Sunday, 22 February 2009


I needed to vent a bit, and this place seems as good as any. Plus the cat gets upset when I start shouting at the walls. I've been stressed/down/annoyed for the following reasons:

1) There is a member of our team at work who is a contractor (the last one left). After some perceived slight I made about his coding style three months ago he has refused to speak to me (not long after I went permanent). Not long after my colleague equally switched to being a permanent staff member, this contractor refused to speak to him either.

This man is 63.

For a while he would reply to emails requesting that he did work, but for the last few weeks he's refused to deal with anyone but Idiot Boss, misses most meetings, deliberately sits down in the few 'Stand-up' meetings we have and has resorted to replying to direct questions via Idiot Boss, i.e.

Me: "{name removed} could you please check in your design elements?"
Contractor (to Idiot Boss): "Please inform {my name} that I will do that this afternoon."

I'd like to repeat that this man is sixty-fucking-three.

You wouldn't think it as possible for one man to suck the life out of a team of six people but work right now is a depressing, unpleasant, awkward place to be.

2) For the last 8 years of my life (the vast majority of my working life) I've lived the bachelor life. I've had total control over what I did or bought, where I went on holiday, what frivolous things I wasted my money on etc. I don't mean that I was single, more that in a 'career' that changed location every year - that had no permanence at all - I lived in the short-term. I didn't save, I didn't settle into one place or job - I just took the cash and I partied. Lots.

Last summer I took the decision to grow up a little bit. I met Mrs Red Squirrel, I took a permanent job, I started a pension, I started actually saving money. While this is great and what I wanted it has its downside, and that's budgeting. No longer can I just rely on the pay check clearing my debts at the end of the month.

While this sounds trivial it's a major mental adjustment. I'm having to go without things I'd normally not think twice about, remove bits of my life I can no longer afford and limit the amount of socialising I do that involves spending money.

It's a big challenge to change ingrained habits but I was getting there slowly but surely. This point isn't about me saying 'boo-hoo I have to do what just about everyone else does'. No, this point is entirely about me being pissed off that in the circumstances of suddenly feeling the pinch of restrained living, I then find out that my accountants (or, to be truthful, ex-accountants) dropped a bollock on my tax return for the current financial year.

I owe a lot more than I have right now and will have to reduce what I spend considerably further than my current cuts just to meet my tax obligation at the end of the year.

This has not put me in a good mood.

3) The current state of the world economy. My word, it's depressing out there. However in all of it I can't help feel rather annoyed at the base misunderstanding in all the news reports. Yes, banks have lost a lot of money off their balance sheets - but that's not real money. Something is worth what someone will pay for it, but it doesn't become actual money until you sell it. Money hasn't been lost out of the world economy at all - when Bank A lent Amos 'Only Two Teeth' Jones $200,000 to buy a shack in the bayou (despite the closest Amos ever came to a job was being paid to stop sleeping with his sister), that money didn't disappear. Whomever owned the shack got $200,000. On the balance sheet it looks like Bank A 'lost' that money but it still exists in the pocket of Swamp Shacks Inc. The problem with the world economy is that there are lots of people out there with money who simply aren't spending it, and the more the news reports the doom and gloom then the less they spend, and the more people lose their jobs. We're now in a vicious circle fueled by our wonderful 24-hour news culture of making every single piece of news sound like Armageddon.

Which brings me neatly on to....

4) Jade Goody.

I feel sorry that she's dying. Not very sorry admittedly. I feel about as sorry as I feel for the other 100,000 people who die of cancer every year in this country. There is a limit to how much grief you can feel for someone you don't know and whom has no connection to you or anyone you know.

Because that's what Jade Goody is. She's not a celebrity - she's a mentally deficient, racist bigot who didn't even win Big Brother. She didn't even come in the top 3 I think, of not even the first series. That's how much of a non-entity she is.

Yet for some unfathomable reason I cannot avoid her. The fact that she's dying has got more column inches than the Tsunami that killed 200,000 people. The LEAD STORY on the BBC website in the week was that her bottom-feeding scumbucket of a boyfriend (he's currently got a chip attached to his ankle and a curfew for assaulting someone with a golf club) is being let off his curfew so they can get married. He was given special dispensation by the fucking Minister of Justice personally!

The Prime Minister has even been commenting on how tragic it is that she's going to die soon.

In all this the woman herself, as much as I dislike what I've seen of her, has been entirely honest. She's netting £1.5m for the photo deal for her wedding, on top of whatever she gets for filming herself slowly dying, and she's said she's doing it all so that her family and children have a good life once she's gone.

I can't be angry at her personally, it's the media and the current culture of this country that is pissing me off. Fair enough that the tabloids would all have her has front-page stories - they would barely exist without Reality TV after all - but when serious broadsheets start having her as front-page news, when the BBC website has a new story about her on its main page every single day, when the TV news *leads* with the fact that she's got married.......garrrgh! It makes my blood boil.

Jade Goody is dying. I can't bring myself to care anymore.


And as a counterpoint to all the above because I tend to get carried away during a rant:

1) Contractor person is leaving in a week or so so hopefully he'll take the poisoned atmosphere with him.
2) I have a job and I should be grateful for it.
3) I'm equally not buying certain things because of the media-fuelled panic so I'm just as guilty as everyone else.
4) It won't be long before it's over and thick people can go back to worshipping her alongside Princess 'Bury Me in a Y-shaped Coffin' Diana and hopefully I never have to hear her name again.


phd in yogurtry said...

As for people spending less money (in fear, thanks to doom scenerios) and its effect on the economy, this was inevitable. Look at the revolving credit trends over the past couple decades. Too many people carrying too much credit, it was a credit bubble that had to burst. It blows my mind that the credit industry didn't predict the obvious and adjust accordingly.

Sweet Cheeks said...

Holy Shit Little Squirrel...

Good thing you got that rant might have exploaded.

1) Sixty-fucking-three year olds know better...good riddance to him.

2) Budgeting sucks, but is necessary for everyone. Hopefully, you can find some less expensive ways to socialize or have some fun. I feel for you there. Those damn accountants!

3) Everybody is buying less. We are being cautious until things hopefully stablize a bit. You are an intelligent and responsible squirrel. Full steam ahead.

4) Never heard of the Jade Goody person. Maybe skip those parts whilst reading the paper and then set it on fire. That might make you feel better.

Hang in there...things will get better!

Belle said...

Feel better?

Shila Shila and Cult Jam said...

Ah, you've articulated very well some of my own big stresses these days, and you've done so better than I could've done myself.

Thanks for saving me the trouble!!!

(I hope you cheer up soon...)

Red Squirrel said...

Dr. Yoghurt - couldn't agree more. If people outside the industry could see it then why couldn't the 'experts'? Well, mainly because the experts could still rake in £10m bonuses and then get redundancy pay...

Sweet Cheeks - yeah, sorry, that's been building for a while. The first point is the one that drove me over the edge though :)

Belle - much, thanks :)

Shila - welcome and, er, you're welcome! :)

ozzie hobbie said...

ah, sweet sweet normality has returned, you've been FAR to content of late ;-P
ranting is your forte, don't hide it.

weenie said...

Must say your company is lenient, there's no way any contractors could even contemplate that kind of attitude.

Having had the redundancy axe over my head twice last year and the possibility of it happening again with the new 'restructure', I have got the attitude now that I have a job and should be grateful. But no more early starts and late nights working, it doesn't earn me any overtime or brownie points so why do it?

I've been budgeting most of my adult life - it's the only way I can afford regular holidays to the far east. I know I'm going to be skint this year but I'm still planning on at least two foreign holidays this year. Life's to enjoy.

Jade Goody - don't read about it, though I feel sorry for her, more so for her kids.

Red Squirrel said...

hobbit - my drunken rants with the arm waving are generally considered my best. How's oz? Dodged the fires? :-P

weenie - I think my biggest problem with the Jade Goody thing is the way it's almost impossible to avoid it. I listen to the news on the radio a lot, or even on TV where you don't get a choice. Ah well, as I said it'll be over soon and the tabloids can find someone else to feed on...

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

Tell me about Jade Goody... she gets a column almost every other even in the Indian newspapers!!! Pain in the *&^%...probably just a bit more than Shilpa Shetty who has been relaunched after that Big Brother incident from a nobody dumb actress to a glamorous maybe-somebody someday!!
Ok, first-timer at your blog.... would definitely like to add you to my blogroll... please do visit my blog when you can!

Red Squirrel said...

Roshni - welcome! :)