Weekly update

I had to rearrange my running physio appointment for next week because I somehow managed to give myself an ice burn on my foot last weekend. So I also ended up not running all week, which gave it a rest I suppose. I did a short-ish (6.5km) run today and it actually felt OK, but I’ll still keep the appointment since this seems to be a cyclical thing.

I’ve been preparing myself a bit more for interviewing again. I decided to get serious about it, which means I’ve completely overdone it. I bought a new webcam and a high quality microphone so I can use my desktop (with a wired connection) instead of my laptop for video calls. I read somewhere that high quality audio makes you come across better, so I thought, well, OK, let’s invest some money into that. It makes sense to me. If the other people interviewing are on low quality laptop webcams (pointed at their chin) with noisy audio and then I come along with 2K video and clear audio then, rightly or wrongly, I look a lot more professional. So now I have a big desk microphone plugged into an audio interface with lights and knobs (I already had the interface for my guitar) and I look like a radio DJ or something.

The problem now though is lighting. The window is behind me, which isn’t great. I kind of got away with it before by having my laptop angled at the side of me, but doing an interview like that with a desktop monitor isn’t really going to work. So I’m rearranging the room. Now I just need to buy a longer ethernet cable…

In totally unrelated news, I don’t get the Tour de France thing, with them threatening to sue the woman. The woman holding the sign didn’t collide with the rider, the rider collided with her. I mean, he’s on a bike and he ran into a stationary pedestrian. Did he try braking? Nope, he kept pedalling until about 2 metres before he crashed into her. Even Lionel Hutz couldn’t lose that case.

Breathe again…

So I got a reply to my email and the end result is I’m getting a 5% pay rise from July, which is my 2020 pay rise, and there’s a 2021 pay rise to come. So it’s a good outcome, but I am still somewhat underwhelmed because the 2020 pay rise should be backdated to, well, 2020.

Anyway, it puts me in a better position to start interviewing again now. I read today that the number of vacancies is currently at the highest point since the pandemic hit, so it’s as good a time as any.

I found this highly stressful and I’m glad it’s over now 🙄

I booked an appointment with a running clinic nearby for next week. Unfortunately I had the dreaded numbness in my toes this morning when running so I just decided to get on with it, like I was considering doing the last time around. Apparently they do proper gait analysis, and the practitioner is a runner with a (super fast) 1:10 half marathon time, so I think it’ll be an interesting experience even if they don’t actually fix the problem. I don’t know if there really is a fix for the problem other than a neurectomy (where they surgically remove the end of the nerve), but that doesn’t make sense at the moment since all I’m getting is a phase of numbness every few months, which is obviously better than the permanent numbness that the surgery would leave me with.

I’ve been feeling it slightly for the past few days, but it’s been very minor. A slight loss in sensation is just an odd vague feeling that you wonder if you’re imagining, but today it was getting towards proper numbness. The weird thing is though that it seems to come on after about ten minutes of running, but then a little while later it improves. That seems a bit strange if it’s purely a nerve compression issue. That sounds more like a muscle warming up.

Anyway, my left leg feels like it doesn’t work quite as well as my right. At this very moment the left side of my bottom is aching, and the left ankle always seems a bit stiffer than the right. And I get a few twinges of plantar fasciitis in my left heel every so often at the moment. So hopefully he will say “at yes, you’re a bit unbalanced” and figure out how to rectify it.

Emails are hard

I didn’t send that email this morning after all… I felt too stressed about it. I’ve had a week off, it’s really hot and I haven’t slept well, and I did a lot of running last week. The thought of having to spend all day working was bad enough, without sending it and then having to deal with the outcome, so I just didn’t.

But I told my mum and she got a bit grumpy with me. I’d already talked about it with her and she’d suggested some wording. She thinks I should be hassling them and that it’s pretty bad I’ve been here for a year and a half without a pay rise. She’s right…

I checked my offer letter and contract yesterday and it’s not quite so clear as I thought. I was definitely told verbally at the interview that I’d have a review at six months then annually thereafter. But the offer letter actually says my first review will be “scheduled after six months from my start date”, which is the same words but arranged in such an order as to have no meaning. The word “after” makes for awkward English and makes the timescale completely unbounded. It’s obvious what I’m supposed to understand from it, but it’s not obvious what their intention was in writing it. Is it just clumsy phrasing or do they think they’re being clever? Probably the former, but the fact they haven’t delivered on it makes me wonder.

I chickened out of dealing with it today but I did send the email before I logged off, so it’s done. In the end I revised it to be more simple. I just said “It was my understanding that blah blah blah….did I misunderstand this?”. Which is just as effective, I suppose.


I’ve been spending a lot of time attending to my plants this week, which has involved pulling out a lot of weeds. I noticed one weed in a pot a few days before, which was unusually big and seemed to appear virtually overnight. You know that feeling when you pull a weed and wiggle it a bit and the whole root comes out with it? Well that wasn’t happening here. I looked down the stem and could see there was a pretty big rhizome or something in the soil, so I decided to come back to that one later and dig it out properly…

So I came back to it, and…. it’s an oak tree? This was just in a little 10cm square pot, and I definitely did not put the acorn there. I guess a squirrel must have planted it. I wish I could show the little squirrel what it did. Yes, you made this! Anyway, it’s now in another pot where I hope it will be happier.

In other news I had a recruiter email me with a job that sounded promising, but it turns out it’s with a company I interviewed with about two years ago… who never got back to me after the interview! Well, actually a phone interview and an on-site interview. I can understand not responding to failed applications, but not contacting interviewees is just bad.

That had me a bit stumped – what’s the etiquette here? I’ve mailed him back and said so, and then said that normally I’d be happy to re-interview with a potential employer after two years, but in this case I’m not sure it’s a good use of my time. If he wants to convince me it is, then he can try but it’s probably not happening. I did a bit of LinkedIn sleuthing and it seems that they have high turnover. I met three people there, and two of them have since left after being there less than two years. Good: The person responsible for behaving unprofessionally might have left. Bad: The company behaved unprofessionally and has high turnover. Ehh.


I’m off work this week, but I’ve decided that next week is the week! The week to start making moves. It was always my plan, at least for the last couple of months, to not do anything before this week off so as to avoid being stressed during it. Next week I will email the MD about my very overdue salary reviews. I think the phrasing will be something along the lines of “While I’m enjoying working here, I’m sure you understand that it’s important to me that my salary remains fair and market rate….” and then refer to my contract which says I’m entitled to an adjustment effective from May 2020, and another from May 2021. It’s fair and factual and doesn’t assume malice but it will set out my position that I haven’t forgotten and I’m not going to let it slide.

But really this is just the first stage. The second stage is starting to interview elsewhere again. I could just do that in parallel or instead of, but if I end up negotiating a salary elsewhere using my current salary as a baseline then I want that baseline to be as high as possible.

I don’t really know what to expect here. It’s possible that as soon as I mention salary they’ll find a reason to get rid of me, and the reason I’m concerned about this is that they’ve got rid of two other people since I started, under strange circumstances. I don’t think this is likely and I think it would be extraordinarily stupid as they are currently in violation of the written contract, but it’s a possibility. But I also don’t expect much positivity either. I mean, I don’t think it’s an accident that we are where we are. So I’m expecting that anything they offer will be more of a token gesture to satisfy the contract rather than a genuine effort to be fair and competitive. I guess my feelings are prejudiced by my last employer, so maybe I’ll be proved wrong.

But how they respond to it is up to them, not me.


I had my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Wednesday morning. I didn’t really know what to expect from it, because my mum (who had AstraZenica) spent about 3-4 days feeling like she had flu, whereas my dad had absolutely no reaction whatsoever. I had a bit of a headache and an achy arm in the afternoon but nothing much. I went for a run on Thursday morning and found I didn’t have any energy and ended up cutting it short, then Thursday afternoon and evening my left leg was aching a lot all over, like I’d really overdone the running (I hadn’t). I ran again this morning and it was much better. And my leg doesn’t ache.

I was worried a bit that I’d react to it like my mum did. I had an upset stomach last week and I really wasn’t looking forward to another few days of feeling horrible.

Also, on the medical theme, the NHS is going to start sharing medical records with commercial third parties starting in July. If you haven’t heard anything about this, it’s probably because they’ve kept it very quiet. The data is ‘pseudonymous’ rather than anonymous, meaning that while it won’t have your name in it, it certainly can be used to identify people. Personally I think as a whole, this is appalling. This is an NHS Digital initiative, but hasn’t been adequately publicised by NHS Digital, who are acting as if it’s the individual GPs responsibility to inform patients even though it’s a national issue. The fact it’s happening as an opt-out system under a short timescale without any effort to inform patients is bad, and the opt-out is complicated and confusing (as there are two different opt-outs) and inconvenient as you need to locate, print, and submit a paper form to your GP specifying your preference. Making the opt-out paper based is a little ironic given that we’re talking about massive digital data collection.

It’s hard to look at this and assume good faith.

There are some details on how to opt-out here. The overall story is covered by the Financial Times.