Over it time

I did an extra on Saturday and instantly regretted it. Normally I work Monday to Friday, 40 hours a week and then enjoy the weekends off but Saturday was the first day of shutdown and the Engineer indicated he wanted all hands on deck so I obeyed only to find out some other ppl, who had their hours up already, ignored the request and didn’t show up. 

I already had my hours up as well but like a good little lemming I showed up anyway because when the Engineer indicates he would like something what he really means is if you don’t make an effort, then he will be disappointed in you. For a very long time.

And I think I’m still dealing with a lot of that “disappointment” when I couldn’t work after the storm because I was too sick to make the training session so I’ve been lying low and trying to not fight against the grain but I think I’ve gotten to a stage now where I’m not interested in working extra hours anymore. I’ve gotten used to living on what my 40 hours provides and I’m ok with that.

So getting out of bed at 4am on a Saturday was hard. And annoying. Not because of missing out on extra couple hours of sleep but because I missed spending extra time with Mr X  and Master Z and having a break from my job. 

Thank heck I’ve only to work two more before its back to the normal grind. 

Easily pleased

“Do you think they’ll give us Christmas gift cards this year? It’s the last week of work and I haven’t heard anything. How about you?”

I was walking back to the Engineers office when I spied one of the female production workers whom I say hi to every now and again walking back to her station. Although I’ve been with the company for over ten years now, I’m still as shy as fuck around people I see everyday and find it hard to get past the hellos and how are you’s, even now.

“Actually we were talking about this yesterday and usually we get something by now, so you haven’t got anything either?”

“Nope. Nothing.  I haven’t even heard anything about it. Maybe they can’t afford it after all the gift cards we got after the cyclone.”

“Yeah. That must be it.”

I was a little disappointed after hearing this because normally I’d use mine to buy a couple of movies or some books I wanted. Already I was eyeing off a nice set of JRR Tolkien books, if Santa failed to leave them under the tree, and sure I could afford to get them anyway but that wasn’t the point. Most of the time I work hard without any recognition for it nor does my boss give us gifts. This gift card was the only recognition we received from the company personally and I damn well wanted it.

“So about those gift cards, apparently they are giving them out.” Said the Engineer as he handed the Maintenance Supervisor his before going into a spiel of how nice the card was that accompanied them.

“…Here’s yours R but not sure when they are handing out the others however..”

Which made me scowl on the outside, because I had to wait, but on the inside I was doing a little happy dance because free gift card equals free books and free books equal happiness. 

Or at least they do in my world.

Wasn’t expecting that

I’ve never been great at receiving compliments but over the years I’ve learnt to accept them and humbly thank the person in return. However, I always feel a little stuck up when acknowledging them so although I do accept them, I try not to remain focused on them for too long and gladly like to change the subject. This probably makes me appear flippant overall but whatever. Rather that than look like I have a huge ego and can’t fit my head through the door.

Anyways you remember the audit I had last month where the Engineer, my boss acknowledged my work? Well that audit was then sent on to people further up the Engineering department chain. Of course I was completely unaware of this until the Engineer brought it up.

“Have you been following the email train about our audit?”

“Umm no I had to restart my computer and haven’t opened up Outlook again. Why is that?”

“You should take a look.”

So I did and found a congrats email from the Group Engineer to the Engineer and I and a reply from the Engineer to the Group Eng. acknowledging my involvement in keeping him on the straight and narrow at work. FYI, my boss only gives out compliments sparingly, as in hardly ever so to get that email was the hugest deal and I was so shocked I quite promptly forgot to thank the Group Eng. for the congrats but I did remember to verbally thank my boss as he brought the subject up to begin with.

At home I caught up with Mr X about our day and I suddenly remembered the email.

“Oh yeah, you’re not going to believe it but I got another acknowledgement from the Engineer today, about that audit last month.”

And I explained to him all the details of the email convo and he too was shocked because after working for the Engineer for ten or so year (before he left), he knew getting a compliment out of him was almost like trying to get blood out of stone. Although he was a brilliant Electrician and great at fault finding in his job, hardly any thanks was ever given. 

“Sweetie, you make him look good with what you do!”

“Well I wouldn’t go as far as that. It’s just my job that I do.”

“Yeah and he knows your valuable.”

Which I in turn shrugged off. 

Mr X has said this to me many times before but me not wanting to feel arrogant would always brush it aside. I know to a degree it is true but I still find it hard to own it. 

U-Turn

Work lately has been pretty damn hectic. I’ve put job hunting on the back burner since my chat with the Engineer and I’m happy with that decision. All I wanted was some more responsibility for certain things and that’s exactly what I got so now I’ve been researching and ordering parts for jobs like its no ones business. It’s what I did before until other people tried to take over and when this happened things wouldn’t get ordered for over a week! These days majority of the maintenance people see me directly for info and to get stuff ordered because I get it done in a short time frame. Those who don’t get me shrugging my shoulders when their parts still haven’t turned up or the wrong ones do.

Another reason I don’t want to leave this job is so I can concentrate on getting my Associates degree and that’s easy to do if I stay there. I get paid good money for work I find interesting yet easy. I don’t even have the urge to leave anymore to be honest because I’m no longer bored. Boring jobs suck.

Other than work Mr X and I have been concentrating on getting stuff done on the house – as always. We both had this mind blowing idea of putting in bifold windows in the kitchen with a bench top so when we do the verandah (which backs onto the kitchen) we can BBQ and serve food through this window if we want.

It’s nothing new, a lot of renovators are doing it lately, but it’s new for us. I wanted something similar when we first bought the house but Mr X didn’t feel confident in carrying it out. Now however with all the carpentry work his done and with the advice from his builder father Mr X has feels he can do this one too. Unfortunately it requires more than a 3 day weekend because outside walls need to be taken off, stud work needs to be changed and not to mention the new bench top and window be installed. Lots of prep work. I also want the window bench top match the height of the kitchen cupboard bench tops so that will take some planning to get right.

It makes me happy that we are on the same wave length when it comes to renovating this place and more so that Mr X is able to do the work as that saves a tonne of cash. It’s taking us longer than it probably should to get this place done but it’s the journey that counts, right?

Breaking new ground

After my one on one conversation with the Engineer and consequently a follow up meeting with both himself and the Leading Hand, I’m feeling much better about things at work. The Engineer wants to implement some changes and what he wants, he gets. There are still further aspects I need to express and have changed to make it work better for maintenance but this is a good start.

“What? Every job?”

“Yes every job.”

“Well that will certainly sort the men from the boys.”

Mr X and I were texting back and forth on my lunch break because I was too busy to do so during my work time. Once one job closed up, another would fall into my lap and although it helps the day fly by, it also leaves minimal time to chat.

“Eventually we are going to get a point where we need to report to other management people all the work being completed, I can see it now and this is a step in that direction. It’s all well and good to write work in a diary and check the works done but you can’t report on that!”

“Well it’s certainly going to show who’s doing the work and who’s not.”

Well there is that aspect too which I’m glad I’m not in charge of dealing with. I’m not out to “get” anybody and if that is the way some people see it then too fucking bad. All I really care about is getting to a stage where more preventative maintence is carried out so less breakdowns occur. I think this is achievable if people do the work required and do it properly.

“Your certainly going to be busy. Writing up all those jobs.”

“Yeah but it’s worth it if we bring our workshop out of the Stone Age and into the modern world.”

In the end it will benefit everyone.

Worry over nothing

I’ve been having a few shitty days of work lately though to be fair I think it’s been my own insecurities that have made them this way. Before the cyclone I was on a roll of work on top of my regular planner duties and the days practically flew. Come March and my return to work and I was wondering WTF was going on because the Engineer or Leading hand wasn’t handing work to me but was organising it themselves. 

Anyhow I let it slide for a couple of weeks because we were all trying to find our feet again but the more time passed, the more annoyed I got when things didn’t revert back to how it was before and then I started to get paranoid about whether my boss might of heard about me looking for another job. Even so, I still expect to do my current job and do it well. I’m not a slacker.

“Well, it’s just that not sure what’s going on because all this work is being organised without myself being kept in the loop and I can’t track jobs this way. I also can’t capture histories and parts used either so if we need to order them later I can’t give that information to the stores.”

I’d finally caught up with the Engineer for a chat and so I figured I’d lay all my concerns out on the table. He seemed fairly responsive to them and nodded his head in agreement as I spoke.

“Yes I must admit it’s been a bit disjointed post cyclone and I’ve been wondering myself what’s been going on after coming back from some time off to find people not questioning why certain pieces of equipment aren’t working nor asking someone to fix it. ”

I instantly felt relieved knowing it just wasn’t me that was experiencing this confusion. You know the old saying, a problem shared is a problem halved. I totally get that now.

“Exactly, I think there’s been this total loss of communication here and because of the production Supervisors are taking advantage of it and now I’m seeing engineering jobs come in from them, asking for modifications to equipment etc and yet no one has technically approved them but the maintenance are doing it anyway.”

Unfortunately we were interrupted so I couldn’t quite finish the talk – I wanted to suggest some changes to my job duties, aka taking on more responsibility etc – but it’s probably just as well because I need to figure out the exact wording of that conversation if I’m to get the Engineer onside.

Break away

When Mr X first left his job at this company we both worked at I was constantly bombarded with questions regarding whether I was thinking of moving on too but I naturally shrugged them off because I wasn’t ready to leave. Sure the idea had crossed my mind but it also kind of freaked me out a little whenever I would envision myself in job interviews so I put the thought out of my head.

Well it’s been awhile since then and lately I’ve been experiencing itchy feet. I’m studying both Project management and a degree in Engineering and the more things I learn, the more I’m starting to realise that I need more on the job experience with precisely the things I’m studying and frankly I don’t think my current job is going to give this to me.

It’s funny you know, I once broke up with a guy because I didn’t want to leave my current job to follow him. Ok there were heaps of other factors too of course, such as he was a total asshole who pretended to be charming, but my job did factor a lot into me giving him the old heave-ho in the end. Now here I am, looking at moving on from this job and I suddenly feel OK with that.

It probably helps that a Planning position has popped up and Mr X thinks I should apply for it. It’s within the same company that he is working at but in a different plant so if I was to get it we wouldn’t see each other everyday but after working the past 8 months without him nearby, I’m doing OK anyway.

First things first though, I need to get this resume and cover letter done already. It’s been awhile since I’ve done one and I’m sucking quite bad at selling myself. Le sigh.

Plans

VALVE

“So what do you plan to do when you’ve finished your degree? What kind of work do you expect to be doing?”

I had my hands and brain full of work related stuff when that number was hurled at me. At the best of times I’m never good at answering personal questions but couple that with putting me on the spot and my brain turns to mush.

Of course I do know what I want to do with my degree because over time I’ve been slowly working it out in my head. I enjoy planning projects and using my Engineering skills to research equipment and make calculations. I also enjoy drafting drawings in CAD and I’ve even shown an interest in designing stuff, or at least having an attempt at doing so. Technically this is not what an Engineering Officer is meant to do but I’m still going to pursue some aspect of this anyway.

However I didn’t feel like sharing these thoughts aloud, let alone with someone I didn’t know really well so I shrugged my shoulders and asked the ever present “Get up to much on the holidays?” question to change the subject. It’s my go to thing – deflecting personal questions when I don’t feel like answering them and I’ve become a pro at it.

Later on I’m kicking back at home with a cup of milky English breakfast tea and thinking aloud to Mr X about work and the kind of responsibilities I should have as opposed to the ones I do and how frustrated I’m getting about it. I’m the Planner for fucks sake yet at times I’m left completely out of the equation only to be thrust back in when it all falls to pieces.

“Yeah the Planner at my work does all of that. We organise the quotes of what we need but he handles all the ordering and following up of orders etc. Everything has to go through him. It’s just the way it is. ”

I could only listen on envy.

Mr X works in a really positive and organised workplace and it’s the kind of place I hope to find for myself someday. And someday I will.