I think we got the jury service sorted out. My employer asked me to defer it until December, which is a lull in their need of me, according to their scheduling (note: you can’t schedule software development a week in advance, let alone 8 months, but whatever). This still needs to be approved by the courts, but I think it’s likely they will.
In other stressful news… About 3 and a half years ago I left my previous job because it was a toxic workplace. I should have left at least a year earlier and being there every day did a lot of damage to both my mental and physical well-being. I think it caused something like complex PTSD but that’s another blog post I don’t really intend to write…
The problem was really just one particular woman. But that’s ancient history now… Or is it?
I was on a run today and guess who I saw. She didn’t see me, or possibly she saw me first and pretended to be fascinated by her phone.
Here’s my heart rate graph, see if you can guess where I saw her.
It’s the big spike just before 35 minutes.
I actually felt pretty alarmed just to see her. All the feelings of anxiety came back in an instant and I felt the rest of the run feeling sick. I guess I’m a bit surprised. Before lockdown when I used to get the train to my new job I always used to feel the stress when we passed my old job’s building, but I really thought that I wouldn’t be so easily triggered now.
Anyway, the good news is that it’ll probably never happen again. This was along the high street in the town centre and she lives in a different town, so it was probably an unusual visit for her.
One of my mum’s friends has just lost her job because the company has ceased to exist, because the owner is in hospital and unlikely to recover. It’s a risk of small companies with an aging owner. I work for a small company with an owner in his mid 70s. Hmm. I’m also bored with work and I don’t feel I’m growing, but on the other hand… I can’t really be bothered? I keep thinking about it, though. I keep getting recruitment messages. I’ve been here for coming up to three and a half years now. I am getting frustrated by the work though. Everything is always urgent, more urgent than the thing I’m currently working on, which was urgent yesterday but now is not. And it’s the classic software problem of trying to convert what could generously be described as a half baked idea into something subjected to logical consistency. The compiler doesn’t stand for nonsense!
Running updates: A few weeks ago I was aiming for a 22:30 Parkrun and ended up with 23:15 or something. The following week I had the same aim and ran 22:15 – yep, a whole minute faster, and it felt like only a moderate effort. I was super pleased with that. I was planning to just do a full effort run this last week and see where I am, but that was scuppered by the snow and ice. Parkrun went ahead but on a very revised course, which was about 50% grass. Or, more accurately, mud. In road shoes. In theory you could use the lack of friction to your advantage, but I haven’t quite mastered that. So we’ll see next week. I’m not too optimistic though – I did some hill repeats yesterday and felt like I was going to die.
I’m now approximately two months post-virus and this last week my resting heart rate finally came back down to pre-virus levels, but it’s still often elevated when running.
With Stratford cancelled, my next race is Birmingham half marathon in just under 8 weeks. Birmingham is usually a fairly flat course outside of maybe two or three nasty hills. I’ve been doing 75 minute runs for the last few weeks and this week bumped one up to 90 minutes. Ideally I want to be doing one 75 minute run and one 90-120 minute run per week (at tortoise pace). In theory I’ll be fully virus recovered by then, but as I still have lingering effects now I’m not sure how effective the training has been and will be… I have modest expectations.
I can’t believe there is another heatwave! I have a half marathon on Sunday and the weather forecast is pretty grim, by which I mean glorious sunshine. A few weeks ago I was feeling very confident, now there’s a little part of me hoping they’ll cancel it (doubtful though, they’re not going to want to refund everyone). It’s not just the heat on the day, it’s the heat from now until the day as well. We have five consecutive days over 30 C, which is going to interfere with my sleep and generally fatigue me. It’s a bit frustrating because I think I’m in PB shape. Even so, the course is a bit hilly, so I wasn’t really expecting a PB. I think pushing for one given the heat could be quite dangerous, literally. So I won’t. You can get away with doing stupid things on a 5k and even a 10k but there’s a lot that can go wrong on a half marathon. I’ve done my long training runs at anywhere between a 4:45 and 5:00/km pace but I can’t really see me improving much if at all on that in the heat. The main thing is to start off conservatively and then speed up if possible, which is much more pleasant than the other way around.
In other news I had my salary review and my salary has been bumped up by a number that is quite big but less than inflation. I didn’t feel particularly strongly about this either way, but I think I am going to look for something else in the coming months. I’m not in a rush, I’m just a bit bored and a bit frustrated. In the last few days I’ve been annoyed by both my manager and the managing director. The MD has sent me some silly sarcastic emails that made me roll my eyes, and the reason he resorted to sarcasm was because he doesn’t know much about the concepts we were discussing. My manager annoys me because he goes poking around in databases and editing data here and there and then getting surprised when things don’t work properly. I don’t know what he’s expecting 🤷♂️ In November I will have been here for three years, so that’s probably a good time to think about broadening my experience.
Update: I’ve now just had another call with my manager, because the customer is complaining that their data is missing… because he has been fiddling around in the database and deleted it 😳
Monty is in the cone of shame. We’re not quite sure what happened but last weekend he had an irritated scrotum and was licking it a lot. I think it was getting better but then he went to the groomer on Wednesday and that set him off again. Over the weekend he seemed very unhappy and kept lying down on the tiles in the hallway (which he’d never done before) as if the carpet in the other rooms was irritating him. So we went to the vet on Monday and she’s given us a cone and various creams. She thinks he probably originally irritated it on a plant like ivy or brambles and if he’d just stop licking it for a few days it would get better. Unfortunately, licking his genitalia is one of his favourite hobbies, even when it’s not irritated.
I didn’t know this but the cones absolutely traumatise some dogs, including Monty. They just completely shut down and sit there looking sad. Yesterday afternoon he was refusing to eat, drink, toilet, everything. He just sat there. We ended up taking it off for a while to get him to do those things. And then it took him until 5 o clock this morning to work out he could go to sleep while wearing it. He literally sat upright all night until he eventually collapsed in exhaustion. Anyway he seems happier in it today, and in theory we can take it off tomorrow. We’ve had it off twice for about an hour each time today and he hasn’t been trying to lick much at all, so that’s promising.
In other news, at work, apparently our second in command has left. And I know this because LinkedIn told me he’s started another job. If I worked somewhere with hundreds of employees I could understand someone leaving without me knowing, but we actually have.. let’s count… 9 employees! So, great communication there. I assumed that he would be taking over running the company day to day when the MD retires (he’s in his 70s), so this seems like a bad sign.
Running is definitely improving a lot now. My Parkrun times are consistently sub 21 in the last few weeks and they are feeling reasonably comfortable (for high effort, at least). Last weekend I ran a 13km race on Sunday and came in at 58:30. I paced it horribly and set off way too fast over a a hilly route that I hadn’t tapered for, so I was very pleased at keeping a solid 4:30/km pace over that distance.
I’m starting do to a bit more speed work now to try bring my Parkrun times down. Last week I did 3x1km repeats but I think I need shorter intervals too. Over a shorter interval you can get your speed up much higher, which means your legs turn over faster with a longer stride length. That’s what speed is – how long your stride length is and how many strides you’re taking per second. I think 1km intervals are too long to work on pushing those things. This week I’m going to try the 3x1km then after a few minutes rest I’ll do 2x400m then 4x200m. Let’s see how that goes…
The bad news is my foot (neuroma?) has been twinging a little bit yesterday but I think it’s just that my calf gets tight. It was kind of tingling yesterday morning like someone was prodding it gently with a needle, but then I stood up and realised my ankle was quite stiff in that way that it relaxes pretty quickly when you stretch it. I went to a physio about this last year and he recommended lots of calf stretching because he thought my windlass mechanism wasn’t working properly due to calf tightness and I was overpronating as a result. He also thought I didn’t actually have a neuroma, though I do get neurological symptoms so the distinction is a bit academic at the moment. Well, I was overpronating on that side and I could see it from the wear under the big toe on the insole in my running shoes. In my current shoes I’ve run about 500km and there’s no obvious wear, probably because I’ve been stretching a lot. Though the left calf is still a lot weaker than the right and it tends to cramp after about 25 calf raises. So I need to be a little careful but I think it’s manageable.
In other news… Goodness me, finances! So, inflation is crazy. And July is salary review time. Somehow I just can’t see my employer matching inflation, and if not, I won’t be able to shake the perception that I’m moving backwards by taking a pay cut. I flicked on the “open to offers” thing on LinkedIn yesterday and I’ve received about 25 messages from recruiters since then. Quite a few of those are junk, but even so, there’s no reason to accept sub-inflation pay adjustments.
To be honest though I hate interviewing, and now I have Monty I have less free time because he needs so much supervision. It is like having a baby, really. Yesterday on Hacker News there was a thread from someone who said they were struggling to recruiter senior developers and listed their interview process. It had three actual talking-to-people interview stages plus a “4 hour” take home test (which in reality could be anywhere from 2 hours to several days). Everyone in the comments was pointing out how silly this was for people with responsibilities outside of work. But that’s the minefield of interviewing and it’s what puts me off.
I haven’t written here for too long. It’s the usual update – dog takes up all my time and energy, when he’s asleep I go to sleep too. Well, sometimes.
I’ve had the week off this week and have been spending a lot of time with him. He is amazing and I love him. He’s also a total pain who wants to run around and jump at me all the time, and my hands are covered in little scratches and tooth marks, but that’s OK and we’re working on it. He’s such a lovely little dog when he’s just padding around the house. He looks like a little bear.
He hasn’t enjoyed the fireworks. He’s OK with them when he’s inside, but getting him outside is difficult, which interferes with his toileting (as he’s very reluctant to go inside the house now – shouldn’t complain, but it’s not ideal for him to hold it). We’ve had fireworks every night for four nights in a row now, which I think is quite ridiculous and I really wish we could ban firework sales to individuals.
In other news… I have a stomach upset 🤔 Again! I think it might be spaghetti carbonara. I stopped eating spaghetti bolognese because the sauce is too much for my stomach (all the acid from the tomatoes, probably) and switched to carbonara thinking it would be better, but this is the second time I’ve had an upset stomach after eating it, so maybe not. It’s not as bad as last time, but I saw the signs and switched to an extremely boring chicken + rice diet (like my dog!) so that may have softened the blow.
So I’m back at work next week. Work annoyed me last week. My manager asked me to create some fake data in the system to display some charts for a demo. So I did. Then on Thursday morning the managing director called me into a meeting to complain that it wasn’t what he’d asked for. The problem was that he had created this data with no thought to how it would actually look when plugged into our charting system. What he actually wanted were completely different charts, but that is not what I was asked to do, nor was it realistic for the timeframe. He didn’t even tell my manager that he’d called me. I don’t deal with the managing director much, but when I do I always come away with a bad impression of him. So in some ways I’m not looking forward to work again tomorrow, but in other ways I feel like I have more important things (dog) in my life to worry about instead. It’s just a job.
After much anticipation, my current job matched the offer of the new job and also gave me a title promotion (Senior Developer). I accepted. It felt right. I’m happy with that.
I guess I’ve had a thing about feeling valued because of my last job. I think that being treated poorly there has made me focus a lot more on making sure that I’m getting a good deal. I’m also really pleased that now if they ever contact me, I’ll be able to tell them they can’t afford me!
I feel so exhausted now, tonight. It’s felt like several weeks of stress and maybe that’s catching up with me. I don’t really feel like the tablets have been doing much for the past few weeks.
I thought about it. The thing that gives me pause about the new job is the hours. 40 hours a week vs 37.5. It’s not much per week but it adds up to an extra 3 weeks working per year. The salary more than covers it though. That’s really the only downside. About the current job, I’m busy but in general find it stress free. There are occasional exceptions, but they are not the norm. We had a meeting on Wednesday (before I handed in my notice) and the MD said he wasn’t expecting to get everyone back in the office full time. So, really, if it wasn’t for the salary shenanigans, I wouldn’t be considering moving.
I feel like we are playing silly games with the salary. When I gave my notice, the reaction was very much “oh, you want more money? Why didn’t you say?”. Well, I did, and it still wasn’t competitive? Then they’re shocked when I get a better offer and leave 🤷 Like, really, you’ve been running a company for 20 years and you didn’t know that people leave when they’re underpaid? Don’t give me this rubbish.
I have some distrust over these shenanigans, but overall no other bad feelings right now. So I think the outcome really depends on how the MD handles it tomorrow and what he actually offers. If I feel he’s continuing to play games then I’m better off elsewhere, otherwise let’s see exactly how the two offers compare.
I handed in my notice and apparently sent a few people into a panic. My timing was terrible, as the MD was out so couldn’t handle it, but instead got my manager and the (I don’t know his job title? but he’s kind of the second in command) to discuss it. They both seem to think the MD will give a counter offer.
Anyway, the MD is going to review it over the weekend and get back to me on Monday. I’m not really sure what to expect with this. Despite my manager’s optimism, the MD has consistently low balled me when it comes to pay. On the other hand, he’d be silly not to match the offer, because it is the going rate for my level of skill, and hiring is hard and my departure leaves the company quite understaffed.
But am I open to counter offers? A few days ago I said I wasn’t, but if they do match the salary then I’m not sure my case for leaving and starting a new job is so compelling anymore. The MD also laid out a few days ago that he wasn’t expecting to go back to full time in the office, which was also a big fear of mine. So if the salary is equal, the main points are the hours (37.5 currently vs 40 in the new job) and the tech (more modern, CV friendly in the new job). Well, and the stress and risk of starting a new job.
I suppose I need to decide on my thresholds and see what Monday brings.
I’m not at all happy with the weather the past few days. I tried running this morning and it was absolutely horrible.
Parkrun is back at the weekend but I don’t think I’ll be doing it. The COVID case numbers are shooting up very quickly, which puts me off. It seems like Parkrun has promised to return a number of times and then didn’t, but ironically now it looks like they’re actually going to do it, it’s happening at a time when there’s a higher chance of contracting COVID than any time previously.
I phoned the recruiter and said I was happy to progress. The next stage is to wait for the employer to send everything through. I’m not used to such a slow process! And it’s playing on my anxiety. Apparently they do some kind of background checking. The recruiter told me there would be a credit check (why?!) and a criminal record check. I’ve never had to deal with this for a job before so I don’t know what to expect. From my research it appears it will be the basic DBS check, because my role is not eligible for the standard or enhanced checks.
But since I’ve never done this and don’t know what to expect then I guess I should wait until this clears before actually handing in my notice? Obviously, I’m worrying I’ll fail the background check despite there being no reason I should. I’m worrying about references too. I’m sure my current employer will be fine, but the previous one… I have low expectations of them. I keep telling myself that they would gain nothing by starting a fight with me and potentially exposing themselves to a hefty lost earnings lawsuit, but eh. What if they just refused to give a reference? Thanks, anxiety.