philmophlegm: (Reginald Iolanthe Perrin)
This article struck something of a chord. Actually that's an understatement.

If the article is TL:DR, here's the executive summary: Organisations recruit clever people, but then discourage them from using their intelligence. It could easily have been written about my former employer (one of the Big 4 global professional services firms). And it's one of the things that consistently bugged me the most.
philmophlegm: (Conway Stewart)

I came across this article on Linkedin. If you’re on Linkedin, here’s the link: If you aren’t, well sorry but I couldn’t find it anywhere else (including the author’s blog) so I assume it’s a Linkedin exclusive.

Clearly I’m not going to copy it, but I think it’s reasonable to discuss it here.

Basically, it’s a list of terrible HR policies that are nevertheless common. One of the best things about being your own boss is not having HR policies. And I suspect that these, despite being terrible, are very common, especially among larger organisations. Put it this way, my previous employer, the giant professional services firm referred to on these pages (for reasons that are sort of apparent to anyone who has seen or read ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’) as ‘JOLF’ was regularly in the top five in the Sunday Times ‘Best Big Company to Work For’ Survey. And I’ve encountered maybe nine of the ten practices listed here at that paragon employer.

Read more... )
philmophlegm: (Invasion Earth)
One unfortunate side-effect of my soon-to-be-reduced circumstances is that I'll have to actually buy a mobile phone. This is something I haven't had to do this millennium because my soon-to-be-former employer was nice enough to buy me one (most recently an iPhone 4, before that a pre-3G Blackberry Curve and before that a Motorola Razr V3 (remember them?)).

I make very infrequent calls. How infrequent? Put it this way, when I had to separate out personal calls on my monthly bills, they usually came to less than £1. Still, it's useful to have a mobile phone handy for emergencies like old ladies collapsing and falling off walls as you're driving past*.

I quite like the portable internet browser and ability to play games while sitting waiting for stuff to happen when out and about of my iPhone, so some sort of smartphone would be preferred.

So how do I get a decent smartphone without spending lots on line rental? Tariffs? Network? Handset?

One option would be to pay off my work iPhone. I think I can do this for £100. And then presumably get a SIM-only deal.
A second option would be to dust off the ancient Blackberry and use that, although I don't know how good the battery is, and it's old enough to not have 3G.

* Something that happened in Tavistock a couple of Saturdays ago.
philmophlegm: (Got Fish!)
I will survive the weekend. I have found the two partners I needed for Moscow, one from Trondheim and one from Bergen.

I am happy.
philmophlegm: (Default)

I thought I’d do something a little different with this Phligm Phlagm post. Instead of using links grabbed from Twitter or andrewducker, I thought I’d put up links to some of my own favourite LiveJournal posts. And by that I mean ones that I wrote.

Sort of a ‘Phlegmatic Greatest Hits’, or at least a ‘The Best of Philmo Phlegm’ compilation.

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philmophlegm: (Fleetwood Mac)
This is based on a wide-ranging discussion at work over the last two days. The 20-somethings concerned are university-educated* professionals.

The Basque Country
Real tennis
Lord Mountbatten
Any British prime minister before Margaret Thatcher, with the exception of Winston Churchill
Any US president before Bill Clinton, with the exception of FDR
Eric Clapton
Carlos Santana
Laurence Olivier
Alec Guinness
John Gielgud
Kim Basinger

* Or at least they went to university. God** knows what they were educated in if they've never heard of Alec Guinness.
** AKA the sixth entry on this list of course.

9/11 meme

Sep. 11th, 2011 12:08 am
philmophlegm: (Default)
We're a few hours ahead of New York here, but since it's just gone midnight, that means that it is September 11th. Or, to put it another (and more American) way, 9/11.

That means that it is almost ten years since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. At the time I remember thinking two things. The first was something along the lines of "The world changed today". The second was that this would be one of those events that people are supposed to "remember where they were when they heard".

So that's the meme.

Where were you when you heard that planes had flown into the World Trade Centre? No reaction, no emotion, no comment; just simply where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news? Comment below, and if you like the idea reproduce on your own blog.

Me: At a conference centre in Gloucestershire chairing a week-long JOLF graduate induction course.
philmophlegm: (Reginald Iolanthe Perrin)
I mean, really know.

Per hour?

When I sold computer and role-playing games in the Virgin Games Centre in the Westgate Centre, I knew the answer to this, sort of. Basic pay was £4.20 an hour. I didn't get much in the way of perks. I worked the hours I was paid for, plus a bit extra, and it took me about half an hour each way to walk to and from work.

Nowadays, I get an annual salary plus bonus, allowance for not having a company car, lunch allowance, pension contributions, allowance for being a first aider, allowance for being an evacuation marshal and allowance for being a workplace assessor. But I work a very variable amount of unpaid overtime. My commute is about 40 minutes each way. And I often have nights away from home in glamorous locations like Watford.

So, although I could work out most of my remuneration from sources like my P60, and I could have a good stab at working out my total hours, it wouldn't be easy. I'm guessing that this is probably the case for most full-time, salaried employees.

And I wonder whether that is deliberate on the part of employers.
philmophlegm: (911)
Questions meme

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I like my new coat.

2. How much cash do you have on you?

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?

4. Favorite planet?
Athfuashhok'k (or however it was spelt)

Read more )
philmophlegm: (ICAEW)
The latest plan is to pay their university tuition fees and their accommodation costs while at university.

Quite an offer. Hopefully it will be expanded to other offices after the first year.

My only concern (and it's a big one) is that it will narrow the skills possessed by JOLF employees because most of them will do the same degree course (in Accountancy).
philmophlegm: (Default)
I still have two weeks left of my Christmas holiday. I haven't posted much in a while, so here are some Christmas thoughts and events.

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philmophlegm: (ICAEW)
I was at JOLF's shiny new building at 15 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London last Thursday and Friday. Had I been there this Friday, instead of our Gatwick (i.e. Crawley) office, I would have been able to see the building being officially opened by Her Majesty!


philmophlegm: (Default)

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