I often wonder how jobsworths have jobs. I can’t get an interview, never mind a job; I think I’ve sent out over 200 applications and CVs in the past two years. Now I’ve given up. As long as I can scrape by being creative, I accept I’m never going to be rich; at least, not monetarily. Wiki has an ample description of a jobsworth:
A jobsworth is a person who uses their job description in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner…The term remains in use, particularly in the UK, to characterise inflexible employees, petty rule-following and excessive administration.It has largely supplanted the older term, “Little Hitler. (Wiki)
Today I dealt with jobsworths from two different places: the city council and a choreographer.
I just love doing needless spreadsheets for the city council. If they want to know the ins and outs of my business, they should talk to HMRC, not get me to do extra work when none of their staff have a clue about sole trader paperwork, and send me back and forth for weeks (’til I flip my lid like last time – that seemed to be the only way to get someone from ‘higher up’ to attend to me).
Every thirteen weeks, they demand the ins and outs of my business operations, cashflow, profit and loss, what underwear I have on when uploading new items to my website, and so on. They ask for more than the Inland Revenue and they’re the ones I file tax returns with! In order for me to get help with my council tax, I have to jump through these hoops four times a year – y’know, in case I’m ripping the system off, ’cause it’s not like government employees ever do that, right? (Don’t get me started on the vile charade that it is to live in Corporation UK, not a free human being but property of the State). I find it a gross insult for them to treat the self-employed like pariahs – we pay higher taxes, have no pensions security or sick leave, if we go bust, we’re out of a job; I could go on. As a single woman, I don’t get a 50% discount on my council tax, I get a measly 25% – they make me SICK.
Anyway, I’m ranting now because I despise them and I’ll go off on one if I don’t reign it in. Every single time I get called down there to show my accounts, I get given the runaround by staff who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Sometimes, I think it’s because they (the public-facing staff members) don’t like anyone making a living that’s fun. I’m on less money than they are, but it’s the one chance they get to exert some authority by being awkward and telling me I don’t have the right paperwork (and then they mess MY benefit up, money I’m entitled to from my strawman).
This is just a small part of what happens every quarte, when I spread all my accounts before them and they’re – as usual – unsatisfied:
Them – We need to see your wage slips.
Me – I’m self-employed, I don’t get wage slips.
Them – Well, we need to see evidence from your employer about your income.
Me (chewing fist and trying not to be rude, and failing) – What part of ‘self-employed are you finding hard to comprehend?
Them – Well, you must have wage slips, what do you give the Inland Revenue at the end of the year?
Me – I don’t give them anything, I file my tax return online and keep records of Sales, Drawings, and Expenditure in case they ask for it. Which they never have.
Them (looking at computer screen) – Well, it says here you need to provide wage slips to say how much you’re earning. Don’t you have anything from your accountant?
Me: I don’t use an accountant. Look at my figures, I can add that up on a calculator.
Them: Well, if you don’t have an accountant, what do you send to the HRMC (Inland Revenue) each year?
Me: I do my self assessment online
It goes on for an hour, they take my paperwork, give me a receipt, I ask them can they think of anything else they need as this always happens and they always ask for more, they say No, then they send out a letter a couple of weeks later saying ‘the information presented is insufficient blah blah blah…’
Back to the printer! The printer was wilful and refused to print this morning – this ALWAYS happens when I have a council appointment – so I took my laptop with spreadsheets and access to my online cart software so they could take the figures from source and input them onto their system. Naturally, they refused and wanted hard copies. I explained I didn’t have access to a printer at that time. They told me to go next door to the library and access their internet – no, I don’t know why I couldn’t access the internet at the council office.
I went next door and told them what I needed to do. The library assistant told me I needed to be a member and would have to bring ID and open an account. It was at this point I realised I’ve achieved a much greater control of my emotions than I thought, as I was able to stop from having a fit and storming off.
I put on my Bree Vanderkamp Botox face with Mona Lisa smile and floated out of the building, straight across to the butty bar where I ordered a big breakfast barm to eat my barely-bridled rage into a carbohydrate coma. After that, I went home and had a strong coffee and a sit down before my second trek of the day to the council offices.
All in all, I think I was very good not to give them the disparaging looks their below par service deserved; it’s not their fault they’ve been stomped into a banal existence, I guess. We’re in a society that is geared towards keeping people stupid, after all.
After wrestling with my printer (which is now sulking and refusing to print again), I made it back to the office with minutes to spare before closing.
As for the choreographer, he’s emailed us singers a set list for the show – his spelling is atrocious – told us to learn the harmonies without us knowing who’s singing what or the vocal range each singer has; he gets paid to fly over from Tenerife to teach us the movements but sends us video from last year two weeks before we go. Money for old rope much? He could have sent this a month ago. More than a month ago! He could have sent this as soon as we sent our signed contracts back. And not in stupid pando format!!!!!
If it’s just video footage, it would have made more sense to just convert it at his end to a simpler format – we don’t need menus and fancy pants stuff – and then I wouldn’t be pulling my hair out, trying to download it from his crappy slow connection. For a second, I thought ‘Am I stupid?’ – only a second, mind – and then I read an email from another singer asking me could I open the files, because she couldn’t.
I have to do everything in my power to hide my true personality for the next six months, haha. I don’t suffer fools and can’t abide by jumped up people who don’t deserve the role they have. If someone truly has something to teach me and knows their subject, I’m all ears. But I’m feeling iffy about this guy. One of the girls seems nice and I hope I get put in a room with her, but the other one hasn’t deigned to reply to either of our emails. I’m the one with Diva in my stage name, it should be me being all elusive! I hope she’s nice and I’m sure she has a simple reason for not being in touch – she might not have regular access to the internet, she might have fallen and can’t get up, she might be shy – I have a feeling I’ll be put in a room with her just because we’re the same height; the agent kept going on about it. ‘Cause people who are the same height automatically get along…
I’m going to take everything and everyone as I find them, try not to get involved in drama, just keep my head down, work hard, enjoy the Greek culture, and explore the island whenever I can. I’m a born worrier and I’m sure I’ll have a ball once I stop stressing.
I also have the added pressure of moving my entire two-bedroomed flat into a storage unit, with two weeks in which to accomplish it, and learn these songs, dance routines, move abroad, head hurts. I haven’t packed a thing today. The place looks jam packed with all my crap, but after the council debacle, I feel wiped out. I’m teaching tomorrow, so I can’t even pack all day because I need to keep the living room clean and tidy. And then Undercover Lover’s taking me out for our last date before I leave him and do a runner across Europe
Oh my God, please let me get everything done in time. And please help me find my passport. I have a bad feeling I packed it with the stuff going in storage…and as for Rhodes, I’m seeing Benidorm (the TV programme). It should be Dreamgirls in my mind.
Oh, dear. Just keep reciting Bill Hicks.
It’s only a ride.
Read it! That’s all. I’ve not woken up yet, so I have no words of insight right now. 🙂
Here’s the conclusion of Jamaican in China: Guess Who’s Coming to Dim Sum, inspired by GoAbroad.com’s “Why Do I go Abroad?” Contest:
Well, that’s my story! And I’m sticking to it! I really had an absolutely, positively, wonderful and life-changing time being Jamaican in China, Singapore and Laos, and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.
In addition, I hope you got something much more from Jamaican in China than just an entertaining read. I hope it expanded your awareness and consciousness in some small way. Wherever in this world you may call “home,” (even if you already live in China), I hope it gave you a little peek into a reality that you might not have otherwise been aware of. I hope it showed you people, places and possibilities in a way that affects how you see yourself, your world, and your place, role and identity…
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Big thank you to Craig Hansen for his generous review of Swallow at Amazon.com. Us fledgling authors appreciate feedback, good or bad, as it helps to know how our books are being received by you, the readers!
A bad review is useful for showing us where we went wrong, what we could have done better, etc, so we can apply the newly-learned information in our next project. A good review cheers and motivates us, especially when – like me now – we’re at that midway point in writing a large piece that feels like the finish line keeps running further away.
I shall remain steadfast! Headliner will be available for publication in autumn.
Anyway, here it is. Thanks, Craig! Oh, I do like your actor suggestions 🙂
“It took me a long time to finish SWALLOW by Ilyria Moon, but I read a lot of things…
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I’m still trying to figure out this Windows 7 speech recognition software. It seems when I am wide-awake and sitting up alert, the program works just fine. Oddly, if I employ a slightly condescending tone, it works competently, too. However, when it gets late at night and my voice begins to crack or my accent becomes more pronounced through tiredness, the program types gibberish. Given that this is the time I’d be most likely to use it because I have no desire to sit up, it’s a shame it has such a hard time deciphering what I tell it. And everyone used to say I had a lovely speaking voice when I was little. Overall, it’s a useful piece of software and I’ll probably use it now and again, but with a typing speed of 70wpm, it’s counter-productive, really.
Anyhoo, today was a big bag of stress punctuated with small pleasures. Moment #1: ordering the largest caramel latte on the menu and editing in internet-free bliss at the coffee shop; and Moment #2: getting my flip flop fixed. While this may seem a small pleasure, I loved those flip flops! With feet as big as mine, when you find shoes that fit and look pretty, you want to hold onto them. I bought them last September for a week in Mallorca and they were soooooooo comfy. I wore them again a month later in Barcelona and slapped my way down to a rock bar to meet Australian friends who were playing a European tour to publicise their new album. One of the guys with the band, who I already knew, was whirling me round everywhere and stood on my flip flop and the leather thong came out. I was devastated – at least, I would have been, had I been sober. Fortunately, I had a change of clothes with me; I wasn’t even meant to stay in the flip-flops and sun dress and had sexy rock chick gear in my bag.
I digress. The cobbler fixed it with a few stitches and my pretty, beaded flip-flop is good as new. I just hope I actually put it in my bag when I left the cobblers…Before I went back for my shoe, I treated myself to a large latte at Costa and set about editing Headliner (my second novel). It was rather pleasurable to sit in a window seat and watch the world go by while I worked, rather than being side-tracked by Facebook or emails. If I had more self-discipline, I’d simply unplug my wi-fi router and make my own coffee, but I freely admit it, I’m weak-willed.
Oh yeah, the stressful parts of the day. The main one was taking all those dearly loved books to the charity shop. I am the biggest hoarder. I don’t hoard junk, per se, but I find it hard to part with possessions I see value in and books are high priority for me. Books are my friends, open doors for me, allow me to travel and have adventures. However, with this real European adventure looming on the horizon, I have to be ruthless. I HAVE TO BE. I replaced the classic literature with Kindle versions, so I’m not completely bereft, and as for the text books and contemporary novels – well, I just had to grit my teeth and not think about it.
One of the women at Barnado’s swiped my Ikea bag and shoved a nearly identical one into my hand, but it was NOT my bag and the handles were frayed. I’m still pissed about that. It was hard enough parting with the books, but I’d steeled myself for that. I’d even bagged them into plastic bags inside the strong Ikea bag, so the staff could just take them out, but no, they stole my bag. When I walked back after collecting my shoe, I had to pass the charity shop again. It took all my will not to run inside and ask for my stuff back.
Anyway, I had one of my violin students come over for a lesson after that, which was fine. I like teaching this one; he’s disciplined, works hard, seems to enjoy his lessons with me and makes good progress, so I’ll be sad to lose him as a student. I did some more editing after he left and then whipped up some scrambled eggs, vowing to record vocals after dinner.
Sod’s Law, Neighbour From Hell showed up seconds after I pressed the On switch on my computer. I swear he either has this place bugged or a demon that guides him to torment me. I haven’t written about NFH and his girlfriend in any of my blogs before, because I get too worked up, but those of you in my FB friends list will know my regular rants about their fights, parties, him stealing my organic food deliveries, the wet dog smell (that I don’t actually think originates with the dog), did I mention the fights? Any woman who goes back to a guy who fractures her jaw needs her head feeling. And I’ve put up with them for a year; can’t do it for much longer, so I’m overjoyed to have an escape plan. But the main thing that drives me round the bend is EVERY TIME I set up to record, he waltzes home. It doesn’t matter whether it’s morning, afternoon, early evening, or late at night. He comes home either as I’m setting up or just after I’ve warmed up my voice up and am ready to give a good belt and get some takes worth keeping. Every bloody time, I end up with no recordings. He makes me sick. Thieving, girlfriend-beating bastard.
So yes, his return meant I couldn’t record vocals and this is stressing me out. Singing is how I make my living. If I don’t get decent vocals over to the studio asap, I lose the gig, and the track will get signed as an instrumental. If I supply them something they like, I get to raise my profile, earn royalties, get performing work out of it, some nice little trips to hot places, etc. I am not going to have some scrote ruin my career; it’s not him who looks unreliable for being late with submitting material that people are waiting for. The producer flies to Miami to finalise everything the week I fly to Rhodes and so if I don’t do it NOW, both I and the producer will be OUT OF TIME.
This was as big a stressor as parting with my books, actually; I feel like I’m having palpitations thinking about it. I’m going to stop typing about it, ’cause the combination of thinking about that horrible ‘man’ downstairs and the fact I can hear him snoring like a truck under my bed is making me feel murderous. I just hope I get the recording done tomorrow and the studio like it. They liked the verses I wrote and I recorded them already, but we just need a belter hook. I’ve written four, but they don’t like any of them, pfff. Let’s leave that rant for another post.
Urgh. Which leads me back to packing. And the hoarding gene. I can’t make decisions. Do I keep it, do I throw it, do I ebay it, blah blah blah, and al the while, it just piles up on my bed and on the floor and then I forget if I wore it, so I throw it in the laundry and then it ends up back on the bed. I need to pack what I’m taking, but ’cause I’m taking my favourite clothes, I keep pulling them out of the bag to wear them. I’m fully aware of how few non-black/summer items I actually own, so I tend to wear the same stuff year round.
I’m carrying on like Greece is another planet, but if I forget anything, I can always send for it or buy a replacement (and there goes the hoarder trigger). Makes me laugh, though. Only I could have no work lined up in my birth country and get offered work in a country that’s collapsing. I’m talking to the voices in my head and they’ve started answering back.
I’ve got to laugh, albeit hysterically.
A man hoping to find wisdom traveled to Poland to see the renowned Rabbi Hafez Hayyim. When he arrived at the celebrated rabbi’s house, he was surprised to see that it was nothing more than a room. There, the rabbi sat on a bench at a small table surrounded only by the numerous volumes of books he continually pored over in study.
The seeker asked, “Good Rabbi, where are all your belongings? Where are your furnishings?”
Hafez answered, “Tell me, where are yours?”
“Where are mine?” said the startled man. “But I only came here for a short visit.”
“So did I,” the rabbi said.
(Traditional Chassidic Jewish story )
I hate, hate, hate being recorded on video, but I need to get over it and learn to vlog, because it’s much easier and quicker than typing blogs out. In future uploads, I’ll have specific topics I want to talk about, but this is just a general ramble. 😀