Secret Diaries…..

whats behind the wrapper?

Browsing Posts tagged cost

As you all know a major cause of deforestation is the unpublished novel, whole rainforests have been destroyed by people desperately seeking that big break from any and every publisher.  A lot of this is caused by some peoples complete inability to be self critical, a problem I thankfully do not suffer from, unfortunately I have the opposite malady.  I am firmly convinced that 99% of my output is total crap.

Take a flick through previous articles and you’ll see what I mean.

Having produced a lot of bad writing I thought I was capable of spotting a mile off, I now realise that my talents in this area pale in insignificance compared to the might of Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman the minds behind “How NOT to Write a Novel: 200 Mistakes to avoid at All Costs if You Ever Want to Get Published“.  I added this little gem to my bookshelf a while ago and have over the last couple of months (I’ve not had a lot of time to read recently) finally got round to reading .

If you are a writer, if your thinking of becoming a writer, if you’ve ever picked up a pen or sat in front of a keyboards with the idea for a sure fire bestseller in your head then you need to read this book.  I’m sorry to say its very likely to destroy some of your more extreme illusions about your talent.  This is a good thing however, if no one points out your mistakes then you’ll just keep making them (trust me I know what I’m talking about here).

I found very interesting flicking through the Amazon reviews of this book, trying to guess at the personalities behind the keyboard, some see as mocking or smug, everyone sees as sarcastic.  What interested me most though is those who claimed was useless, having read their opinions I’m firmly of the belief that the book cut a little too close to the bone for there liking.  I’d guess their own manuscript is currently being rejecting for one or more of the mistakes listed in this book!

Sphere: Related Content

Ok ok ok, so ’s been a long time since I’ve been on here but oh my god so much has happened in that time.

Where do I begin? Well, as a result of the being ridiculous and sending me to a school which provided no support and then refused to listen when I said I wasn’t happy there I had to re-take the placement which I was fine with. Then there was a whole yo-yo situation about whether I would graduate or I wouldn’t. At first I was told I would graduate but obviously without the QTS (qualified teacher status) and could do the re-take after. That would have been brilliant. Then the next thing I know I’m in Lakeside shopping centre in the Easter holidays with my parents (so a very busy and not so private place) and I recieve a phone call telling me they cocked up and then I couldn’t graduate. Luckily I didn’t end crying down the phone or in the middle of the shopping mall like a total looney, but as soon as I got in the car was worse than an Oscar’s acceptance speech.

Months went by and I didn’t hear a thing from the about what was happening and imaginably I became very cross. In fact so cross that my friends kept telling me to make public about how the were letting me down and cutting me adrift after they stole all my money. That’s not really my style so I just threatened the and explained that if I did not hear anything within quite a reasonable time frame I would be seeking legal advice. This seemed to have the right affect because within an hour I had a response from one of the people I had contacted attempting to shift the blame from themselves onto someone else. And so I ended up chasing several members of staff all over the place trying to get someone to give me an answer. Eventually after much arguing with the and refusing to budge outside of their offices (a total of 156 hours was spent camping outside the door waiting for someone to talk to me) I was placed at a really lovely school in South Lincolnshire and the tutor in charge pulled out all the stops by putting me with a lovely class teacher and arranging daily transport to and from work in a selection of very nice cars (a Rolls Royce on the first day seemed to go down quite well with my class).

During this time I was going to stay with a friend of mine who I had met through . She was living in a town which was about a 30 minute drive from the school I would be working at. The house was lovely and ideal for a young couple starting out. However my friend had obviously not read the section in the tenancy agreement that specified that you were not allowed any pets in the house. In fact they had so many pets could have rivaled London Zoo! And was clear that this abundance of animal mania was taking its toll on my friend as the house was infested with flies which in due course led to the appearance of maggot larvae in the carpets and cupboards and hatching at any moment. There was animal droppings and urine (and they had some pretty big animals …) all over the place and due to this hideous concoction of germs and just general lack of hygiene an awful smell lingered around the house that could be detected several houses down. was all quite evident in my fathers face when he dropped me off at the house. We knew they had animals, but we were definantly not prepared for what was inside the house. My dad kept asking me when my friend was out of the room whether I would be ok or not. I didn’t really have any options without costing my family a huge amount of money so just smiled and nodded. Dad being dad knew I was only smiling to make him feel better but there was no getting out of the situation. How do you turn around to someone and say “oh by the way I have had a change of plan, your house is so disgusting that the thought of eating anything in this place makes me worry about getting ring worms”? So Dad said his goodbyes and went out to the car where he drove round the corner, called my mum and broke down into tears. Meanwhile I had to try and look at the positive aspects (believe me was quite hard) but I had to just grin and bare . Afterall, these people had taken me in rent free (even though my parents had given them a hefty cheque to say thank you) and so who was I to throw that all back in their faces? The days went past, the smell didn’t seem to affect me because I was slowly getting used to . I was sleeping on an inflatable matress on the floor of their spare bedroom and I kept telling myself I could get through this for 7 weeks. was only when I had got through two matresses as one of the pets kept getting into the room when I was at work and ripping the lining to shreds within one week and I had to sleep on the floor surrounded by little cacoons of maggots ready to hatch at any moment that I began to feel quite down. I started getting incredibly sick at work, I had rashes appearing all over my body and was just feeling totally depressed. Everyone kept telling me to give up and go home, that wasn’t worth but this was my . I had always wanted to be a teacher and I wasn’t going to give up, was only 7 weeks of my life that would work for the better.

At this stage my tutor was becoming concerned with the way I was physically deteriorating. I was barely able to eat anything at work and was coping with 2 hours sleep a night at the most. My poor boyfriend was receiving phone calls every evening where I would just end up crying down the phone for hours, begging him to give me some advice or tell me that was all going to be ok. The teacher mentor whose class I was teaching on the placement kindly invited me round her home to have dinner with her and her husband who were both incredibly lovely and she was always there to offer support and advice when I needed . In the end the tutor and my supporting teacher advised me to leave the house and find somewhere else which would be no easy task with no student loan or financial support from the and the remaning £120 of my overdraft left in my bank account. Luckily my parents were incredibly supportive and went looking on the internet for places to rent and hotel accomodation. Unfortunatly at this stage I had only 6 weeks until I finished the placement and no one would accept a lodger for such a short time. Hotels were incredibly expensive and not within easy reach either. However one of the women who worked in the school office knew of someone who could have helped. Her daughter’s friend had a house with two bedrooms and she had recently been made redundant so needed financial help. If she was willing to take in a lodger and my parents were able to pay then I would be able to move. My parents agreed straight away and so I ended up moving in with a person I had never met before in my life. She was incredibly friendly and was really supportive of what I wanted to do and for the first time in what seemed like years I felt I could relax a little.

The placement went from strength to strength after that and I felt so at home in the school. The kids were lovely and respected me as much as any other teacher and I felt like I was part of the teaching team. The six weeks flew by and before I knew the placement was over. I got glowing reports and references from both the school and my tutor and am and always will be grateful for all their help. was incredibly sad saying goodbye to the kids after everything that had happened to get me there and then keep me there. I returned a few months later for the children’s christmas concert and the kids all seemed really happy to see me. I secured myself a teaching position on a temporary contract for 8 months in Hertfordshire so unfortunatly that was the last time I was going to see that class. I still feel quite sad about leaving that school several months later. To me they felt like they were my class, the first class that you teach as part of your career and I felt I was achieving isomething with them and as a result they are now the measure that all my other classes from past, present and future will live up to.

Now I am a year 4 teacher, I have moved into my first official home with my partner and although ’s challenging I am finally doing the things I love. Ok, so not every day is a picnic and not every lesson is some all singing, all dancing extravaganza but ’s learning from your practise, reflecting on your experiences and just enjoying that matters and I wouldn’t want to do any other job in the world right now. Maybe ask me in 20 years if I’m still teaching, I don’t know what the future holds in store for me. All I know is that I have learnt from my experiences as a trainee teacher and now I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.

Sphere: Related Content

Yes the old saying ‘its what you do with that counts’ can be applied to many things, particularly in .  Thanks to bare metal hypervisors its now possible to run your entire infrastructure on a much smaller collection of hardware than was previously necessary.  Mobile phones can now perform many of the functions which previously required a fully fledged PC.  The relentless march of technology is focussed on power efficient processing.

All this means very little to me at the moment unfortunately because buried under a pile of UBE (Unsolicited or Useless Bloody Email depending on your mindset) more commonly known as SPAM.  Recent statistics put the level of spam currently being pumped out at somewhere around 80% of email traffic, 80% of all email currently flying around the net is totally useless and bloody annoying.  My companies current approach to this massive mountain of crap is…..

…. to place the most weakass, difficult to manage, leaky as all hell between the outside world and our mailserver.

On most days we may as well turn the damn thing off.

I have made my case for a appliance, a dedicated machine with 24 hour support and a nice easy to use web interface and I’ve been ignored, so yesterday I put some figures together.  I’ve lost the link now but somewhere on http://www.wikipedia.org/ someone gave information from a 2001 study which put the cost of a spam email to the recipient at somewhere around $0.10 (7p) so with this figure in mind I ran through the stats I had gathered and worked out a rough cost per year to my company of the amount of spam which currently makes past our and has to be dealt with by a member of staff.  Even I was surprised by the answer:

£31000

31 grand wasted because the company won’t spend £3/4000 on a spam appliance that actually works.

The cost to those sending out is probably about 10p.

I’ve made my case (again) and I’ll see whether a) anything actually happens and b) I get any credit for (like perhaps some of that 31 grand being added to my pay packet).

Next I’ll see if I can find a good enough business reason for the company to buy my new home PC.

Sphere: Related Content

I’m still thinking through the consequences of a staff briefing at work yesterday which contained mention of two of the most unpleasant terms you can hear in your working life, redundancy and pay cut. We are officially feeling the effects of the economic hole that British banks have dug for us, which is unsurprising when you think about most of our clients are retired and living off investment income which means they’ve just seen that income slashed by the massive drop in interest rates. Along with this the falling value of the pound has pushed costs up significantly, particularly in Europe.

All this leads to a situation which many working here have never really experienced, in any real sense money hasn’t been too much of a worry for the younger generation and as a result our definition of ‘essential purchase’ is now being found to be flawed. So its time to cut costs both at work and at home, at work this is difficult, purchases are already only made when necessary for business functions rather than going for the nice to haves. At home on the other hand things are a little easier, WoW is gone, dad can foot the bill for the Napster subscription because he uses more than me at the moment anyway and my subscription to CustomPC will be coming to an end. The three regular payments that will hang around are this web space (£5 a month I think I can swallow), my car and its associated bits and bobs (because frankly at the moment would probably cost me more to get rid of than keep ) and my mobile (without which I’d actually find difficult to communicate with the outside world). All these will help reduce the outgoings but I’ll also be looking to increase the incomings which hopefully will include the money for the design and construction of a website for the playschool where Funkymonarch’s mum works.

Aside from all this I really need to sit and think about what my options for the future are and precisely where I’m going with my (work) life, do I stay in or is now the time to consider other possible career choices? Is now the wrong time to be considering a massive change in direction? A whole myriad of factors will go into making these decisions and the upshot of all I don’t even know yet, what ever happens interesting times are ahead.

Sphere: Related Content

Powered by WordPress Web Design by SRS Solutions © 2010 Secret Diaries….. Design by SRS Solutions

Secret Diaries….. is Digg proof thanks to caching by WP Super Cache