T'eyla Minh (teylaminh) wrote,
T'eyla Minh

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More Job-Related Wibbling

Further to my latest tweet, here's the full story...

Firstly, apologies for the lack of updating around here (again), but... actually, I have no excuse. I've just not been feeling very posty. My online activities of late involve reading Facebook and Twitter, checking my Flickr stream and LJ f-list, and nowt much else. I'm still quite skint and haven't done anything of interest since Alice in Wonderland (still haven't seen that again, either). Choir is choir, life is life, work is work. At the moment I'm just waiting for this week to be over and Easter to start. I have annual leave booked from 16th April and will not be back at work until 5th May (the 3rd is a bank holiday; I have training on the 4th).

Anyway. I think I half-mentioned that there were some potentially exciting opportunities possibly arising at work. Here's the full story, and explanation of subject header... You can probably miss out the first cut if you really want because it's quite boring. ;)

Back in January, following a corporate management re-shuffle, we had a physical re-shuffle as well. Adults Team (who shared the office with South, the team I work for) moved over to King Edward House and were replaced by Employment Team, and Education also moved in downstairs on the 2nd floor. As a result of this the previously-Adults side of the room was rearranged and myself, Noor, Gaynor and Natasha (Legal Assistant) moved desks. This was after a lot of negotiation with Employment/Education's Head (Jag), who wanted to move everyone and essentially box us all in, with people facing walls, etc. Originally he only wanted to move Noor and use her old desk for his trainee, but we pointed out the impracticalities of that, i.e. we only have one phone between us, which we share, and it's more sensible having us sit together just from a work perspective. Anyway, the desk move went fairly smoothly, and aside from Employment being insanely noisy and rather prone to (a) not dictating anything and (b) not picking up their reams of frelling printing, they are a pleasant enough bunch to work with...

That aside, as a result of the management re-shuffle and the pressure on local governments to reduce expenditure and erroneous staff, the obvious solution was to terrify support services with the suggestion of staff cuts.

That was in February. What's actually happening is they're understandably trying to reduce temporary staff (which includes locum solicitors, and they've had a recent recruitment drive to employ perm staff) and also save money by reducing the current three senior supervisors (our line manager) to one. In addition, in order to thereby take pressure off the one remaining senior supervisor, they're appointing / promoting three lower-level supervisors from the WPO and Clerical Assistant pool, thus also reducing the amount of WPO / Clerical staff to the level required. So basically, three new posts have been created which are initially going through internal recruitment purely within our own support teams: one Senior Clerical, one Senior WPO (both for KEH), and one Senior WPO/Clerical for Ingleby House (where I work).

The Senior Clerical and Senior WPO will each manage the Clerical and WPO staff under them at KEH. Here at Ingleby the role will either be a Senior Clerical or WPO, though we're hopeful it'll be a WPO rather than a Clerical because our workload is higher and we need someone who can muck in with the daily WPO / Clerical duties; it's essentially easier for a WPO to do the clerical role than vice versa, because the clericals can't type.

I think I may have rambled a bit excessively there, but the point is that there's a development opportunity arisen. The email came around yesterday asking for expressions of interest in either of the Senior roles, with a closing date of 14th April. Interviews will take place during the week of 19th April.

When the Senior WPO role was first mentioned, my immediate thought was that it would be a great opportunity to go for. Hence, over the four-day Easter weekend I am planning to read through the job spec thoroughly and prepare the 'expression of interest' in the terms asked for (one page of A4 at size 12 font about how you meet the criteria). If I am selected for interview it would be during my week off, though I don't anticipate that being a problem...

Literally the only thing now holding me back is the memory of what happened around this same time last year when I applied to act up into the secretary role. I really, really don't want a repeat of that. Not only was it horribly embarrassing, it shoved me backwards in terms of my self-belief and confidence, and it's taken a while to get back again. In that regard, David (Head of Service) has been occasionally giving me bits and pieces of work to do on top of the general WPO duties, and the other day dragged me to a meeting with other secretaries, himself and another Head of Service where I was the only WPO present. I think it's his way of showing me I'm valued in the team, and it's very much appreciated, because at least he's not drawing attention to it...

The difference this time - and I do feel this is quite pertinent to note - is that my immediate reaction to the prospect was that I wanted to go for it. My reaction to the secretary position was that I quite emphatically did not, and if I learned anything from the last experience, is that's my gut is always right.

Also, another difference is that the Senior WPO role would still entail many of the same duties, but include basic supervisory stuff - checking clock cards, doing PDRs / one to ones / return to work interviews, etc. We've also been told that whoever does get the position (assuming anyone suitable is found internally) would get a lot of support from the off because it's essentially a new position and not one that we would automatically know how to do.

This will sound quite pathetic, but I'm actually quite enthusiastic about word processing. I enjoy typing. I think a lot of the reason for that is because of my piano-playing days, as the muscle-memory is very similar. Aside from that, I think the presentation of things is very important. Maybe I'm just a pedant, or a freak about little details. I take pride in how my documents - whether that's a tiny, one-line letter or a 10-page report - are produced and presented. Quite often I spend more time correcting other people's horrible formatting than I do adding new information to documents; I'm also rather obsessive over consistency. Hence, if I had any power at all to change things, to whip the lazy arses into shape and start the ball rolling towards consistent presentation of documents, I would jump at that chance.

Obviously, the Senior WPO role would not give me that level of power. But it's a start. Rob (Support Services Manager) said that the role might not suit everyone, because some people don't like confrontation and going around telling people to do work instead of read magazines. I'm not a great fan of conflict myself, but I do have the confidence (I hope) to go around and ensure people are actually bloody well working. I'm getting sick of being one of only a few who are willing to pull their weight, and being subsequently penalised for it by getting dumped on or drawing the short straw when it comes to leave / late nights. It's nowhere near as bad as at Ladywood, but I'm not the only one who feels this way.

Slowpoke sent an email this morning saying Central team needed help with their typing because they were backed up to Monday, and I assume this is because people are on leave. The thing is, you go downstairs to check and there's about three things in their tray. Well... sorry, but I've been on my own for almost four weeks now, and my turnaround is fine. You know that phrase, "So laid back she's horizontal?" I think Slowpoke is so laid back she's gone a full 360 degrees and ended up vertical again. If I were her senior, I would not let her get away with that. I have a feeling I might make myself horribly unpopular, but there's a fine line between your manager being approachable and being a walkover...

So. In short, rambling tangents aside, I'm going to spend this weekend weighing up the pros and cons of going for this Senior WPO role. One major pro, for example, is that it's a grade higher and I could really use the money right now. A con is that I might not get to stay in Ingleby House, let alone with my team, though I may have a word with Marie about it tomorrow to ascertain the level of support that will be provided to the successful candidate, and whether we get a choice over where to be based. To me it would make FAR more sense to have the senior role at Ingleby be a WPO, and to have whoever acts up remain within their 'skill' base. The turnaround and type of work within the divisions are very disparate and it makes infinitely more sense to keep people together. Also, from what I could ascertain at the meeting we had about this last week, the typists at KEH sound like an absolute nightmare. More so even than my lot. :P

I anticipate an influx of similar comments to last time, and I will of course keep LJ / Twitter / Facebook updated with progress reports.
Tags: future, work: legal
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