Monday, 18 May 2015


At 3:00 this morning I had insomnia.

Technically speaking I had it the evening before as well but managed to trick myself into a very restless, dream-littered, brief sleep. The dreams were incredibly disturbing - so much so that I don't want to relay them here. Suffice to say it involved discovering I had spent months being an  unwitting assault victim of someone who I do not trust in reality.

Trust me, it was unpleasant.

Anyway, on the days that I give up my option of sleep I typically "imagine". I write stories in my head that I like and as often as not they blossom into posts here. Since I started exercising more intensively I haven't had much opportunity to imagine, so nothing much happens here!

Last night, or this morning,  not only was I undergoing seriously stressful thoughts about work, etc, but I was still feeling vulnerable from my dreams. I couldn't imagine. I tried and I was completely incapable of it.

So I did work. It was not good for me because it guaranteed that I wouldn't sleep, but it was good for me in that I completed required tasks and felt less stressed (albeit more tired) this morning.

Then I snoozed from 5:30 to 7:10 and felt alarmingly groggy when I got up.

I still don't have any stories within me and it makes me feel hollow.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Ticking away

Another year older and another birthday where I wonder how I got this far without actually becoming an adult.

I'm constantly surprised by how many people treat me like I'm a mature, responsible adult with the respect that goes alongside it. I know I'm still a kid inside. Want to know how I know?

Don't care, I'm telling you anyway.

I still smile when I see bubbles (adult). Then I run and jump at them to catch them.
I think deep philosophical thoughts about the transient nature of everything whenever autumn rolls around (adult). Then I kick piles of leaves as high as I possibly can.
I watch my diet and think nutrition is as important as all other aspects of eating (adult). Whenever I go somewhere with a dessert stand I choose my pudding before I find a seat.
I'm conscious of my failings as a singer (adult). I belt out tunes (sometimes at top volume) wherever and whenever I feel like it.1
I love dancing and when at a nightclub or similar will restrain myself to boogie-ing only on the floor (boring adult). Outside of a nightclub I will dance the second I hear a tune I want to shake my stuff along with.2
I often need time to myself to recover after a particularly busy day (adult). The moment I'm alone I start playing with my imaginary friends.

I'm not looking forward to the day I do grow up. Adults sound a lot less fun.


1 Not just the shower. Also parks, shopping centres, swimming pools, sauna, steam room. Rarely feel like singing in the gym, but have been known to mumble vaguely alongside a tune while resting between reps.

2 Seriously - I got some odd looks in the supermarket until they switched away from fun music.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Staff engagement mini rant

I don't know if it's a failure of communication or a failure of an individual to get a point, but I got quite upset over something a week or so ago.

We've been looking a lot at employee engagement and I absolutely agree it is vital to have a cohesive team who are in it together, buy into the overarching goals of their employer etc. However, there is a part of me that wonders if some people aren't too focussed on the bottom line. Our head of HR made a point of sharing with us that staff engagement has to be real. It can't be cynical, manipulative attempt to get more "profit" out of your team.

Great, OK. On board with that.

Later I heard someone talking about staff engagement1 and their phrase was as follows:

Sometimes your team will tell you they're giving it all they've got, that they're working as hard as they can. But then you've got to think of Wikipedia. [here they diverted to talk about the story behind Wikipedia - to whit a group of people volunteering their time to produce, well, Wikipedia. They concluded their speech with] and if people with a full time job can use their personal time to develop Wikipedia, you can't tell me that our staff are really giving it all they've got! We aren't getting their discretionary time.

I was so upset about this. Firstly, that's clearly a cynical attempt to use staff engagement principles for your own profit, using a measure that *exclusively* states that you, as an employer, have the right to determine if your employees are working hard enough by saying that not taking the job home with them is evidence that they aren't committed.

I'm pretty sure that's illegal.

Secondly, people need to stop referring to Wikipedia as their benchmark. Sure, there were and are some people who have spent hours every week contributing to the overall project for years. But the *vast* *overwhelming* majority of the site was built by thousands (possibly millions) of people who are passionate about one small tiny thing (or Star Trek) and they have been contributing in small chunks periodically since then. Or they logged on once, wrote an article and never went back. Or they fixate on one article and review it every time they learn something new.

There is no fixed model. There is no one way to contribute. There is no commitment required.

You take all of that away from your employees and you will see much more clearly who is engaged.

Of course, what you're missing is that you can't run your business on Wikipedia's principles because all Wikipedia's average customer needs is their servers and an internet connection.


1 It's a bit like buses. You never hear it then you hear nothing else for three weeks.