I found the following (among many other less interesting (?) things) in my desk yesterday*:
- A copy of The Independent from the day of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding. I’m not a royalist.
- A folder full of music from Other Choir.
- Quite a lot of wrapping paper, including some nice Doctor Who paper, and some that I got free from John Lewis.
- A pink butterfly that decorated a present I got once.
- A short length of (also pink) feather boa type material that was also used on a parcel for me, I think. It shed feathers, which may or may not be real, everywhere. If they are real they must be from a very small bird.
- Half a pretend menorah – the top bit with the candlesticks. It should go into a stand, but the stand is missing, which is why I ended up with it in the first place.* Happy Hanukkah, by the way!
- Some bags of 1p and 2p coins I meant to take to the bank ages ago (my own, not the library’s).
- A screwdriver. I have had this screwdriver in various drawers for about five years. It followed me from the Library of Doom to the Shiny New Learning Centre. I have no idea why.
- An ex-colleague’s mouse mat. She asked me to look after it when she went to work in another department. She’s now left the university altogether.
- A pair of shoes. I have these in my drawer for the days when I wear my boots and then my feet get too hot in the office. Not that this is likely to happen at the moment as the offices have been freezing this week!
- Lots of plastic carrier bags.
- A box of plasters. Always good to have some around, I think.
- My ECDL passport. They don’t use these anymore.
- A whole box of stuff I used for the CILIP Chartership. Most of it went in the bin. (Don’t worry, there are copies of it in my chartership portfolio!)
- A folder of staff development-related/job-related things; including the job advert for the job I first applied for in my current place of work, a copy of the presentation I did on the interview day and the letter offering me the job. How things have changed since 2005! My colleague, with what I felt was unnecessary glee, told me that he was doing his A Levels in 2005. I feel old.
*In case you were wondering, I’m not clearing out my desk because I’m leaving, but because we’re all moving desks (and some people are moving offices) next week.
**It’s from the ‘resources for use in classrooms’ section of the library and is meant for helping people to teach about Hannukah. People tend to leave broken things (mainly books) on my desk. I like mending them, or at least trying to.
I have TOIL (time off in lieu) today, as I worked all day on Saturday. We had fun that day, because the internal network broke, meaning there was no access to institutional emails or to the intranet or to any printers, because they’re also connected to the network and you have to log in to them to use them. It could have been worse, though, as library systems were unaffected and we could still access the internal internet, so at least we could get on with most of our work. I felt sorry for the students as they have to use the intranet to submit assignments, some of which were due today, so I hope they have understanding tutors. There were also some poor international students who needed to print off travel documents. The only thing I could do at the time was to ask them to try the public library and see if they could print there. I hope it’s all fixed now!
Otherwise, it was a relatively stress-free day. I don’t mind working on Saturdays in some ways – there’s a more laid-back atmosphere about the place (probably due to the lack of managers in the building), and the library is generally quieter than in the week – at least until the afternoon. The main drawback is, as was illustrated on Saturday, that there are no other support staff around, apart from the people on the helpdesk (and there was only one of those on Saturday as the other person had gone home sick) and an IT person on the main campus who’s only there to help with classroom equipment.
Oh dear, I seem to be writing a post about work again!
There’s a cat on the shed roof. He sits there a lot, even when it’s cold. I don’t know how animals manage their heating/cooling systems, but they’re obviously more efficient than mine. I’m sitting here in an extra cardigan, gloves and a blanket because I’m trying not to put the heating on until it gets dark. I’m not sure I’ll hold out that long…
The oppressive quietness in our office has now created a situation which is sort of the opposite of that Kit-Kat advert:
We have to go outside the office (into the library!) if we want to have a conversation of any length. Some people (like me) don’t even say goodbye anymore when they go home for the day if our manager’s in the office, because it would break the silence and seem too obtrusive. I have very little idea of how my colleagues at the other side of the room are, because I don’t talk to them anymore unless we happen to be on the desk together (and I suspect talking there would be frowned upon as well, if it was noticed). We work in almost-silence. A lot of the time, all you can hear is the noise of people typing.
I like peace and quiet, but this is getting ridiculous. And, as I said, it is oppressive – because it is forced upon us. In theory, we are allowed to talk quietly, but we were doing this, and then told (via our poor supervisors) that we needed to be quieter. So now, we mostly don’t speak to one another unless it’s necessary. There is very little social “chit-chat”, which I suppose is what our managers want. It seems sad, though, that what was once a friendly place to work has become so repressed and seemingly unfriendly. We have to tell new people that it’s not that we don’t like them – we’re just not allowed to chat!
I’m not sure what the point of making people work in near-silence is. I suppose we should be working harder if we’re not spending time talking, but I’m not sure this actually works in practice. Also, one wastes more time going outside to talk to people, or emailing them when they sit across the room, than it would have taken just to have a conversation!
I received a belated birthday present last week:
One of my colleagues, who has the dubious pleasure of sitting next to me every day, had it made for me! She is now well-acquainted with my various moods, which can range from happy manic monkey (see above left), to scary crocodile (see above right). In order to help her and other colleagues to ascertain what kind of mood I’m in, I can now turn the dial on the Grumpometer™ to the appropriate animal:
- Manic Happy Monkey (alternative picture: Tigger) – I have probably had too much coffee! Very chirpy.
- Bagpuss – Slightly sleepy and contented. Fairly chilled out.
- Dog – Nice and well-balanced.
- Terrier – Snappy and irritable. This picture can be replaced with Hedgehog – of a prickly disposition. Possibly not safe to approach.
- Crocodile – Danger! Stay away!
The Grumpometer™ is a most excellent and useful present. I would recommend it for any workplace!
Thank you to my lovely colleague and her friends who helped make it.
I turned 34 the other week, and I’ve been thinking that I should mark this with a blog post, but I’m not entirely sure what to write, so here is a little ramble. I had a good birthday, the celebration of which involved eating a take-away pizza at home with Mr C. I like pizza. My colleagues were as generous as ever, with their time, thoughts, cards and gifts. Much cake was eaten, and the traditional (in our office) practice of putting all your birthday cards and presents out so people can see them was observed:
There were many baking themed presents and cards. I think I’d better make some more cakes soon!
Of course, I had to mark the occasion by thinking about my life, so far and in the future, and worrying that I haven’t done enough with it, and whether I’m on the right path (as it were), and what should I really be doing with my life? and where did that person I thought was me go? You’ll be unsurprised to learn that I don’t know the answers to any of these questions…
I’ve written my Library Day in the Life post for this year, but it’s on my other blog. (This is more a reminder to myself than anything else!)
We were manager-less in the office today, and it was the day before the last day before we finish for Christmas, so we were feeling rather like children let out to play (well, I was) and did some things we wouldn’t normally do in the office.
In the morning we did a bit of carol singing. There are some good singers in our office, who can do descants and everything, so we sang ‘Good King Wencleslas’ all the way through (with appropriate voices for the king and the page), and a couple of verses each of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ with descant on the last verse.
In the afternoon a most of the office were out at a meeting, so someone decided to play some music through their mp3 player…out loud. It was a nice, if eclectic, mix of music and helped that part of the afternoon pass in a relaxed, civilised manner.
Tonight, a group of us librarians went out for food and drink. So, altogether, it’s been a good day for spending time with people I like very much, doing things I enjoy. Precious times.
The cold lingers. The cough is insistent. The knitting continues. I’m missing a carol concert. This displeases me, but it is horrible weather outside, so perhaps I should just be glad to be able to stay indoors.
Students must be nearing the end of term, as the book returns room bins have been very full this week. The machine is frequently out of action and in need of having its bins emptied. Library staff scurry about like squirrels collecting books from various places and putting them in other places, and even sometimes back in their rightful places on the shelves. Every so often, squeaks of displeasure can be heard from the librarians as someone delivers yet more books for them to shelve. Metaphorical tails bristle with indignation at yet another insane directive from on high. Christmas spirit is somewhat lacking. Still, it’s not Christmas yet…
I forgot to mention that when I was at home the other day I saw a robin in the garden, which was quite exciting.