Waking up

So, for the third day in a row are yet again struggle to get out of bed. Is not laziness, it’s not the case of being bothered, it’s just a simple case of what’s the point?

Don’t get me wrong I know that there are life things that you have to attend to. Paying bills, signing on and all the rest of it but when that’s all done getting out of bed still doesn’t come easy.

Thinking that the root of all this might be alcohol-related I stopped drinking in the week so while ago in the hopes that would push me forward to get out of my pit.

I never quite realised just how demotivated and the lack of ambition that is crept into me. Normally I’d be trying all sorts of stupid things like an eBay idea or designing menus for a pub anything to show a sense of creativeness or accomplishment.

Even with all of the positive comments I’ve got about my darts game from the last three weeks when people said they used to be a good player hasn’t spurred me to get the practice board and throw in the week.

Normally I would break things down into small accomplishable chunks so you actually have a point to something or anything but even doing that seems ironically pointless.

Even when one of my other websites gets a spike in traffic by should at least try to make the most off I don’t.

In action is in itself a form of action but I have to wonder why I’ve chosen that over doing anything positive.

Waking up

Used car dilemma updates

For once I’m going to make one of my many predictions online and let’s see if this one is proved correct or not.

So today I ended up buying the car that I wasn’t absolutely sold on and after a days worth of usage so far “it’s not that bad”.

It’s tatty on the outside, I think I will bearing is a bank to go but everything else feels that sounds so far.

There is one person whose I advise I always look out when making a major decision and hopefully she knows who she is and so to her I wanted to say sorry.

Even though I actively sought your advice and didn’t take it please don’t think that you didn’t mean anything to me.

I still have my beloveds golf which I’m going to keep around for a month or so just in case.

Being only a 1.62 biodiesel time in the lower part of the rev range it’s as an exciting you can possibly get that when the speed cranked up a notch you soon find yourself doing 70+ Mars an hour and easing off the accelerator. .

Part of me is really hoping that this is the Mac care of £500 automobiles that’s all my “friends” seemed to get and I never do.

Right now after working a complete shift from hell where I park actually ran out of food during one of the busiest weeks of the season I’m shattered and I’m going to bed.

Used car dilemma updates

The used car dilemma

Anybody else noticed that there is a slight twinge of coldness in the mornings and evenings definitely warrants a jumper/cardigan?

In my particular area it was only about three weeks ago that all of the temperatures with 10° hotter than they have been since then.

Anyways with my excellent track record of buying the wrong car, the golf might be somewhat of an exception, here is the latest offering that’s been sent my way.

Ford focus 1.6 tdci
80,000 miles on the clock
2 Previous owners
Bodywork bit tatty but nothing he wouldn’t expect for a car which is 10 years old.

For once I took someone along with me and there aren’t any real problems with it that we could see. It does look like a wheel bearing is going to need replacing but the same can be said for my golf.

Reason for selling.
The sun is getting a brand-new car and she will be using that along with her husband’s van.

All of this for £500. So those being the facts now let’s go into the back story.

I heard about this car from a bloke in the pub, he’s also the bloke whose son sold me the dreaded Peugeot of doom. Just as a side note the Peugeot still isn’t on the road and I sold it to a very dear friend of mine who was helping me out by purchasing it. I do feel really bad about it not being on the road yet but there’s absolutely nothing I can do unfortunately. If I had the money I would honestly buy the car back from her.

So the Ford is from a friend of the guy who son sold me the dreaded Peugeot. I don’t think he’s had anything to do with the car mechanically which brings me onto the next point.

Her husband is a mechanic.
So he’s done all of the regular servicing for the fort which might not be a bad thing but the problem with mechanics are servicing their own cars is that they know what to hide and exactly how to hide it. For every point I made there is obviously a counterpoints I’m here I can argue that all of us, well a lot of people I know don’t regularly serviced their car.

My final thought about the car is that to be honest its not a car that I want. This one is just pure case of practicality. The golfs road tax a year is £140 whereas my golf cost me that for six months.

Despite being a 1.6 Turbo diesel hopefully it will push me over that magical figure of 44 mpg which I worked out to be the break even point when you consider the extra cost of diesel these days.

My main worry is this. The golf is worth about £900 and would be better for a future trading but can I afford to keep hold of it until six times I’m in a better position to actually get a decent car?

The used car dilemma

Another reminder about scummy contracting agencies.

Well I’ve just had a reminder why I hate dealing with scumbag agencies. They’ve offered me £100 a day before tax and national insurance contributions and I’ve seen it advertised for 110

It’s amazing the power of Google at times. Funnily enough on 30 July at 10:10 AM the position they were discussing with me was posted on the Internet. Attached screenshot below.

Today a few of the details have changed including the all-important daily rate.

Thankfully they’ve confirmed the interview today via email and It’s for 10 AM tomorrow morning.

Anybody who’s interested they did provide me with the following.

– First point on contract by phone/face to face for support queries
– Supporting Microsoft Office
– Printer fixes
– Password resets
– Basic Active Directory fixes
– Basic network fixes
– Fixing basic Windows queries
– Working within a support ticketing system.

You’ve got it, this is your basic first-line support system. Granted this would be fairly easy money as it’s not going to stretch me in any way shape or form but that’s perhaps one of the reasons why I’m not keen.

As I said in my previous post this seems to be one of those jobs where they are paying what they think you are worth to the company not what your actual worth it is. Given the agency itself has decided to drop the price from £110-£100 this seems ever more clear.

If Google maps is correct then this is a job for an e-commerce company which I believe has sales wraps all around the UK. You know those annoying magazines that come through your door with all shapes, sizes and types of Tupperware? I think it’s one of those companies.

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Even the website is a fairly old and uninspiring design and I should know I’ve worked with companies like this before.

I seem to be arguing with myself I’ve just realised me like to go ahead and take this role I just don’t see how it’s going to be financially viable.

If I ignore the fact that I requested a couple of days notice for interviewing and then obviously mucking around with the daily rate I do still like to work away.

Or am I perhaps just grasping out of fear because work around these parts is scarce and hard to come by but is there any reason to settle for someone taking advantage?

It’s none too dissimilar to when you need to sell a car quickly and the buyer picks up on that and offers you less than you know it’s actually worth.

I’m going to work on the spreadsheets and see just how much I get to take home and if I could actually live on what would be left over bearing I mind the average price of a bed-and-breakfast in and around that area is anything from £50 upwards.

Even if I was to conservatively estimate the cost of lunch at 6 pounds and dinner at let’s say 8 pounds exactly have much left. This doesn’t include the travelling costs etc etc.

And whilst I am away I still have the rent and upkeep of my old place to consider.

Another reminder about scummy contracting agencies.

Now I remember why contacting agencies are scum.

“I have an excellent contract opportunity coming up that you would be an ideal fit for work”. Words I would guess any IT contractor hears quite often.

And so the dance started for two weeks. Calling him to find out what exactly this opportunity was and is being given the same line over and over.

(A up-and-coming, dynamic marketing agency has one of their IT members on long-term absence and they need someone to fill that role”

Immediately I ask why has said person on extended leave from the company and you can hear the agency man and are trying to think of a good cover up. I see that last bit with the benefit of hindsight.

So this particular role is going to be based near Swindon, the next junction past the turning for bath.

He then goes on to describe the position as a mixture of first, second and third line support for a company of about 60 individuals that also provide services to some “major market leading brands”.

Translation, they have one IT guy because they don’t see the value in looking after their systems. But don’t worry because we will work in to the grind to ring every single piece of energy and life out of them whilst paying as little as we can.

Know the agency man comes out with the big guns. “What rates are you normally home?”, “I normally go for £20 an hour”.

£20 an hour is what I would really like him but with the market conditions being as they are I know it will probably be closer to £15 if anything.

Just as a side note I’ve not been on anything like that for the last 3 to 4 years.

“So Highwood 150 a day grab you?”, I’d give it quite a hug ”

So almost immediately he’s trying to the company as much as.

They bury mind that dayrates might seem like a lot but I have to sort out my eye and tax and national insurance contributions. I also have to pay an umbrella company to put me down as an employee.

Also been done and if you are clever enough with your expense claims you can hopefully take-home anywhere between 80 to 85% of the daily rate.

As this job is some 50 miles away from where I live I also have to try and find accommodation. I’ll come back to that in a minute.

The job is only for two months which would be quite nice to see out the summer somewhere different before coming back to the dark and grisly land of Pembrokeshire. If anything it would be an interesting experiment to see if I could actually managed to be sociable back in an office environment.

Time after time I told the agency guy that I need a couple of days notice to get myself organised for any interviews or a potential start date. He tried pushing me hard on this one to say why can’t I do it next day and I said I had work and I’m not going to set a president of jacking a job in to go to another one without doing it properly. After all I said if I willing to do that to this employer that could mean I would do it you wouldn’t it? I was hoping the penny would drop but it didn’t.

At 6:10 PM on Wednesday I had a voicemail asking if I could go to an interview on Friday. Yes granted if I and lived where I told him, Bristol, then that wouldn’t be an issue but the stark reality is I’m faced with a 3 1/2 hour drive to go up there.

Three phone calls and to text messages followed me around most I was working on Thursday. At 4 PM on Thursday I said no I couldn’t make it because I’m on the end of this job and I need to finish it to get paid. I think it is a pretty darn good reason and I did make it abundantly clear I needed “a couple of days notice”

He says what about Monday and I said I would rather not as it’s quite a lot of hassle for Monday morning coming off the back of this job but go for it. He said he would get back to me to be fair he did but saying that Tuesday would be better for the client.

But here is where the real sting in the tail comes.

The daily rate has plummeted to 100 times a day equating to £80 a day take home after tax and ni etc.

The multifaceted first-line second-line and third line support role has now become a first-line only role. I have no intention or desire to become someone who answers phone calls and logs them on to a system especially when it means having to travel all that distance.

So it turns out in reality this is a first line support roll with very limited remote assistance/fixing stuff to do.

I set him straight I said this is a far cry from the position you sold me on and the rate is also miles away upon which we said it would be to start with. “That’s all the client wants to pay”.

If you had an interview on Tuesday and they want you to start Wednesday with that be okay?

Again did I not make it clear to him earlier that I need a couple of days to get things sorted

“As long as the interview goes okay and I find out exactly what I will be doing and get on along with the people then that shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Well like I said I haven’t spoken to anybody else about this role and you are pretty much surefire to get this one at the interview”

Small chit chat was made after that but I could tell he was getting all defensive like agency people do when you start to push back at them but there is one comments that really wind me up “at the end of the day it’s a job”

Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I’m ungrateful for any work opportunities but when you’re told one thing at the start and that changes as you get closer and closer to the job that’s bad enough but when the entire job specification changes and then the daily rates plummets as well that’s the thing which really aggravates me.

Yes at the end of the day it is a job and if I actually did live closer to where this position was I take it anyway. Everybody knows that contracting agencies are pretty much on the same scum level as estate agents and as the conversations between us have progressed this has become more and more evident.

Breaking things down.

So I’ve been thinking about my options for accommodation and I can only see two unless I want to spend two months living in a tent.

Plan A

Holiday Inn for 3 nights ( Wednesday to Friday) £91.49 per night.

Taking a look around the average price for a bed-and-breakfast is £50 per night

Lunch I estimate at a very conservative £5
Dinner, if I’m lucky, to be about 8 pounds

So just to eat and sleep for one night is going to cost me approximately £65. When your rate is £80 coming home with £15 a day in your back pocket makes things tough going.

Plan B.

Purchase a caravan £300 – £400.
Cost of getting caravans to site £100 ( on a wing and a prayer)
Electricity hook up per night £15
food cost per day £8

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Now I remember why contacting agencies are scum.

End of the road part 2

At precisely 12:07 PM that was it. For the final time a locked up the council vehicle I made my way out of the yard without incident.

I could’ve been done 45 minutes earlier if it wasn’t for me being elected to take the vehicle control sign back to the other Depot some 15 miles away but all things considered finishing at 12:07 PM you can’t really grumble.

As I write this on Monday morning it does feel a little bit odd not to be having breakfast about knife or carrying around a strimmer for the best part of the day.

I have to say that for the majority of the five weeks doing this job I’m actually quite enjoyed it. No office politics, no backstabbing, so you know where you stand. You fuck up people haven’t got anywhere to go in bitch about you behind your back. There is a lot to be said for avoiding the world of office politics, a world which I don’t think I’d have or ever will get on with.

Hide deliberated if to try and shake the rest of the guys hands at the end of the day but thankfully the main guy who had taking me on a was very complimentary about me (shock horror) extended his hand for a handshake. A couple of the other guys are well and to be fair I instigated a couple as well. The main bloke I have been working with, Stan, literally couldn’t wait to get home and jumped into the LanRover disappearing off without so much as even a goodbye. You can’t win them all.

The more I think about it this could be one of the only jobs I’ve ever had where I haven’t been pushed out the door. The only other one I can remember is way back when I first started in IT working for British telecoms, back in Bristol.

Leaving the yard on Friday felt a little bit surreal,
I wouldn’t be going back on Monday or possibly ever again just felt odd. Fact I spent most of Friday’s Friday aimlessly pottering about just trying to keep myself amused.

Over the last five weeks dropped half a stone in weight, Bondane three notches on my belt and maybe conscious effort to actually eat healthily, including breakfast!

That was one of the toughest things to do was get up and within the first 20 minutes of the waking day try and eat something but believe me the difference it makes to your metabolism is absolutely amazing. It’s not like the rush you get from ingesting 2 cups of coffee in the morning but the more slow burning, ramping up feeling.

Hang on. Phone call incoming that’s worth a blog post !!

End of the road part 2