Tag Archives: CBC

Finger scanning and work accountability

I’m listening to The Current on CBC about using biometrics to have employees check in.
I’m off on disability now, and dealing with the strange combo of being unaccountable and unneeded ( for work), which is a mixed blessing at times. But I used to manage people, and deal with staff who weren’t accountable for time.
It was a challenge. What do you do with staff who slide in late and take hour-long coffee breaks, yet charge you overtime for every fifteen minutes they “stay late”?
How do you deal with professional staff who routinely show up late or not at all?
And all of this without being disrespectful or making them feel like factory workers?
It’s a fine line. I know I often didn’t handle it well. I tried. I told the fifteen minute billers that I’d not ask them to check in if they didn’t bill me for tiny increments of time.
I told the professional staff who were routinely late by over half an hour with no explanation that I’d have to start cutting their pay.
I tried to view people by “getting the job done” as vs “working hours” but this is prejudicial to different levels of workers. Our interdisciplinary team were to be viewed as equals. How to treat them the same when their power was so different?
I truly disliked managing people. It’s not a career for someone who wants to be liked, generally, and it’s lonely. I hated being the vice-principal of the workplace, given the task of enforcement and not leadership. I tried to demonstrate hard work by example but merely made myself exhausted and appear overly demanding.
I should have listened to my dad. He’d told me that I wouldn’t like pure science as a career as it was too lonely. He also personally decided to not take a management role, since he knew it wasn’t for him. I wish I’d heard him about the need for me to be social and the challenges of management. I might have been able to work longer.
Even if I did have to swipe in and out.


Pitching the publisher…

This weekend, at Halifax’s Word on the Street, there’s this bizarre event called “Pitch the Publisher”.  The structure is this: think Dragon’s Den, but in a crowd of your peers, pitching to people who you know may well never even think about your book.

I have a few minutes to endear the publishers to me in a room with multiple distractions in a crowd of shifting people, in a tent which will probably be soaked with rain. I’m hoping they’ll ask for my parcel, a detailed outline, the first chapter, our bios (mine and my coauthor’s). I’m dreaming they’ll be thrilled, or at least mildly intrigued, by the premise. But I know it’ll be hard to catch their attention.

So I’m bringing visual aids with me. They’ll include: something frozen, two books, and something with wheels.

I’m pitching in non-fiction, but there are sessions for fiction and writing for youth. Last time I pitched, it was totally discouraging, as I arrived with a genre book and the three publishers told everyone at the start that they NEVER published genre. Genre being anything like romance, mystery, fantasy, westerns, anything you can pin a name onto, except literary. Everyone there brought genre books, pretty well, and it was sad.

This time I’m hoping our credentials hold true. I think we’ve got a great idea. Wish me/us luck!

On Barnacle penises, and the miraculous and weird world in which we live…

Ya gotta love CBC, our cherished and often thrashed national network.  Today I was in and out of my car, and every time I turned on CBC 1 I learned something new or funny or just plain odd.

The first stop was the Irrelevant Show.  I had just pulled into a parking spot when it started with a skit using Stephen Hawking trying desperately to understand his cell phone plan and just not getting it.  Who can, really?  They ARE confusing enough to befuddle the minds of the brightest of us, and I’m sure half of the problem is that the people telling us about them are instructed to change small details every time they run through them until we just give up and sign our lives away.

When I got back in the car, poorer but with some of my list checked off, Quirks and Quarks was on, and Bob MacDonald was interviewing someone in a very non-animated way, quite unlike him.  But as they progressed to discussing bendy straw penises on barnacles (who apparently are hermaphroditic, and when one of them decides to be female, all of the others around “her” send out their penises, which can apparently SMELL for her as they search, and which grow to different lengths each year depending on nearness of other barnacles), I realized he was being so flat because of the almost irresistible urge to laugh or make some crack or another.  I mean, who knew?  Barnacles with such a wild sex life, and, apparently, the world’s largest (proportionately) penises. It’s not all good for the penises, though.  “The problem is,” said the researcher, “even when one  finds the female, there may be lots of other penises there at the same time”.  Bummer. They can be snapped off by strong waves, or eaten by predators, which explains the need for the accordion-like structure. And they regrow every year. Can’t help but want to know more…

Just like those arsenic eating bacteria we heard about earlier this week. Although I wonder about the reason for such research. Are we looking at biological weaponry? Or simply trying a different diet? Are these bacteria friends of the ones who live in lava in undersea volcanoes? And isn’t it totally astonishing that all of these things exist?

Speaking of things that I’m grateful for – I’ve got to add the Debaters (http://www.cbc.ca/thedebaters/) to the list. Today they had the hilarious comedienne Nikki Payne on, arguing that women were not irrational, and being positively terrifying about it.

And, as I type this, I’m listening to Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap (http://www.cbc.ca/vinyltap/) – great music, interesting commentary, and something I sadly look forward to every Saturday night (sadly, because, were I a wilder gal, I’d be out hitting the town, instead of sipping tea and eating yogurt and being altogether too sensible.  At least I get to dance around madly.).

So, thanks, ol’ CBC. You bring the marvels of the world into our homes in digestible bits (sortof like those barnacle…never mind) and entrance us with laughter and music and information and crazy antics.

And thanks, too, for the miracles of sexy barnacles, hungry bacteria, rock and roll and even disco. It’s a rich rich world we live in. Let’s wallow in it.