even add tea lights to light inside them and place the lid back on once burnt, or go with battery-powered tea lights. If you have snow spray, go ahead and add a few puffs of it into the jars.
Just make sure they’re not someplace they can get knocked off from too easily.

Decorate with throw pillows and blankets.
Fun, Christmas and winter themed pillows and blankets are all around us in stores especially during winter and right before Christmas, and other than give your home a holiday feel, they’re also quite comfy, warm and snuggly.
You can even make your own sweater pillow cases.
The worst your cat will do with these is get all comfy and have a good long sleep on top of them.
Choose some Christmas themed table cloths for the dining area, dishtowels, oven mitts, aprons and refrigerator magnets for the kitchen, towels and fun-shaped soap for the bathroom.

Have pine cones and fruit on tables and counters using Christmas themed bowls and plates for them. Same goes for the cookies! Don’t leave them out overnight or when you leave for work though, if your cat might knock them to the ground. (We’ve fished apples out from under the kitchen cabinet before.)
Christmas themed dishware in general will give a more festive feel to your meal time. If you feel like it, buy a new bowl for your cat, too, to use during the holidays.

Light scented candles, or use aromatherapy oils. There are tons of candles out there you can buy! Scents like cinnamon, pine, apple, oranges, cloves, peppermint and vanilla are all great! You can even make your own natural room scents.
Also, cats usually won’t go near lit candles.

Place Christmas themed books on shelves and on coffee tables.
You surely have a couple of Christmas novels or anthologies laying around, and also craft or cookbooks. The colorful covers will decorate all on their own when placed on shelves with the front cover showing or all the Christmas themed ones placed together, stacked up on coffee tables, and in baskets.

xmas kitten proof 2

Do you guys have pets? How do you decorate so that they don’t destroy everything? Or have they already grown out of that habit?

Hope you enjoyed my tips! ;-)

2014, July 17

Wish I could say I was going to a tropical island for a vacation…

… but instead, we’re renovating the house at my mother’s. It will take a long time, it will be messy and especially expensive. It already made me give up on many things I love doing, much of my free time, and my heart is slowly breaking, truth be told.

However, I’ll give acting the way I want to feel a go and I’d like to think what I’m doing in the upcoming months is, creating space for more magic, like my friend j mentioned to me in a reply to one of her blog posts. (So I’m ending this post with her words, before I slowly sink into depression over having to put the blog on hold.)

"House renovations sound exhausting and exciting. And while I don’t always love it when I’m in the middle of it, sorting through what to give up and what to keep is always soul-filling in the long run. You’re creating space… for more magic."

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See you soon, hopefully. Hope you all have a great Summer!

2013, January 14

I can has time management tips?

Hello world!

I’m back :) Not that I was really gone, but during the craziness that November and December were at work, all I could muster were some blog posts in the form of lists, I let photos do the talking, and wrote one single (proper) article about gifts for writers.

Lately, I’ve been feeling kind of blah… I’m doing well, don’t get me wrong. Except when people ask how things are with me and I say “Good, thanks.” their reply is usually “That’s not too convincing.”

And the thing is, they’re probably right. I might not sound too convincing when I say that I am fine. Because as well as everything is going in general, I’m tired exhausted.

The reasons?

Well, for starters, the shop I work in is in a mall. And it’s loud. I’m constantly listening to at least three stores’ music blasting at full volume, to shut out the loud mall music from the hallways. I’ve checked actually and, if I stand in one exact spot, I can best hear the music from Mango (across the hall and slightly to the right of us), and if I stand in another exact spot, I can best hear the music from Kenvelo; and so on.

(Currently playing are: that French chick I seriously dislike, and we tryyy, tragedy, twilight, and that song from “The Ugly Truth”, mixed with a few others I can’t make out. And you’ve read these “titles” correctly. My mind simply can’t recall titles at the moment. Or my own name for that matter.)

I barely listen to music at home anymore. It irritates my eardrums! I turn my mom’s radio off as soon as, depending on my work shift, I get home or wake up and walk into the kitchen.

The good thing is that the shopping craze has cooled down, so this month I get to say “I’m bored” and I’ve actually been able to read (three books and counting) at work. I’ve slowly, painfully slowly, taught myself to shut out the noise while I read. But that’s about the only time I can manage it.

Also, at the moment I’m writing this blog post at work. Can barely focus properly, so I don’t see this becoming a regular thing even if time permits to type away.

You can imagine how much this whole situation appeals to my seriously introverted self…

The other issue is the schedule and my virtually nonexistent free time.

The commute takes about an hour, each way. It is also sprinkled with mismatching bus schedules which keep me in the cold for a good ten to twenty minutes in different bus stops.

When I work the morning shift I work until 5pm, but get home around 6pm. From waking up at 7am, and sitting in this noise for eight hours, I’m usually spent by the time I get home and all I want to do is have dinner and go to bed. That never happens though, as things tend to pile up around the house which need attending to.

When I work the afternoon shift, I wake up, have breakfast and maybe have time for an e-mail or two, feed the cats and do the dishes before I need to leave for work. Maybe. Then I’m at work until 10 pm, getting home around 11pm and all I do is take a shower, eat a few bites and crash into bed.

Repeat on the following day.

I only have one full weekend off, and if I’m lucky, another half a weekend off. The rest of my days off are spread out, one or two at a time, throughout the week.

And here I stopped writing. It took a while before being able to form thoughts again, and add the following.

I lack the skills to excel at time management!

Or if not, I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong, but I am not getting things done. Not as much as I’d like.

People keep saying I should turn stuff down, stop doing a few things.

But… babysitting and tutoring are behind me being replaced by this job.

Then, I’ve already reduced my blogging to just one post per week, I gave up participating in 10K Days, I hardly ever leave comments on other people’s blog posts (am so glad when I get to at least read them!), I’m giving up my plaster casting business (though I didn’t accept orders since I started working here anyway), and I’ve refused a few other commitments as well.

And there still isn’t enough time to do the minimal things I have to get done. What else do I need to give up that I love?

I need some love today.

And some tips. How do you get things done? What does proper time management look like? How do you make time for everything and everyone?

2012, December 17

Names that make me smile

poetry I am living in timelessness, folks. Again, I thought it was Sunday, and when I learned with amazement that it’s actually Monday I couldn’t decide what to post here.

Since I started working at the curtain shop, and on account of the supply being overly generous, I keep stumbling onto new names of the different fabrics on stock.
They make me smile. Every. Single. Time.

Especially when I get to say: “I sold Palermo today.”

So… How about a list to make you smile, too?

My favorites so far, because of personal ties of some sort or just by association, are the following:

  • Poetry
  • Blackout
  • Mayo
  • Wood
  • Butterfly
  • Lion with flowers
  • Camel
  • City
  • Mandarin
  • Cube
  • Twister
  • Ricotta
  • Sinus
  • Henna
  • Latte

 

  • Palermo
  • Prague
  • Marseille
  • Milan
  • Ravenna
  • Roma
  • Padova
  • Manhattan
  • Toledo
  • Venezia
  • Luxor
  • Florence
  • Toscana
  • Dubai
  • Verona
  • Egypt

 

  • Ramses
  • Dante
  • Webber
  • Massa
  • Nessy
  • Nero
  • Onyx
  • Cheyenne
  • Cherokee

 

Hope you enjoyed ;)

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2012, December 10

Random thoughts from the workplace

  • I like darkness it seems, since every morning I forget to turn on all the lights.
  • People do have money if they can afford to buy $250 worth of curtain tassels.
  • Since when have people become this egocentric and loud? (I’ve been yelled at by rude customers quite a few times so far…) And I have a feeling it’ll only become worse as Christmas approaches.
  • I really want to change my curtains ;)
  • Murphy’s Law applied to curtain shop “If you have 5 customers talking at you, asking questions from different corners of the shop — a 6th is bound to come in and ask to see a large fabric roll from the very top of the shelves, near the ceiling.”
  • My advice on handling customers? If they come in looking anywhere but you, look at them when they’re getting closer to you. They’ll turn around and leave immediately. Imagine if you also said “hello”, they’d probably run out the door.
  • My colleagues are wonderful people, they are both highly protective of me. They make it all so much more fun! 
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