I’m a mercenary sort

One of the things I quite like about the place where I do the door is that it’s generally early to start and early to finish. Which leaves plenty of time to get somewhere for last orders, or to get home to see various programmes, or just to get a sensible nights kip.

The problem with it being a fairly predictable early finish is that others know about it too. Hence the following phone short phone call that took place about 90 seconds after I got into the house.

Him: Ed, there’s been a bit of a screw up. X, Y & Z walked off the door in rather nice pub about 300 yards from my house. I know you’re just finished a shift, but I’m really short of bodies. L is already on his way down, could you do the rest of the shift with him?

Me: Fuxache man, I’d just opened a cold one. Is there nobody else you could get?

Him: Nah, Y & Z were my last resort lads anyway, and now they’ve fucked off. Don’t worry, you’d get paltry amount extra.

Me: Nah, really can’t be doing it. Why’d X walk off anyway?

Him: Because he’s X. almost decent amount.

Me: Man, I’m shattered, and I’ve already done thirteen hours today. It’s really not my problem.

Him: preposterous amount

Me: Walking out the door now…

Which is why I got a nice sum of money for not a lot of work at all. And plenty of gratitude from various members of staff.

Still ended up doing a fifteen hour day though. Not as much fun as I remember it.

Some people are quite odd

One of the many tedious tasks that mush be done on the door is the searching of bags; any bag big enough to contain alcohol should really be searched, for obvious reasons. And at pretty much every club in the world, there are signs informing patrons that they’re liable to be searched on entry. Such is the case anywhere I’ve worked, anyway.

In line with this, I asked a young fella to remove his backpack and open it for me. I even went so far as to say please, because I’m just that nice.

Said young fella does as he’s been asked, and his girlfriend opens her handbag (unprompted) for a similar check. Neither of them seem to be carrying drink, drugs or explosive devices, so I thank them and wish them a good night. Again, because I’m just so damn nice. I then back to what I was doing before the couple arrived (the highly important task of talking shite with someone, if you must know).

It took me a few seconds to realise that the guy hadn’t gone about having a good night, and was instead staring at me. So I turned and asked if he was OK. Which was when it got odd…

Him: So when are you going to apologise?
Me: Excuse me?

Him: I want an apology.
Me: For what? You’ve really lost me.

Him: I want an apology. You didn’t need to search me. I want an apology.
Me: No. I have to search all bags coming in; your bag came in, I searched it. I do not apologise for doing my job unless I have to, and in this case I really don’t have to.

Him: I want an apology. You violated my privacy, practically assaulted me.
Me: Wise up. You want in, you abide by our rules. Now we face a decision. You can go in and have a good night, or you can stay out here and keep accusing me of breaking the law, and then not be allowed in.

Me: Last chance mate, shut up and go in or keep talking and stay out. Your call.

Him: [prepares to speak]
The Girlfriend: To him*slap* Shut up and get your arse inside. To me I’m really sorry about him.

I wonder if he does that everywhere he goes. Because it’s really quite strange behaviour, especially for something as common as having a massive backpack searched going into licensed premises.

Worse than I feared

Some of you may remember that I got photographed just before I left the old job. A fact which did not please me; I’m no fan of being in photos at the best of times, and work photos are definitely not classed as ‘the best of times’.

It gets worse, though. Because not only was the photo taken, it was also used. In, as I feared, an in-house magazine with a poor pun for a name. And worse, it has been read. So much so that a copy has been discovered on my desk, open at the centre page spread featuring my ugly mug.

This does not amuse. Not even a little bit.

Week one review

Its been one week since you looked at me
Cocked your head to the side and said I’m angry.
Five days since you laughed at me
Saying get that together come back and see me.
Three days since the living room
I realized its all my fault, but couldn’t tell you
Yesterday you’d forgiven me
But it’ll still be two days till I say I’m sorry

Yes, I’ve survived the dreaded first week. A bit of training here, a bit of looking gormless there, and it all seemed to go not too bad. Seems like the people are grand as well, which is always a bonus.

They have started it off by lying to me, of course. They say you can’t expect two free lunches and a random amount of free alcohol to appear in the place every week. When of course that was what got me interested in the job in the first place…

Normal hours do sucketh

I’m used to working 8am-4pm, with a half hour lunch at 12. This has been good for me, over the years.

Now I’m working 9-6, with an hour long lunch at 1. This is a bit of a shock, seeing as how my lunch is now eaten an hour later and my dinner two hours later.

I’m less than impressed with this particular setup. Hopefully the stomach will readjust quite quickly, because I doubt that the rest of the office wants to hear any more growling.

It certainly makes things easier

As I’ve mentioned, I’m not the world’s best at change; nor am I the best at the old first-day-in-new-job thang.

I’ll tell you what, though, today went significantly better than expectations. Sure, there were dozens of names thrown at me that I have no hope in hell of remembering. Sure, I don’t yet have a desk, let alone a computer. Sure, some of the complexities are a little confusing.

But, but, there was free food, and good food at that. Sushi and things; apparently this is the benefit of reps wanting to sell shit. And the people seem grand; the first conversation I walked into was basically all about reassembling the collective memory of Saturday night from the pictures on phones and the ‘where the hell are you’ texts; this is something I’ve been doing since 2002, dammit*. And the commute only took 20 minutes, which was about half what I feared it would be.

So, ’tis good so far. This could change after my first full day, of course, but I’ll stick with the good so far.

* – Back with one of the firstest camera phones on the market; the first night being reassembled in this fashion involved much Vodka/RedBull and pistures of police cars. Not me being inside them. I don’t think, anyway…

Nightmare senarios

I am not a fan of boybands. Nor am I generally a fan of the crowds. Which is why I was not terribly impressed with tonights shift.

On the plus side, the club next door went and got a cleaner to clean their sprinkler system. The resulting flood provided much merriment. Yes, I am easily entertained. And wha’?

‘sno fun anymore

Back in the day, when I were a lad, etc, etc, there was much fun to be had on school holidays playing at building. You know, mixing a bit of cement, lugging about bits of concrete, trying to be useful and generally getting in the way. It was great craic, as I recall.

Yeah, not so much now. Now it just hurts.

Because of this, I realise two things: a) I’m now old and b) I’m now horribly out of shape.

I care about a; I couldn’t care less about b. And so, back to work…

Surprisingly, something works…

Generally, if there is only one part of government that works, it will be the bit that takes money from people and gives that money to government.

For example, while there is a lot of evidence that HMRC is hugely inept at giving money out, when it comes to getting money in, it’s bloody good. Largely, of course, because a lot of the money is taxed at source. So the work of working it out and collecting the money is done by employers (as PAYE and NI contributions), or banks (as tax on interest), or companies (as VAT).

Which means that the headaches, blood, sweat and tears are not suffered by the Revenoo, but by the employers. And all the Revenoo has to do is look at the totals submitted by their slaves the employers (etc), audit a few of them, and then let Gordon waste the money as he sees fit.

In keeping with this, they’re quite keen for the employers (etc) to drop the data straight into the HMRC systems, instead of throwing paper about the place. Hell, they’re even willing to bribe people to assist them in this.

A lot of background, but all to say this: the online submission system is, actually, quite good. In that it works, it’s quite quick, and actually provides half decent feedback.

It’s just that the hoops you have to jump through before you get to the submission stage are absolutely insane.

This post was brought to you by several hours of swearing at PAYE regulations before finding out that the submission system works. What fun.

The times, they are a changin’

There now follows an understatement of such magnitude that the person deploying it should be dragged out the back and shot. But I’m not fond of being shot, so if you restrained yourselves, I’d appreciate it.

I’m not very good with change.

Oh, I admit the necessity of it; sometimes I’ll even work to bring it about. I’m just not very good at dealing with it.

Which is why there is an element of daunt in my outlook. Or perhaps dread would be a better word. For today, I end my current employment. Where I’ve been for just shy of three years; I’ve worked here longer than I have at any other job in my life. And I then get a few days off before starting a new job. As changes go, it’s hardly gender realignment, but it’s not small either.

Oh, other things at which I’m not great: starting new jobs.

This promises to be an interesting week or two.

Oh, so nearly got away with it

As of today, I’ve been in my current employment for thirty five months. This, by the way, is a record for me, in full time employment anyway.

Tomorrow is my last day in this employment. But more of that later, I’m sure.

The number of official group photos that have been taken of the staff here? None. Not one.

As of lunchtime, however, that won’t be the case.

Yes, the fates have decided that, like the baddie in Scooby Doo, I nearly got away with it. But was foiled at the last minute by an in-house magazine with a poor pun for a name.

Dammit, that puts paid to my original ‘drink from sun up to sun down’ plan.

Good things, bad things

The good things associated with hitting the bars after work, where you work:

  • You get a chance to unwind.
  • You find out things about people that are often unexpected.
  • You can get riotously drunk safe in the knowledge that someone will get you home.
  • You don’t have to bother with much of this ‘paying’ lark, especially on t’door.

The bad things:

  • You may well wake up well after noon the next day and not notice that some bastard put the clocks forward until you go and try to rescue your car from the work car park…

A different sort of shift

Tonight, for the first time in years, I worked a ‘corporate'; a shift where the venue was closed to the public and hired out to a single organisation. Which means less churn at the door, more regular faces through the evening and generally a better sort of crowd; someone who is dropping many thousands of pounds on organising a night is much more likely to be selective about their invitees than, say, a hen night.

The down side is, of course, that it’s generally a lot more boring. Oh well, shit happens.

There were a number of things that made it worth while:

  • The UV lamps for the checking of attendees facilitated the discovery of quite old graffiti, which provided some entertainment.
  • The UV ink provided much in the way of opportunities for mischief.
  • Several of the people that were organising the whole thing turned out to be quite good craic.
  • Professionalism and opportunism demanded a higher number of staff be on duty than normal, providing further craic.
  • Old, well behaved people that don’t usually drink often make entertaining drunks.
  • Said old drunks tend to fade out early, mean plenty of time to make it to the bar for a swift half before last orders…

Does it count as a meme yet?

Probably not, but it does seem to be a recurring theme at the very least…

First a certain unnamed young doctor type did it, then a very well named Cully based person did it, and now I’m doing it.

Talking, of course, about changing jobs.

Yes, today I submitted my month’s notice from my current post, and I start a new one in four and a bit weeks. It’m a smaller organisation, with more of an IT/Training role than I have at the minute. And the pay is better. And I get Wednesday afternoons off.

Which is nice.

Even smaller than previously thought

I’ve long held that the world is a smaller place than general believed. This is generally exhibited by various net connections; I’ll meet someone off of the online community and they’ll say “oh, you’re that connection, I’ve a great wee story about yer granny”. Or I’ll mention something to a family member, and they’ll start digging and discover that they think they know the sister of the blog writer I was talking about. Or some other such circumstances.

Today, however, I think that the world is small because of a Real World happening.

I work in a fairly nice wee two storey office building, outside of Belshaft. At least, I did. About three weeks ago, the owner decided that it was actually a three storey office building. And this week, the occupants of the third storey moved in.

And one of them is my aunt. I did not know this until I heard someone calling John down the stairs at me. This could cause confusion; the John is not a name that has been used in t’office before. Oh well. Seems that the world is conspiring to hurry on the onset of my multiple personality disporder.

Anyway, as I say, it’s a small world.

Strange night, all round

A strange very-busy-but-not-much-to-do kind of evening.

A strange problem with the radios at the start of the night.

A strange wound on a co-worker’s head.

A strange incident close by involving dozens of security and many, many cops.

A strange gent with strange hair regaling us with strange stories.

A strange computer issue resulting in us working a little later than usual.

A strange part of the city on the way home, to leave a guy to his home.

And, at the end of it, a strange redness on the face of the moon.

from news.bbc.co.uk

Yes, there was much strangeness to be had. But it’s over now, and that’s what counts.

Surely it’s not break time again

Actually, it clearly is break time. Therefore it’s about the time for a paranoid rant.

Luckily enough, there’s plenty of inspiration about the place.

Thousands of council staff are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England.

Ministers have given councils £29.5m to pay for staff, who will be able to give on-the-spot £50 fines to individuals and take court action against premises.

They will have the power to enter premises undercover, allowing them to sit among drinkers, and will even be able to photograph and film people.

So there’ll be undercover ‘officers’, with plenty of powers but no responsibilities beyond their own initiative. And they’ll be walking about with hidden cameras, and the power of the anti smoking feckers behind them. And you’ll particularly like this bit:

“There will be two ways of doing this, either staff can go in and identify themselves to the landlord, but they don’t have to.”

Now, I see an opportunity here. Because these aren’t warrant card carrying police, to whom licensing law grants a lot of powers. Nor are they council officers clearly and openly acting in the course of their duties. Instead they’re meant to look like normal customers, and they’ll be walking about taking pictures of people and disrupting the normal operation of a commercial entity.

Clearly in breech of most door policies, in fact. I predict much in the way of barrings. If they turn up openly for an inspection, I have no problem. But if you’re disrupting my calm and disturbing the customers in my workplace, you’re out on your ear.

And don’t bother comming back, either. Unless you’re being open and honest about your intentions.

How annoying

Dammit, there’ll be little or no blog reading today. Because someone has evidently done something to the workplace firewall, and nigh on every attempt to connect to any site goes straight to some bloody packaging firm.

But it’s getting slightly better; now we’re being redirected to the UK version; for a while there it was stuck on the US site. At least now I can source my packaging needs in sterling…

More things on the list

The list in question being labelled as “these things wot I don’t understand”.

So, there I was at work. And I spy a group of ne’er-do-wells congregating where they should not be. About a dozen of them, kids between sixteen and nineteen. Being a diligent sort, I go over to (politely) tell them to piss off and congregate elsewhere.

Only to find that, in the middle of the group, there is a couple. And the couple were pretty damn busy coupling. What with the trousers being round ankles and the skirt being round armpits.

So, the addition to the list: why would anyone ever start shagging under the following circumstances:

  • In the middle of a group of friends, none of whom seem to be paying any special attention to the proceedings;
  • In a brightly lit area, with a fair bit of CCTV coverage;
  • Where the are a lot of people who are there in a ‘paid to be security’ capacity;

The suspects, to be fair to them, became decent and ran away within ten seconds of me announcing my presence. But the whole thing is just a bit weird.

Of course, maybe I’m the weird one, and this is normal behaviour. But not where I come from.

Still fun to watch

While I’m generally one to rant about the state monopoly on self defence and violence, I can appreciate that, sometimes, it is very gratifying to see agents of the state doing their thing.

Like, and I’m picking an example out of the air here, when six fellas take it upon themselves to become violent twats and begin to hit people round the back of the head. An ordinary person, of course, is legally able to restrain said fellas, but nothing more than that in most cases. But an agent of the state, with their monopolistic powers, can turn up, boilersuited and with baton in hand, and do much more interesting things.

Like, and again this is a completely made up example, make the worst of the fellas sit in the corner while a dog sits guarding him. A very loud dog, with big white teeth. Something like this, but a good bit younger. Younger, of course, meaning “more likely to do something rash and unpredictable”.

Or they can turn up and haul remaining fellas into the back of ye olde meat wagon and transport them, post haste, to a long wait before seeing the beak in the morning.

Or, and this is quite impressive and scary at the same time, they can use CCTV to get the registration number of the taxi that several of the (hypothetical) fellas escaped into, use the DoE database to find the company that operates said taxi, get the company to contact the driver, and then be waiting to pick up the several fellas once they reach their destination.

All in, in such a situation, the police can work hard, quickly and efficiently. Pity it’s only a hypothetical example, of course.