Sunday, 23 August 2009

I Can't Think Of A Title For This Post...

I went to a party the other night, in a pub called 'Messrs. Maguire' on Burgh Quay in central Dublin.

Organised out of work, and starting with lunch, it was a farewell bash for Rebecca, the second of our two IT Graduates to leave us in the last two months, and we had a blast.

I got home at three a.m., something I haven't done in a long, long time, and slept until ten, something I do whenever possible.

And although it was a good night, it was something of a bittersweet occasion.

As I may have commented elsewhere, we have a good bunch of people where I work, and teams become closely-knit. There's generally a good atmosphere in the department and we're largely spared the political infighting that goes on at higher levels in every company. Except when it comes to holding onto talented personnel.

The case in point is this - each year, the company, in it's largesse, takes on a number of newly-minted college graduates as part of a two-year work experience program. In its defence, the company makes no bones about the fact that the term of contract is two years only, after which the candidate will be released to seek outside employment. Grads are however permitted to compete for any internal vacancies that arise under the standard T&Cs, so that's something.

However, it has been the case in the past where grads who have demonstrated ability have been taken on as permanent staff, and we were hoping this would be the case with both Rebecca and Ross. At the very least, they deserved a contract extension, and their team leaders and managers went to bat for them with the General Manager who, we understood, would take it up with our director and maybe get a result.

But nothing doing. Contracts up, no extensions. HR policy.

This despite the fact that five other grads on the same program have been kept in other departments, and one of them has been made permanent. I think at least one's in the HR directorate, in which case the hypocrisy is staggering.

My question is, what's the point? We take the time and trouble to train and develop people, only to be told there's no place for them at the end of it all. Then more time is wasted training their replacements. Not that I'm against giving people opportunities - I just think they should be rewarded properly for what they themselves put into it.

In Ross and Rebecca's cases, neither will be drawing unemployment - Ross got sorted with a job in a bank, while Rebecca starts a new job tomorrow, organised by her direct manager.

We're happy for both of them, but it's the wrong reason for a party...

Monday, 10 August 2009

Coming Shortly To A Cinema Near You...

...but perhaps much later to a cinema near me, is Whiteout, starring Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht and Tom Skerritt and based on the graphic novel of the same name by Greg Rucka and Steve Lieber.

Here's a trailer:





A tale of murder, mystery and suspense in the frozen Antarctic wastes, if it's anything like the printed work it'll be a cracking movie.

One to which I've been looking forward for some time...

***Update***

Seems it's opening here on the 11th, so I don't have so long to wait after all. I just hope it doesn't go the way of The Spirit (which admittedly would be difficult) but there has been little if no advance word, and you know what that usually means...

A Small World...

I had something of a school reunion today.

Primary school, that is...

We had an engineer in today from one of our service providers to fit a new control panel. He paused for a moment when I introduced myself.

"Your face is familiar," he said, the way you do when you're trying to place someone but can't quite.

"I get that from time to time," I joked.

"You went to St Benedict's* National School, didn't you?"

Amazed at how he could possibly have known, I admitted that I had.

Turns out we were in the same class - over thirty years ago.

For my part, I must admit I didn't recognise him in return - although I have an old school photo that I must dig out - it's not scary if you fold back the end with the priest on it. Well it is, a bit**...

But it's bizarre that he recognised me - I think I've changed remarkably in appearance over the years, and I have way less hair than I used to when I was ten. It makes me wonder what sort of impression I must have made on people back then - was I a little monster? I don't think so, but I was no Boy Scout either.

I didn't go falling out of trees or tying tin cans to dogs' tails - and of the gang of us that hung out together and went tearing around on our bikes, I always thought of myself as being in the middle; rarely leading, but not dragging along behind either.

Strange...

Er, not me, you understand - just the episode in general terms...

*Name changed (as on Dragnet) to protect the innocent.
**And no, it wasn't one of those schools...

Back To Work...

Back to work today after a week's leave. Didn't go anywhere; I'm trying to get my apartment in some sort of shape to be worth putting on the market.

Not that there's much wrong with it - but informed sources tell me that the "spartan" look gives the impression of greater space - and no, that doesn't mean Gerard Butler greeting potential buyers with spear and shield.

Lena Headey, though - that might work.


Hmmm - better remind the estate agent to be careful when showing the balcony...