Work Experience

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First of all, what another ridiculously busy week. We did some more gardening at the weekend and I dug another path before filling it with bark! We decided not to dig the semi-circle we discussed last week as this may have been too much bark for one garden.

I also borrowed a friends petrol strimmer and had some fun with that, what a beast! When I first went to use it, however, the throttle didn’t work didn’t work so I couldn’t use it. Now, I don’t know what’s got in to me recently because I’m usually crap with any form of manual labour, especially fixing things like this, I usually just ring my dad. This time, though, I decided to take it apart and see what was the matter and believe it or not (in fact, I still don’t believe it) I fixed it!! The best part is that the strimmer has different tools to put on the end so I also borrowed the hedge trimmer attachment. This was extremely dangerous but very cool. I managed to chop our conifers into a square(ish) shape without hurting anybody or even losing a body part.

Anyway, enough of my garden and on to work. As you can probably guess from the title coupled with the fact that I’m too old to do work experience myself, this week we have had a lovely young adolescent male join our team to do some “work experience”. This is usually something that neither the 15 year old student that is forced in to it and the willing employer that has taken them on, don’t particularly want to do. Well, in my experience this is the case and it isn’t the first time we’ve done it. To be honest, though, our office is actually a pretty good place to go on work experience if you like IT as we cover almost every aspect you can think of. We are also first line, second line, and even advanced technical support rolled in to one!

So Monday morning came and when I got to work I learnt that my manager, Steve, wasn’t going to be in that day, he had an ill child to take care of and was “working” from home. Brilliant, this left the 4 of us to come up with a work plan and give our school boy something to do without the direction of a manager. Saying that, most of the things we do are without the direction of a manager (I hope he doesn’t read this!). So at 9:30, the lad arrives and introduces himself as Alex. But I’m not going to call him Alex. I’m going to call him Axel. This is mainly because of the extremely long hair that spouted from his head but also because of his rock ‘n’ roll personality that was filled with angst.

The first thing we got him to do was build a laptop (as in installing Windows and our corporate apps, not physically making one!). We always set this task for a work experience bod as it’s a good but basic IT experience and usually takes the best part of a day to do. Not Axel, though, he was still working on it mid morning on Tuesday. Anyway, going back to Monday, my colleague, Warren, asked Axel on at least four occasions whether he’d like to come with him and do something (IT related, of course). I managed to witness two of these instances…

Warren: “Axel, there’s a problem with the MFD* on the first floor. Do you want to come upstairs with me and take a look?”
Axel: “Er, I’m ok, I’ll just wait down here.”
*an MFD is a Multi Function Device or basically a printer/scanner/photocopier

Warren: “Axel, I’ve got to install some more memory in someone’s computer as it’s running really slow. Do you want to come with me?”
Axel: “Er, where is it?”
Warren: “It’s just over at our offices next door, literally a 1-2 minute walk.”
Axel: “Er, no I’m ok, it’s a bit cold outside. I’ll just wait here.”

I was speechless, I mean shouldn’t a 15 year old boy on work experience do what he is told/asked? I felt like saying “Axel, when somebody asks you if you’d like to go and do something, they are politely saying ‘come with me, we are going to do this’, it’s not really a negotiation”. Luckily my manager said exactly this when he came back on Tuesday… Obviously Steve was filled in with what Axel was like so he tried it himself; he told Axel that he had to go next door to let an engineer in to the server room to install a new phone line and asked if he’d like to go with him. Surprisingly enough, Axel didn’t want to and replied with “Er, no I’m ok, it’s raining outside, I’ll just wait here”.

When Steve got back, he had a chat with Axel. He asked him what he’d like to get out of work experience. “Er,” was his reply. To be fair to the kid, he did admit that there was nothing left on the work experience list that he wanted to do so he was practically “pushed” into doing this. So Steve asked if their was any aspect of IT that he was interested in and Axel said that he liked learning about the insides of computers and how they work. This was instantly shot down with the fact he declined the offer from Warren to open up a computer and put some more RAM in it. The next question was what did Axel wanted to do in life, what career did he want to pursue. The answer to this was shocking. He said…

“I don’t know. I don’t really want to prepare myself and learn about something if when I start a job, it’s not what I want to do.”

Isn’t that basically a scapegoat for everything, for school even?!? This kid clearly didn’t have a future in mind… In the end, Steve basically told him to go home and think about what he wanted to get out of this experience and what he wanted to achieve. Then, to come back the next day with the appropriate enthusiasm and willingness to do things or not bother coming back.

Today was the next day. At 9:05 this morning, Steve got a call from HR. They had received a call from Axel’s mum saying that he came home a bit stressed last night and this morning he’s got a headache so he wont be coming in, I’m guessing that it will be a 3 day headache and that he won’t be back all week.

You may be thinking that we were a little harsh on the kid but what were we supposed to do? I mean, I’m happy to help someone who wants to learn and get a good experience from something but when you have a boy like Axel who just doesn’t want to do anything while on work experience (or with his life for that matter) then it’s best all around that we don’t waste each others time…

Anyway, I’m glad to say that I have this Friday off work as we are going to a wedding in Manchester. It’s a bit of a drive to go to a wedding but seeing as we’ve had to pay for two nights in a hotel, I’m hoping it will be a good weekend!

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What a Week (and a half)!

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What a bloody week, indeed! I feel I’ve neglected my blog over the past week and seeing as I’m new to blogging, it’s not a very good start. Every night I’ve thought I really need to write another post, but I’ve either been too busy or absolutely exhausted!

Firstly there was our living room… As you may know from my ‘From Fish to Sofa’ post, we recently ordered a new sofa. Our new sofa is considerably larger than our current sofa. This meant we had to rearrange our living room. This included the fireplace. Luckily, our fireplace is an all-in-one electric fire so if you remove the two screws for either side the whole fireplace, surround and all, simply lifts away from the wall. That was the easy part. The problem is the gaping whole left in the wall behind it from when it was a real fire. We are still to resolve this issue!

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We also had to move our TV to another wall which meant moving our Sky box. The leads from the satellite dish were nowhere near long enough to go around the two doors that were now between them and the new location for the TV. Sky themselves charge a ridiculous amount to relocate your Sky box so this was not an option. Instead, I found an extension kit on trusty old Amazon for a mere £8.99. This was perfect as it came with an 10m twin cable (required to record one thing and watch another), 4 male plugs for either end, a male to male connector to connect the two leads together and even 10 twin cable clips to secure it to the wall. It was perfect; it was more than enough length and it hasn’t effected the signal or quality at all. After I had accomplished all this I was feeling rather manly, I’m not used to dong manual work so it was rather satisfying. So with our TV, current sofa and fireplace in a different place it looks like a different living room, and much bigger I must add. We now eagerly await the arrival of our sofa. Only another 4 weeks to go! I think I could make one quicker on my own!

The next project was the garden. We have a very long garden and we have a terrible habit of tidying it up and then leaving it for months rather than keeping on top if it. It had been months since we sorted it out so it was starting to resemble a jungle. Now this is how manly I am, Holly cut the grass and pulled out all the weeds from the borders around the garden while I stayed in and watched the kids! We eventually decided that we both needed to crack on so the mother-in-law kindly had the kids for us and then we went to the local DIY store and picked up lots of bark (or wood chips, whatever takes your fancy). When we got back we moved the huge trampoline, in order to cut the grass under it, and placed it over the part of the path that is broken. The path runs straight up the length of the garden, and is cracked and loose near the house which isn’t very good for our little people. Seeing the trampoline over the broken part of the path gave us a brilliant idea… Let’s leave it there and dig a path around it!

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On that note, and still feeling rather manly from my DIY work in the living room, I impulsively rammed the shovel into the grass and started digging a semi-circular path around the trampoline and back to the part of concrete path that is still ok. I really got stuck in and managed to finish it within a few hours (trust me, this is amazing for an IT geek like me, a real accomplishment)! We then filled it with some of the bark we bought and stepped back… It looked bloody brilliant! I was really chuffed with all my hard work! Knowing my newly found skill, we have now decided to create a complete semi-circle (rather than just a path) over the other side of the garden to put our table and chairs on. I think I will do this in a few weeks!

While the above two tasks were rather tiring and physical, the thing that has exhausted me the most this week is completing my wedding anniversary present for Holly. Previously I have either created a photo book online or written a poem (in fact, that’s it as there have only been 2!). This time I went one better and wrote a complete song. I’ve tried making songs before but I have never managed to fully complete one, I usually record one verse, maybe a chorus, then move on to something else. This time, however, I was determined to finish it and finish it I did.20120705-221912.jpg

It was our 3rd wedding anniversary yesterday (yes, independence day, ironic I know) and after staying up late for numerous nights and nearly waking the kids up from singing at the top of my voice to record it, I finally showed Holly. She loved it, or at least loved the fact that somebody had written her a song! I’m really pleased with it as it means I’ve finally finished a song…

So with all of the above, plus the massive, time critical project at work that was unknowingly dropped on us last week (I’m not even going in to that), the last week and a half has been extremely productive but equally exhausting.