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I only have three goals in life. One is to fly into space. I think I'd like the view and the ability to float in mid air. Second is the opportunity to compete at, and hopefully win, the Olympic Games. I have yet to choose my discipline. Roy Castle says dedication is all you need. Thirdly, I'd like to be involved with my football team, maybe as owner or board member. A position where I can make a difference rather than aimlessly cheering my side every weekend. These are my goals. All I need is a route to reach them.
Today it rained. Everyone hates this weather, but this time I am glad, having just sowed some grass seed in my garden. Sometimes I think that I always land on my feet. It hasn't rained here for weeks. Maybe I only remember the fortunate times in my life, maybe I am a born optimist, or maybe I am just lucky. The saying "every cloud has a silver lining" seems particularly appropriate on this occasion. That is how I feel. Every time something goes bad, something good seems to come out of it. I think this happens too often for chance.
A girl walks into a house. Girl meets eleven strangers. Girl talks a lot. Girl never listens. Public hates Girl. Public wants Girl out but strangers say no. Girl stays in house. Girl is youngest in house. Strangers take pity on girl. Girl is their baby. Girl plays the fool. Girl gets drunk. Girl and stranger cavort under blankets. Public sees all. Girl is upset. Girl manipulates strangers, making them hate one another. Strangers find out. Girl is nominated for eviction. Public to decide. Girl to be thrown to the lions. Girl doesn't deserve it. Girl is just a girl.
There's a woman in my office. She works at the checkout in the canteen. I don't think this is her only job – she seems to stack shelves and serve food sometimes too. Every day I buy my sandwiches and juice and every day I can't think of anything worthwhile to say to her. I get as far as "hello" and a smile but I've never even got as far as her name. Maybe I should make chit chat about the menu or something. I'm not trying to chat her up, I'm just trying to be friendly and brighten her day.
I'm supposed to go to the gym later tonight. I paid an annual membership fee up front as motivation to attend. It's not working. Why is it that all I ever feel like doing when I come home from work is slumping in front of the TV and doing nothing? Totally exhausted even though I rarely even leave my seat at work. I've no reason to be tired. I wonder if I don't sleep properly. Anyway… I've got fifteen minutes to think of tonight's excuse. How about "I'm not feeling well again" or "I've got really important work to do"?
I lead a bootstrap lifestyle. In two days time, I am due to be paid. I am paid monthly in advance and receive a reasonably good salary for my age, but its still not a lot. Most of my money will go to pay off my credit card, my car loan and my mortgage. I am left with enough to live on, but without extravagance. I know roughly how much I can spend on food and how often, how expensive presents I can buy at birthdays and how often I can go out for drinks with friends. Life's very organised.
Its Sunday. The Day Of Rest. I was planning to redecorate the bathroom today but haven't got very far. Indeed, yesterday I made more mess than progress. So today has been spent reading DIY manuals, digesting instructions and contemplating what the best way to solve my tiling problems would be. I've already bought all the kit - tiles, electric shower, paint, grout – but I've still got to prepare all the walls, modify the plumbing and basically get my finger out. It looked so much easier on TV. Still, I'm sure it will look wonderful in the end (whenever that is).
Something amazing happened today. Instead of my usual pointless meandering around the Net, I actually managed to sell something! So long, Wonderstuff CD, its been painful knowing you. It was the first CD I ever bought, and also my first sold. I got it ten years ago for £9.99 and have recouped £5.35 of that. The music was pretty awful – it must have cost me about a pound per play over the years. ‘Construction For The Modern Idiot', it was called and a modern idiot I must have been to buy it. Still, at least I'm not the only one.
My boss has recommended I go on a training course: "Assertiveness Without Aggression". I am, therefore, currently an aggressive doormat. I am sometimes quiet but maybe quietness does not equate to non-assertiveness. The root of his concern is the feedback he received on my work over the first six months of the year. Of four bits of feedback, three said I was a quiet member of the group and needed to speak up more. The fourth said I am confident and outgoing but it was overlooked as a blip. Today's other big story… the damn caterpillars have eaten my cauliflowers!
Today, I was published as a case study of a non-IT graduate working in an IT job. Its an idea from the UK government to attract a broader range of skills into the IT industry. The interview took place back in January and I've been waiting for authorisation from my bosses to allow publication to go ahead. I've also been signed up as a "Career Mentor" for new graduates, which is a bit strange considering I have only been working for 20 months. Its strange to think that I am the IT industry's voice to the intellectual youth of today!
What is the sorest thing in the world? A couple of hours ago, I accidentally kicked a metal bracket on a piece of wood whilst wearing only my socks, resulting in a nasty gash on the side of my toe. It is still throbbing. I can feel my pulse in the wound. I would compare this to the pain of bashing your leg on the sharp corner of a table or biting your tongue when chewing food. Tiny wound by very sore. Pain per inch, I'd imagine this beats childbirth. Its lucky I'm a grown up and don't cry anymore.
In three days time, 800 of my workmates will discover they no longer have jobs. They will be given one month to find a new position in the company or they are out. They are ‘at risk'. Fortunately, my department is unaffected. In my current role, I move people around projects, getting the best person into the most suitable jobs. I have nothing to do with redundancy selection. Somehow, I don't think the unfortunates will see it that way. I expect to be abused, insulted, shouted at and hated, but I'd still much rather be in my position than theirs.
This evening, I am due to go to my ex-housemate, Tony's, birthday barbecue. I'm not sure who is going. Tony said "everyone is going" but nobody I've asked so far is. My girlfriend is ill and staying at home and I'll be driving when everyone else is drinking. Should be err… interesting. People say you get out of something only what you put in, so I'm going to try to be cheerful and keep an open mind. If nothing else, at least I'll get some free food off the barbie! I really hope I'm not the only one staying sober!
What a disaster! Crispified sausages, charcoaled potatoes and frazzled chicken! My barbecue debut didn't go well! I am so disappointed. The day began well. I planned to make my girlfriend dinner using the barbecue she bought for my birthday. All the food was here and the weather was great. Problems started when I tried to use a cheapo portable barbecue as the heat source for my main machine. First too cold to cook anything. A second bag of charcoal, a load of paper, a good few squirts of lighter fluid and one match later, I have an inferno! Goodbye dinner!
Once in a while, everyone gets a nice surprise. Today, it was my turn. Just before I left for work this morning, a plain white envelope, the same as any other, came through my letterbox. Inside, I expected another bill, bank statement or irrelevant junk mail. Instead, the letter was from the solicitor assigned to manage my Gran's estate. She died in April. A very thoughtful lady with a talent for baking and remembering minute details. Although she didn't have much money, she left me £1000. What a wonderful gift. I'd happily pay 100 times more to have her back.
Another two of my workmates were made redundant today. They both sit at the opposite side of the desk to me. One is a single mother, mid 40s, friendly, talks to herself sometimes, the other is a married young lady who only recently returned to work following the birth of her first son. I don't know what to say to people in these situations. Nothing sounds right. Surely there must be better candidates for redundancy than these two. Is it right to lay people off who will be severely affected financially and may find it difficult to get further work?
I am in demand! In the space of one afternoon, I got a phonecall from a PhD student at Strathclyde Business School requesting to study me as part of his thesis on Customer Relationship Management in IT companies. Next, I was asked if the fancy new spreadsheet code I'd written could be rolled out across more departments. After that, I was asked to provide a character reference for a CV – first time that's happened. And finally… I found out that I am covering my boss's role while he's off on holiday. How cool is that!? Me, a manager at 25!
Somebody complained to the council about us. I live with my Girlfriend in a Victorian terraced house. As we are in the middle of the terrace, it is difficult for us to move our waste and recycling bins around to the back of the house after collection, so we leave them out front. Unfortunately, this has offended the disabled, elderly and child owning communities, who somehow cannot navigate past this ‘obstruction'. What do they want? A map??! Anyway, instead of politely asking me if I could help, they complained to the council, who have sent us a warning letter. Grrrrr!!!!
Another week over! Only two months and two weeks to go until I finish my current project. I quite like the people I'm working with and everybody gets on well, it's just that my day to day work is really dull. I wonder what I'll be doing next? I'd like to be doing something ‘nerdy' like application development or programming. Fingers crossed, I won't have to do a similar job again. Perhaps, they'll even let me out of the graduate scheme. I've been studying personal relationships and influencing people. Maybe a little manipulation of my manager will do the trick.
I'm thinking of spending my inheritance on a digital camera. A really good one. There is a nice new Fuji that I fancy which seems to be winning all the awards. It got 92% in Digital Camera buyer. Only problem is that £550 is the lowest price I've found. I hate this dilemma – is it better to buy now while the technology is hot or to wait a few months for the price to drop? I think I'll take the plunge and order it tomorrow. All I have to do is pluck up the courage to overcome my miserly ways!
Had an argument with my Girlfriend today: "You started decorating that bathroom months ago and its still not finished!" I did indeed start months ago – nine months to be exact! Still not even half way, partly due to motivation and partly costs. We agreed to make a list of tasks needing done, how long each would take, how much it would cost and who was in charge of it. The list is now pinned to the bathroom wall. I'm not sure if having it there will help or just depress us at how much work we still have to do.
What is it with women? Today, one of my female workmates asked me to guess her age. One year too high and I'd have been slapped! One year too low and I'd have been called a flattering liar! Fortunately, after agreeing to immunity from a beating, I guessed 32, which as it happened was just high enough to pass for a genuine guess but still lower than her actual age, 34. I don't understand why women worry about their age so much. As someone once said, "you're older than you've even been before but younger than you'll ever be again".
My managers all love my new spreadsheet tool! I am the Goldenboy of resource deployment! At least for the moment. I've been asked to send the spreadsheet off for wider use. No doubt they'll scrub my name from the credits and it'll be just another spreadsheet, independent from everyone. I suppose it is good that my main boss will get notified of my success. He always says I should be getting noticed more. Hopefully this will convince him that being quiet does not mean being hidden. If I'm lucky, I might even get a mention in the monthly ‘heroes' list.
The Commonwealth Games start tomorrow. I'd love to be there. I'd need a discipline, of course. I really respect the commitment and dedication of athletes that can reach that level. Even the ones who finish last are better than 99% of the population. It's true what they say about nobody ever remembering who finished second though. I want to finish first. I've two years until the Olympics. If things progress well, I might take 6 months leave from work to concentrate on training. I'm tall and thin so maybe running is my forte. Distance runners seem to look like me.
The Dads arrive tomorrow. This evening has been spent clearing all our DIY clutter, old magazines and general debris from around the house. Its actually looking ok now, even though our stuff hasn't really been cleaned up, just displaced from the middle of rooms to the corners. My Dad and my girlfriend's Dad are coming to visit for the Farnborough Air Show. I really hope Dad enjoys it. He's been looking forward to it for ages. I'm planning to do all I can to make it an extra special few days. Lots of father and son type events are planned.
We are off to pick up The Dads in an hour. I've not heard from either yet so slightly worried that things are not going to plan. A tanker overturned on the M25 today and it still hasn't been completely cleared so traffic will be a nightmare. Fingers crossed, we should get to the airport on time. I'm in the middle of tidying at the moment. I need to hoover and blow up an air mattress. Why can't somebody invent an easier method of inflating those things? Maybe that's how I could make my first million! Andrew's patented blower upper!
What a fantastic day! Dad enjoyed himself at the airshow and the weather was great. Unfortunately, we are all a bright shade of scarlet and a little bit sore. Don't forget to wear your sun cream, kids. The Red Arrows and the Eurofighter were the highlights of the day for me. The Harrier hovering backwards and the stunt pilots were also very impressive. What a racket they make! I couldn't hear myself think. The announcer on the PA system was drowned out too. Those aircraft are unbelievably powerful. I have a lot of respect for the geniuses who designed them.
Another nice day with Dad. Jennifer's father flew home this afternoon so Dad and I spent some time on Dad's specialist subject, surveying. He checked my bathroom over and thinks it was originally a ‘homer' who did it. Much work needing done, apparently. We fixed the sink drainage system. Its nice when we do stuff as a team, even nicer when we do it well. This evening, we all went out for dinner and then sat at the marina and watched the boats. Dad goes home tomorrow. I hope its not too long until I see him (and Mum) again.
So hot! It was around 30 degrees this afternoon. It wasn't the heat that was the problem, it was the humidity. I felt so sticky all day. Impossible to cool down. Worst of all, we spent much of the day driving between shops. Every time we managed to get the car down to a bearable temperature, it was time to park and when we returned, the car was roasting again. I need air conditioning. Either that or my own personal fanner. It's going on 10pm now and it is still boiling. I'll pray for a thunderstorm to cool us down…
My sunburnt nose has developed into an orange crusty mess with two bright red blisters on the tip. How embarrassing! I can see people looking at it when I talk to them. The back of my neck is equally bad, but fortunately nobody can see it apart from me. I actually phoned in sick to work today to save the pain of wearing a shirt (and all the hilarious pats on the back from my workmates). The only thing that cools the pain is spraying the affected areas with Aftersun and standing in front of my fan on full blast.
Typical! After 30 days of remembering to fill in my 100 words, I forget on the final day. Never mind, one day late isn't too bad. It has been strange to keep this diary of my thoughts and activities. I've never done anything like it before. I feel like I have accomplished something by sticking with this for the full month. I've not told anyone I'm writing this. It is kind of private, even though billions of people can read it. I suppose my life is the same as millions of others, but still unique. I kind of like it.
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