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Job satisfaction

I don't tend to pay that much attention to my payslips. A lot of numerical nonsense that is annoying to figure out. Every few years they make a "simplified" version, but the French system is inherently complicated. Gotta keep those billions of fonctionnaires in employment, right? ☺

This month (so counting the period of April), I noticed with some measure of concern that they had deducted 12 minutes per day from my hours. What?

Turns out that for some unknown reason rather than setting up 7 hours, 7½ hours, and 8 hours (like we're actually working), they have set it up so that we are counted as working 7.2 hours all the way through. So the system will sulk and subtract 12 minutes when we're doing 7h days, and will add time when we're working 8h days. Apparently this will all balance out by the end of the year. Hmm, I think I'll need to keep an eye on this.

Oh, by the way, pay attention to the 7.2 hours. What the hell treats hours as a fractional unit? An hour is comprised of sixty subsections known as minutes. Sixty does not divide by one hundred.
So the .2 is a fifth of an hour, or 12 minutes. Luckily some values work, but still. Seriously, people. Code to handle time is a problem that was solved before home computers were even a thing.


Then we get to the motherlode. I mentioned before, and noticed more clearly this time, that my hourly rate is €11.2852 brut. Don't ask me why the '52' at the end.

It's worth noting that we're paid for a fixed 151.67 hours (which is the yearly amount divided by 12). That way we're paid a fixed amount through the year, rather than being based upon how many hours we actually worked, so long as we end up within +/- 14 hours at the end of the "year" (which means 31st March).

Now, I know I'm not paid well. But as it turns out, the SMIC rose to €11.27 in January.

Which means for doing hard work in the industrial washing up, being fairly autonomous (our manager is Quality, we don't have a team manager or anything like that, we pretty much look after ourselves in tandem with what the production teams need done at any given time) plus the regular use of cleaning chemicals, and in my case I also handle the restocking and deal with pure (non-diluted) chemicals, that's all part of why we're classed as OE3.
Anyway, for that, we are being paid an extra one-point-eight centimes.

Frankly, that's offensive. If I was to give up all of that and go work on the production line (and be paid SMIC), the difference to my monthly income would be less than three euros.
Actually, I think they get a "prime de froid" for working in a cold environment, so if I give up all of my responsibilities and become a production line zombie-robot-guy, I might actually end up better paid. Granted, it's only a couple of euros each way. But the point is for all of the extra things I'm doing, my "reward" for the extra know-how and... look, it's just insulting.

The SMIC is now €11.56 (it went up in May), so I think my pay now will be that plus the ridiculous €0.018 extra.

As for having our wages re-evaluated, my boss has asked, but apparently all of that is being pushed off to the annual negotiation with the union representative (happens around July, answers in August or September). But really it's nothing to do with the union woman. She'll be asking for, as every year, a re-evaluation of all of our salaries because everybody wants paid more.
What I'm asking for is a re-evaluation of our specific salaries, as OE3 people with responsibilities and autonomous self-management should not be paid the same as OE2 people. And not have this deferred for an entire season "because". It's quite simply wrong.

I want to make one thing very clear. It isn't about the money. I have been saving (as I don't drink, smoke, do drugs (unless you count tea) or really go anywhere) so I have some money put aside. I'm not annoyed about this because I'm one of those people who wants to chase every centime.
It's about respect. If I, and by extension "we" (the plonge team) are doing things that justify our OE3 classification, then why are these things not reflected in our pay? Should I refuse to do anything more with the undiluted chemicals because, well, what's my incentive? What's my motivation? I could go put cherries on top of cupcakes or whatever it is they're doing in production any see no effective difference whatsoever in my pay.
Looking at it like that, I don't feel valued or appreciated.


I'm not actively looking for work elsewhere. I did pop over to the employment centre website but interesting sounding jobs need a bunch of qualifications and experience I don't have, and less interesting sounding jobs pay SMIC so there's nothing really to be gained. After all, I'm a nearly-fifty British git with no useful qualifications (and if I did, probably wouldn't count unless they were French), which does tend to complicate job searching, however as I have a job and not the employment office breathing down my neck, I have the time to pick something that I like the sound of.

The thing is, I actually like my job, and the people I work with. The hours are suitable, and it's not far from home (a twenty minute commute in my Playmobil car), and I do qualify for various bonuses (such as a 13th month) due to how long I've been there.
That being said, how can I feel motivated by a place that simply doesn't appreciate their staff. Loyalty works both ways, and right now my job satisfaction is... <looks down> waaaay down there somewhere. How about rating it exactly 1.8/10?


ADSL fixed

Tuesday came and went. The Orange person never called. I tried to get an advisor to call me back but they go home at 7.30pm. Given that I was already annoyed by the above lack of respect, I had a nice cup of tea to prevent me throwing the phone through the window.
Of course, tea that late, didn't exactly sleep...

Came home today, Livebox up for a little over 8 days (which is when the woman asked me to reset it, so it's been kaput for that long) and ADSL syncronised for four and a half minutes. It cut out as I went to look at the ROOL forum.

So I went to the "status of your fault" page and asked for somebody to call me. Orange did immediately, and put me on hold for a couple of minutes until an actual human was available. Then I spoke to a pleasant man and we had... an interesting conversation as he used words like "debriefing", and I had to try to work out what he was saying. I'd be like "oh, debriefing" (saying it in English) and he'd try saying it like I said it and... failing. It was amusing, but I wanted to keep it light hearted as it's not this guy's fault what's been going on. Plus, I'm not a shout-down-the-phone person. My default "angry" behaviour is silence. And maybe a Kubrick stare, but I don't really have the face to pull that off, I just don't look scary.
He wrote an email to the engineer's manager to escalate the situation. Might have pointed out that sometime soon we'll be getting to the "he can claim compensation" stage. But no idea of when anything might happen.

Three minutes later, an unknown mobile. It was the engineer, who said he was working on the line and it's going to be cut off for about an hour. Sounded like he was on the road, maybe his manager was like "oi, you!".

I don't know what he did, but the Livebox promptly crashed and rebooted itself. It is now telling me to check my cables as it can't connect. I carefully prodded the A and B terminals of the phone socket and it's reading about three volts. I'm guessing something else is hooked up? A bleeper maybe?

Still, he estimated an hour, which sounds like there's some idea of where the problem lies.

And... he called back after 51 minutes and said it's been fixed.
I still have 2.1Mbit down and 0.4Mbit up, but with a noise margin of 14.8dB, that'll suffice for now. When the guy calls me back on Friday I'll ask if he can fiddle the DLM so it can go up to whatever speed it's able to sync at, something around 3.7Mbit (and 0.8 up).

So, it looks like this problem is (finally) over. And just in time for the bank holiday (tomorrow). Maybe I'll watch an episode or two of Hot Skull tonight?


I did, however, have the fun of seeing the Livebox quietly freak out to itself. Check out my noise margin... and apologies for the weird text sizes, that's Chrome trying to be smart and failing, and GoogleKnowsBest so you can't even turn that rubbish off.

Noise margin
You know Decibels are logarithmic, right?

Apparently 1100dB is enough to destroy the Earth. It's something like 10110 which is unimaginably loud, an energy release like that is going to have insane effects, potentially such as a kugelblitz. This is where such a massive amount of energy is dumped at one time that it forms an event horizon and effectively warps spacetime into a black hole.
That's a theoretical possibility of 1100dB. Now let's discuss 214,748,356.3dB... the entire frigging universe ends and it was because of my dodgy phone line.

Yeah. It's been that kind of a week. I need ice cream.



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J.G.Harston, 18th May 2023, 02:15
Judging by the replies I get from job applications, my late-1980s degree in Computing Science is a useless qualification. I've spent 30 years applying for and can't get work in Software Development, so drop to Software Engineer without success, so drop to IT Engineer without success, so drop to IT Technician without success, and I'm now scraping around Service Desk Support. And at exactly the same time I see the same employers screaming blue murder that there's a skills shortage and *DEMANDING* immigrants. Hello..... Economics 101, if there's a shortage of supply, you take WHATEVER YOU CAN GET, not have a tantrum and scream at Mummy. An actual 90% of what you want is better than an absense of 100% of what you demand. 
Recent job adverts I've been going through advertise things such as "Graduate Software Developer, must have at least a 2:1 degree, must have at least a year's paid commercial experience, salary £22,000". WTactualF? Ok, a) how on earth do you expect graduates to work on slightly over minimum wage, what was the point of going to university in the first place? b) where do you get the paid commercial experience before you've got any paid commercial experience? c) where are the jobs for people with 2:2 or 3s? Go to university, get massively in debt, be unemployable. 
I've been in jobs working with 20-somethings with forty grand of university debt from doing "Computing" at university, essentially working as labourers - resetting passwords, changing printer cartridges.
Rick, 18th May 2023, 05:32
Yeah, I had noticed similar in job descriptions. They'll accept a debutante, which is then followed by an unrealistic list of necessary skills, and a salary that such skilled people ought not bother getting out of bed for...if this was anything resembling a sane labour market. 
Can't agree more with the 90% thing. The perfect candidate doesn't exist (and if they did, wouldn't work there), so go with somebody who at least knows what they're talking about... no? 
Anon, 18th May 2023, 08:58
Ah yes. The IT skills shortage. 
A hypothetical vacancy. Needs some fairly advanced stuff. In, I dunno, MySQL, PHP, maybe a bit of perl and shell scripting. 
Candidate 1: An experienced IT professional in their mid-40s. Has all of the expertise and could do the job with their eyes closed. Also has 2 kids and a mortgage, so would be wanting a decent salary (say £40k plus). 
Candidate 2: Just graduated. Knows it all in theory but has no experience. Happy to work for £22k as (s)he's 22 and still living with parents. However, doesn't have the expertise to actually do the job properly. 
The average boss (who knows nothing about computers and thinks "oh, it's easy, it's just pushing buttons") will hire the young hot-shot. Said hot-shot will very quickly find he's out of his depth. 
Now if the boss had hired the experienced 40-something, it might have cost more in salary, but he'd have got much better value for money. Once the project that "new guy" was taken on for reached completion, the business would then have an experienced software developer on the team as an asset. 
One can only hope that when the current generation of 30-somethings reach the career point where they're at management level, they'll remember. And be computer literate. 
Back in the 90s, the older generation's cry of "oh, I don't know about computers" was amusing. 30 years later... it isn't. It's expected that anyone under 60 nowadays is IT literate (I don't mean being a programmer, simply that they should be able to actually use whatever applications are installed). The whole "I don't understand technology" trope is now dated and tiresome. 
(My father turns 74 next month. He taught himself coding back in the 80s on a BBC Micro. Although semi-retired he still does some ad-hoc consultancy to keep himself entertained. Sure, he never managed to grasp programming in machine code or assembler, but he could write reasonable code in high level languages. So it isn't an age thing at all.)
Rick, 18th May 2023, 12:15
There are people at work half my age who's only experience with anything "technical" is using the Facebook app...
J.G.Harston, 19th May 2023, 00:47
"IT Literacy" is really this century's equivalent of "knows how to use a light switch". There should be no reason to panic and be unable to turn the lights on, and even be *proud* of the fact. 
David Pilling, 21st May 2023, 16:21
Thing is I have my talents and my experience, but you'd not hire me as a MS Word or Excel expert. I can believe kids coming out of school know better on those two pieces of software. 
Post Acorn I have had no offers of work. Pre-Acorn I got some brutal turn downs - you may have a Ph D in Theoretical Physics and be working in a Maths department  
writing code, but if you come here as a programmer we will consider you to have A-levels. 
Gotta do your own thing... 
Rick, 21st May 2023, 16:53
After my unpleasant experience, I simply gave up on doing nerdy stuff for a living. 
Thing is, given my personality, I *like* being a cleaner. It's because so many stick-up-their-arse people have this peculiar perception filter where the cleaners simply don't exist. That might be why our pay is barely more than the line workers. Not because management hates us, but simply because when it comes to discussing stuff, as long as we're not screwing up, we simply don't exist. 
Granted, I'll not retire halfway through my fifties with a final salary pension that could buy me a house every year, but on the other hand I've just had four days off and I didn't think about work once. My concerns about work begin when I clock in, and cease the moment I clock out. I might not lead an exciting life, but on nice evenings I'm back here for quarter past five, tea in one hand, and hammock in the other. That's how I choose to be. Concerns about work? Productivity levels? Stock control? Machine maintenance? None of that is my concern, and I don't make it my concern. Doing washing up, there's nothing to stress over out of hours, so I don't. 

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