Standard weekly hours up to 42 in Bavaria?

February 20, 2008 at 8:54 am | Posted in Work | Leave a comment
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Uh oh. I had previously assumed that the 40 standard weekly hours were carved in stone – but now I learned that full-time civil servants in Bavaria below the age of 50 have to work 42 hours a week, and that since September 2004 already! I’m surprised that didn’t cause a major public outcry. It hit the news again now because an inspector had sued the Free State of Bavaria for infringement upon his right of self-determination, as less time off means less time for the pursuit of hobbies and expression of personality. He lost…what ever happened to the plans to introduce the 35 hours week? This is not a good sign…

A Long Commute: Upside and Downside

December 14, 2007 at 10:44 am | Posted in Career, Work | 1 Comment
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I started on my new job the last week of November, and am pretty happy with it. What continues to be a downside, however, is the long commute: This and last week, I got up at 5:40 am to get on the 6:51 train (I need to have enough time to drink my litre of Earl Grey in the morning, so 6:15 won’t do for me). I arrive at my destination at 8:01am and try to sleep on the train, but that doesn’t always work out (Don’t blame it one the tea though; I surely noticed that my Christmas Green Tea kept me awake on the train, but I allow my morning Earl Grey to steep for five minutes – that is supposedly giving it a soothing effect). On the night train, however, I can sleep like a baby – unless I have to engage in conversation with colleagues on the train, which of course can be nice, but I am so addicted to sleep…

At least I don’t have to commute by car which would be quite a pain in the butt as you can neither read nor sleep behind the wheel. Unless the urge for sleep overwhelms you, one can use a good hour on the train for many useful things:

_catch up on your reading (most important point!)
_take your lappy with you and work on the train
_prepare yourself for meetings during the day
_make a few early-bird phone calls in particular to doctors and agencies
_knit, crochet or take care of other urgent needlework

So commuting isn’t all bad. And the one peculiar advantage of my present situation is that there is a COMPLETE SPLIT between work and home. Where I lived before, it was a 15 minutes walk to my office, and it happened regularly that I went in late at night or worked long hours. I don’t have this flexibility now anymore, and need to be more disciplined in terms of how swiftly I take care of things. But as soon as I get on the train home, I am leaving work behind. Not a bad thing!

The best of all commutes, however is telework! In the future, I might inofficially be able to telecommute at least one day a week. Then I’ll paste this sticker on my lappy:
I don't commute, I compute

The unemployed goes to work for free

October 8, 2007 at 6:13 am | Posted in Work | 3 Comments
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My mini-traineeship to become an editor starts today. I am a bit nervous – where is that switch to turn nervousness into excitement?

The Dark Side of Social Media: The Corporate Zombies Keep Coming Back

October 4, 2007 at 7:29 am | Posted in Work | 7 Comments
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Yuk. On xing.com (which is something like LinkedIn catering mainly for German speaking countries, i.e. pretending to be a business network, but it’s really just a Facebook for adults) I just stumbled over the profile of one of the most insane persons I have ever met in a company environment. A woman with a massive inferior complex who kept making jokes about people with a university degree, basically because she couldn’t get over the fact that she didn’t have one.

Whenever my favourite colleague and I used words that remotely sounded academic, she would scowl at us, and then jump at the next opportunity to diss academics in a conversation with one of the poor apprentices, who called her ‘Mama Ragna’ (that was not her name), not knowing that her embrace was as motherly as that of a killer octopus. It was usually the same story she invoked, about academics being sooo smart, but too dumb to tie their shoe laces, etc. Of course the apprentices did not dare to disagree, even though most of them started studying after doing their apprenticeship.

We were sitting at desks facing each other, and because she didn’t dare to play her stupid mind games openly, she would sent me emails instead, telling me that I should stop acting the way I acted (whatever that was supposed to mean; being better educated, I guess) and asking me how I felt, only to use this as an opportunity to tell me how she felt, which was: neglected and ridiculed by my colleague’s and my behaviour.

We usually had to work extra hours, because it was impossible to cope with the work load: Apart form calling us project managers, our boss had also provided to make us do time-consuming tasks that normally get done by the intern or an assistant, such as mailing product shots to arbitrary advertising agencies who were asking for them via mail or phone. That was his way of keeping us small.

It happened a couple of times in these late hours that she waited until everybody else had left and then started shouting at me, really making a scene in front of me, as if we were in a relationship (of horror): How I never thought of her and how I should mind her feelings and what have you. Every now and again she tried to make a lunch date with me. Even though the company was somewhere in the very outskirts where you only could go to the same in-house canteen, and only with colleagues, people there had the bad habit to make lunch dates, so you could never just go to the canteen, but had to find yourself a lunch date partner first. I soon hated lunch time.

I, my favourite colleague and the women from the department right next to us dreaded lunch dates with Ragna, as she only tried to manipulate people for her cause, whatever her cause was. So whenever she had forced one of us to go on a lunch date with her, the others were so wise as to not make other arrangements, and then asked whether they could join. Ragna wasn’t quite able to see through this scheme, but sensed that there was something going on and paranoid as she was, this only increased her feeling that everyone else was out to get her, or looking down on her.

So I found her ugly mug on xing.com now. I visited her profile, in the hope that she will notice that I did, and also note that I did NOT ask her to be my business contact. I even hope that she is going to ask me, so that I can turn down her request 🙂 Ah, fantasies of omnipotence.

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